Lauren’s best of 2012: The Walkmen, Japandroids, etc

Chad Valley

The time has come, the walrus said,  for talks of other things, of vids and songs, albums and live acts, etc, etc. My rendition of the Alice and Wonderland song didn’t really work there, but here’s my list for best of everything 2012, in no particular order.

Best Album of 2012

Winner: The Walkmen – Heaven. They may make music that seldom varies from their formula, however, it’s a formula that has worked for over 10 years now and will continue to work as long as they keep producing. Plus ‘We Can’t Be Beat’ is on the album and one of the best songs.. of all time, in my books.

Runner Up: Japandroids – Celebration Rock. This album rules. It’s a fist pumping, head bobbing, positive reinforcement of an album. An album that at once makes you nostalgic to your pop punk high-school days and motivates you to get every task done at work, thus, possibly becoming the person your high-school punk self may now despise.

Runner Up 2: Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze. These girls are 90’s era all  girl shoe gaze throwbacks with their own touches. This EP was a strong follow up to their sophomore album Only In Dreams. They’re also really great live.

Honorable Mention: M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming. I know it came out in 2011, but fuck, it’s still one of my favorites in 2012.

Best Song of 2012

Winner: The Walkmen – We Can’t Be Beat. There’s so much I can say about this song.  but even whilst sick at Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris, lead singer Hamilton Leithauser still managed to destroy with this song.

Favorite new artist (that I have discovered in 2012, not necessarily come out in 2012) 

Winner: EXITMUSIC – husband and wife duo produce gothic dream pop, almost like the evil step sister of Beach House. Lead singer Aleksa Palladino (who you may remember from Boardwalk Empire as Jimmy’s wife) has some amazing vocal ranges and an opera singer for a mother. Needless to say they’re a talented group and hauntingly beautiful.

Runner Up: Chad Valley – Putting on this album at home ensures a dance party with my cat will ensue. Another UK import, check out Young Hunger

Runner Up: Diiv – They’ve made many bloggers best of lists this year and not without cause, these young’uns (who make me feel extremely old), produce a blended genre of music, from shoe gaze to new wave, worth a listen. The album is Oshin.

Best live act of 2012

Winner: M83 – The soundtrack to your science fiction life. Even sober, I felt like I was high on their music, even with drunk douchebags trying to crowd surf and repeatedly kicking us commoners in the head, it still did not detract from the epicness of M83’s live performance. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Runner Up: The Antlers – Saw them in Vancouver and less than a week later in Toronto. These guys bring back an emotion and passion that is hard to come by.

Biggest regret music wise in 2012

Winner: Justice. Such an easy one, although the alternative, which was swimming, drinking and eating, was pretty boss. However, I was told it was fantastic.

Most surprisingly great live act of 2012

Winner: Jukebox the Ghost – It’s always great when a band you’ve never heard of, who’s also the opener blows them out of the water with their stage presence and talent. Seeing these guys open for Motion City Soundtrack made my night.

Best dance party of 2012

Winner: SBTRKT – Osheaga. It was sweaty, hot, smoke filled and the “dance floor” (metal slab on the ground) was practically a slip and slide, you had to tilt your head all the way up to breathe properly, that’s how intense this dance party was.

Runner Up: Miike Snow at Sound Academy. Anything at Sound Academy is usually just bad by default, thanks to it being the shittiest venue hands down, however Miike Snow managed to sneak through the black hole of Sound Academy shame and produce a very large, very in sync dance party.

Second Runner Up: Neon Indian at the Phoenix.

Worst dance party of 2012

Winner (or loser?) Lemonade opening up for Neon Indian at the Phoenix. They were awkward, uncoordinated, the sound was bad, the atmosphere was weak, no one was into it. They have potential, however at this time and date, they could not deliver.

Song everyone should listen to in 2013

Winner: Solange Knowles – Losing You. Beyoncé’s lil sis put out a fantastic EP this year, and the single Losing You is one of the best songs of the year. Produced by Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, it has an 80’s nostalgic dance beat infused with a bit of disco. Solange also wins my unspoken categories for best choreographed dance in a live performance (see: Late night with Jimmy Fallon if you have access to Hulu) and best fashion sense. She’s officially my new lady crush.

Best summer anthem of 2012

Winner: Turtle Giant – We were Kids. This track makes me picture a summer night on the town, possibly near a cliff with some drinking involved. Basically if our lives were coca-cola commercials in sepia tone.


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Posted on by lauren in Year End Reviews

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