December 31, 2012

QuickCrit's Top 40 from 2012: 1 - 10

1. Beach House - Bloom
Bloom is sonic dream pop perfection that did what I thought would be impossible: it actually topped 2010's brilliant Teen Dream. Meticulous songs, textured, layered, subtle, minimal, enchanting, this album has it all. - Mona 
Didn't think this effort could match their previous one, but I was surprised. This album is almost entirely cold, but it is never bleak. - JC Hackett 
Bloom is every bit as (if not more) breathtaking as Beach House's last effort, Teen Dream. Each song is a perfect little package of dream pop brilliance. - Max D 
Hard to pick a favorite song since every one is solid. It's meant to be experienced as an album, not as singles. - Marina 
The one band that shows listeners that a bit more of the same isn't necessarily a bad thing. - MikeIsTall  
It's true that this album does not seem that different from their last one but I don't care because I listen to both of them a lot. - Ancient Indian Wizard  
They're so good, I thought they were Swedish! - TheCraneWife  
Saccharine sweet enough for me to listen to while shopping on Black Friday at the mall and not throw more than 35 stinkeyes at the writhing throng of crap shambling all around me. - Rain 
2. Twin Shadow - Confess
This album is so sexy it's crazy. - Ancient Indian Wizard
Twin Shadow's 'Confess' sounds like the work of an orphaned child raised by Prince, The Boss & Morrissey.With brash, arena size production & confessional songwriting to back it up 'Confess'  burns with cinematic fire. It's a love letter to the 1980's that stands up to the quality of any pop music made in that era. - Lucas
Twin Shadow's first album, forget, is pretty damn good, but Confess is perfect. It's sexy and weird and uses synth-y guitar in a Prince way. - TheCraneWife
This album's thesis is that love ought to be recognized and experienced... not merely analyzed. Brilliant effort. - JC Hackett
The songs do conjure up nostalgia for the 80's, but in a very fresh and not contrived way. And he's got a lot of passion. Great album. - Joey P
The first time I ever heard "Slow" off of 2010's "Forget," I was instantly hooked on his obvious obsession with 80's downer bands, his brand of new wave revivalism, musical prowess and generally undeniable sexiness. - Mona
3. Grizzly Bear - Shields
The latest offering from these guys nailed it for me.  It was one of those albums that you know you're going to love from the first listen.    - Tex
I thing I love the most about this band is their ability to make complex music without losing feel or accessibility. I'm in awe of the sheer musical brilliance happening in these songs. - Max D
Dark and understated with flourishes of pop brilliance 'Shields' accomplishes the rare combination of challenge & accessibility. Seemingly the heir apparent to Radiohead, Grizzly Bear always seem to make this sound easy. – Lucas
I doubt this shocks anyone, but this album is fucking incredible! Considering I have yet to get over and am still regularly listening to 2009's "Veckatimest," I'm certain I'll still be listening to "Shields" on the regular for the next few years, as well. - Mona
Their sound is impeccable, from the cutting guitar riffs to the slick drum beats. - Joey P 
4. Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Celebration Rock exemplified anthemic rock, raw energy and good vibes. Brian and David taught us that you can rock hard and be a nice guy too, - MikeIsTall
Driving, to-the-point guitar rock that doesn't waste a single note on the entire album. Pure joy coming from your speakers. - CloningMishap
I can practically smell the sour beer, cigarettes & pepperoni as I crank it up again and again. - awmercy
What a killer live act! Melodic noise, exuberant songs, garage rock feel, youthful and hopeful spirit, a hint of Springsteen, and raw energy that never sounds overly produced or watered down. - Mona
The most fun rock album of the last few years. - thebrownshaun 
5. Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
I don’t think there is a less-than-stellar song on the album -- an album characterized by masterful songwriting, thoughtful harmonies, and catchy choruses and rhythms. - NightraiN 
I'd been excited about a full length from Lord Huron for over a year, after hearing a couple of their early EPs.  Not disappointed!   - Tex 
Inhabiting the space somewhere between Vampire Weekend & My Morning Jacket, Lord Huron's debut album seems to highlight the infinite possibilities of the post indie era. It joins 'Graceland' as inspired world-pop with straight alt-country Americana. – Lucas
A late addition but I've been playing this album nonstop with no sign of ceasing. - Nesto
I just jumped on this bandwagon so other's might say his earlier stuff is cooler but I never listened to it.  I did however listen to this album a whole heck of a lot. - Ancient Indian Wizard
I didn't want to like this album because Jesse said that I would. He was right and I hate being predictable. - ve1cro
Their atmospheric indie folk gives me chills. – awmercy
Beautiful album. - Joey P
6. The Lumineers - The Lumineers
This band wasn't even on my radar when I saw them at Wolf Trap. They opened for Josh Ritter and Brandi Carlisle and the entire crowd was clapping and singing along. I came home a total convert. I am eager to see what they do next. - Ann
This album has a youthful upbeat vibe and the sing songy story telling really grabbed me. Favorite verse? “I made her laugh, I made a pass...she said that’s cool, but classy girls don’t kiss in bars, you fool”. – Brasilliant
This is a feel good album, with super catchy jams and singalong hooks. Stir it into the pot with Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men, and you'll be upbeat indie folk rockin' for a few hours straight. - NightraiN
The Lumineers apparently signed the single best licensing deal in the history of music as half the CD started showing up on car commercials, beer commercials, bad movie trailers, good movie trailers, and maybe even Mitt Romney campaign ads. I don't that for sure, but I wouldn't bet against it. – JT
That Bing commercial really worked on me. - Ashley
I really like this band and whenever the songs come up on shuffle or a playlist, I always enjoy them. They're high on the list of bands I'd like to see live. - Anne
7. Mumford & Sons - Babel
Perfect for when you're in the mood for some melancholic poetry. - Nesto
Yeah, I worship at the church of Mumford. They put Idris Elba in a video and I became a parishioner for life. (Though in all fairness I really loved the last album.) - Ann
The album kinda sounds like one long song, but who really cares when that one long song is excellent. They seem to have come along at the perfect time in musical history, 'cause people love that indie folk rock. I'm with the masses, this shite is excellent. - NightraiN
If you like their first album, Sigh No More, this'll do the trick. It's a little more polished (hence more radio time), and ready for big venues, but somehow they still pull off the street busker vibe. - Brasilliant
The sophomore album did not disappoint, but I found it just a tad too cohesive compared to the surprises on "Sigh No More." Don't worry Marcus Mumford, I still love you and your delicious vest and tie wearing ways. - LVD
I love that some British folk nerds have made banjos and all-dude harmony cool to the hipster (and top 40) crowd. But as much as I like the music and enjoy listening to it, there are so many God-yearning, light-seeking, arm-lifting, sky-reaching lyrics that even Bono might say "too much." But again, badass banjo mojo. - JT
The songs don't feel quite as impactful as the best ones from Sigh No More but still good. - Graham 
8. Of Monsters & Men
Love. – Ashley
If a bunch of music students created a band with the sole purpose of finding the G-Spot between Arcade Fire and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, this would be it. After seeing them live, I'm positive they'll be impressing for years to come. - NightraiN
Good stuff. Especially the first three songs. - Graham
Discovered them toward the end of the year, but I think they have great musical chemistry, and have a good grasp on hooks that fit their voices. I listened to this for about a week straight when I got it. - Ann
9. Miike Snow - Happy to You

