Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2012

Mar 27, 2013
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It always begins the same way. Every January, drunk on the musical riches of the previous 12 months, we find ourselves convinced that no year could match its predecessor. Then—little by little—we discover we're wrong. Here at Under the Radar we could argue that 2012 was an even better year for music than 2011 was, which is why we expanded our Top 80 best albums list from last year to a Top 100 best albums released in 2012.

Each of Under the Radar's writers submitted a list of their Top 35 favorite albums of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar's master Top 100 albums of 2012 below. Included, when available, are Rdio streams for each album.

This list will also appear in Under the Radar's forthcoming Best of 2012 Issue and several of the artists on this list are interviewed in that issue.  

1

Wild Nothing

Nocturne

Captured Tracks

Jack Tatum took a major sonic leap between his debut record and this follow-up. While Gemini put his hooky, home-brewed dreampop on full display, Nocturne gives it a slick studio polish that rivals the shoegaze era’s best. Many-layered and melodic, Nocturne isn’t just 2012’s best sequel, but its best album. - Austin Trunick

2

Tame Impala

Lonerism

Modular

Steeped in psychedelia, this collection of songs is swimming in a beautiful haze where atmosphere and melody meet in a perfect balance. We’re transported to the ’60s with hands outstretched into the future for a trip both familiar and exhilarating. The primal rumble of “Elephant” could be euphoria. By Danielle Sills

3

Beach House

Bloom

Sub Pop

Victoria Legrand’s smoky alto circles Bloom like a wreath, softening the edges of Beach House’s fourth album to a Polaroid-like glow. With the help of percussive organs and streamlined guitar lines, the Baltimore duo has created another breathtaking homage to love, life, heartbreak, and above all, passion. An emotive master class. By Laura Studarus

4

Bat For Lashes

The Haunted Man

Capitol

For her third album, ornate pop songstress Natasha Khan fanned away the patchouli-scented aesthetics of previous releases. Even in its minimalism, The Haunted Man still manages to convey a breathless sense of wonderment—as highlighted by opening track “Lilies” where Khan beatifically declares, “Thank God I’m alive.” Thank God indeed. By Laura Studarus

5

Django Django

Django Django

Ribbon Music

Django Django’s Mercury Prize-nominated debut is an exercise in catchy, psych-pop refrains and retro-futuristic flourishes driven by hand clapping, feet stomping, and tribal chants. Warning: you may find yourself cursing the Scottish quartet after loved ones catch you humming lead single “Default” with a fanatic-like intensity. Go—dance it out. By Laura Studarus

6

Chairlift

Something

Columbia

Re-establishing themselves as a duo after their 2008 debut Does You Inspire You and the departure of founding member Aaron Pfenning, Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly lifted the sounds of synthesized pop from its 2D plane and computer-generated fuzz into physical events, creating an incredibly consistent piece of work. By Mike Hilleary

7

Dirty Projectors

Swing Lo Magellan

Domino

On their way to further defining the band, Dirty Projectors provided one of the year’s great singles with the catchy minimalism of “Gun Has No Trigger,” managed to attach cooing verses to hard-rocking choruses for “Offspring Are Blank,” and completely nailed their take on Elvis and The Jordanaires. By Hays Davis

8

Fiona Apple

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Epic

Why, oh why does this shoot-from-the-hip eccentric only grace us with her fragile, ferocious, refreshingly unedited presence every six or seven years? Because, as Fiona proclaims in this album’s thesis song, “we can do anything we want.” On her most stripped-down record yet, she busted a gut on the wrenching “Regret,” had her heart broken on “Valentine,” and got loopy on “Every Single Night.” Throw in a hash bust in Texas and a tour cancellation to care for an animal—God bless one of the true originals. By John Norris

9

Grizzly Bear

Shields

Warp

Grizzly Bear are known for crafting meticulously-detailed works of beauty, but their third record makes a case for playing it a bit more loosely. While painstaking attention to nuance no doubt went into Shields, you can hear a new level of relaxation that’s as intoxicating as it is liberating. By Austin Trunick

