Some of us get lost in movies, others in book, I have always got lost in music. 2012 was surprisingly great year for music. The attention whores stayed a bay, and kind of let a lot of new artist hatch and make 2012 their year. Music is a powerful thing, it can make you feel things you never thought you could, it can turn your day from shit to rainbows, and even the saddest songs are pure inspiration because it reminds you that we are all in this, it connects us.
These are the albums that shaped my 2012.
10. Japandroids – Celebration Rock, Polyvinyl
I grew up on punk in high school, shows on the weekend, drinking in the parking lot before, loved everything about it. Punk got dull, all the bands I loved didn’t change and I got bored of them. Japandroids brought the punk rock aspect back into my music library. You just want to lose your shit from the opening fireworks to outro fireworks. This is a solid 8 songs that grab a hold of your attention and never let’s go.
Key Track: The Nights of Wine and Roses, Fire’s Highway, The House That Heaven Built, Continuous Thunder
9. King Tuff – King Tuff, Sub-Pop
We all like to have a good time, and so does King Tuff. Writing songs that any teenager will fall in love with on a Saturday night, or any adult that can remember what it was like to be a teenager. It’s not just fun and entertaining rock n roll, it’s a smartly written rock n roll/party album. I love King Tuff, and as should you.
Key Tracks: Anthem, Alone & Stoned, Keep On Moving, Hit & Run
8. Cold Specks – I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, Arts &Crafts
A dark and beautifully written album about lost love and a falling out with God, what more could one ask for. Al Spx voice is much larger than her appearance, from a suburb outside of Toronto, but based out of London (England). This young songwriter is making a huge name for herself in the industry and she is very modest about it.
Key Tracks: The Mark, Winter Solstice, Holland, Blank Map
7. Twin Shadow – Confess, 4AD
At points in George Lewis Jr confession as alter-ego Twin Shadow you feel as though you are in “The Lost Boys” and transported in “The Breakfast Club.” The album is frosted with 80s influences, and danceable beats that are contagious.
Key Tracks: Golden Light, You Call Me On, Five Seconds, Run My Heart
6. Andy Shauf – The Bearer Of Bad News, Independent
Recording in his parent’s basement in Regina, Saskatchewan, Andy Shauf is not just one of the best songwriters I have found this year, but very well one of the best storytellers I have come across in the last decade. Most the songs on the album could be released as film, plus clarinets are ridiculously underrated. Pay close attention to “Jerry was a Clerk” and “My Dear Helen.”
Key Tracks: I’m Not Falling Asleep, Wendall Walker, Jerry Was A Clerk, My Dear Helen
5. Daughter – Wild Youth/His Young Heart/ Smother, Glassnote Entertainment
Old souls, you meet people in life that feel like old souls, that they have experience life pass the point you have. You might find yourself sadness by the songs off these EPs, but honestly, they are empowering, Elena Tonra lyrics are heartbreaking, but you can’t help to smile at the brilliance to her song writing.
Key Tracks: Youth, Landfill, Candles, Smother
4. Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten, Mercury
After “American Slang” I wasn’t sure what was going to become of my beloved Gaslight. I felt they were slipping away from what they were; I guess they felt the same way. They buckled down, and went back to the basic. “Handwritten” displays the united that Gaslight is, they aren’t the Brian Fallon show, they are Gaslight Anthem and they write fucking great American Rock N Roll. It’s to the point and from the heart. “Handwritten” did not disappoint, it restored my faith in them, and rock n’ roll.
Key Tracks: Handwritten, Here Comes My Man, Biloxi Parish, National Anthem
3. The Strumbellas – My Father and the Hunter, Strumbellas/Fontana North
Even the soberest of minds can’t help to start dancing when listening to The Strumbellas, whether it is live or in your car these guys know what they are doing to place parts in the songs that get your dancing shoes going, and a warning you might want to rip all your clothes off in the process. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they are 6 of the nicest Canadians out there.
Key Tracks: Lakes, Rhinestones, Pistol, Underneath A Mountain
2. The Lumineers – The Lumineers, Dine Alone Records
An album that can grab you at your core is an album I can get behind. The fact that I found this in March last year and I can still play over and over is reason enough for it to get my second spot. The Lumineers stole the show with the single “Ho Hey” but don’t kid yourself the self-titled debut that Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites took the time to beautifully craft is a monster. A lot of folk music fans were waiting on pins and needles for the new Mumford and Sons, these guys released one of the strongest main stream folk albums of 2012. Try not to sing along with “Stubborn Love” without a smile upon your face.
Key Track: Flowers in Her Hair, Dead Sea, Ho Hey, Slow It Down, Stubborn Love
1. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dream, IAmSound
To create a world full of love, fights, horses, moon light, camp fire, gun slingin’, running towards your dreams, and stand for what you believe in is a daunting task. Ben Schneider does it without blinking, or at least it feels like it. You want to be transported with him to experience all that he has created. “Lonesome Dream” is a visual masterpiece, with poetic substance that can wrestle with any great storyteller.
Key Tracks: End Of The Earth, Time To Run, She Lit A Fire, The Man Who Lives Forever
Metz– Metz (Key: Wasted)
The Beasts of the Southern Wild–OST (Key: Bathtub)
Tanlines– Mixed Emotions (Key: Brothers)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- The Heist (Key: Same Love)
Purity Ring- Shrines (Key: Fineshrine)
Bahamas- Barchords (Key: Lost in The Light)
Of Monster & Men- My Head Is An Animal (Key: Six Weeks)
Cat Power- Sun (Key: Ruins)