Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best Albums of 2012 (Albums 20-11)

For albums 10-1, click here.

My, my, my. The older I get, the harder it is to find the time to really invest in and search for good music out there. It's also a little less socially acceptable to spend quite as much money and energy. Never the less, I appreciate those times that I can really lose myself in an album or find my way to a concert on the occasional weekend, sharing in the art form with others. All that to say, I'm happy to be sitting down with a laptop, sorting through my iTunes and Spotify playlists picking out the highlights from the year.

The following are albums 20-11 of my favorite 20 albums of the year. I didn't have a crystal clear top few album, lacking any album that just blew me away. But it's been a fun year for music. And a good one.

Click here for the Spotify playlist and...

Without further ado.

20. Purity Ring - Shrines
Trippy, catchy, thoroughly listenable. Sweet vocals accompanying beats that are simultaneously aggressive and laid back. I've enjoyed listening through the album many times this year while working in the ol' office. I'm still holding out for IFC to bring them to Taylor in collaboration with the Sex and the Cornfields programming.

19. Damien Jurado - Maraqopa
I don't know if I'll ever absolutely love a Damien Jurado album. But I find it hard to think of an album of his that I won't enjoy. With his latest (in a long career), Damien brings his same luscious voice, this time with fuller instrumentation. 

18. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
I have to admit it, I was originally turned on to the Dirty Projectors due to their song, Stillness is the Move. I know, I know, it's a little bit of an outlier in their catalog, but it was a great introduction and I have since grown to enjoy their intricate, offbeat works.

17. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
I have a ton of respect for Bird. He just won't stop putting out solid records. Break It Yourself is another example of Bird's intricate guitar and violin work on top of some of the most unique lyrics in the folk genre.

16. The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter
Maybe the folkiest of the folk music I listen to. Jorjette walked into my office a few weeks ago and asked, "What are you listening to?" (read: "Why are you listening to country music?") I'm not positive of my response but mostly just because their music is fun, and simple (in the straightforward way), and good.

15. Sufjan Stevens - Silver & Gold
I feel bad for putting this guy so low on the list and I'm probably a little unfair. Sufjan's first collection of Christmas music, Songs for Christmas, holds a dear place in my heart, easily earning the spot of favorite collection of Christmas songs due to the consistency, ingenuity, and beauty of the records. My major beef with Silver & Gold is a pretty unlistenable second disc. I'm still waiting on discs 3 and 4 to really grow on me. And then the title track Christmas Unicorn are already favorites of mine. Oh, and the live show was easily the funnest concert I've ever been to. So I love the moments of greatness and am left wondering about the misses.

14. The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now
What is there to say about tTMoE? He creates some hauntingly beautiful, stripped down music, largely created by that screechy voice and narrative of his.

13. Cat Power - Sun
I'm not super familiar with Cat Power's back catalog of music but this sounds different. Same great, full voice but this time on top of some pretty layered, synthesized, swirling instrumentation. While a few of the tracks get on my nerves, I love the direction she's taken this album.

12. Grimes - Visions
I strayed away from this album for a while despite it's positive reviews (from both critics and friends). Due to its freaking scary cover, I totally thought they were some indie-approved metal band. I was wrong. Grimes' dancy beats and soft vocals are anything but.

11. The xx - Coexist
Soft, precise, well-constructed. A solid sophomore output from The xx leaving me excited for a long career. 

Don't hesitate to leave your thoughts or links to your own lists.

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