2012…what a year of music. We got new releases from favorites such as Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear and heard new favorites in Father John Misty, Nude Beach, Tanlines, and more. Last year Earbuddy celebrated one year of existence with the best 50 albums of 2011. However, we’ve grown since that time — adding more writers, more PR alliances, and more reviews to our site than ever. It only makes sense that we should grow even more by not giving our readers the Top 50 Best Albums of 2012, but the Top 100 Best Albums of 2012…according to us. So without further ado, let’s count them down.
Dead Can Dance – Anastasis
Scott Taft: Dead Can Dance’s Anastasis is an album that blurs the lines between gothic and world music. The duo’s first record in 16 years is ambitious, carnal, and uplifting. I found it to be a journey worth taking for those open to new sounds and new philosophies.
Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes
Chris Bell: Craig Finn, long known as the irascible lead singer of The Hold Steady, broke out on his own this year with Clear Heart Full Eyes. This is a great example of a successful solo break from a famous group. Finn didn’t move so far away from the sound that made him famous, but was able to work new elements into that sound in ways that made sense. Finn has always been a good storyteller, so taking that and moving it into a quieter folk style just made sense. To top it off, the quality of the songs are just as strong as anything Finn has done with The Hold Steady.
Purchase: Clear Heart Full Eyes
Dr. John – Locked Down
Chris Bell: Heritage acts resurfacing with a modern artist almost seem like a diamond dozen these days. That may explain why the announcement that The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach would be taking the production helm for a new record from Dr. John received a somewhat lukewarm reaction. Nevertheless, this was a match made in heaven, with Auerbach steering the Doctor to his earliest days as a swamp voodoo shaman. Somehow, Locked Down surpassed that period, taking the sweaty funk of Gris Gris and making it more palatable for the average fan. This is a record that everyone should not only enjoy, but enjoy enough to use the word boogie.
Purchase: Locked Down
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
NK: If album’s name didn’t clue you in, Mature Themes finds Ariel Pink transitioning more out of his ‘cheap’ lo-fi beginnings to a glossier sound. Though he began this trend with 2010’s Before Today, Mature Themes ups the ante in its production value while maintaining an ‘immature essence’. For example, there’s an entire song devoted to schnitzel. No, I’m not making that up. Whether you believe it’s mature musically and immature lyrically or vice versa, there’s an undeniable, narcotic high that melts your brain during its 50+ minute runtime and makes you crave that feeling again and again.
Purchase: Mature Themes
Seven Lions – Days To Come EP
NK: Mixing trance, dubstep, and progressive house, Seven Lions, aka Jeff Montalvo, released two EPs in 2012. First, he delivered Polarize, which charted in top 5 overall charts on BeatPort. That release proved to be just the appetizer for Montalvo’s four song self-titled EP. While technically not groundbreaking, its four compositions will snare you in their meditative, ethereal beauty.
Purchase: Seven Lions – EP
Be sure to check back tomorrow as we officially kick off the list with our RANKED Best Albums of 2012.