Nov 18

23 albums touched by the hand of God in 2012 – a non-numbered list of albums that I’ve played over and over that were released in 2012. Some of them were reviewed here on Jason’s Jukebox, some of them weren’t. All of them are worth your time and attention. The last look back at an amazing year of music. I’ll see you later this week with my 1st review of 2013.

  • Andy WhitakerThings That Happened on Earth – former / current guitarist with The Sun & the Moon creates record that encompasses his post-punk past but throws a bit of Nick Drake and David Bowie into the mix. Middle aged men swoon.
  • Benjamin GibbardFormer Lives – Death Cab for Cutie singer releases a relaxed solo album that has haunting melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Can a former hipster become hip again? I’m blasting this in my soccer mom car.
  • Black ReindeerMusic From the Film That Never Got Made – ex-Babybird man, Stephen Jones, opens a Bandcamp account and floods the market with stunning new music. This mostly instrumental album is the soundtrack to suburbia. My favorite release from him in 2012.
  • Bruce SpringsteenWrecking Ball – Raging against the system with a member of Rage Against the Machine on board for a few tracks. Springsteen summons up the spirit of Woody Guthrie and spins it through a mix of Folk-Celt-Rock n Roll.
  • Dot DashWinter Garden Light – Angular post-punk filtered through a sheen of Buzzcocks influenced power pop. Washington D.C. is lucky to have this band on its home turf.
  • First Aid KitThe Lion’s Roar – “When people think of Sweden I think they have the wrong idea – like Cliff Richards who thought it was just porn and gonorrhea.” So said Jens Lekman once upon a time. They’ll have to think of First Aid Kit too, who offered up this stunning slice of indie country music (or is that alt-country).
  • Graham CoxonA + E –  poor Mr. Coxon releases his finest solo record the same year of Blur’s triumphant single and Olympic themed concert. Don’t overlook this one though – it is a noisy masterpiece.
  • GrimesVisions –  cut up beats with a pop music focus. In an alternate world this would be played on every radio station. As it is, it was ridiculously popular in certain circles. The hype was true.
  • Heyward HowkinsThe Hale & Hearty –  1 of 2 records that made me long for Pennsylvania this year, it is a stunning record that will bring a smile to your face as you sing along to the Appalachian folk styled music.
  • HoneychurchWill  You Be There With Me - the 2nd record of 2012 that made me long for my home state. A mix of folk, country, and shoegazing that is simply breathtaking. I’m interested to see where they go from here.
  • Ian McCullochPro Patria Mori - singer of Echo & the Bunnymen returns with an under the radar solo record. It revels in melodies and might have been my favorite Echo related release in quite some time.
  • IsRainTrees Never Sleep - a 90’s styled “alternative” record that embraces the modern era. Aggression gives way to soothing melodies and vice versa.
  • James IhaLook to the Sky – “that guy” from The Smashing Pumpkins (original version) finally released his 2nd solo record 14 years after the 1st. More experimental at times though married to the sun-kissed melodies he is known for, Iha delivered perfection.
  • Lana Del ReyBorn to Die – Is this a guilty pleasure? The hipster community seemed to drop her as quickly as they had praised her, but I was entranced by the smoky vocals and James Bond type atmosphere. Sure, releasing 3 different versions of a record is ridiculous. I think that might be the point though.
  • Neil HalsteadPalindrome Hunches – Quite unexpectedly, this record began to take over my life. I found myself playing it non stop, completely transfixed by the perfect lyrics and bare bones music. Halstead’s finest solo album and it ranks right up there with Slowdive and Mojave 3.
  • Neil Young & Crazy HorsePsychedelic Pill – Neil’s 2nd record of the year was a double album masterpiece. Ridiculous feedback drenched guitar solos, lyrics from the heart, and sing-a-long anthems. What else do you want? I pretend I’m Neil as I play air guitar when I’m listening to this one.
  • Pet Shop BoysElysium – A slow burn kind of record, it is hopeful, reflective, and ultimately – triumphant. I like it even more now than I did when I 1st reviewed it. Do the Pet Shop Boys age? I want their elixir of life.
  • Serj TankianHarakiri - Serj’s quest for ultimate truth continues with an intoxicating mix of metal, rap, funk, and electronic f/x. Avoiding disgrace and being truthful. Brilliant.
  • Sonny LaneganNo Questions – Sonny’s instrumental work is a complete departure from his aggressive industrial work with White Pulp. Or is it? This album is a haunting electronic atmospheric masterpiece, bringing out feelings of pleasure and pain in equal measures.
  • The Cornelius CraneEP Too – This list is really geared towards full length releases, but The Cornelius Crane left me no choice but to list them. This is a modern Americana masterpiece, breathtaking in the way it taps into my emotional core.
  • The JanuariezAuthentic – post punk grunge funk classic? That sounds about right – The Januariez take the sounds of Tacoma / Seattle, WA and work them right into your soul.
  • The JuliettesClutch the Pearls - more Pacific Northwest Rock n Roll, but filtered through a fun perspective. Just because the guitars sound aggressive doesn’t mean the lyrics have to be doom and gloom. A refreshing album for 2012.
  • Wonky Doll and the EchoPleasant Thoughts – post-punk that sounds like it was released in the late 70’s, instead of updating the sound for the masses. Everything works to perfection here – haunting vocals, cutting lyrics, perfect instrumentation.
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