The Top 25 Albums of 2012

18 Dec

An Ocean of Noise isn’t Tiny Mix Tapes, so I’ll limit this opening paragraph by saying that a lot of good things happened in 2012 and that a lot of bad things happened in 2012 and that music was good and music was bad. Now let’s get to the damn list.

 

25.          Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

Tramp

Among the most recent and most promising in a long line of spurned singing-songwriting females, here Sharon Van Etten delivers an album of languid folk-rock (with a country twang not unlike that of Lucinda Williams) that manages to captivate instead of cloy. Part of the reason for this is her vocals, which are rough and ready and give the listener a sense that she’s actually lived these stories. It’s a weary record, and you can feel that even in the album’s catchiest moments. “Serpents” is the song people normally choose to represent Tramp, and for good reason, but she thought better of her audience than to fill it up with inferior songwriting; Tramp is a winner for its consistency and flow, and by the time the album’s 46 minutes draw to a close, you feel you’ve spent your time getting to know a songwriter with wisdom beyond her 30 years.

24.          Chairlift – Something

Something

At first, I wrote this record off because it was too good too infrequently. There a number of tracks here, specifically “Wrong Opinion,” “You Belong In My Arms,” and “Met Before,” that stand head and shoulders above not only the remaining tracks on Something, but most anything else I’ve heard in 2012. Then I noticed the love they put into the production. Instead of superficially replicating 1980s stereotypes (synthesizers, reverb-soaked guitars, LOUD drums), it seems as if they managed to actually steal the equipment from some decrepit studio and bring the past to them. This is a blast from the past, with an emphasis on “blast”; outside of a fistful of fairly average ballads, Something is a sugar rush with style and a clutch of 2012’s most stunning pop moments.

23.          Chromatics – Kill for Love

Kill for Love

Chromatics’ last album was entitled Night Drive, and I believe that title would also suit this album’s aesthetic. While ultimately weighed down by an unfortunate 75-minute running time, Kill for Love is a smooth, stylish trip down dark alleys dotted with dumpsters full of reverb pedals. The band has arguably increased its hook count (though Night Drive’s was inflated by a “Running Up That Hill” cover) while remaining extremely ambitious with its songwriting and arrangements. “These Streets Will Never Be the Same” chugs along with scratchy “Edge of Seventeen” palm muted guitar that breaks down into goth-trance before you even notice. Their command of style and substance is commendable, and if clipped down to 12 tracks it would have cracked my top 10. I wouldn’t have included the Neil Young cover, but that’s just me.

22.          Tindersticks – The Something Rain

The Something Rain

The first of several really terrific records on this list recorded by acts who you would assume to be washed up but by all accounts are not. Tindersticks recorded the fairly lukewarm Falling Down a Mountain a couple years back and nearly killed my interest in this, but one listen through 9-minute spoken-word opener “Chocolate” and it was clear the lightbulb had turned back on. Tindersticks has always been a classy band, blending chamber pop and jazz into a delicious mousse, and here they sound smoother than ever. Of course, there’s always the weird gritty bits provided by singer Stuart Staples’ eccentric vocal delivery, but his voice has grown deeper and richer with age and now suits the music very well. Whereas previous Tindersticks albums boasted many, many fairly short tracks exhibiting a variety of characteristics, The Something Rain (awful title) flows beautifully from one track to the next, stretching out leisurely, all the while providing memorable melodies and terrific instrumentation.

21.          Swans – The Seer

The Seer

Swans are approaching their 30th anniversary, yet somehow they’re the talk of the town, confounding and mind-fucking countless bloggers and news outlets as if they just invented thudding, ominous post-rock sludge yesterday. That’s perhaps because The Seer is, at the very least, superficially innovative. At 11 tracks and 119 minutes, The Seer appears to be a pain in the ass. It is indeed hefty and features whole stretches of moaning guitars and literal moaning. But, on the other hand, it also boasts the rays of sunlight to be found on any Swans album, and in fairly high supply. “A Piece of the Sky” will leave you awestruck, but not due to the carnage within; it is a legitimately beautiful composition. “Song for the Warrior” and “The Daughter Brings the Water” are, too, among Swans’ loveliest songs in ages. But, sure, fine, “Lunacy” and “Apostate” will rip your spleen out and feed it to you. It’s the contrast that makes this album such a delightful experience despite that descriptor appearing to be all wrong for music of this type. By this point, Michael Gira and co. have mastered the art of making the grotesque absolutely beautiful, and The Seer is in many ways their masterwork, which is an incredible feat 30 years into their career.