Just the right dose of electronic weirdness for my liking. - Nesto
The Swedes really know how to party. - Lydizzle

10. fun. - Some Nights
Probably my most favorite album ever. - Staci
The songs get stuck in your head... these guys have all the makings of a one-album wonder but it's fun (ha) in the meantime. – Ann
I tried really hard to hate this cd but it just kept ending up back in my cd player. Damn you, Fun! I give in. You win. – CloningMishap
Long time fav. - Ashley 


ve1cro said...

I am at work today and this list is making it all feel ok. Thank you Quickcrit!

awmercy said...

Awesome. Glad you are enjoying it. I'll post the playlist in a few minutes so you have some workday jams.

ve1cro said...

Yup, this is exactly what I needed. I am turning it up right now!
Thanks again!

Mona said...

Great comments this year, love the soundcloud inserts too! Not nearly as controversial as last year's picks, but definitely surprised Purity Ring, Menomena, and/or Dirty Projectors aren't even in the Top 40?! This list proves I've got a lot of musical catching up to do from 2012 :)

Mona said...

ps - I totally called the #1! I'm actually surprised too that it made #1, ha.

awmercy said...

Are you complaining that you only picked the first 4 of the top 10? ;)

Mona said...

I know, right?? How the hell did 4 of my top 5 make 4 of the collective top 5!? That's one for the QC history books. Hard to get on board with the second half of the Top 10 though. Fun. and Mumford beating out Grimes, Fiona (forgot to include her!), and Tame Impala!? It hurts to read that, ha.

awmercy said...

I feel like we have this exchange every year when you are shocked everyone doesn't share your taste. Ha ha.

Tame Impala is pretty damn awesome though. I almost feel we should do separate rock, pop, and electronic lists. This year our top 10 rock albums would be Japandroids, Tame Impala, Alabama Shakes, Titus Andronicus, Lucero, the Heavy, Shovels & Rope, A Place to Bury Strangers, Divine Fits, King Tuff. I could live with that.

Mona said...

Haha, eww, please! This has nothing to do with my oft-questionable taste, it was more about the few albums I anticipated would be universally loved by all who contribute: especially Tame. Did not think it wouldn't make more people's Top 10's for sure! Purity Ring and Dirty Projectors I expected somewhere in top 40 at the very least, if not on lower end. I know some dudes on here love DP. Odd.

That's a kickass rock list. Love the idea of lists by genre for sure! Judging from this year's list, I missed out on a lot of great stuff from artists I know and then a shitload I never even heard of :/

Nightrain said...

Comment on Tame Impala: I saw them live about a year ago and they shredded - absolutely killed it. So I had high expectation for the album. The album is fine, but that special something from their live show didn't translate onto the album. T'was disappointed.

Comment on separate lists: I believe that will be too confusing, considering most people cannot even describe what "kind" of music they like. I think genre specific playlists would be appropriate, but for the list to be a true Best of 2012, it needs the mix and accompanying controversy.

awmercy said...

Maybe you haven't listen to the Tame Impala loud enough? Or maybe I need to see them live.

Mona said...

Good call, NT. Genre playlists of the top picks would be awesome! Really enjoyed all the Soundcloud inclusions, guys. Great feature.

It's also good for people who wanna explore what they missed, but are too lazy to search for the mp3s/track listing (I'm guilty of that!).

Jeremy said...

Oh man I am kicking myself now for not contributing a list. The only album I could unequivocally get behind this year was The Gaslight Anthem's Handwritten, and I figured there would be enough Gaslight love on here to carry it. Oops. Still, a LOT of new stuff for me to check out. Thanks for putting this together again!

awmercy said...

Another Gaslight selection definitely could've bumped it up into contention depending on your ranking.

jukeboy77 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jukeboy77 said...

great stuff! thanks again for putting this together!