Welcome to MuzikDizcovery's second edition of quarterly updates in 2012. Every staff member will put out a top five list, allowing them to showcase their absolute favorite records of 2012 to date. Additionally, it will be able to alert you of albums that you may not have heard of otherwise. This list does not only include albums that have been released as of June 30, as any album that we have heard so far this year is free to be included. Beach House, The Tallest Man On Earth, The Menzingers, fun., mewithoutYou, John Talabot, Athletics and Take One Car all feature prominently in our lists. If you click on the album name, you will be led to our review for the album (if we have done one). All the lists can be seen below the jump.
Casey Whitman1. fun. - Some Nights
2. Jukebox The Ghost - Safe Travels
3. Now, Now - Threads
4. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
öderberg must have been genetically manipulated inside the womb, as the girls have perfectly complementary voices that lead to absolutely gorgeous harmonies. It's just unfair that they're also excellent songstresses, creating infectious melodies to go with fantastic lyrics in "Emmylou." Connor Oberst even makes an appearance on another of the album's highlights in "King Of The World." But the Söderbergs don't let Oberst outshine them one bit, as it's still their song, and they make sure that you know that in one of the finest collaborations of the year so far.
5. Take One Car - It's Going To Be A Nice Day
The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now
Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory
Mickey Factz - Mickey MauSe
The Forecast - Everybody Left
Athletics - Who You Are Is Not Enough
The Composure - Stay The Course (EP)
Athletics - Stop Torturing Yourself (EP)
The Decoration - Anywhere Is Home (EP)
Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour Golden Mile (EP)
Gates - You Are All You Have To Fear (EP)
Yellowcard - Southern Air
here. I already ordered both the vinyl and the CD package, will you? It's worth it.
Mat Fukano1. Cursive - I Am Gemini
2. Take One Car - It's Going To Be A Nice Day
3. Athletics - Who You Are Is Not Enough
4. The Sun Explodes - Emergence
5. If These Trees Could Talk - Red Forest
Perry MalteseBefore I begin listing my favorite records of the year thus far, I want to make it known that this will be my last post on MuzikDizcovery.com. I simply do not find any enjoyment in reviewing anymore and would rather continue to appreciate music without the stress of rating albums on a number or letter scale. To anyone who has ever read, laughed at, or disagreed with any of my reviews, thank you.
1. The Menzingers - On the Impossible Past
Now that I have been listening to this record steadily for six months now, I think it is safe to say that On the Impossible Past has withstood the test of time. Still as melodic, charming, and intimate as the first time I heard it, this record has all but prematurely secured its place as my album of the year.
2. Light Black - Ex Wives
3. Raindance - New Blood
4. State Lines - State Lines EP
5. The Dopamines - Vices
- Ceremony - Zoo
- Crucial Dudes / Hisdayhascome - Split
- Gypsy - Giant's Despair
- Hold Tight! - Blizzard of '96
- Joie De Vivre - We're All Better Than This
- Fierce Brosnan - Good Luck Exploding
- Vices - The Out Crowd Blues
- You Blew It! - Grow Up Dude
In all honesty, I didn't think that The Walkmen had a record like this in them. But for years they've seemed destined to be indie rock's nearly men - always a pleasure, never quite capable of pulling alongside the Nationals and Arcade Fires of this world. With Heaven, however they've finally taken that crucial step, delivering fully on their potential whilst simultaneously perfecting the formula that's served them so well for the past decade. Oozing class and self-assurance, it's an album which should gain them a place among the genre's elite, an achievement we all hoped for but feared would never materialize.
