Alex’s Favorite Albums of the Year

10. Bish Bosch by Scott Walker

Scott-Walker-Bish-Bosch

I know about as many people who care for Scott Walker the musician as I do Scott Walker the Governor.  Scott Walker the musician is one of my favorites.  Imagine Joe Jonas going off on his own, and creating bizarre, atonal music and chanting over it.  This is his heaviest record in a long time.  Also his darkest in a while, and that’s saying something.

Also… his funniest.

9. Dopesmoker by Sleepsleep-dopesmoker-2012

A bit of a cheat, as this album’s been out in various forms for years now.  But THIS is the official one.  What may well be my favorite metal album of all time as it was intended to be heard, reissued by the venerable Southern Lord label.

Legally, I can’t advise you to toke up before pressing play… but… you know.

8. People Hear What They Say by Oddisee people_hear_what_they_see_304x304-304x304

A D.C. producer/rapper bringing back some real East-Coast boom bap.  Don’t sleep on him.

7. Provincial by John K. Samsonjksalbum

I’ve been a huge Weakerthans fan since high school, and really enjoyed their shift from punkier story-telling to countrified chamber-pop.  This album is the final realization of that transition, to the point that you’d never believe Samson once played bass in Propoghandi.  A lot of these songs appeared earlier on his EP’s, but there are a few new stand-out tracks.

6. Nehru Jackets by Heemsheems-nehru-jackets.1

There’s no more Das Racist, which is a crying shame.  But it seems like these guys will still be making music anyway, and if this mixtape is any indication… well, it’s gonna be great.

5. Yellow/Green by Baroness Baroness-YellowGreen-Artwork

Baroness and Mastodon are the best metal bands going, and both are embracing much more melodic song structures.  The only double album on here.  Pick it up.

4. Silver Age by Bob MouldBob-Mould-Silver-Age

A homer pick, plain and simple.  Mould is back in a big way, and he’s rocking much harder than any 50 year old man has any right to be.  Plus, great drums from Jon Wurster.

3. Good Kid / m.a.a.d. City by Kendrick Lamarkendrick-lamar-good-kid-maad-city-cover

I don’t have much to say about this album that hasn’t been said elsewhere.  He can rap, he can produce.  He’s here in a big way.  I find some of the character stuff a little aggravating, which prevents it from going higher.

2. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean2012-07-11-corange

I was worried when Frank came out – stay with me – because it seemed like it could be construed as a publicity grab as opposed to a man being honest about his identity in a public forum.  I feared it would overshadow the music.  It hasn’t.  “Pyramids” is every bit as majestic as it was when first I heard it.  “Bad Religion” is every bit as heartbreaking.  Essential.

1. Mr. M by Lambchophomepage_large.6a3a8164

“Nashville’s most fucked up country band” produces a beautiful and very sad album in tribute to the late, great Vic Chesnutt.  Every song on here has beautiful arrangements, complex and haunting lyrics, and fantastic performances.  From the opening curveball – a swell of strings followed by Kurt Wagner mumble-singing “I don’t know what the fuck they talk about” – to the fade out on the last track, this album is inventive and surprising and just g-damn gorgeous.  I’ve listened to this the most of any album from this year, perhaps because it came out in January, but still.  Absolutely beautiful.

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