10

Grimes

Visions

Arbutus/4AD

Visions, the third album from Montréal’s Claire Boucher, is an incomparable blend of dance music, pop, and ambient electronica, threaded with bewitching hooks, R&B influences, and implacable Eastern textures. On paper, it’s a musical cocktail that seems like it probably shouldn’t come together, but on Visions, it does so irresistibly. By Austin Trunick

11

Frank Ocean

Channel Orange

Def Jam

This is not just the best R&B record of 2012, but one of the best R&B records ever. Every song is a masterpiece. There’s the radio single (“Sweet Life”), the hip-hop track (“Super Rich Kids”), brave declarations of sexual identity, and Andre 3000. Channel Orange is a must-listen for any music fan. By Ryan E.C. Hamm

12

Chromatics

Kill for Love

Italians Do It Better

The masses who came to Johnny Jewel through his work on the Drive soundtrack in 2011 were rewarded even further by this sweeping double-LP. With 78 minutes’ worth of tonal shifts and turns, this expansive, cinematic record often makes it feel as if you’re watching a dark, twisting film noir. By Austin Trunick

13

Father John Misty

Fear Fun

Sub Pop

The gorgeous folk rock of “Funtimes In Babylon” may be a close kin to Josh Tillman’s work with Fleet Foxes, but it only took the three minutes of the instantly memorable “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” to set him apart as someone to watch in 2012. “Someone’s gotta help me dig,” indeed. By Hays Davis

14

Alt-J

An Awesome Wave

Canvasback Music

With wonderfully off-base lyrics referencing everything from mathematics to Maurice Sendak, Alt-J’s debut could be the smartest—or the strangest—album on this list. Joe Newman’s sinuous voice and the band’s alluringly weird songwriting caught on with listeners, and eventually won this U.K. four-piece a well-deserved Mercury Prize. By Austin Trunick

15

Yeasayer

Fragrant World

Secretly Canadian

The Brooklyn act’s third album may be their most challenging, but it’s quite possibly their best. Steeped in paranoia and understandable feelings of apprehension brought on by modern society’s darker tendencies, they channel their fears into a record that’s packed with rhythm and groove. Dread is rarely this danceable. By Austin Trunick

16

DIIV

Oshin

Captured Tracks

He’d paid his dues in other Brooklyn bands, but Z. Cole Smith more than came into his own in 2012, with a debut that offered motorik drive and swirling, chiming guitars. He covered Cobain and at times resembled the man, but neo-grunge was only part of Smith’s DIIV stew: part psych, part post-punk jangle, part fascination with shamanism and Inuit culture. We dove in and the water was fine. By John Norris

17

Spiritualized

Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Fat Possum

It’s entirely possible that Spiritualized will never again be quite as good as they were in 1997 with the incredible Ladies & Gentlemen We are Floating in Space. While this record doesn’t hit the same dizzying heights, it’s a brilliantly heady album that sweeps the listener along on a wave of euphoria that culminates in the gloriously singable “So Long You Pretty Thing,” that rare example of an uplifting anthem that avoids cloying cheesiness. By Dan Lucas

18

Passion Pit

Gossamer

Columbia

Fueled by the confession, guilt, and cathartic honesty of frontman Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit’s sophomore album is one of the most lyrically painful records of 2012. It also happens to be one of the year’s most musically euphoric, stacked to the brim with electro-pop. By Mike Hilleary

19

Jessie Ware

Devotion

Universal Island/PMR/Cherrytree

A critic’s darling on both sides of the Atlantic, Britain’s newest and most promising songstress Jessie Ware delivers on all 11 self-assured tracks of her debut album, Devotion. With wholehearted sincerity, Ware manages to weave an otherwise worn-out pop narrative of love, loss, and hope through a deliciously expressive tapestry of sexy synths and modern alternative R&B. Better watch your back, Sade. By Kenny S. McGuane