20.          Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music

R.A.P. Music

If you judge this album by its cover, it’s dated, spray-painted bullshit that was probably recorded by an old man named Mike. Close enough. Indeed, this album was recorded by a guy named Mike who is approaching 40 and full of squiggly synthesizers and orchestra hits that call back to hip-hop’s old man heyday. The twist: El-P, among the world’s whitest men was behind the boards for this and that old guy named Mike is one of the most charismatic MCs in hip-hop. Whereas too many albums of the genre are overstuffed with skits and unnecessary guest spots, R.A.P. Music is taut, fun, thoughtful and joyous while not forgetting that life kind of blows sometimes. I have a wonderful time listening to Killer Mike wax on about Ronald Reagan and rap music in general, but I have an equally wonderful time feeling “Big Beast”’s bass slug me in the face while I drive around in my car. Small pleasures.

19.          Dr. John – Locked Down

Locked Down

So Dr. John recorded an album with the Black Keys. What a ho, right? He’s come a long, long way from his Night Tripper days, certainly. All the same, you can take the man out of the funk, but you can’t take the funk out of the man. Locked Down sets the piano aside, taking Dr. John a bit out of his comfort zone, but it sits comfortably within Dan Auerbach’s, who provides searing guitar. Nonetheless, Dr. John is on his game vocally and he provides the albumwith verve and bite and some of his most intriguingly existential lyricism. He’s also pissed off about Katrina still, but he doesn’t forget to note that, even if the government is not, “God’s Sure Good.” You can actually tell what Dan Auerbach of Black Keys contributed to this because it’s highly evident in the production instead of the songwriting; the sound of this record is gritty and visceral, which only makes sense for an artist like Dr. John whose music is driven by the visceral joys of The Groove. This album is an excellent example of craft and economy taken up an even higher notch by inspired production, and for those keeping score at home, that’s two bizarre yet brilliant collaborations in a row.

18.          Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill

Psychedelic Pill

Apparently, all of the old man albums were bunched together. There’s an awesome nursing home I’m making here with 18-22. That may sound insulting, but I think Neil would be OK with it; he seems to be embracing his age these days, what with the memoir and the complaints of being burned out with touring and the complaints about MP3s and, well, the list goes on. Psychedelic Pill was conceived as a companion piece to the memoir he released this year, and many of the songs are extremely reflective in nature. “Born in Ontario” calls back to the time he was born in Ontario. “Ramada Inn” is about an aging couple figuring out why they still bother. “Walk Like a Giant” suggests that he used to walk like a giant, but no longer does. Hell, he brought Crazy Horse out of the stable for this. The wonderful surprise is that Neil is also embracing what made his music so bracing to begin with. Distorion! Long and winding electric guitar solos! That fearless, cavalier approach he had to arranging songs! This album is a gem for fans and I am among them. Neil hasn’t abused that wonderful meeting place between melody and ugliness in so long I had assumed he had forgotten where it was. Thank God, he has not. If you want to dip your toes into this 86-minute behemoth, listen to “Ramada Inn” first. If you have a soul, you’ll listen further.

17.          Jessie Ware – Devotion

Devotion

I don’t know if any of you guys are looking for a great new Sade record (there was one a couple years back, but that one wasn’t exactly great), here it is. Smooth, sexy, stylish, lots of adjectives that roll off the tongue nicely; this is one hot album, and it starts with Ware herself. I wouldn’t say she has a “big” voice; she’ll never be a Whitney Houston-type diva, but her breathy delivery inhabits these songs with a sense of grace that adds an extra sheen to an already attractive record. The music sparkles with chilly synths, rumbling bass and Prince-inspired guitar work that cuts right through the album’s icy façade, specifically on “Running,” which is perhaps the album’s most sensuous track. “Night Light” reminds one of what would happen if The XX discovered a tempo above 30, and “Wildest Moments” is the album’s over-the-top ballad, which is entirely necessary in order to let out some of the tension. Devotion achieves that terrific contradiction ‘80s R&B mastered: being hot and cold at the same time.

