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Best Music of 2012, pt. 2

January 4, 2013

Despite fears to the contrary, I was able to continue writing this post, in the time between sleeping, eating junk food, and frying my brain on videogames.

Best EPs/Noisetrade Samplers

I listened to quite a few more EPS this year than I have in the last year. Perhaps it is just because I have a shorter attention span than in years past. Or perhaps it is because I have turned into a Noisetrade addict. Or perhaps it is just coincidence, and this coming year I will restrict myself to listening only to double albums.


1. Dogs Eating Dogs by blink-182. This EP combines the raw energy of blink’s earlier work with the more mature songwriting from their newer albums. “Boxing Day” is destined to become a classic.

2. Gold in The Shadows Sampler by William Fitzsimmons. William Fitzsimmons is a psychiatrist. He also plays soothing songs on the acoustic guitar. Listening to his music will cure all of your mental illnesses.

3. Shovels and Rope Noisetrade Sampler  by Shovels and Rope. What happens when you mix The Clash and Loretta Lynn with a bit of Dylan? Shovels and Rope, the best new thing to come out of American Folk music. If Flannery O’Connor made a playlist, she would have this band on it.

4.Dr. Dog Fall Sampler by Dr. Dog. Some of the best music is that which, upon first listening, you can’t decide if you love or hate. Dr. Dog does that for me. I can’t decide if their lo-fi, retro-sixties sound is annoyingly kitschy or pure genius–but I can’t stop listening. This EP has a special resonance for me because I listened to it while studying for a geology final. I hope I made an A.

4. Letters to the EditorNoisetrade Edition by Andrew Osenga. Along with being a sometimes member of Caedmon’s Call, Andrew Osenga is on a quest to become the Christian version of Bon Iver, and he’s not doing a bad job. It’s a little unfair to compare Osenga’s musings on youth and growing up with Justin Vernon’s magical incantations–both are good, just in different ways.

5. The Waits Room EP by Delta Spirit/I Think I’ve Found It EP by Delta Spirit. Delta Spirit is an everchanging band. I Think I’ve Found It showcases their earlier style–a loud, racous southern rock revival, propelled by Matt Vasquez’ nasally and occasionally off-key yelling/singing. The Waits Room shows a change in styles, from garage rock to Southern acoustic folk, with beautiful harmonies. Both are great EPs.

6. Invisible Empires EP by Sara Groves. The music on this EP is spiritually inspiring without becoming cheesy. Sara Groves is an important name to look for in Contemporary Christian Music, and this selection of live tracks from the album is solid.

7. Live At The Fillmore by The Punch Brothers. The Punch Brothers are infuriatingly awesome. Their music is the nerdy child of bluegrass that ended up becoming an engineer. Not only are they all great instrumentalists, they are able to write tight songs that showcase their skill without being over-the-top.

8. Tracks From The Attic by The Lumineers. The Lumineers got famous. I didn’t find out until after the fact. I still haven’t listened to their album. However, I have saved my indie cred by listening to this EP from Noisetrade (released before they got big), which has acoustic demo versions of their songs. Yeah, I knew them before they got big.

9.Ctrl Acoustic by Derek Webb. Everything Derek Webb touches turns to gold. This makes everyday tasks considerably more challenging. While I haven’t listened to the full-band version of Ctrl, the acoustic version was a good introduction into Derek’s new work, which deals with the relationship between man and technology. Derek’s lyrics are always poetic and insightful.

Best Songs.

1. “Adam’s Song” by blink-182. This is the song where blink “got serious.” Despite their propensity to stupid, vulgar and juvenile themes, blink can write good songs, and this is one of the best. This anti-suicide anthem is truly a classic.

2. “Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute” by Coheed and Cambria. Most of the time, track 1 of an album is mediocre, simply intended to hook the listener into the album so that they can experience the really good songs in the middle. This song is a massive exception. “Domino The Destitute” is a colossus of a song, overshadowing the entire album. The energy never lets up until the final, triumphant chorus.

3. “O Theo” by Matthew Perryman Jones. This song takes its place alongside Don McLean’s “Vincent (Starry Night)” as an awesome song written about Vincent Van Gogh. Jones’ voice soars above the ocean of instrumentation, and his lyrics, with their biblical references, sound like a prophecy out of the Old Testament.

4. “Green is the Colour” by Delta Mainline. A cover of an obscure Pink Floyd song from a little-known Scottish band. The whispered vocals and soft instrumentation create a wonderful soundscape. This is a band on the way to great things.

5. “Youth Is Wasted On The Young” by Young Galaxy. “I wouldn’t mind dying at all/if it weren’t for the songs I’d miss.” Young Galaxy’s do-it-yourself pop sound works for this haunting, but upbeat track. You’ll find yourself dancing to it…in an ironic way, of course.

6. “Jesus, The Horse Thief” by Kansas Bible Company. A psychedelic marching band tune, like John Phillip Sousa had he lived through the 60s. Need I say more?

7.  “Guilty Good Intentions” by Filigar. A rocking number full of sing-along choruses. It has a vibrancy and energy lacking in many newer bands.

8. “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” by A Day To Remember. I’ve already destroyed my indie cred by having a song by a hardcore band on the list of top songs, even though it’s three minutes of frenetic mayhem unequaled by anything else that I’ve listened to. Plus it has a guest appearance from the screamer of The Devil Wears Prada.

9. “Sea Of Diamonds (Sonic Youth Cover)” by Cuff The Duke. The Sonic Youth version of this song features a twenty-minute long section of chaotic noise. Cuff The Duke has saved us from this and presented the song in its three-and-a-half minute glory. A perfect soundtrack for driving across the country.

10. “How Long Must I Wait?” by Dr. Dog. I hate it when I feel like I have to write something about the song, but I can’t really think of anything to write. “This song is good–listen to it.” Do I have to write more? Why must I torture myself for words that won’t come?  Why should I burden the reader with empty adjectives that say nothing about the subject? Why do I have to write more? Why? Why? Why?

11. “Walking Over Water” by Matt Kearney. After that outburst in the paragraph above, the author has been taken to receive psychiatric care. We would like to inform you that this song is a great story song about love and loss.–The Editors

New Artist of the Year: Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew Perryman Jones is a rara avis–an artist who can be both intellectual and accessible. He is able to avoid the twin pitfalls of esotericism on the one hand, and playing to the cheap seats on the other.

Artist of the Year: Coheed and Cambria. The Afterman: Ascension was the album of this last semester. I listened to it constantly. You should too.

Album that I really dug, but only listened to once: Orso by Orso. It’s really weird.

Best Concert of the Year: The Temptations. At this point, my creative juices have failed. Words cannot describe how cool this concert was.

What was your favorite music of 2012? Comment and tell us.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2013 6:15 am

    Not mentioning the album “Barton Hollow” by the Civil Wars makes me doubt your credibility in all areas. Other than that, I really enjoyed these 2 posts.

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