You hate lists, you love lists. Surely you have time for them regardless
Here are my favorite songs or albums of the year. No real order here.
Amanda Mair – House (Club 8 Remix)
The angelic voice of Amanda Mair gets mixed by Swedish twee group Club 8 and the results are sublime. House is a sad song about a relationship at it’s end. The original piano arrangements are replaced by the much lighter synthesizer, which makes it completely danceable. What obsessive minded girl doesn’t want to dance around and scream out the lyrics “Can’t you see I’m only happy / When you’re in the house?”
Walk The Moon – Anna Sun
The best Killers cover I heard all year long
The Chromatics – Kill For Love
Quite possibly my favorite song of the year from quite possibly my favorite album of the year. It’s a soundtrack to an 80’s movie I never saw, featuring a riffs from a 90’s song I never heard. I love albums that sound like albums and not a collection of songs, and this album definitely fits into that category.
Stuff to Dance to
Calvin Harris – 18 Months
In terms of dance music and producer, no sound has more defined recent years then Calvin Harris’s many produced tracks. It started with club banger ‘Dance Wiv Me’ in 2009 but really, I would say Calvin Harris first found the magical formula with the follow up single to that tune, which was Dizzee Rascal’s Holiday. You can listen to that track as well as his leading single I’m Not Alone off his second album and start to figure out exactly just when Harris perfected his formula which is basically moderately catchy verses which builds into epic, euphoric sun splattered choruses that climaxes with dance til the sun rises instrumentals. It’s a magical formula and he has now taken it to the bank with songs with the likes of Rihanna and Florence and the Machines. While 18 months is more of a collection of singles rather then an actual album, the highs are ridiculous. His two summer singles – Let’s Go and We’ll Be Coming Back are great examples of the his magic touch.
Toy – Lose My Way
The Big Pink – Future This
I always embrace music that reminds me of the grand ole days of Britpop and this year, there were a few standouts. The Big Pink’s sophomore effort – Future This exceeded all of my expectations (meaning, I had none) and had a slew of catchy songs. Toy’s debut record, which included the song Lose My Way was more of a nod to the shoe-gazing days then Britpop, but was still impressive. You could tell a music fan that Lose My Way was a lost demo from 1991 and nobody would argue with you there.
Janelle Monae Impression
The Noisettes – Contact
I am surprised that the third Noisettes album – Contact came and went with little fanfare. The album, which see the band scrap all rock pretension and went full pop, featured a wide range of sounds from doo-wop numbers to space age motown sounds. It’s a bit all over the place, but there were some definite hits there. Maybe they shouldn’t of gone full pop. I dunno. Anyways, it deserves a listen.
Proof I’m Mellowing Out
Dry The River – Shallow Bed
Of Monsters and Men – My Head Is An Animal
2012 was a great year for folk-rock music. Whether you like it or not, they breached our collective minds on all fronts, be it on the mainstream front (Mumford & Sons), on the soon to be mainstream front (The Lumineers) or on a smaller level, it seems like bands dressed like they lived in the depression era were all on the verge of success. Dry the River and Of Monsters and Men are two bands that are characterized in the same genre, but what they lack in slick packaging, they made up for with kick ass debut albums. Exemplary harmonics and stellar songwriting peppered both albums, and both bands put on great showcases at SXSW. Also, Derek made fun of how white/sunburnt Of Monsters and Men was and they took it like a champ.
Chairlift – Amanaemonesia
This actually came out in 2011, who cares. I discovered it in 2012. I first saw it earlier this year, I think in Austin before seeing Chairlift live and much like many others before and after me, became obsessed with this video. I think Paul was so obsessed with this video/band he saw them like four or five times this year. I think he’s in love with Caroline Polachek. I think we all are.
Also, their album Something was really good.
Also, their other video – Met Before, was also exceptional
Album From my hometown
Purity Ring – Shrines
It serves Edmonton right that the sound of Purity Ring is the sound that sets you in one of those lazy, dreamy moods where you don’t want to go out and do anything. This is because when you are in Edmonton, you don’t want to go out and do anything. Because it’s minus twenty two outside. Shrines, the debut album from Purity Ring is not an album you want to put on when you want to get your party on, but rather, it’s minimal tone is the perfect soundtrack for any dreary(read: hungover) morning or that time in the middle of the night where you kind of want to be reflective. You need music for all walks of life, and Shrines was the album that provided the soundtrack to those moments this year for me.
Some other records I really enjoyed
Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
Maybe his strongest effort to date, Jens returns after a five year hiatus with an album equally as funny, charming, sad and lush as all his previous efforts. This will be an album I revisit time and time again as the years go by.
Santigold – Master of My Make Believe
If Nicky Minaj didn’t go out and ruin eccentric black female hip hop artists for everyone, I’m sure Santigold would be at the top of the heap of some lists this year, instead, she is cast off to the side. Still, Master of My Make Believe was an excellent follow up to her debut album, improving on all aspects of her sound. She also brings out a horse for her stage show.
Django Django – Self Titled
Speaking of eccentric, Django Django’s self titled debut was a mish mash of all the instruments you could possibly find at a percussive store. It shouldn’t of really worked, but it did and the album was a great success that also secured a Mercury Prize nomination.
Tennis – Young and Old
If I was a WASPy type 20 something who enjoys coffee at Starbucks, shops at Whole Foods and has a closet full of Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste gear, this would have been my favorite album of the year. Instead, it’s a rather catchy album that surprisingly exceeds Tenni’s debut record, Cape Dory.
Anyways, that’s all I got. I’m ready for 2013.