16.          The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

There's No Leaving Now

This is a tough album to write about because it is one great album in a series of great albums by folkie Kristian Matsson. If I had to describe his music, I would note that, yeah, he sounds a lot like Bob Dylan and plays an acoustic guitar. This is an integral part of what he does. Of course, he doesn’t sing about any of Dylan’s usual topics (focusing more on trees and nature and, more recently, how relationships are confusing) and he has developed a bit more slowly than Dylan has. Call this one Another Side of Kristian Matsson; he has discovered that electric guitars can be OK (particularly when one adds reverb) and expanded his subject matter somewhat. Is there anything to recommend this album over his previous works? I would argue this album is his most balanced to date, in that he covers more musical ground here, without forgetting to put excessive thought into his lyrics. He’s a poet, but that has actually never been his finest quality. Instead, I remain awed by his inability to write a bad melody. Truly, every song on this album is gorgeous, especially “1904” and the title track.

15.          Julia Holter – Ekstasis

Ekstasis

After releasing a killer album last year that I praised highly, Kate Bush decided to return to form and not release anything this year. Julia Holter more than fills the void, however. In most songs, her high, graceful vocals haunt this record’s cavernous expanses as icy puffs of air escape from her mouth and the gentle hum of strings resonates around her. This is the sort of territory Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Kate Bush trod so well decades ago, and Holter does a terrific job fitting into those massive yet dainty shoes. This is an album that could very easily be too twee or two appropriate for spas to take seriously, but the melodies here are top notch, each track standing as unique on its own terms while the whole record leaves one with the impression that they had an opportunity to examine a rare, multi-faceted gem for an hour. I haven’t heard anything this delightfully kitsch all year, and I mean that in the best way possible. I always hope an album comes out like this every year, and it seems to be her calling.

14.          John Talabot – ƒin

Fin

I’ll be blunt: I never rank dance albums highly on lists like these because they’re too long and repetitive. I listen to my favorites again and again but never feel the need to experience the whole albums again. ƒin is a unique exception because it’s unafraid to be a collection of singles. Every one of these songs thumps and whistles with the sounds of Barcelona in its beats, exuding warmth and good times in its percussion while drenching most tracks in ghostly vocals. Occasionally, guests I’ve never heard of will stop by and those tracks are admittedly the most memorable, but basically everything here I find myself recognizing when I return to the record, and that is a terrific sign for an act in the house genre.  I don’t have much to say about this record because I suck at describing Balearic Beat, but I will leave you with this: ƒin has been my go-to when I write or otherwise chill, and I don’t think your choice of writing and chilling music could possibly be much better.

13.          Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Good Kid, Mad City

With last year’s Section.80, rapper Kendrick Lamar made it known to the world of hip-hop that he had a message and that it should be followed. I don’t know what the hell it was. Something about black hippies and eschewing ethnicity. What I took from it all was that Kendrick was an observant young man with an empathetic outlook and production skill. In short: he could be exceptional at what he does. On first listen to Good Kid, I questioned my original assumptions. This is not a similar record to Section.80 on any level: it is autobiographical and inclusive, thoughtful yet a bit inaccessible. By listen #5, however, it became clear to me that no album this year was as lovingly constructed as Good Kid. At every level, this record carefully considers itself; its sequencing strings together a story about Kendrick as an adolescent, trying to fit in with da homies, all the while considering the big questions of whether or not he’s in the right company (“Backseat Freestyle”’s lyrics are bizarrely out of character and suggest that he was, in fact, not) and what it means to be a real man. Musically, the beats mirror the track’s subject matter to supreme effect, such that even though the songs jump from sensuous R&B over to G-funk and back again, the album still flows beautifully. If any album in 2012 re-defined the word “album” and made it relevant once again, it’s Good Kid.

12.          Frankie Rose – Interstellar

Interstellar

Perhaps the dreamiest of 2012’s best dream pop releases, Frankie Rose took very little of jangle-pop favorites Dum Dum Girls with her when she left to create Interstellar. It’s spacier, less single-minded in terms of delivering hooks and sounds quite a lot like The Cure (“Gospel/Grace” nicks the main guitar line of their “Last Dance). She is rather shameless in her influences, but few records in 2012 have made me feel more like I’m chilling on the moon with Robert Smith, which is admittedly an impressive feat that I don’t expect of most albums. Every song here is terrific and even though Frankie has a fairly average voice, her vocals blend deliciously with the music. Despite the lack of emphasis on delivering fantastic hooks, they are present, it’s just that there are so many more layers here than what was seen on her earlier work with Dum Dum Girls that you don’t actively seek them out. The terrific melodies bring you back rather than being the centerpiece, and that is OK. This is a sleek, lovingly-produced record with a forthright love for the early days of dream-pop that I share.