20

Bear in Heaven

I Love You, It’s Cool

Hometapes/Dead Oceans

Bear in Heaven could’ve easily emulated the anthemic “Lovesick Teenagers,” the highlight of their fine 2009 LP Beast Rest Forth Mouth. Instead they followed a path of greater resistance on I Love You, It’s Cool, a superb collection of warped electro-Kraut numbers. It’s a sprawling miasma, a less tame, more unwieldy beast than its predecessor, requiring multiple listens to crack its cryptic code. But once you’re in, it’s one hell of a party. By John Everhart

21

Lower Dens

Nootropics

Ribbon Music

Between the tricky rhythms of “Alphabet Song” and the hypnotic Neu!-ish pulse driving “Brains,” Nootropics revealed itself as an intriguingly multi-layered creation. And as the album settled in for the scorched-earth journey entitled “In the End is the Beginning,” you knew this was an onion meant to be peeled slowly. By Hays Davis

22

How to Dress Well

Total Loss

Acéphale

Total Loss, How to Dress Well’s second album, is the soundtrack to a hopeless dreamer being pulled back to Earth by the weight of the world. Like Mark Mothersbaugh in possession of a pitch-perfect R&B falsetto, Tom Krell creates Tenenbaum-worthy odes to love, loss, and the fragile beauty found in-between. By Laura Studarus

23

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

Mature Themes

4AD

APHG’s first proper band record, and Ariel Pink’s first collection of mainly new songs in five years, Mature Themes featured plenty of Pink in trademark ironic, button-pushing mode (“Kinski Assassin,” “Farewell American Primitive”), but also sweet and sincere (“Only In My Dreams,” “Baby”). “I’m just a rock ‘n’ roller from Beverly Hills,” Pink sings in “Symphony of the Nymph.” But he’s also a fiendish provocateur, an unrepentant reviver of soft rock sounds, and when he wants to be, a damn fine showman. By John Norris

24

Liars

WIXIW

Mute

Not that Angus Andrew and Co. particularly needed to go back to their darker, more experimental side, but WIXIW is a quite stunning new direction for Liars. Seemingly taking their influences from the same Krautrock and electronica as Radiohead did around the time of their great left turn, this could be the band’s most exciting release to date. By Dan Lucas

25

Purity Ring

Shrines

4AD

Purity Ring’s debut LP Shrines fulfills the potential their eminently hyped early singles hinted at. Megan James’ incorporeal nursery rhyme incantations poke holes through the ether of bandmate Corin Roddick’s cut-up low-end samples and plinky instrumentation, forging an unlikely yet brilliant aesthetic borrowing as equally from modern hip-hop as Björk. By John Everhart

26

The Invisible

Rispah

Ninja Tune

Inspired by the death of singer Dave Okumu’s mother, The Invisible’s second album channels those feelings of loss into a collection of songs that are equally heartbreaking and haunting. Uniformly and seductively melancholic, it’s as personal—and beautiful—an expression of grief as you’re likely hear on a record. By Austin Trunick

27

Twin Shadow

Confess

4AD

Indie’s favorite bad boy George Lewis Jr. (Twin Shadow) returned in 2012 with his second set of romantically tangled synth-pop tunes. Emoting like Morrissey at the end of the world, Lewis swaggers through a minefield of 1980s-inspired hooks, determined to flaunt his wounded heart even as the sky falls around him. By Laura Studarus

28

Dan Deacon

America

Domino

“Maestro” and “comrade” aren’t titles that normally coexist, but you might say the Wizard of Wham City juggled both in the creation of this grand marriage of the electronic, orchestral, and politically conscious. Side A’s frenetic “Guilford Avenue Bridge” and “Lots” recalled Spiderman of the Rings’ cartoon rush, but it was “USA,” the dystopic sea-to-shining-sea B-side suite that truly impressed. Deacon will never bring you down, but if you listened closely to this very modern protest record’s grim vision, he made you think. By John Norris

