Since I actually got requests for this, here it is! Listen below while you read through it.
1. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
Soul, funk and good old rock and roll combined with Brittany Howard’s ridiculous vocals make this an easy choice for #1 album of 2012. And this is just their debut.
2. Murder by Death – Bitter Drink
It sounds like the band gathered their instruments, including a cello, accordion and a xylophone, and recorded this while dancing around Johnny Cash’s grave at midnight.
3. The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
John Darnielle’s usual lyrical madness, exploring a bunch of deviants living in the Pacific Northwest, with the addition of some brass to go along with his guitar strumming. Their best album yet, not bad after 14 otherwise stellar albums.
4. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
Call it intro to weird indie-rock. Yet, weirdly accessible and catchy.
5. Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back
Critter Fuqua returns to the band and they put out their most solid effort since the infamous self titled album that came out in 2004. Heavy on historical ballads and foot-stomping prose involving the state of Virginia, including a tear-jerking tribute to a fan killed in Iraq.
6. fun. – Some Nights
It was a good album before the hype, and after the hype has somewhat settled, it’s still a good album, full of sing-a-long poppy goodness with smart and dark undertones. I still find myself turning up the title track whenever it comes on. Nate Ruess may be a disturbed individual but that doesn’t mean he can’t have you singing along to it.
7. Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
Speaking of disturbed individuals, there’s this guy. Right off the bat, he throws it in your face, yeah, he’s Steve Earle’s son, deal with it. After that, the listener is treated to a delightful album with elements of folk, country and New York City Jazz. He’s grown up and moving on indeed.
8. Best Coast – The Only Place
Now back to some pop; Best Coast is a band of beach bums, California brats, and they’re OK with it. They want everyone to be them, a group of friends perpetually relaxed in the sun, and this is their soundtrack.
9. Lucero – Women & Work
12 songs written as the soundtrack to a dive bar. Not quite Road House, but not quite Cheers either. Somewhere in between, with Pabst Blue Ribbon, tattoos and aging punk rockers.
10. Hacienda – Shakedown
This is probably the best album no one heard, and probably the first band to make it big in 2013. Loud, booty shaking rock and roll that falls somewhere between The Black Keys and the Allman Brothers.
And now for the remaining albums after the jump