11.          Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Channel Orange

In the battle of the Franks, the Orange One comes out on top (he doesn’t have a damn thing in common with Frankie Rose, I just thought the order was amusing). Truthfully, this should probably be higher because no other album in 2012 managed to sound so slick and so homegrown at the same time (partially aided by unnecessary skits of random crap Ocean decided to tape and tack on there for whatever reason). Borne of the overrated and over-publicized Odd Future collective, Ocean manages to completely separate himself from them lyrically while doing us all the favor of retaining the only quality I liked about them in the first place; their swag. Frank Ocean is a charming, sweet vocalist with a great deal of personality in his lyricism, discussing a variety of topics with honesty and humor. “Crack Rock” covers the well-trod topic of smoking crack, but who else would note that it was being smoked out of a glass dildo? “Pyramids” is about his relationship with a stripper, achieving that delicate balance between crushing and exploitative. On a base level, this makes the album entertaining, but what lifts it to such great heights is the production and overall craft. Musically, this is a very pleasant R&B record, full of warm keyboards and classy bass, a sort of D’Angelo without the haze. But there is love in its grooves, sequenced to perfection and closing on a positive note with the humorous and charming “Forrest Gump,” the only song that directly notes that he is gay. We can all be thankful that there is far more to this album than that.

10.          Allo Darlin’ – Europe

Europe

I wanted to write a review of this without mentioning Camera Obscura, but it’s an easy point of comparison. The songs on Europe glide by beautifully, shimmering with gently delayed guitars that sound straight out of the heyday of twee and a lead singer with a voice you want to hug. The difference between these two bands is 1) their knowledge of pop culture (their last album stole the chorus from Weezer’s ”El Scorcho” for one song, to awesome effect) and 2) the fact that they write a lot about Europe. The lyrics are also my favorite part of the band, which is something I can’t say about Camera Obscura; “Tallulah,” which takes things down a notch, wonders if their best days are behind them and if they’ve met everyone that will ever matter to them. It’s a devastating track and reveals a layer of maturity that may not have been immediately apparent. The remaining songs would all be the perfect soundtrack to running errands on a spring afternoon. Did I mention I want to hug the singer? I actually want to hug the whole band.

9.            Shearwater – Animal Joy

Animal Joy

Back in the day, this band received numerous comparisons to Talk Talk, and indeed, predecessor The Golden Archipelago had moments of the piano-driven post-rock that Talk Talk made their stock in trade toward the end of their glorious existence. Elsewhere, Rook had moments of geeky progressive rock that made me fall in love with the band in the first place. Animal Joy, however, is their heaviest record yet and I can’t complain. Here, the pace stays up and the payoffs are many. “Breaking the Yearlings” has a Franz Ferdinand riff buried in there somewhere. I find Jonathan Meiburg’s vocals lovely and, finally, they counterbalance the music instead of making it a notch more twee. I never complained about them before or anything, but I do find it impressive that Meiburg’s vocals can carry some of the heavier tracks. I guess I’ll call this their most accessible record to date, but only because of its increased tempo. When I saw them live, they covered jangly R.E.M. classic “These Days.” On any other tour, that would have been incredibly strange. On this tour, it was only a little strange. That’s where they’re at right now.

8.            Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

Break It Yourself

I’ll get this out of the way early: I’m not exactly what one would call an Andrew Bird fan. I love The Mysterious Production of Eggs. I love his creative use of glockenspiel and oboe and other instruments I don’t come across that often. I don’t like his verbosity, or Noble Beast for that matter. When he’s at his most ponderous and safe, I usually like him less. But when he’s feeling experimental, his musical and linguistic prowess tend to dominate. Break It Yourself is perhaps Bird’s most challenging record to date in terms of length (unfortunate) and musical experimentation (very fortunate). The record’s best quality is its variety, offering the languid (“Danse Caribe”) and the joyous (“Eyeoneye”) as he so often does at his very best. I love this album because of its superb pacing (up until the very end, when one starts to feel the weight of its one hour running time) and consistency. The arrangements stretch and yawn and that works out great for Bird when he has a clutch of melodies as strong as these. Every song seems to offer a new set of instruments and a new perspective, and yeah, this isn’t his most sonically consistent record, it is perhaps his most bracing, which is a descriptor I never thought I would use for Bird.

