Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012: 8 Great Albums

I didn't buy a whole lot of new albums in 2012, and my choosiness mostly paid off. Of the nearly 30 albums I bought, only 3 were truly disappointing: The Jealous Sound's A Gentle Reminder, Vicious Vicious' self-titled LP, and Alanis Morissette's Havoc and Bright Lights. Even those weren't truly bad, they just didn't live up to expectations.

Below are 8 albums that I dug the most. Work from Fiona Apple, Ben Folds Five, Gaz Coombes, The Divine Fits, The Killers, Miguel, Nada Surf, P.O.S., and The Shins didn't quite make the cut, but still deserve mention.

I haven't ranked this list in the last few years, mostly because I realized how arbitrary it was. But I've gotta say that, weirdly, Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth is my album of the year. How something that had so many strikes against it (the general stink of being a "reunion" album, the absence of Michael Anthony, the recycling of 30 year-old riffs and song ideas, the fact that Eddie Van Halen's body is being held together with duct tape and dental floss at this point) ended up being so artistically vital is beyond me. In my mind, the album single-handedly rewrites the band's history, relegating the Van Hagar (and Van Cherone) years into a sidebar and placing the emphasis squarely back on Eddie's gifted playing and David Lee Roth's insane charisma and weird one-liners.

The Honeydogs: What Comes After
Check out: Particles or Waves, Aubben, Fighting Weight, What Comes After, Better Word

David Mead: Dudes
Check out: I Can't Wait, King of the Crosswords, Guy on Guy, No One Roxx This Town No More

Motion City Soundtrack: Go
Check out: Circuits and Wires, True Romance, Timelines, Coma Kid,  Bad Idea

Rush: Clockwork Angels
Check out: Caravan, BU2B, Halo Effect, The Wreckers, The Garden

Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth
Check out: She's the Woman, You and Your Blues, As Is, The Trouble With Never,  Stay Frosty

Rufus Wainwright: Out of the Game
Check out: Out of the Game, Jericho, Montauk, Respectable Dive, Perfect Man, Candles

The Walkmen: Heaven
Check out: We Can't Be Beat, Love is Luck, Heartbreaker, Song for Leigh, Heaven 
Robbie Williams: Take the Crown
Check out: Be a Boy, Gospel, Candy,  Shit on the Radio, Into the Silence, Losers

Thursday, December 06, 2012

2012 Compilation

Every year I make a mix of some of my favorite songs to share with friends. Sometimes the song choice is random and sometimes there's more to it. Every year has highs and lows, but in 2012 they were especially high (my wife and I have a second son on the way) and especially low (my wife's cousin committed suicide). I wanted the mix to reflect that.

1) Beach Boys - Think About the Days
2) Robbie Williams - Be a Boy
3) Gaz Coombes - Break the Silence
4) Motion City Soundtrack - Bad Idea
5) Electric Guest - This Head I Hold
6) Kaiser Chiefs - Listen to Your Head
7) Mike Keneally - I'm Raining Here, Inside
8) The Honeydogs - Better Word
9) David Mead - I Can't Wait
10) Rhett Miller - Love Grows
11) Rufus Wainwright - Montauk
12) Sean Fournier - X's for My Eyes
13) Krystle Warren and The Faculty - Forever is a Long Time
14) The Walkmen - Heaven