29

Swans

The Seer

Young God

It’s tough to appreciate the crushing beauty of Swans’ The Seer at anything less than full volume. The second album into the second era of Michael Gira’s seminal post-punk act, The Seer is a lengthy sprawl of drones, growls, and clattering rhythms that rewards patient listeners with its deeply nuanced layers. By Austin Trunick

30

Choir of Young Believers

Rhine Gold

Ghostly International

These Danes have mastered a sound that’s widely spacious yet still feels intimate. Singer Jannis Noya Makrigiannis’ longing tenor is the heart of Choir of Young Believers, but its orchestral backing and their use of warped tape effects make the music feel even more nostalgic. He pines and we’re pining with him. By Austin Trunick

31

Hot Chip

In Our Heads

Domino

Recapturing the wonky, synth-pop styling of 2006’s The Warning has proved to be a tough task for Hot Chip. But with the release of In Our Heads, the U.K. electro-poppers finally found some semblance of form. As you’d expect, the quintet’s fifth LP is an infectious melee of disco-glittered melodies and kaleidoscopic effects. Yet amidst this floor-filling lather are speckles of transient, other-worldly grooves and melancholic wig-outs that reveal a new found sense of wisdom. While it’s hardly the sound of a band growing old gracefully, In Our Heads may well signify Hot Chip’s first step into adulthood. By Billy Hamilton

32

Violens

True

Slumberland

True harkens back strongly to ’80s dream pop and ’90s shoegaze, an erudite amalgamation of Pale Saints, Tears For Fears, and a dash of late ’70s Brian Eno thrown in for good measure. Yet Violens cannily push enough at the boundaries of their heroes’ aesthetics to render the album eminently forward-looking, never pandering to cheap nostalgia. The record peaks with the sublime “Totally True,” its glorious high harmonies shadowing singer Jorge Elbrecht like a guardian angel as he grapples with the perfidy of a lover, plaintively imploring, “I want to know that you’re true.” It’s verisimilitude perhaps, but the only certainty here is that Elbrecht takes us on one hell of an emotional journey, keenly articulated with wide-eyed self-awareness. By John Everhart

33

Moonface

With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery

Jagjaguwar

When Spencer Krug packed for Finland to collaborate on an album with Helsinki post-rockers Siinai, he took some serious relationship baggage along with him. Heartbreaking Bravery was the most melodic, song-oriented release yet under Krug’s Moonface alias, and it vented post-relationship angst in almost every track. Ditching the dragon-slaying concerns of the Sunset Rubdown era in favor of battles more domestic in nature, Krug’s love turned “war” had him “Headed for the Door,” and in the near-funereal title track, heartbreak was rendered majestic. With vocals as rich and fluid as he’s ever recorded—a far cry from his Wolf Parade yelp of yore—he channelled Bowie on “Yesterday’s Fire” and even managed to make “bloody lips” rhyme with “Stevie Nicks” (sort of). The sun may have set on Wolf and Sunset, but Krug’s chapter three is proving to be just as engaging. By John Norris

34

Field Music

Plumb

Memphis Industries

Those who feel that intelligent pop music ended with bands like XTC should spend some quality time with brothers David Brewis and Peter Brewis of Sunderland, England’s Field Music, who pull off combining gorgeous romanticism, some Zeppelin-ish turns, and proggy complexity. That’s merely in the first three minutes, by the way. By Hays Davis

35

Taken By Trees

Other Worlds

Secretly Canadian

Swedish pop darling Victoria Bergsman sounds as confident as ever on her third solo outing as Taken By Trees. Whereas sophomore album East of Eden was recorded in Pakistan, Other Worlds takes its inspiration from a more relaxed locale, Hawaii. It’s a laidback and dub-infused pop album brimming with enough sophistication and culture to help while away a few hours on the beach or bring some sun to a cold winter’s day. By Kenny S. McGuane

