Here we are, on “the brink of modern society“, looking back at a year of great new releases. And the view is good. Plenty of noteworthy albums came out this year. and we thought we’d share a few of our favorites with you. So, without further adieu, here are our personal favorites:
In a year where a lot of the new music to which I was exposed was good but not great, I found Caveman’s album “CoCo Beware” to be quite refreshing. They have a real knack for writing surprisingly unique vocal melodies under a bed of perfect vocal harmonies and creative electric guitar and synth keyboard textures. It’s kind of reminds me of what it would be like if someone found this secret record that never got released that James Mercer and Robin Pecknold had collaboratively made and recorded in one of their apartments in 2000. Anyways, I found it light yet complex and very creatively inspiring!
JOSH C’S PICK
– David Ramirez
Simply put, David is one of the best song writers in the game. His lyrics are honest and heartfelt. His songs are not super flashy and prove that there is something special about not worrying too much about the production and technical aspect of a record; but instead, letting the songs speak for themselves. That being said, “Apologies” is a quality record that sounds great and can easily stand up next to any major label release. I am lucky enough to call David a friend and can say with no hesitation that he is one of my favorite musicians and one of the nicest and most genuine guys in the business, which makes the quality of his music that much more impressive.
-First Aid Kit
-The Lion’s Roar
The past few years have been drenched in reverb and echo, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been swimming around with My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, Ponderosa, and other sound-a-likes for a while now, and First Aid Kit fits right in, and they’re a welcome addition to the family. This Swedish Duo has the perfect combination of beautiful melodies, that are as familiar as an old winter coat; and harmonies that are just as warm. For each time I listened to a new record this year, I probably listened to this one twice.
-good kid, m.A.A.d. city
No album this year got as many plays as this little gem from my city of birth, Los Angeles. Lyrically and musically, this album stands above any hip-hop release this year, and this wasn’t a bad year for hip-hop! It brings back a feature of rap music I’ve always loved: the art of storytelling. A concept album, it focuses on Kendrick’s youth growing up in Compton as somebody who was not part of the rampant gang culture but still was affected and changed by it. He speaks on peer pressure, on violence, on greed, on drinking excessively to numb the pain and his faith and family that holds him together through all of it. Though it might seem like with all these heavy handed concepts flying around that the album could come off as a lecture or a bore, it is always listenable. Amazing production and thoughtful lyrics that do a lot more “showing” than “telling” make this both immediately accessible and complex enough to award multiple listens. In a year with A LOT of great releases, this one stands above for me.
JOSH R’S PICK
Wild Blood, the fourth LP from Nashville-by-way-of-Ohio indie rockers Lovedrug is my top pick for 2012. Probably not one of the most sought after indie albums of the year however, as a long time fan this particular record might just be my favorite yet. Singer Michael
Shepard’s quirky, organic slur sits right at home with my love for
love’m or hate’m vocal stylings. Huge drums, classic SVT bass tone and delay soaked arpeggios are sure to tickle the fancy of any rock ballad enthusiast. Late night highway drive, early morning jog, uncomfortably long holiday flight…Wild Bloods wall of cinematic pre-choruses, eerie verses and melodic snare roll laced bridges just might be your cup of tea.
We actually had the extreme honor to have Build Anyway on a few “best of” lists ourselves this year! Thanks so much to NBT.FM, MULTITRACKING, and KDR GIVES YOU 5 for putting us on their lists! Here’s to another year of great music!