It was a strong year for new releases, especially indie (which comprises the vast majority of my list). I could easily do a Top 80, but, alas, we have to make difficult decisions. Here’s the first part of the All the Young Punks Top 40 for 2012. Nos. 11 through 40 are presented here in dramatic countdown fashion.
40. Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes. Great story telling by the Hold Steady frontman.
39. Eternal Summers – Correct Behavior. Instantly likable new wave pop music.
38. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy. A little more rocking than past BMSR offerings.
37. Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery. On his debut album, this Chicagoan entertains and confounds. He was a highlight of Pitchfork fest for me.
36. Crystal Castles – III. Crystal Castles and Purity Ring essentially made the same album in 2012. I liked Crystal Castles just a little bit better.
35. Guided By Voices – Let’s Go Eat the Factory. ”Classic” GBV’s comeback resulted in three albums in 2012. This was the first.
34. The Babies – Our House on the Hill. Side projects should be fun and this one from members of Woods and Vivian Girls is a blast.
33. Chuck Prophet – Temple Beautiful. Indie vet turns in a great album.
32. Dan Deacon – America. An epic journey as Deacon reflects on the “frustration, fear and anger” he feels about his country.
31. King Tuff – self titled. Great quirky garage rock.
30. 2:54 – self titled. A very cool debut from U.K. sisters Colette and Hannah Thurslow.
DO YOU WANT TO CUT TO THE CHASE? ALSO CHECK OUT: All the Young Punks top 10 albums of 2012 here.
29. The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance. A great collection of pop, pysch and garage songs.
28. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory. Steve Albini helps toughen up Dylan Baldi’s musical project (now a band).
27. DIIV – Oshin. A blend of Real Estate and New Order, Zachary Cole’s side project was pretty neat.
26. Grass Widow – Internal Logic. Nothing groundbreaking about this girls group — just a solid output.
25. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light. I didn’t get this band in the past. This album changed my mind. Hey Jane is a standout.
24. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold. I almost overlooked this punk / post-punk treasure.
23. Japanadroids - Celebration Rock. Good rockin’ and a Gun Club cover!
22. Wild Nothing – Nocturne. Dreamy pop that recalls ’80s grandeur.
21. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse. Everything Segall put out in 2012 was great. This was the hardest of the bunch.
20. Metz – self titled. If you prefer your rock ‘n’ roll to be of the maximum variety, you have to check out this skull crusher.
19. Grimes – Vision. One of the most irresistible albums of the year, this young Canadian, Claire Boucher, put out a unique and original electronic album.
18. Peaking Lights – Lucifer. By the time you get to the second song, Beautiful Son, you realize you have a pretty intriguing album — electronic that draws on reggae, psychedelic and more.
17. Dusted – Total Dust. Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt took an alternative path on the lo-fi offering from his band Dusted. Parts of it are stunning.
16. Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe. Not a token major label pick. This is a thoroughly enjoyable second album from the artist fka Santogold.
15. Beach House – Bloom. Beach House makes magic on Bloom, continuing where it left off with Teen Dream.
14. Suckers – Candy Salad. Big pop, synth, folk all in one album, and Suckers actually pull it off.
13. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp. A career album from the artist I used to consider a folkie. Very edgy — and great.
12. Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers III. I’ve never met an album by Thee Oh Sees I didn’t like and this one I love for its great garage rock.
11 . Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance. The best thing next to a new Deerhunter album, this is guitarist Lockett Pundt’s impressive side project.
NEXT UP: All the Young Punks Top 10 of 2012.
Forget the wimpy, rubbery sounds of headliner Vampire Weekend, the meat of the Sunday program for Pitchfork Music Festival is in the afternoon. That’s when Iceage, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and the Men play. Again, unfortunately, there’s overlap among these sets. It’s maddening but there are after-shows for each band.
Click here for the full schedule.
Also see Japandroids, Dirty Projectors, Purity Ring kick off Pitchfork fest Friday, Ty Segall brings it on new album, plans another and plays Pitchfork and Grimes, Sleigh Bells, Wild Flag, Atlas Sound highlight Pitchfork Saturday
Every summer needs a playlist. I usually make mine a week or so before Memorial day and update throughout the hot months. For me, the perfect playlist is a mix of power pop, punk, rock, alt country and electronic. My top summer song may be an anthem or a dance track.