2. Beach House - Bloom
3. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
4. John Talabot - Fin
5. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
1. Sithu Aye - Isles
2. Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks
3. Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
4. Fero Lux - Some Divine Ashtray
5. Beach House - Bloom
John Talabot - Fin
Athletics - Who You Are Is Not Enough
The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
Suis la Lune - Riala
Fantastic Mr. Fox - San'en
Icarus the Owl - Love Always, Leviathan
BADBADNOTGOOD - BBNG2
Jonny Hunter1. Pepe Deluxe - Queen of the Wave
2. Bersarin Quartett - II
3. Burial - Kindred
4. Listening Mirror - Resting in Aspic
5. Amon Tobin - Amon Tobin
1. Mount Eerie - Clear Moon
Well this one came out of nowhere. I had always admired Phil Elvrum (formerly of The Microphones) and his penchant for pushing the boundaries of his indie/folk style of music. Wind's Poem, his 2009 record, was the strangest and most groundbreaking yet, taking his acoustic folk and mixing it synths and a heavy layering of black metal. That's right, black metal. But for all the wonderful things that arise from his experimentation, Phil really impresses when he's just making great music with his acoustic guitar, a la Lost Wisdom. What makes Clear Moon such a success is that it deftly blends the two sides of Phil's music, making a comforting but daring experience. Clear Moon is an absolutely gorgeous album and should rank high on this artist's extensive discography.
2. The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now
Honestly, I didn't expect to like this as well as I did, and actually still do because I cannot seem to put it down. The Tallest Man on Earth has always impressed me with his "twangy/folksy" music, but it never really did much aside from that. While music lovers fawned over The Wild Hunt back in 2010, I merely found greatness rather than a transcending musical experience. There's No Leaving Now has changed that all. Instead of hearing his music, I now feel it, moreso than ever. Every bit of this album is so painfulyy genuine that I cannot help but be fully immersed. Added to that, he is one hell of a songwriter, and each track is played with such skill that it is simply astounding. The Tallest Man on Earth has really hit one out of the park with this one.
3. mewithoutYou - Ten Stories
This is another one that sort of came out of nowhere. While Ten Stories isn't the band's defining moment, it certainly is the most solid. In the areas that it doesn't take chances, it polishes. Some of the band's best material is here, with "All Circles" and "Grist for the Malady Mill" really stealing the show. The band taps into their older material with some selections having more of a post-hardcore vibe. Mix that with the solid indie rock of their last two albums and you have one excellent experience.
4. State Faults - Desolate Peaks
I genuinely believed that my favorite emotional hardcore album of the year wouldn't change, but here we are. What makes Desolate Peaks such a wonderful listen is that it really is the whole package. Where some bands shirk genuine emotion for a better production and more complex songwriting, State Faults bring it all. The album sounds beautifully clear but lovably messy, and the band's consistently interesting songwriting keep you hooked. It's a heavy and exceptional album that will probably be buried underneath the Loma Prietas and the Beau Navires, but it is something you should really give a listen.
5. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
I have always really loved Fiona Apple's earthy, deep vocals. Her cover of The Beatles "Across the Universe" still gets me ten years later. However, I had lost interest due to Apple's inactivity, so much in fact that I had no idea The Idler Wheel... was coming out. What a surprise to find out that not only did the album exist, but it was so damn good. The Idler Wheel... is a mature and bold pop record with one of this generation's most interesting voices at the helm.
Blair Chopin1. fun. - Some Nights
Aim and Ignite was a classic tribute to three of the most popular bands of all time in Queen, the Beach Boys and The Beatles. Just about every song had the energy of a hit Queen song, had the "relateable" lyrics of a hit Beatles song, and had the "fun" and fast paced instrumentation of a hit Beach Boys song. Aim and Ignite was of the utmost quality and essentially had no flaws besides the flaw that it was not "modern" enough for a mainstream and "radio" audience.
So, on Some Nights, fun. decided to create the modern version of Aim and Ignite and the results is one of the best mainstream albums we have heard in years. "Some Nights (Intro)," is a condensed and more haunting version of Aim and Ignite's "Be Calm," "Some Nights" is an even more energetic version of "Benson Hedges," "We Are Young," is the 2012 version of "All The Pretty Girls," "Carry On," is a little cheesy and more catchy version of "I Wanna Be The One," "It Gets Better," is an auto tuned and less epic of "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be,) "Why Am I The One?" is a bigger, faster, and stronger version of "Light A Roman Candle With Me," "All Alone" is the poor man's version of "Walking The Dog," "One Foot" is the sped up and ballsy version of "Walking The Dog," and "Stars" is the auto tuned and "night out on the town" version of "Take Your Time (Coming Home)."