36

Menomena

Moms

Barsuk

Despite the much publicized departure of founding member Brent Knopf, Menomena have done an impressive job of carrying on regardless. The Portland outfit’s fifth album, Moms, maintains their unconventional brand of meandering, off-piste motifs. The matadorial guitars and cascading percussion are all in check, as is the soul-searching subject matter that scrapes perilously close to the bone. But Moms is much more than just standard Menomena fare. These 10 cuts are charged with a current of brutal, unrelenting oppression that’s as thrilling as it is absorbing. Menomena MkII, it seems, is working out rather nicely. By Billy Hamilton

37

Trust

TRST

Arts & Crafts

Trust’s debut is a well-balanced blend of synth pop and goth rock. Robert Alfons’ haunting baritone blends wonderfully with the pulsing, electronic accompaniment; it’s music as suitable for the dance floor as for candlelight listening. Some elements will rattle your nerves; others will make you want to shake your ass. By Austin Trunick

38

Divine Fits

A Thing Called Divine Fits

Merge

A marriage of musical minds—Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Handsome Furs/Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner—that sounds so right you would think they’d been playing together their whole careers. Pairing Daniel’s jittery rhythms with Boeckner’s danceable synth work, A Thing Called Divine Fits mines enough of the territory between each musician’s signature sounds to be totally satisfying to fans of either. This new band—they prefer not to be called a “supergroup”—plans to work on a new album as soon as touring wraps; it’s a safe assumption that we’ll be hearing a lot more of Divine Fits’ highly infectious rock ‘n’ roll in the future. By Austin Trunick

39

Paul Banks

Banks

Matador

Bombastic ennui? Sure why not. Paul Banks’ second solo album (and first produced under his given name) sees the Interpol frontman expanding the Goth-chic confines of his day job with the help of additional percussive textures, acoustic elements, and spoken word samples. The result is nothing short of some of this year’s finest je ne sais quoi. Wait, I do know what—it’s called cool and he has it in spades. By Laura Studarus

40

Frankie Rose

Interstellar

Slumberland

Interstellar, Frankie Rose’s second LP and first without backing band The Outs, has a singularity of purpose sorely lacking on her 2010 debut. This is an audacious album, one inspired by science fiction stories half remembered from her youth. It’s suffused with the quixotic idealism of looking up at the stars and divining your future, the recklessness of a late night swim, and ultimately the redemptive power of sublimating these experiences into an undeniably gorgeous collection of songs. Rose sends up The Go-Betweens, The Cure, and Arthur Russell reverently on this record rife with nutmeg sweet harmonies and resplendent dream pop melodies, transcending legions of ’80s aping charlatans for one key reason—her astonishing faculty for writing a killer hook. By John Everhart

41

Sharon Van Etten

Tramp

Jagjaguwar

Van Etten’s third album marks an artist in transition. Not only does its title refer to the period during writing and recording when the singer/songwriter had no permanent home, but the songs indicate closure with the relationship tribulations examined on her first two records. Van Etten collaborated with producer Aaron Dessner of The National and enlisted a coterie of guests—Zach Condon, Walkmen drummer Matt Barrick, Julianna Barwick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner—to flesh out her sound, resulting in layers of vocals, instrumental atmospheres, and new heights attained on the ominous rocker, “Serpents,” and the swelling ballads, “All I Can” and “I’m Wrong.” By Chris Tinkham

42

Kindness

World, You Need a Change of Mind

Casablanca/Terrible

Retro-tastic bandleader Adam Bainbridge is a master at repurposing, slyly borrowing elements of R&B and disco and stirring them into a chillwave-style groove to create debut album, World, You Need a Change of Mind. It’s a formula that could have easily become dated in a lesser musician’s hands. But Bainbridge proves that cool never goes out of style. By Laura Studarus

43

Chad Valley

Young Hunger

Cascine

Fresh from a day of surf and sun, Chad Valley places his sand-covered fingerprints all over the 11 electric tracks of his debut full-length, Young Hunger. Valley peppers his 1980s tunes with appearances from a few good friends, including El Perro Del Mar, Glasser, Twin Shadow, and Active Child. The result is a party with the legs and grooves to go all night long. By Laura Studarus

