2012 - Music

It's Family Day here in Canada and I am bored. Last year (or was 2 years ago?), Jim M made a fanpost to discuss about the best albums of the year. Unless it has been discussed in the entertaining but unread by me HSA posts about life, I believe nobody has created the "Best Albums" of 2012 fanpost.

By far, music has always been my favorite topic of conversation. I can spend hours talking about music. I have learned thru the years to enjoy a wide spectrum of music genres (Jazz and Hip Hop being the exceptions). I thank my mother for that. While growing up, in my house, rather than radio, we listened to Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt or Schubert. Later on, my musical repertoire included my older sisters' LPs which they allowed me to listen to. So, between my 10th and 12th years of age, I discovered The Beatles, ABBA, Pink Floyd, Christopher Cross, Barbara Streisand, Bee Gees, Supertramp, and many others. Ahhh... Supertramp were my favorites when I was a kid. I practically memorized the entire album "...Famous Last Words..." I could even sing the entire thing album pronouncing those English words without even understanding what it was about. My cousins from Virginia (USA) were impressed I was able to pronounce English words without even knowing their meaning. I think the little 'mainstream' music exposure I had as a kid had a big influence in how I listen to music later on as an adult.

So, during 2012, you got new records? I bought a few, and I present you with my top ten. There are many 2012 records I didn't listen to so my list is subject to the few purchases I did during 2012, thus it's very limited. Perhaps you can chime in with some good recommendations which I (and others) will take into consideration for our next CDs purchases

1) Grizzley Bear - SHIELDS: Easily the best album in my 2012 short list. I don’t pretend to have listened even a 5% of the music output in 2012, but after listening to this album, I can’t really imagine a better one. I am a huge fan of Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) and Jason released an album in 2012 which I adore. However, I can’t put Jason’s album above this one. This is a fantastic album which I wholeheartedly recommend! (Highlight: Half Gate, Gun-Shy, Yet Again)

2) Jason Lytle - DEPT. OF DISAPPEARANCE: Better than the previous album “Yours Truly, the Commuter”. This sophomore album by Lytle is what one can expect from Jason. A very well crafted mid-tempo tunes full of clean keyboards arrangements accompanied with Lytle’s distinctive acoustic guitar strumming, and silky voice plus Lytle's well-known electronic weird sounds. I can't wait for a new Grandaddy release as speculations for a possible reunion has been leaked out there. (Highlight: Young Saints, Matterhorn, Gimme Click, Gimme Grid)

3) The Shins - Port of Morrow: James Mercer sill has it after 3 Shins' albums. Despise the demise of practically all the original band’s line up, Mercer (& some “other guys”) comes up with his best songs to date. The album has some up and downs, but the ups are wonderful tunes that make this album great and covers up for its weaknesses. (Highlights: Simple Song, For a Fool, September)

4) Graham Coxon - A+E: If you still have doubts the "beef" of Blur's sound didn't come from Graham, then this album is for you. All Damon Albarn had to do was probably polish Coxon's raw music power and made it catchy and pop providing a more radio-friendly voice. “Think Tank” was Blur’s last album, and Coxon was already gone by then. His absence was pretty noticeable by then as Think Tank was the least Blur-esque album to date. (Highlight: What It'll Take, Running For Your Life, Knife in the Cast, Ooh Yeh Yeh)

5) Grimes - VISIONS: I blame LCD Soundsystem and Crystal Castles to turn me into dance-music/electronica music fan, and when I heard Grimes' Visions it definitely made me to like it even more. Poignant noise comes from the voice of Alice Glass (Crystal Castles), and sweet and mellow comes from the fabulous voice from Grimes, a Canadian artist by the name of Claire Boucher. (Highlights: Genesis, Infinite Love Without Fulfillment, Oblivion)

6) Benjamin Gibbard - FORMER LIVES... I can't deny that I am a sucker for Gibbard's music. DCfC will always be on my top 10 favorite bands. It just confirms I love mellow yellow music, and Gibbard is a master of melody. This solo work by Gibbard, almost all recorded in Aaron Espinosa’s (Earlimart) The Ship studio finds Gibbard doing what he does best: strumming an acoustic guitar to craft very sugary tunes. (Highlights: A Hard One to Know, Dream Song, Teardrop Window)

7) Radical Face - The Family Tree: The Roots: Another lovely album by Ben Cooper, but not quite as good as his previous album "Ghost". It's more of the same but that's not necessarily bad with Ben Cooper. Like Gibbard, he is a keen melody maker. Highlights: Ghost Towns, The Moon is Down, Black Eyes)

8) Band of Horses - MIRAGE ROCK: At first, I was very disappointed with this album. Probably the effects of setting the bar high after the previous masterpiece of "Infinite Arms"....but after going to a BoH’s concert promoting this album, Mirage Rock grew on me especially after you listen repeatedly. (Highlights: Slow Cruel Hands of Me, Long Vows, Dumpster World)

9) Jack White - BLUNDERBUSS: I am not that high on this album as many other people. Perhaps because its sound is more like a Racounters’ sound than a White Stripes' sound. Perhaps because it is not as minimalist as he got us used to during the White Stripes era. However, it's a well crafted album... (Highlights: Sixteen Saltines, I'm Shakin', Love Interruption)

10) Mmoss – ONLY CHILDREN: An album of 2012 although it sounds like it was released in the 1970s...perhaps the lo-fi recording, and the usage of old psychedelic synths sounds and flutes that reminds me a bit of Jethro Tull. The album is guitar rock based, although it combines pretty well with the soft and sweet voice of Douglas Tuttle. This is the first album Mmoss released, and I bought it because I read a couple of raving reviews somewhere. There are some instrumentals songs. Pretty good album. (Highlights: Another Day, Another Dream, Spoiled Sun, Hands)

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