12/28/2012 11:46:03 AM
---- Updated 12/28/2012 11:47:29 AM
Todd's Top 10 (or so) albums of 2012
As many of you already know, I listen to a lot of music. I don't listen to quite as much new stuff as I used to when I was younger, but I still like to get out there and hear what's new. So, that said, this is what struck me as particularly good in a very strong year.
The Top 11
1. Kelly Hogan - I Like to Keep Myself In Pain
So, this is what you get when you take one of the best singers working today and have some of the best songwriters out there write songs specifically for her to sing. A home run in every single way.
2. Barry Adamson - I Will Set You Free
Barry continues his hot streak with one of the more song-oriented albums that he's done. Great arrangements, melodies, and (of course) atmosphere from one of the coolest cats on the planet.
3. Fun. - Some Nights
Overplayed? Yes. But overrated? Hell no. I loved this album from the first time that I put it on; and, after being disappointed by their first album, I was not expecting that. You can't hold their popularity against them, they deserve every sale and every bit of airplay that they get.
4. Kids These Days- Traphouse Rock
Maybe a surprise entry. It's still early, so we'll have to see what kind of staying power this one has, but it's a bunch of high school kids playing a jazz/soul/rock/hip-hop fusion, and playing the hell out of their instruments. Great male/female vocals, and an outstanding young male MC to boot. Great melodies, great rhymes, and excellent production (half the time from Jeff Tweedy). Another winner.
5. Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Going to Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
JTE has had his share of problems, but it thankfully seems to feed into his creativity. This is maybe his best record and I love the more-sounful vein that he is starting to mine.
6. Cate Le Bon - Cyrk/Cyrk 2
Think Nico meets Stereolab and you'll get a pretty accurate idea of her sound. There is nothing wrong with that combo in my world.
7. Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Not sure if it's because this is a particularly good Spiritualized record (I'll have to go back and listen to more to make that determination), or if it's just a change of perspective thing, but this is the year that these guys finally clicked for me. I am loving this band and this record.
8. OFF! - OFF!
File under "Short Attention Span", Keith Morris still sounds as pissed off as he ever has. And I am loving it.
9. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
About half of this album is brilliant. The other half is merely excellent. I gravitate more to the parts where he is channeling a 70's Stevie wonder vibe.
10. Dr. John - Locked Down
The pairing with Dan Auerbach is an inspired one, as they were able to recapture the sound of Gris-Gris, if not quite all of its brilliance. Still worthy of a top 10 appearance in a strong year.
11. Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth
This one makes the list on the strength of its singles alone. The rest of the album is solid, if unspectacular, and just kinda floats pleasantly by. But songs like "One More" and "Reggae Music" stop me and make me listen.
• Cleaners From Venus - Stopping Train
The companion piece to last year's English Electric just barely misses the cut. Some great new takes on old Cleaners favorites. Not sure if it's actually 2012 or not, as I've seen differing listings.
• Happy Ashtray - Seventy Miles
John Swamy is always dependable for some great songs and outstanding vocals.
• Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse
Not bad, but it just didn't grab me like his last one did.
• Northern Magnolia - Dreams to Reckon With
Local country outfit has some pretty good songs and an outstanding guitar player.
• Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid/Madd City
Maybe just needs a few more listens.
• Joe Pug - The Great Despiser
Not bad, just nothing there for me to really latch on to.
Doesn't really qualify:
• Alex Chilton - Free Again: The 1970 Sessions
Because, you know, it's a reissue-type thing.