Sunday, December 30, 2012

best of 2012 | larry's favorite music

It's time for Larry's annual guest post listing his favorite music of the past year. I still haven't convinced him that he needs to write his own music blog (I think you'll agree once you read his review below) or that I should be allowed to film him playing 'massive air guitar' to Truckstop Darlin's "Dead Roses," but I'm thankful to share my life with someone who has such great taste in music and who is willing to write about it once a year.

Larry actually wrote this post weeks ago, and it's my fault for not publishing it sooner, but I just about tore my own hair out and punched my computer while trying to figure out how to embed a music player into this post. I finally gave up and resorted to embedding Larry's playlist from Spotify. I realize the player won't work for those of you who do not have Spotify accounts, and for that I both apologize and encourage you to sign up for a free account - you really don't want to miss out on listening to Larry's selections.


All ‘Best of’ lists are subjective. This one is no different. I can’t claim to have listened to everything released this past year. This list isn’t a duplicate of Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone or any of the other usual suspects for music round ups. I know I missed a lot of albums that are going to end up high on those lists – Japandroids, Fiona Apple, Tame Impala, etc. I like what I like and make no apologies. Bear in mind that this isn’t a Best of 2012 list though. I’ve called it 'Favorite of 2012', because these albums have meant the most to me this year and have seen the most action on my iPhone and iTunes.

As I sat down to write this year’s ‘Favorite of' list, I realized that there was a ton of great music released in 2012. It was quite a chore to get this down to my favorite ten albums. It’s also why you’ll see almost as many albums in the Honorable Mentions. I just couldn’t bear to leave some of these out.

So anyway…Favorite Albums of 2012…


Delta Spirit | Delta Spirit
The Twilight Sad | No One Can Ever Know
Chairlift | Something
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires | There is a Bomb in Gilead
Justin Townes Earle | Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
Jason Isbell | Live From Alabama


10. The Menzingers | On the Impossible Past
This is a great pop-punk album from some Pennsylvania boys. Sometimes you just need something to turn up loud and scream along to. This fit that bill for me this year. Plus, “The Obituaries” has the best chorus of any song this year.

9. Lucero | Women & Work
Lucero just keeps on doing what it does best – writing songs about girls, cars, whiskey, and all of the other good things in life that may not be exactly what you want or need them to be. Ben Nichols voice sounds like a smoky old barroom ashtray (with horns!). “I Can’t Stand to Leave You” is a monster track. I love this stuff.

8. Of Monsters and Men | My Head is an Animal
A few years ago I wouldn’t have put this album on this list just because it got popular. I’m trying to work my way out of that particular form of music snobbery, so I’ll admit that this is indeed one of my favorites of the year. 

7. The Gaslight Anthem | Handwritten
I’m fairly new to The Gaslight Anthem fandom – just having really gotten into them over the past year or two. They’ve quickly become one of my favorite bands and I was ecstatic that this new one lived up to their previous. A lot of folks compare them to early Springsteen. I think they have their own special thing going on. 

6. Andrew Bird | Break It Yourself
How much talent can one man have? Singer, songwriter, fiddler, whistler. Keep your dictionary and encyclopedia handy though. The man uses words/ideas no other songwriter would dare touch  “You’re the one who sank my Lusitania” to describe a heartbreak. Awesome.

5. The Lumineers | The Lumineers
See number 8 above. Good music is good music – no matter how popular it gets. “Ho Hey” was inescapable for good reason this year. One of the best tunes of ’12. Bonus – they’re a fantastic live band. They tore it up when we saw them open for Josh Ritter and Brandi Carlile this summer.

4. Truckstop Darlin’ | Hope and the Heart it Breaks
This album just hit me in my southern rock loving gut. Another one to turn up loud. Thank God for digital music or I would have worn this one out. I play some massive air guitar when “Dead Roses” is playing.

3. Joe Pug | The Great Despiser
He’s a fantastic songwriter and only getting better. “They called you a dreamer, when you were 17.  The years went by so fast, now they call you other things.” Joe can devastate you with one simple turn of phrase. He’s also a great and engaging presence on a stage – as evidenced by his show in June at the 9:30 Club. One of my favorite shows of the year.

2. Divine Fits | A Thing Called the Divine Fits
A little side project/super group from Britt Daniels of Spoon and a couple of other guys from Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs and New Bomb Turks. Probably the most fun album in my rotation this year. Just works on all levels. Pop-y. Rock-y. Catch-y. I know – not funn-y.

1. Shearwater | Animal Joy
Hands down the album I listened to more than any other this year. I love the fact that they’re not afraid to sound majestic and intelligent – but still rock. Plus I love all of the animal imagery. If “Animal Life” or “Breaking the Yearlings” don’t move you or make you feel alive, then you may not be. Might want to get that checked out.


Anonymous said...

This is great. I can't(or won't) wait for an annual blog, It should be at least quarterly! I am super excited about this list.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

I agree, Engin! I think Larry needs to blog about music regularly - he finds great music and is a fantastic writer!

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