Every year I do this, and every year I re-read this post a few weeks later and get pissed off because I inevitably leave records out that are certainly worthy of a mention. So I’m not numbering shit…it’s my party and I’ll throw any kind of list together that I want. This, in no particular order, is my best of 2012 albums list. These are full-length recordings meant for public purchase and consumption. You can download them all for free for all I care, except I’m not posting the links. I’ve said this before, and I fucking mean it…I’m too pretty for jail. So here they are. I hope you agree or disagree. Please feel free to post comments. I even read them sometimes.
Handwritten- The Gaslight Anthem. This record screams of a blue collar band doing things the way they see fit. They’re unafraid to rock their influence on their sleeve, be it Petty, Morrissey or Bruce, and why not? It’s hard not to appreciate a record that has as many poignant yet straightforward gems as this one.
Local Business- Titus Andronicus. I’m late to the Replacements party. Thankfully, I’ve found a band that captures the same sloppy, manic intensity within their epic jams, made for the here and now. This album is dangerous, hip and potentially infectious. The limited red vinyl made me happy as well.
Blak and Blu– Gary Clark Jr. We may have a new king of the blues. John Mayer never could pry himself away from the cheesy love-pop long enough to take the title, while Clark Jr. is gritty enough to wow the elders as well as win over the teeny boppers who actually buy cd’s. This record is proof positive of his ability to dig deep into his bag of tricks and do the blues as well as he does r&b, pop and even an odd touch of hiphop. It’s a crafty debut.
Infinity Overhead-Minus The Bear. I love this band. That being said, it’s taken a handful of records for them to reach their stride. It’s technically sound for all you time signature nerds, but sleazy enough for your favorite dive bar. I was stuck on this one for months. Do yourself a favor and plug in your headphones for an experience.
good kid, m.A.A.d city-Kendrick Lamar- The hype is real. He’s a story teller like Big, with a heart like Pac wrapped up in shiny, g-funked Dr. Dre bow. Don’t believe me? Give it a spin. It’s the most interesting concept record I’ve heard in quite some time.
Mirage Rock– Band Of Horses. Plain and simple, this is a pretty record. Gorgeous melody, fantastic songwriting…it’s classy from start to finish. Sometimes it rocks like the 90’s, other times it channels the inner Crosby Stills and Nash in all of us. Pleasantly perfect at all angles.
Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors- Big Boi. This is genius work from the rapper who used to be in Outkast that still raps. It’s weird, creative and funky as hell. If you don’t shake your ass to “Apple Of My Eye”, you’re simply too white. Or in traction.
I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever- Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds. Wild, unpredictable and unlike anything we’re used to hearing from this Lawrence Arms oddball. This record changes gears more times than you can keep count, with more strange sexual references than your drunk uncle makes at the annual Christmas party!
Channel Orange- Frank Ocean. The dude is amazing, simply put. It’s a little Stevie mixed with a little Prince and toss in some Ginuwine for pervy good measure. Is he singing about chicks? Is he singing about dudes? It’s doesn’t matter people. The record is fantastic and hypnotizing from end to end. And he still gets more ass than you do.
First of a Living Breed- Homeboy Sandman. More bars than Rikers Island. I dare you to argue.
Blunderbuss- Jack White. I want to hate this guy so bad, I really do. I hated that whole white and red nonsense, back when he was making tunes with the sister he used to bang. But his music has got soul. And that’s odd coming from a dude who looks like a character from an Anne Rice novel. It’s one-trick pony shit…or is it? He’s a helluva guitar player, and the record is stellar.
Volume One- Brothers. This record came out of nowhere. I saw an ad in a music mag with a three-eyed badass tiger and sent the band an email. I ended up meeting and talking with a band of true brothers, with honest grit and the chops to play rock and roll meant for the back room bars and the concert halls that stink like cheap smokes and loose women. “Real Long Way To Go” is, hands down, my favorite track of the entire year.
Rebirth- Jimmy Cliff. It’s business as usual for the raspy-voiced legend, but this time around he’s got Tim shit-kicking Armstrong at the boards. The result is a record tailor made for the warm weather and sticky green. The kicker? Jimmy’s got an agenda, if you care to listen.
Bossalini’s & Fooliyones- Main Attrakionz. These cloudy-eyed Bay Area botanists make space jams perfect for a new era of kids who aren’t happy to rest on the strength of 90’s hiphop heroes…they want their own. And it’s not all weed raps. The record dense and layered…makes you wonder if they waited until after it was mastered to light up.
On The Impossible Past- The Menzingers. These dudes are just breaking ground and are scary good. Looks like they’ve hit their stride on their second release. It’s hard charging post-punk (?) with a pulse. Just a bunch of guys making beautiful racket. Not to be played at low levels…please and thank you.
No Gods-Sharks. I love the Clash. I love this band because they have that same sort of spark and snarl about them. They’re a bunch of young lads with the world by the balls. If this full-length is any indication of their talent, we’re in for some fire works over the next few years. Amen and praise St. Joe.
Life Is Good-Nas. The Don doing what he does best, destroying mics and damaging the psyche of rappers half his age. Best record since Stillmatic. It made me smile hearing how hungry Nas was after all this time. Banger after banger after banger on this one.
Family Man– Shooter Jennings. I hate that chart-topping, faded jeans, highlighted hair bullshit country music on the radio. Waylon’s rolling over in his grave. His son refuses to let outlaw country die…and thank God for that. It’s American, it’s sad and it’s completely authentic. Praise the lord and pass the Shooter.
A Dream Deferred- Skyzoo. Even though I was bummed when our interview fell through, I couldn’t let that get in the way of how dope this record truly is. Sky is Brooklyn’s shining star, except he doesn’t care that you might not know who he is. He’s carrying the Bed Stuy torch, and this album proves it. Throw down some ice for the nicest MC.
And there you have it…I missed a million great records, but it’s been a long day and honestly, I could do this list for hours. Music is exciting again and I know if you’re reading this, you feel the same way. Be sure to comment and tell me how foolish I am, or let me know me what I’m missing, or what I can’t live without. I got a fifty dollar iTunes gift card that I’m waiting to blow. That’s right, I’m balling outta control.
Stay tuned for my mixtapes of the year list…as long as it gets done before Tuesday.