44

Leonard Cohen

Old Ideas

Columbia

At 77-years-old, after sad financial problems forced him out of semi-retirement, Leonard Cohen dropped an album that bounces between humorous and harrowing; the poet’s wit certainly hasn’t dulled with age, and his singing voice has only gotten better. In truth, he hasn’t made a record this good since his 50s. By Austin Trunick

45

Cat Power

Sun

Matador

“All the friends we used to know ain’t coming back,” croons Chan Marshall on the vagabond’s lament “Manhattan.” The track, like much of the superb Sun, concerns itself with the deterioration of relationships over the course of time and distance. The stylistic breadth encompassed throughout the album is stunning, from the skuzzy, syncopated wild man’s blues exultation “Silent Machine,” to the 11-minute kiss-the-sky anthem “Nothin’ But Time.” The latter finds guest vocalist Iggy Pop growling with wizened assurance, “You ain’t got nothing but time/And it ain’t got nothing on you.” And in an era when few seem to find enough time to listen to records all the way through, Sun demands it. It’s that good. By John Everhart

46

Japandroids

Celebration Rock

Polyvinyl

Explosive and euphoric, the sophomore LP from Vancouver’s two-man band of Brian King and David Prowse plays like a soundtrack to those fleeting moments in life when communal exhilaration supersedes everyday routine. Any band can turn guitars up to 11 and smash away at drums, but Japandroids’ blitzkrieg sounds vital, with riffs and sing-along choruses that penetrate the bloodstream and head straight to the heart. Lyrically, King taps into rock ‘n’ roll’s archetypal lexicon and motifs, adding to the album’s urgent defiance of time ticking away, but while he juxtaposes the words in a way that make them his own, they feel like ours. By Chris Tinkham

47

Ultraísta

Ultraísta

Temporary Residence

If your band includes Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and Beck/R.E.M./Thom Yorke percussionist Joey Waronker then the risk is that you’ll be judged against everyone’s alt-rock animus. Ultraísta lives up to all expectations though, sounding like all the band’s mates (Atoms for Peace, Burial, Four Tet, Flying Lotus, et al) albeit with a melodic pop twist that refuses to be obfuscated by glitches and twitchy percussion. By Dan Lucas

48

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Cobra Juicy

Rad Cult

Cobra Juicy has everything you’d want from a Black Moth Super Rainbow album and more: wonky electronic sounds, weird, scary digital vocals, a special edition sold in a terrifying latex mask. But importantly, it has structure, suggesting that perhaps for the first time there’s some method to their madness. Their best album yet. By Austin Trunick

49

First Aid Kit

The Lion’s Roar

Wichita

On account of Bright Eyes being the catalyst for Klara and Johanna Söderberg to form First Aid Kit circa 2007, the Swedish sisters jumped at the opportunity to record their second LP with producer Mike Mogis in Omaha, Nebraska, home base for Conor Oberst’s Bright Eyes sessions with Mogis through the years. With father/bassist Benkt and drummer Mattias Bergqvist in tow, and some Omaha mainstays lending orchestral flourishes, the folk/country duo accomplished a rare feat in its artistic growth by crafting an album—from the breezy “Emmylou” to the plaintive “This Old Routine”—that is both musically more expansive and lyrically more incisive. By Chris Tinkham

50

Porcelain Raft

Strange Weekend

Secretly Canadian

Mauro Remiddi (Porcelain Raft) makes strident tunes for dreamers. Full-length Strange Weekend is ultimately a pop album, a flight of lo-fi fancy anchored by some very real hooks, able to soothe but never bore, and dally with sentimentality without veering into sap. Woven into the shimmering haze of drum loops, tape hisses, and gently strummed guitars are elements that prove Remiddi’s not-so-secret rock center. A pounding synth refrain here, a creditable falsetto there—it’s enough to coax even the most ardent of bedroom recording aficionado out of the boudoir and into the light. By Laura Studarus