7.            BADBADNOTGOOD – BBNG2

BBNG2

It’s too easy for the ranking of this album to get inflated because of its novelty value: from my perspective, a jazz record in 2012 is like an injured dodo bird in critical need of attention. Now imagine a jazz record in 2012 that covers hip-hop songs and you’ve got a record that seems too good to be true. But, you know, it isn’t, and that’s why it’s still #7 for the year despite first hearing it 9 months ago. I’ll admit, I rate this highly partially because of their potential: every member in this band is in their early 20s, and their chops are already formidable. Their style is a sort of cool free-form funk not far removed from that of Flying Lotus, and their covers of Odd Future (who pimp these guys) and Kanye West only superficially resemble the originals. They also dabble in post-hardcore during a thrilling take on My Bloody Valentine’s “You Made Me Realise,” but their wheelhouse certainly exists in the chillout realm. Their originals work within that domain, and I do not dread a BBNG record comprised solely of them. It would take away the novelty value somewhat, but their skills speak for themselves.

6.            Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Celebration Rock

In a year chock-full of high quality R&B and dream pop, something to pump your fist to comes as a necessary change of pace. The video for this album’s best track, “The House That Heaven Built” shows the band (two members + a scary-looking roadie who I was like 5 feet away from Pitchfork Fest) driving around in a van, drinking Jack Daniels straight from the bottle, and rocking various crowds. They skeet shoot at the end. That pretty much sums everything up: this is a high octane release that shows them growing even more extroverted, now singing almost exclusively about drinking and driving (they hired a driver now that they have a song on my local indie rock station), oh, and partying. Basically any one of these songs could be called “Party Rock Anthem” and it would fit more appropriately than it does for the ubiquitous meme/song of the same name. I make this album sound one-note, because it is, but I love that one note so much and it is carried with such enthusiasm throughout this record that I can’t help but recommend this highly. I haven’t found a sour note here anywhere, and while there isn’t anything on this album quite as poignant for me as “Young Hearts Spark Fire” off their last one, but there are 8 tracks here that rock with an equal degree of abandon, and that is what I listen to them for in the first place. Never change. Unless the alternative is cirrhosis.

5.            Wild Nothing – Nocturne

Nocturne

I praised Chairlift earlier for the authenticity of their sound; the love they put into their ‘80s homage. Wild Nothing doesn’t do the same. This album fits snugly into that dreamy (admittedly ‘80s-influenced by definition) brand of jangly new wave that approximately half of all indie rock bands are doing these days, only this album achieves the unique trick of offering completely recognizable tracks that stand alone and bring me back. The hooks here are so prevalent, and this album is so much more tangible than its spectral predecessor Gemini, it can’t help but distinguish itself in a terrific way. I love this album because of its sound or style, or what it reminds me of, but because Wild Nothing has discovered the importance of songwriting; there is such a dearth of filler here, it almost sounds like a greatest hits, and even after two listens I was already familiar with every track because they had been playing in my head regularly. So many crappy dream pop bands rely on a wispy layer of fog to cover their inherent mediocrity, but Wild Nothing doesn’t need that crutch.

4.            Tame Impala – Lonerism

Lonerism

In terms of craft, there are a number of truly terrific records on this list, with more yet to come, but this one pulls off the awesome trick of making sure you don’t dwell on that. This is a tough, heavy record relative to most dreamy indie music, and it takes pride in creating rabbit holes for you to fall into (note the silence that broadsides you halfway through “Apocalypse Dreams” or how “She Just Won’t Believe Me” ends right as you’re starting to fall in love with it). There is a willful choppiness at play here, and Kevin Parker takes great pride in fucking with your brain while you bob your head to the sloppy beats and catchy, phaser-soaked riffs he wields. Compared to 2010’s Innerspeaker, this is an introverted album that lacks a bit in riffs worthy of Rock Band (“Elephant” aside). It’s transmitting to you from underwater. This may be frustrating on your first or second listen, but there is no shortage of melodies worthy of the Beatles (“Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is, rightfully, the new single) and Lonerism carves out a more unique sound than its predecessor. It’s more adventurous. Hell, it feels like an adventure from start to finish. Here it comes!

