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Top 10 Albums of 2012

It's the end of another year, which means 2 things:  I need to renew my subscription to Miniature Donkey Talk magazine, and it's time for the annual countdown of my top 10 favorite albums of the year, which is about as pointless at the 4th season of The O.C.

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Garbage - Not Your Kind of People

It's been like 7 years since we've heard anything from these guys, and that's too damn long for me.  The world is a much better place when Shirley Manson is around complaining about life & love.

 

Blood for Poppies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OdTBCgqRt4

 

10. The Ting Tings - Songs From Nowheresville

The 2nd album from this UK boy/girl combo (girl sings and plays guitar, boy does pretty much everything else), the Ting Tings cover just about everything; rock, pop, dance, and whiny white girl rap.  They can be polarizing, but I dig it anyway.  Take a song like Guggenheim; you'll either find it to be a brilliant piece of dance-rock, or the most annoying thing you've ever heard since that group Karmin was on SNL.

 

Guggenheim:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKa3FQyehi0

Hit Me Down Sonny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh6xFo5W0yg

 

9. The Shins - Port of Morrow

It's been almost a decade since Natalie Portman told us the Shins would change our lives in Garden State, and their 4th album is just as good as the one she made Zach Braff listen to.

 

It's Only Life:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fweNLKBCh5A

Simple Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoLTPcD1S4Q

 

8.  Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - The Lion the Beast the Beat

One of the great new voices of rock, Grace Potter and her band return after their breakthrough album a couple of years ago with a new record which doesn't follow their same bluesy, folk-rock formula as their previous stuff, but is more basic hard rock.  But coming from this awesome voice, it works just as well.  Plus she looks like Heidi Klum.

 

Stars:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml7TmC__eDc

Never Going Back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA_ode55DFA

 

7.  Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel is Wiser...

Another artist I had to wait 7 damn years to hear something new from, Fiona Apple is arguably one of the greatest musicians of the last quarter century.  Stunningly original, Apple's latest set of songs require repeated listens like her other stuff; plus with these songs she's stripped down to essentially piano, occasional drums, and her passionate voice, which sounds like she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  She might be bat-shit crazy, but she channels that craziness into this music so it's a win-win, right?

 

Jonathan:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISf5FCKxMas

Every Single Night:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIlLq4BqGdg

 

6.  Aimee Mann - Charmer

Another set of consistently catchy rock from Aimee Mann, who's always been one of my favorites.  If you're a fan of music that will get stuck in your head for months, you won't go wrong here.  And her videos are awesome as well; especially Labrador.  If you remember her 'Til Tuesday days, you'll definately get a kick out of it.

 

Labrador:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA1cX-wgMdM

Charmer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcpXTUT0-7o

 

5. Audra Mae and the Almighty Sound - Audra Mae and the Almighty Sound

So everything I said two years ago about Grace Potter's breakthrough album applies here this year.  Audra Mae is another great, Bonnie Raitt-inspired voice singing some catchy folk rock with some kick. 

 

The Real Thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHB4nUvuw-w

Smokin' the Boys:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=audra%20mae%20and%20the%20almighty%20sound%20smokin%20the%20boys&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&ved=0CE8QFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Faudramae.bandcamp.com%2Ftrack%2Fsmokin-the-boys&ei=1i7dUOW_F8jyqwG2-IGIDA&usg=AFQjCNEhYLRpj0ckTliUyd68nEQ9NwA4nw&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.aWM

 

4. Sara Watkins - Sun Midnight Sun

This is the 2nd solo album from Watkins, a former member of the great alternative bluegrass group Nickel Creek.  And she once guest-hosted A Prairie Home Companion, which I'll bet no one on any of my previous or future lists ever did/will do.  Unless the All-Star Shoe Band can get their damn act together and put something decent out.

 

When It Pleases You:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng1AiZlAqR4

Impossible:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fmHbSDPsZA

 

3. La Sera - Sees the Light

La Sera is the solo moniker of Katy Goodman, of the indie-rock group Vivian Girls.  They're ok, but here Goodman herself delivers a tremendous slice of catchy grunge rock that I thought only Juliana Hatfield could master.

 

Break My Heart:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a70zvIOuxR0

Love That's Gone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9U5IL6fRXI

 

2. Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts

Most of you know my love for Norah Jones; she could record herself eating a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos while an oboe played the same note for 45 minutes and I'd still buy it.  But this is her break-up album, and lord knows Norah Jones + break up songs = even more awesome than usual.  And it was produced by something called Danger Mouse, which I believe is one of the many great rodent producers currently out there.

 

Happy Pills:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9s0DCQJq4I

Out On The Road:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2bVXlYMo0I

 

1.  Jack White - Blunderbuss

Of his many groups that have appeared on my countdowns over the years, it takes a solo project to finally crack the #1 spot for Jack White.  And the amazing thing here is how White doesn't rely on the guitar much at all on this record; usually his guitar workouts are at the forefront of his music with all of his other bands.  Whenever you're feeling worried or ashamed at the state of the music industry these days, at least there's a Jack White out there writing and recording, eh?        

 

Love Interruption:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iErNRBTPbEc

Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LudHiHZENy8

 


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