51

Lord Huron

Lonesome Dreams

IAMSOUND

52

Cloud Nothings

Attack on Memory

Carpark

53

Melody’s Echo Chamber

Melody’s Echo Chamber

Fat Possum

54

Animal Collective

Centipede Hz

Domino

55

School of Seven Bells

Ghostory

Vagrant/Ghostly International

56

Flying Lotus

Until the Quiet Comes

Warp

57

Laetitia Sadier

Silencio

Drag City

58

Zambri

House of Baasa

Kanine

59

The Walkmen

Heaven

Fat Possum

60

Dum Dum Girls

End of Daze EP

Sub Pop

61

Benjamin Gibbard

Former Lives

Barsuk

62

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

‘Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Constellation

63

Kendrick Lamar

good kid, m.A.A.d city

Interscope/Aftermath/Top Dawg

64

The Mynabirds

GENERALS

Saddle Creek

65

The Darcys

Aja

Arts &Crafts

66

Foxygen

Take the Kids Off Broadway EP

Jagjaguwar

67

Bruce Springsteen

Wrecking Ball

Columbia

68

Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny

Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose

Mute

69

Efterklang

Piramida

4AD

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JACK DEL REY
December 21st 2012
9:58pm

30 years and not a single word. Thanks again for ignoring us, but we don’t pay blood money for reviews.

Sean
December 22nd 2012
12:51am

For the most part I’m on board with your picks, but I’m quite surprised that 100 albums deep there is no sign of Lotus Plaza-Spooky Action at a Distance. Which is in my top 3 along with Wild Nothing and Beach House.

steven
December 22nd 2012
9:11pm

Now I’m sure I did the right thing by letting my subscription go. Uber-hipness to the point of forgetting organic musicality. I know UTR is not No Depression, but these albums are so devoid of stringed instruments and literate singer-songwriters and so largely imbued with a shoegaze-electronica studio sheen that UTR’s definition of music needs to be called into question. I applaud that you have largely ignored “top forty” and “urban pop” shit, but where is the diversity?

rooiu
December 25th 2012
2:46pm

one of the best lists around and one of the few that have noticed and appreciated Dan D.‘s ‘America’ and Django Django’s debut LP..
Merry Christmas to you guys!

steve D.
December 26th 2012
2:51am

This is without question the best, and most unbiased list I’ve read. Obviously everyone won’t agree with rankings, but it’s clear that UTR judged art for the sake of art - that is what any proper critic should do, and what most others have failed at. Kudos UTR - Best music source around.

T Strix
December 26th 2012
11:28pm

Great list. Could have used some Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Electric Guest and Preteen Zenith, but its still the best list I’ve seen this year.

Laura Studarus
December 27th 2012
6:43am

Hi JACK DEL REY,

We have not nor have we ever taken money in exchange for reviews or positions on our “Best of” lists.

Thanks for reading!
Laura

Cori
December 28th 2012
4:08pm

Alt-J is getting the most plays around my house.  I also really enjoyed listening to Kishi Bashi this year.  Pop + strings + huge talent!

jeffort23
December 29th 2012
8:10pm

My (humble) best music of 2012::

http://ludditestereo.net/2012/12/23/best-music-of-2012-20-16/

Hunter
December 31st 2012
2:11am

You guys are so missing out on Legend, the industrial electronic rock duo from Iceland.

https://www.facebook.com/Legendband

andy roddick
January 8th 2013
8:28am

Nice job, it’s a good post. The info is good to know. I am very happy to read this article. I really appreciate this, hope to see more posts soon. Thank you for you article.

Whitney
February 15th 2013
5:16pm

While I do agree with you on a handful of these albums I have to say that you may have missed your mark by not including Real Estate’s album “Days” which as a whole is one of the best records I have heard in years and that can be compared to Wild Nothing’s “Nocturne”. As a subscriber to UTD I would like to see this band get more recognition and possibly an article. You should check into it AND the album. Thanks UTD!

jocuri
February 16th 2013
3:53pm

Laetitia Sadier’s album rank should be higher.

Dan
April 26th 2013
4:37pm

Seriously… this music is 80% reverb.  A few music theory classes should be required for reviewers.