3.            Beach House – Bloom

Bloom

For many, this was among the most anticipated albums of 2012, and I can say that I too was pretty thrilled to see what Beach House was capable of building to after 2010’s Teen Dream, which has rewarded me after countless listens with numerous earworms. The problem with that album was its production, which felt a bit thin in spots, its crappy drum machines and a rather inconsistent back half. Bloom solves these problems by creating a lusher universe for its songs to inhabit and buying a nicer drum machine with their Pitchfork purchases. But more than that, their songwriting has improved. While they are still capable of writing melodies that seem to have existed forever, and they still owe a debt of gratitude to Cocteau Twins, the arrangements are more creative than in the past, juxtaposing downtrodden verses with ecstatic choruses and back again (my favorite example of this being “New Year”). I could go on and on about the moments on this album that I find beautiful, but that would be redundant because this band has always lived and died by their ability to make beautiful music. If I had to pick a most beautiful moment, it may be the way the guitar riff in “Wild” feels like the sonic equivalent of dipping into a warm bath.

2.            Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance

Spooky Action at a Distance

I really treasure the ability to stick on an album and completely forget that I can skip a track on it. What’s a skip button? Why would you invent something like that anyway? Spooky Action at a Distance is 44 minutes of sustained bliss and I couldn’t imagine skipping one moment of it. This band was borne of Deerhunter, and I actually don’t quite love this record quite as much as my favorite of theirs (2008’s Microcastle), but there is no denying that this one is a more concentrated version of what I loved so much about them in the first place. It’s a pretty shameless pop album in many ways, lacking much of the willfully difficult moments of Cryptograms and Weird Era Cont., focusing on delivering wave after wave of wobbly guitar frequencies to sunbathe to. “Strangers” has one of the year’s most delicate and beautiful guitar riffs. On the other hand, it’s backed by a hammering beat that prevents the track from wilting under its own preciousness. The pace on this album stays high for the most part, which is a pleasant surprise for the genre. There’s a difference between stargazing and rocketing towards the moon. “Monoliths” and the appropriately titled “Jet Out of the Tundra” do just that.

1.            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

The Idler Wheel

People attribute jazz influences to Fiona Apple, and while she certainly dipped her toe into those waters on her earlier works, The Idler Wheel is perhaps her jazziest because it captures the best quality of jazz: spontaneity. This album is entirely comprised of Fiona, her piano, and her drummer sitting in a room and hashing things out. That may not sound appealing to an outsider, but for someone with knowledge of Fiona’s best qualities, The Idler Wheel is a dream come true. Fiona has always come across as unstable and willfully difficult as a person and as an artist, and I’m not sure that’s ever been more evident than it is here. Opener “Every Single Night” details her struggles with the voices in her head, and nearly every song here shows her either screwing up a relationship or getting ready to screw up a relationship. The reason this album has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish is not the music (which is fairly sparse but surprisingly catchy in spots, particularly the Guaraldi-esque piano of “Jonathan” and the idiosyncratic chorus of “Daredevil”) but Fiona’s voice. Please note, this is not an American Idol-worthy vocal performance we see here. Fiona is at her pitchiest and most difficult, but I never get the impression that this is done willfully. Instead, she absolutely pours herself into every song, uninterested in getting everything right. “Left Alone” is downright startling. Thankfully, after 35 minutes of emotional wear and tear, The Idler Wheel leaves us with two of 2012’s most joyous songs. “Anything We Want” offers a few moments of romance with no strings attached and “Hot Knife,” which finds Fiona harmonizing with her sister over an ominous beat is pure levity.  It’s the kind of ending that makes you want to return to The Idler Wheel again and again, making you forget the trauma it put you through before. An analogy for an abusive relationship? I don’t know. Personally, I return to The Idler Wheel because it makes me feel closer to any album ever, sans Joni’s Blue, and even if Fiona is kind of a pain sometimes, I consider that a rare feat worth celebrating.

Next up, my list of favorite songs from 2012, or possibly my 666 favorite doomgaze releases.

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One Response to “The Top 25 Albums of 2012”

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  1. Ashley’s Top 50 Albums of 2012: 40-31 « An Ocean of Noise - 20/12/2012

    […] minute I got home without doing anything.  I apologize for that, but in my absence, Travis wrote a stellar entry on his top 25, and I thank him for […]

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