Some Nights is an album that takes all of the best qualities of Aim and Ignite and modernizes them. Think of it as the auto tuned and arena rock version of The Beatles, the instrumentation of the Beach Boys being produced to perfection, and lyrics that Freddie Mercury would write if he knew the world wasn't so judgmental. The album is the 2012 version of Sgt Pepper's, the 2012 version of Pet Sounds, and a 2012 version of The Night At The Opera. Aim and Ignite was a classic album because it successfully paid tribute to the Beach Boys, Queen, and the Beatles, but Some Nights might end up being a classic album because it was the album where fun. became the 2012 version of the Beach Boys, Queen, and The Beatles.
2. M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion
3. Sun Kil Moon - Among The Leaves
4. Drew Smith - The Secret Languages
After self discovery usually comes either action or acceptance. You either take action to embrace your new found freedom and confidence, or you accept a low standard for yourself and you just decide to be apathetic and move on. Beach House discovered themselves on Teen Dream and successfully created an album that embraced all of their talents with 2012's Bloom. Every song on this album displays all of Beach House's talents perfectly: every song on this album is absolutely gorgeous musically, every song on Bloom is extremely catchy, and every song on Bloom has a chance to be one of the best indie songs of 2012.
2011 was a year of self discovery in music: it was a year where musicians tried to find their niches, it was a year where musicians tried to perfect past sounds, and it was a year where albums were almost more "experimental" than they were "excellent." Bloom is the perfect album for the year where people are going to have to act on what they have discovered about themselves: every riff is a reminder that we have to ACT and vote in this election, every beautiful chorus is a reminder that we need to go back to work and perfect the talent that we worked so hard to discover last year, and at the end of every song is a reminder that some people think the apocalypse might happen at the end of this year. I will totally be fine with an apocalypse, as long as I get to hear albums as good as Bloom in the afterlife.
6. Islands - Asleep and A Forgetting
A Sleep and Forgetting we are not just listening to another "break up" album. We are listen to an album by a man who has literally had his "will broken" in a relationship. But even though Thorburn's will is broken he still makes music that flows together beautifully, he still makes an album with seven to eight great songs, and he is still able to show off how good of a musician he is. Thorburn might be "lusting after dreams" about getting away and starting a new life, but this is an album that is so beautiful that it will be the soundtrack to your dreams and an album that you will be unable to get away from for weeks. Just like thoughts about an old lover.....
7. Oberhofer - Time Capsules II
The Internet era is weird because you can get famous without actually having a talent. The guy who thinks Dr. Dre was his knee surgeon is suddenly the guy making rap songs and new
So basically people are either inspired by this era, fascinated by it, or angry or depressed by it. Time Capsules II is a ten song "time capsule" that perfectly defines all three reactions to the "Internet era." It has songs that fascinate you, songs that depress you, songs that are angry, and songs that make you hopeful. It has songs that are hard rocking and almost sound metal, it has songs that are soft and sound like they should be on an album like Bloom, it has songs that are really atmospheric and sound like some b-sides from one of Animal Collective's early albums, it has songs that are catchy enough to be on the radio and songs that are experimental, and it has songs that sound like "America" and songs that sound like anything but America. It is an album for anyone who has ever had hope that there video might make it big, anyone who has ever blocked the E! channel because they were so disgusted by the sheer sight of a Girl Next Door, it is an album for everyone who has wanted something they knew they couldn't have. It is an album of grunge, post rock, punk, electronica, and indie songs that give us hope and DESPAIR in a world of recessions, unemployment, and "one click" happiness.
Other Key Albums
9. Regina Spektor - What We Saw From The Cheap Shots
10. Moonface - With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery
12. Magic Wands - Aloha Moon
15. Sigur Ros - Valtari