My favorite albums of 2012 so far

Friday, June 29th, 2012, 10:26 am by Ben Salmon

Here are 25 albums from the first half of the year that I love, have listened to a ton, and would highly recommend. I had hoped to write a little more about each, but a few words will have to do. Hopefully that’ll be just enough to give you some idea of whether or not you want to investigate further.

These are in alphabetical order. The 12 bolded titles are the cream of the cream of the crop. Any questions? Wanna talk about ‘em or tell me what I missed? That’s what the comments are for!

Alcest, “Les Voyages De L’Ame”
–French metal band creeps ever further into beautiful shoegaze

Arkells, “Michigan Left”
–snappy Canadian pop-rock with heavy Hall & Oates influence

Cloud Nothings, “Attack on Memory”
–angsty, mega-catchy post-punk-pop, like Kurt Cobain fronting Fugazi

Crocodiles, “Endless Flowers”
–their best psych-pop homage to The Jesus and Mary Chain yet

DIIV, “Oshin”
–guitars chime and float endlessly, occasionally tethered to a motorik pulse

Fun., “Some Nights”
–some of the biggest hits of the year thanks to the biggest hooks of the year

Future, “Pluto”
–Atlanta rapper eschews rap in favor of weird, syrupy and heavily Auto-Tuned half-singing

Gangrene, “Vodka & Ayahuasca”
–bomb-blasts of gritty hip-hop cocooned in an unnerving psychedelic haze

Himanshu, “Nehru Jackets”
–more clever raps from half of Das Racist, further proving they save their best for mixtapes

Japandroids, “Celebration Rock”
–a skyscraping wall of pop-rock fuzz to soundtrack your whenever-life crisis

Lotus Plaza, “Spooky Action At A Distance”
–Deerhunter guy’s ascendant, easygoing guitar pop sounds like a more focused Deerhunter

Lushlife, “Plateau Vision”
–smart raps, sharp beats = the best hip-hop album of the year so far

The Men, “Open Your Heart”
–guitars, drums, bass and no frills from the leaders of NYC’s sonic youth movement

Miguel, “Art Dealer Chic Vols. 1-3”
–slinky, adventurous and slightly off-kilter new-school R&B from a rising maverick

Mind Spiders, “Meltdown”
–garage rock meets New Wave in a way that’s somehow both throwback and futuristic

New Multitudes, “New Multitudes”
–alt-country supergroup makes Woody Guthrie’s unused lyrics into modern Dust Bowl hymns

Nude Beach, “II”
–perfectly ragged power-pop-rock that fell off Elvis Costello’s family tree

Outer Minds, “Outer Minds”
–organ-fueled garage-rock is like a tuneful time machine back to the ’60s

Pallbearer, “Sorrow And Extinction”
–sprawling, slow-burning cuddle-doom for the sheepish metal-curious

Peaking Lights, “Lucifer”
–trippy, dubby, deeply chilled synth-pop that oozes airy charm

Nicholas Szczepanik, “We Make Life Sad”
Nicholas Szczepanik, ““The Truth of Transience”
–epic ambient drones that pay off richly for the patient listener

Torche, “Harmonicraft”
–heavy, brightly hued lollipop-metal that could be arena anthems sooner than later

Ty Segall + White Fence, “Hair”
–two of the sharpest minds in modern psych/garage meet and turn out decidedly retro rock jams

Ty Segall Band, “Slaughterhouse”
–tough, thunderous and uncompromising, Segall’s second album of 2012 might be the best in his impressive catalog

And here’s several more that just missed the list above. Google ‘em for more info.
Amadou & Mariam, “Folila”
Beach House, “Myths”
Big K.R.I.T., “Live From The Underground”
Brendan Benson, “What Kind Of World”
Broken Water, “Tempest”
Children of the Night, “Queens… Revisited”
Kathleen Edwards, “Voyageur”
Father John Misty, “Fear Fun”
Fidlar, “No Waves / No Ass” 7”
Filastine, “Loot”
Norah Jones, “Little Broken Hearts”
Ka, “Grief Pedigree”
King Tuff, “King Tuff”
Mrs. Magician, “Strange Heaven”
Nada Surf, “The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy”
Panabrite, “Soft Terminal”
Poor Moon, “Illusion” EP
Rocket Juice & the Moon, “Rocket Juice & the Moon”
Frankie Rose, “Interstellar”
Dan Rossen, “Silent Hour / Golden Mile” EP
Sigur Ros, “Valtari”
Street Gnar, “Study Wall”
Young Magic, “Melt”

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3 Responses to “My favorite albums of 2012 so far”

  1. matt says:

    So far, so good. Agree with most of it.

    Album of the year so far is between Japandroids and Cloud Nothings with “Continuous Thunder” vs “No future/no Past” battling it out for song of year. Nothing better than beautiful tension followed by big banging catharsis.

  2. chilly says:

    album of the year is “Art Dealer Chic vol. 1″ by Miguel!

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