While it’s not required that the word summer actually appears in a song, album or band name to mark the season, there’s no shortage of references.
Dana Buoy beat almost everyone to the beach this year with the May release of Summer Bodies, a rollicking Caribbean music-inspired album. Dana Buoy is actually Dana Janssen of the band Akron/Family, a group that sounds nothing like Janssen’s side project. The music on Summer Bodies is bouncy and uplifting. It’s definitely feel-good music and makes a nice soundtrack or playlist for summer.
Indie rock veterans Superchunk just put out a single, This Summer, which gets closer to that anthem thing I mentioned. But mostly, it’s just a great rocker and a cool summer song.
I feel like I have to mention Summer Camp, which is following up its awesome debut from last year, Welcome to Condale, with a five-song EP out July 10. The EP is called Always. Check out the title track below.
I love the new album, Correct Behavior, from Eternal Summers, which also comes out next month.
Also, Sweden’s jj just released a free digital EP, High Summer. You can get it here.
New releases by Best Coast and Beach House also get my vote for summer albums. (And not just because they have warm-weather connotations in their names.)
Also see New Music: Best Coast, Beach House
Two years after a pair of impressive albums, the two-person bands Beach House and Best Coast are back with follow-up releases. For Best Coast, the album, The Only Places, stretches out from the hazy sound on the band’s 2010 debut Crazy for You. Singer Bethany Cosentino sings uptempo country-tinged songs on the slickly produced The Only Places. Jon Brion, who has worked with everyone from Robyn Hitchcock to Kanye to Katy Perry, produced the album. It’s a bigger sounding set of songs and at points more enjoyable than Crazy for You.
Beach House, on the other hand, stuck closely to the script of the stunning 2010 release Teen Dream. The band is not breaking any new ground on Bloom. It’s still a fine album and the approach is far more interesting than Beach House prior to Teen Dream, which was just flat out boring. On its fourth album, Beach House recreates that lush, dreamy soundscape defined by Teen Dream. Bloom is not the equal to that great album but it’s not far off.
Beach House plays Pitchfork July 15 and Best Coast plays the Vic later that month.
The full lineup for Pitchfork Music Festival was released today. A number of ATYP faves were added, including Wild Flag, Atlas Sound, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Lower Dens, Beach House and Real Estate. Read the full list here.
Pitchfork’s Sunday lineup is strong from beginning to end with the reunited Pavement headlining. I actually saw Pavement play a pretty lackluster show to a small crowd back in the day. But I’m looking forward to this show. There’s so much hype around the reunion that these guys are up against pretty high expectations.
I’ll be checking out one half of Outkast, Big Boi, playing just before Pavement. I’m also eager to see the vey mellow Beach House, which made one of the best albums of the year. The band plays an early 3:20 p.m. set. Another afternoon set worth seeing: Surfer Blood at 4:45 p.m.
Other most recommended sets: Best Coast, Girls, Here We Go Magic and Neon Indian. But looking through the lineup Sunday, there really isn’t a stinker (with the exception of Sleigh Bells, which plays the small stage at 7:40 p.m.).
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My little blog is a year old today. In my first half month last May, I got 229 clicks, a number I easily passed my first day this month. My very first post was a take on Wilco’s then just-leaked album.
So here’s my take on 2010: We’re only a few months into this year but there are a number of strong albums already. While it’s a little early to declare best-of lists, my two favorite albums so far this year are Massive Attack’s Heligoland and Besnard Lakes’ The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night.
The list of my other top albums is pretty lengthy. I like releases by the National, the Hold Steady, Beach House, Titus Andronicus, Surfer Blood, Los Campesinos!, the Soft Pack, Golden Triangle, Liars, Caribou, Shearwater, Drive-By Truckers, Yeasayer and Charlotte Gainsbourg. I’m sure I’m forgetting at least a couple of others.
In case you didn’t snag it on Record Store Day, here’s an alternate version of Beach House’s Zebra.
Pitchfork added an impressive roster of additional acts for its July festival here in Chicago, including Wolf Parade, Outkast’s Big Boi and Beach House.
And there’s more: Kurt Vile, Liars, Neon Indian, Surfer Blood and Real Estate. Check out the full list here. Not to gush, but this is pretty freakin’ cool.
Beach House’s Daytrotter session is now available for download. Click here to check it out.
Also worth noting: Beach House’s excellent new release, Teen Dream.