old waver's top 50 albums of 2012


The blog has taken a back seat to my doomsday prepping lately, but I felt obligated to join the fray of year-end albums lists. A few caveats up front: I’m sure I forgot stuff or missed stuff or didn’t like stuff I was supposed to like. This is an incredibly subjective, absolutely biased and honestly somewhat random list of what I enjoyed over the past year.

Feel free to agree, disagree or add your selections in the comments, and log into Spotify to listen to full album streams of the entire list. Thanks and enjoy!

50. Metric – Synthetica
Perfectly polished Canadian synthpop:

49. Ringo Deathstarr – Mauve
Austin shoegazers with a ridiculous name and sweet pedalboards:

48. Lower Dens – Nootropics
Jana Hunter’s hypnotic krautrock outfit from Baltimore:

47. Man Without Country – Foe
Up and coming synthpop duo from Wales who recently toured with M83:

46. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
One of three 2012 releases for the prolific Bay Area throwback:

45. Toy – Toy
London psychedelic shoegaze following the lead of The Horrors:

44. Blondes – Blondes
Impressive full length debut from Ohio electronic duo:

43. Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Paris musician Melody Prochet’s bedroom pop fleshed out with the help of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker:

42. Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action At A Distance
Jangly solo experimentation from Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt:

41. Hammock – Departure Songs
Ambitious, gorgeous double album of ambient shoegaze from Nashville:

40. Orbital – Wonky
The techno pioneers returned with their first new album in 8 years:

39. The Men – Open Your Heart
Bombastic release from snot nosed Brooklyn post punks:

38. Grimes – Visions
Some moments of brilliance from one the year’s quirkiest new personalities:

37. Violens – True
Impeccably produced 80’s tinged guitar pop from NYC:

36. A Place To Bury Strangers – Worship
Sledgehammering noise from the church of Jesus and Mary Chain:

35. The Sea And Cake – Runner
The tenth studio album from Chicago’s art rock stalwarts:

34. Trust – TRST
Grimy, gothy synthpop from Toronto:

33. The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know
An electronic turn for the chronically depressed Scots:

32. The Soft Moon – Zeros
Shrouded in darkness, it’s a magnificent collision of synthpop and goth:

31. Ice Choir – Afar
Breathy synth side project from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Kurt Feldman:

30. Stars – The North
A bit of an electronic evolution for the Toronto indie veterans:

29. Tamaryn – Tender New Signs
Lush, sultry shoegaze from San Francisco via New Zealand:

28. Twin Shadow – Confess
Often overwrought, but undoubtedly inspired:

27. The Raveonettes – Observator
Maybe not a step forward for the Danish duo, but consistent as ever:

26. Porcelain Raft – Strange Weekend
Densely layered dream pop from Italian-born, New York based songwriter Mauro Remiddi:

25. Holograms – Holograms
Angst ridden punks from Sweden with a sound straight out of Factory Records:

24. Errors – Have Some Faith In Magic
Glaswegian experimental electro rock with moments of mind blowing ecstasy:

23. John Talabot – Fin
Diverse debut from the Spanish DJ/producer:

22. Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Dialed in synthpop bliss from the current masters of the genre:

21. Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
Natasha Khan’s electro chamber pop is powerful in its grandeur:

20. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs
After a muddling mid period, they’ve fully regained ass kicking form:

19. Soulsavers – The Light The Dead See
Organic and soulful, the arrangements work perfectly with guest vocalist David Gahan’s familiar baritone:

18. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
Dan Boeckner is the true hero of this indie “supergroup”:

17. Grizzly Bear – Shields
Intricate, progressive Americana that gets better with each listen:

16. School Of Seven Bells – Ghostory
Their first album as a duo and the strongest yet:

15. Cat Power – Sun
A stylistic leap for the enigmatic Chan Marshall:

14. Django Django – Django Django
Cheeky Brits in the spirit of The Coral and The Beta Band:

13. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
Gritty, muscular maturation from Cleveland prodigy Dylan Baldi:

12. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Jason Pierce survived two years of experimental chemotherapy for liver disease — this is the result:

11. Crystal Castles – III
Ethan Kath insisted on recording everything direct to tape, creating a new level of urgency and intensity:

10. Chairlift – Something
Uplifting art pop that beguiles thanks to the irrepressible Caroline Polachek:

9. The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull
The Jarmans carry on without Johnny Marr and return to their more rough and tumble roots:

8. DIIV – Oshin
Nevermind the phonetic spellings, this is brilliant jangle pop with dense guitar orchestration:

7. Liars – WIXIW
Pronounced “wish you”, it’s a detour into haunting electronic weirdness for veterans of the New York scene:

6. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Two dudes from Vancouver, who had almost broken up, ended up releasing the soundtrack to summer:

5. Frankie Rose – Interstellar
A pitch perfect love letter to 80’s guitar pop:

4. Beach House – Bloom
Not quite as arresting as Teen Dream, but still achingly beautiful:

3. Wild Nothing – Nocturne
Terrific sophomore effort from a bedroom project turned full band:

2. Tame Impala – Lonerism
The modern day masters of swirling psychedelia:

1. Chromatics – Kill For Love
Moody, spacious double album that bridges the gap between the future and past:


6 thoughts on “old waver's top 50 albums of 2012

  1. Old dude

    I listen to 3 radio stations: Alt Nation, the Edge, and the Ticket. I have heard of 5 of these bands. Not saying your list is flawed, but it seems a bit obscure to this mainstream old waver.

  2. Dorian

    Great list. I thought VCMG and Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra deserved to be on here. Worth mentioning IMO.

  3. Randomthot

    Davey, you rule. You forgot Moms by Menomena. But that’s understandable.
    Keep it up, you are my hero.

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