Tag Archives: bright whites

Top 10 Albums of 2012

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Here you go, my top 10 albums of 2012.  I went back and forth on this up until the last minute.  But alas, there’s no going back now.  My picks are official and floating around the world wide web for everyone to scrutinize.  And speaking of scrutiny, I would love some feedback.  Do you agree/disagree with my picks?  What were your favorites this year?  Heck, what were your least favorites?  Leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.

[p.s. see how my final top 10 compared to my favorites back in June and July]

 

10. Sigur Rós//Valtari

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Scratched them off my concert bucket list this year and totally lived up to my expectations.  I have no idea what Jonsi and company are singing about and I really don’t care.  Beautiful music is beautiful music.  Period.

Sigur Ros – Ekki múkk
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9. Sleigh Bells//Reign of Terror

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I can’t get enough of this duo.  My favorite driving music.  Turn it up, roll down the windows, drive fast.  Noise pop at it’s best.

Sleigh Bells – Crush
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8. Exitmusic//Passage

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An amazing and emotionally charged record that I seem to enjoy more with every listen.  If Beach House were to team up with Sigur Rós, I imagine it would sound like this.

Exitmusic – White Noise [from Passage]
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7. Blackbird Blackbird//Boracay Planet

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If you haven’t already, you need to give Blackbird Blackbird a proper listen.  This guy is amazing and he just keeps getting better.  Boracay Planet is his best yet.

Blackbird Blackbird – It’s A War [from Boracay Planet]
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6. Kishi Bashi//151a

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This record makes me happy.  Smart lyrics, beautiful vocals, imaginative arrangements, and quite the impressive violin work.  Kishi Bashi’s debut album 151a is all of these things and more.  Kishi Bashi is my favorite new artist of 2012 and it’s no surprise he’s on so many year end lists.

Kishi Bashi – Bright Whites
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5. Crystal Castles//Crystal Castles (III)

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My favorite Crystal Castles release to date.  With every new track the Canadian experimental/electronic duo dropped, the more and more my excitement and anticipation grew.

Crystal Castles – Wrath of God
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4. Lost In The Trees//A Church That Fits Your Needs

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One of the most personal, and beautiful, records i’ve fallen in love with (probably since The Antlers’ Hospice in 2009).  Lead singer/guitarist based the record largely around his mother’s suicide, stating that — “I wanted to give my mother a space to become all the things I think she deserved to be and wanted to be, and all the beautiful things in her that didn’t quite shine while she was alive.”

Lost In The Trees – Golden Eyelids
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3. Porcelain Raft//Strange Weekend

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Mauro Remiddi, as Porcelain Raft, has crafted a dreamy and visceral sound unlike no other.  One of the most impressive debut albums since The xx’s xx in 2009.

Porcelain Raft – Drifting In And Out
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2. Beach House//Bloom

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Baltimore’s Beach House continue to set a high standard for dream pop with each and every release.  This year’s Bloom might be their best yet.  It’s definitely my personal favorite from the duo.

Beach House – On the Sea
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1. The xx//Coexist

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Easily my favorite album of the year.  Totally exceeded my expectations.  Like their debut, I can listen to this record, from start to finish, over and over again.

The xx – Try
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(31) Days of Good: 12.14.12

I now present the top 3 finalists for this year’s “Home” award.  Appropriately named after Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ hit song of the same name — a song so good, it’s impossible to hate, even when it’s overplayed and overused.

 

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In 3rd place, Of Monsters And Men with their hit “Little Talks”.

Having already conquered their homeland over the last couple of years, 2012 saw this six-piece from Iceland conquer North America and beyond.  The band’s debut LP, My Head Is an Animal, was chock-full of infectious indie folk and pop, but no other track took over the airwaves like “Little Talks” did.  I caught the tail end of the band’s set at this year’s Outside Lands festival in SF and they sounded great.  Can’t wait to hear more these guys and gals.

Of Monsters And Men – Little Talks [from My Head Is An Animal]
[bonus] Of Monsters And Men – Little Talks (Passion Pit remix) [via soundcloud]
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In 2nd place, Passion Pit’s “Take a Walk”.

Passion Pit’s second studio album, Gossamer, was one of my most anticipated releases of 2012.  I’ve heard complaints that Gossamer is “repetitive” and not as “exciting” as Manners.  I mostly disagree with the claims of repetitiveness — a big pet peeve of mine is when an artist or band releases the same record over and over again.  I love this record and it totally lived up to my expectations.  You’ll probably recognize the first single, “Take a Walk”, from a certain Taco Bell commercial.  A lot of people bitched about this and I love how lead singer and keyboardist, Michael Angelakos, responded: “It’s not about promoting celebrities or giant corporations or anything like that. It’s just airtime…It’s an amazing opportunity. And, honestly, you take what you can get. I say no to about 90 percent of the offers, but we just want people to hear the music at end of the day.”

p.s. see Passion Pit live if you get a chance.  I caught their entire set this year’s Outside Lands festival.  So good.

Passion Pit – Take a Walk [from Gossamer]
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And in 1st place, Kishi Bashi’s “Bright Whites”.

If you’ve been wondering why you want Windows 8, it’s because of Kishi Bashi and this commercial.  Kishi Bashi is the solo project of singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter K (Kaoru) Ishibashi.  K is also one hell of a violinists and put’s those skills to good use as a touring member of Regina Spektor and of Montreal, as well as throughout this record.  As Kishi Bashi, K self-recorded and self-produced his debut full-length, 151a, one of the best records of 2012.  I was really torn between “I Am the Antichrist to You” and “Bright Whites”, with the latter barely beating out the former for the top spot.  “Bright Whites” is one of those songs that always puts me in a good mood.  I can’t help but smile and sing along whenever I hear it (even during the Windows 8 commercials).

Kishi Bashi – Bright Whites [from 151a]
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[bonus] Check out the video for “Bright Whites”, which features some of Montreal buddies acting out 50+ famous idioms like “break a leg.”