Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Best Of 2012

Once again it is my favorite time of year where Larry and I get to look back at our favorites this year in music. Over the two years that we have been blogging this has been our most popular post as many people are looking to find what people are listening to all over the world. We both spend time looking at other “best of” lists. Once again we want to thank our readers for taking to time to visit us this year.

We always hope we are exposing you to new bands and styles over the year. We hope you really do take the time to listen to these bands, for even they may not be your own personal style, we hope you can appreciate them for being good at what they do. We have gone all over the board this year in looking at some bands from Baltimore to electronica to a punk rock musical. Even though Larry and I don’t always see eye to eye on music, that diversity is what we hope to expose our readers to. We really enjoy the comments from many of our friends (even though we would love to encourage you to comment on our blog) and enjoy when people tell us about bands that they like. So anyway here we go:

Fletcher’s Best of 2012 picks
So here are my top five albums with my two favorite songs from each one. I have spent a lot of time putting underlined links for every song, so please take a while to explore and enjoy them. I want this to be interactive and for you to spend some time with the music!

Top Albums of the Year (listed alphabetically by band)

Cloud Nothings, Attack on Memory—this band from Cleveland just explodes on stage. Their live show is so full of energy you are exhausted from watching them. My favorite song of the year is the live 14 minute version of "Wasted Days". It is killer so stay with it until the end. Also love "Stay Useless".
Delta Spirit, Delta Spirit—this third album from the band from California has a more studio polished sound, but it still rocks beautifully. Check out "Tear It Up" and "California".
First Aid Kit, The Lions Roar—who would have thought this Swedish sisters act would produce the best country tinged album with their beautiful chilling harmonies. Listen to "TheLions Roar" and "Emmylou". Yes it is a tribute to Emmylou Harris.
The Lumineers, The Lumineers—This breakthrough band of the year exploded from touring small rooms to opening for Dave Matthews this month in arenas. Enjoy "Stubborn Love" and "Submarines". I still think Submarine is the best song on the album.
Scars on 45, Scars on 45—Had the honor of working the merch table of this band from England. Love these songs and beautiful male/female harmonies. Listen to "Hearts on Fire" and "Give Me Something". You will be a fan.

Top Songs of the Year (listed alphabetically by band)

Alabama Shakes, Hold On—Great tune by this up and coming band from Athens, Alabama. Brittany Howard sounds like she has been at it for years. Just in her early 20’s. So much soul, passion and truth about her lyrics and voice.
Black Box Revelation, High On A Wire—Got to work this two piece Belgian garage band. Wow. Lot of sound for drum and guitar.
Dirty Projectors, Gun Has No Trigger—Saw this influential American band in Denver. Their time and chord changes are amazing. PS-Their web site goes right/left not up/down. Cool like them. Dig this live version with amazing vocals.
The Dunwells, So Beautiful—This British folk-rock band really had a strong year. Gaining in America with their version of their brand of beautiful harmonies and roots music.
Heartless Bastards, Marathon—Another strong album from Erika Wennerstrom and her band from Austin. This is the way to open an album. Love the way the song builds throughout.
Here We Go Magic, Make Up Your Mind—This Brooklyn band calls themselves “psychedelic electro-folk”. I say they get amazing grooves that will have your feet tapping.
Kindness, Gee Up—Who would have thought that Adam Bainbridge, a tall white guy from England would give us this amazing no-fi, electro-funk pop under the moniker of Kindness. This song is short but will stick with you all day long. My second favorite song of the year.
Ben Kweller, Jealous Girl—This American songwriter just keeps putting out amazing memorable pop tunes.Great hooks. Don’t know why is isn't bigger than he is.
Langhorne Slim, Song For Sid—I have worked the table for Langhorne many times. This year his song about his recently passed grandfather had everybody talking about it. A beautiful tribute.
The Shins, Its Only Life—Even though I wrote a post on this band this year, I am still in love with this album. Such a great song.

Best Musical Moment- For me it was getting to work for and talk to The Lumineers. You just know when you are in the presence of greatness. You can feel it, the crowd feels it, and I sold more merch in one night then I ever have. That tells me a lot. Magical moment.

Looking forward to in 2013- There are four albums I can’t wait for. Three are from bands I have a lot of personal connections with and love their music. Birds and Arrows, Goldspot, and Ha Ha Tonka. Can’t wait for music to drop!! The other is a guy I always look forward to but you never know what to expect. That would be Beck.

Larry's Best of 2012 Picks

Top Albums of the Year (listed alphabetically by band)

Alabama Shakes, Boys and Girls—What a treasure this group is. This debut album is rich with many delightful songs, elegant in their simplicity and memorable.  Many thanks to Fletcher for turning me on to this group. Hold On (one of Fletcher's top songs of the year) and "Hang Loose" are two standouts.

Avett Brothers, The Carpenter—How can one not but be impressed with the song writing and harmony of "The Once and Future Carpenter" and "Live and Die"?

Diana Krall, Rag Doll—T Bone Burnett has brought out of side of Diana Krall we've not seen before: an earthy, bluesy quirkiness.  It's a joy to hear the edge in her voice and the music.  Listen to "I'm a Little Mixed Up" and "Wide River to Cross" and you will begin to get the idea.

The Lumineers, The Lumineers—Another example of elegant simplicity.  The passion of these three musicians flies off of this album.  "Stubborn Love" and "Hey Ho".  "Hey Ho" is as popular as it is because of its beautiful simplicity and "Stubborn Love" is drop dead gorgeous.

Rufus Wainright, Out of The Game — As promised in last month's blog post, this terrific album is on the list. Enjoy the terrific melodies and wonderful scoring on both Rashida and Montauk

Top Songs of the Year (listed alphabetically by band)

Allah Las, Tell Me What's On Your Mind  —This band has the classic sound down cold!
Rose Cousins, The Shell— This song just blows me away.  I just discovered this artist and downloaded her album, We Have Made A Spark, prior to this post. After a couple of listens, I suspect that I'm going to regret not listing this album as one of the year's best.  
Django Django, Default —I really enjoy Scottish psychedelic music that makes me want to dance.  The video is fun too.
Tift Merritt, To Myself — I love the way Tift is branching out in this song.
The Shins, Simple Song—This terrific anthem deals with self-doubt.
Tedeschi Trucks Band,  Everybody's Talkin' Nilson's cover, of this Fred Neil song, that won an Academy Award for Best Song in Midnight Cowboy is its classic cover.  This cover, but this super band stands on it's own. Talk about cooking!  This just rocks! This band is amazing live.

Best Musical Moment- What an exciting year for new artists. As you can see I listed several in both my favorite albums and songs. 

Looking forward to in 2013- Rumor has it that Robert Plant will be releasing a new album in 2013.  His new stuff has been terrific. I'm also looking forward to Ra Ra Riot's new album Beta Love.