Every year I try to look back at things that I’ve found interesting. This is almost limited to booze only, but I still really like to buy CDs. Saying this makes me feel like a dinosaur, but I still play them. Like to feel something when I spend money instead of spending money on downloads or something.
This year I’ve bought 25 records, and I’m still thinking of adding a few more that are on the wishlist. I’m only counting stuff that was released this year. I’ve tried to boil it down to a top 10, which meant kicking 15 out and I don’t think I will ever stop doubting and shifting up and down the list, so here it goes.
10: First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
A new artist to me, but one that has not been far from the stereo since it’s release early this year. Biggest drawback is that the best two songs are the first two songs. It makes you forget how cool the rest of the record is.
9: Martha Wainwright – Come Home to Mama
Someone that has been near the top ten ever since her first record. So far my favorite is her Edith Piaf record, but this one summarizes her other records nicely.
8: Regina Spektor – What we saw from the Cheap Seats
Someone I’ve learned to love since her previous record a few years ago. Kind of geeky, with exceptionally geeky songs. Absolutely lovely.
7: The xx – Coexist
A bit droning and sounding more depressing than it actually is, this one can be on repeat half a day without getting boring. It helps me concentrate even.
6: Sharon van Etten – Tramp
Also something that was released really early in 2012. I never enjoyed the previous records but this one is a bit more epic in it’s approach. I like that.
5: Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Weird, swelling and flowing. It sometimes even sounds rather tinny. I’m not even sure if it’s officially out yet, but it’s on Spotify and I’ve put in a preorder. It got me from the first time I heard a song on NPR’s All Songs Considered.
4: The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
I’ve liked the Mountain Goats a bit before, but never like this. A stunning record with spectacular songwriting. It feels a bit like a 2012 version of Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane over the Sea’ from 1998.
3: Patrick Watson – Adventures in your own Backyard
Also a familiar artist that surprised me. I saw him at Lowlands some years ago but his record never got to me. This one, however, is absolutely beautifully written and orchestrated.
2: Beth Orton – Sugaring Season
A fairly recent release. I never liked Beth Orton, apart from her contribution to Leonard Cohen’s ‘I’m your Man’ tribute thingy. This one, however, has that same quality with great lyrics that work very well with Orton’s rather hoarse voice.
1: Calexico – Algiers
For some reason none of the songs on Calexico’s new record stand out. The records in it’s entirety is absolutely terrific though. It helps that the extra record in the special edition is not just three songs but an entire live set with an orchestra. I love the Americana feeling of Calexico and it transports me right back to the deserts of Arizona and southern California.
Of course the other ones should be mentioned as well so here’s the other 20 something records from 2012 that I haven’t bought yet or just didn’t make the top 10. In no particular order:
- Grizzly Bear – Shields
- Julia Stone – By the Horns
- Kishi Bashi – 151a
- Anais Mitchell – Young Man in America
- Shearwater – Animal Joy
- Best Coast – The Only Place
- Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
- Cat Power – Sun
- Lambchop – Mr. M
- The Shins – Port of Morrow
- M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion
- Jack White – Blunderbuss
- The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s no Leaving now
- Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
- The Jezabels – Prisoner
- Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do
- Marissa Nadler – The Sister
- Tindersticks – The Something Rain
- Olafur Arnalds – Another Happy Day
- Hillary Hahn – Silfra
- Cowboy Junkies – The Wilderness
- Beach House – Bloom
- Band of Horses - Mirage Rock
- Animal Collective – Centipede Hz