Better Late Than Never: Favorite Albums of 2012
Published on March 11, 2013 by guest author: Eric Perkins

Though we're well into 2013 at this point, I listened to enough great (or at least really good) albums in 2012 that I would be remiss if I didn't try to convince some people to give them a listen. In general, I thought there were a lot of good songs in 2012, but albums ... not so much. In fact, three of the albums I listened to most in 2012 technically came out in 2011:

- Bombadil: All That The Rain Promises
With the exception of the opening track, which I didn't feel fit particularly well with the rest of the album, I liked every song here. I couldn't possibly classify their genre, though folk would be in there somewhere. I ordered this album as a CD directly from  the band and it was by far the best package I have ever had delivered, complete with a personally written note from one of the band members. This band makes me wish I was back down in North Carolina so I actually had a chance to see them live. The song that first hooked me was "Laundromat," which you can stream here.

- Veronica Falls: Veronica Falls

This album came out so long ago (though still 2011) that Veronica Falls already came out with their next album a few weeks ago. There self-titled debut became my go-to summer album and I played it in the car with the windows down a ridiculous number of times. Though hailing from London, the band channels an American west coast vibe and their sound scratched a surf guitar itch that I feel every year when the weather starts to get warm. Stand-out tracks include "Bad Feeling" and "Come On Over." 

- YACHT: Shangri-La 

I would normally hesitate to recommend YACHT to the general populous. They're a bit weird and often profane. But this album reaches for a broader audience. There's still some weirdness here, but the title track (and album closer) is a ridiculously catchy pop wonder that will have you singing along by the second time the chorus rolls around. Plus, I'm always a sucker for any song that drops some "la la las."

And as for the albums that actually came out in 2012:

- Hospitality: Hospitality  

I'll admit that I had to give this album several listens before it really started to grow on me. Lead singer (and main song writer) Amber Papini's voice takes some getting used to, and the lyrics can be dense. But I found myself listening to it more and more. If you're familiar with (and like) another former Merge band, Camera Obscura, you might give Hospitality a try. A bit twee, but I go for at least one twee album every year.

- Imperial Teen: Feel the Sound

And speaking of Merge bands, I've come very late to the Imperial Teen game. Though I've heard some of their songs here and there on Merge compilations, I never felt compelled to buy one of their albums. After listening to Feel the Sound over and over (and over and over) this past year, I'm now looking forward to checking out their back catalog. Perfect pop fun.

- Santigold: Master of My Make-Believe

If you told me a year ago that I'd fall for an album that included a track called "Look At These Hoes," I would have been incredulous. But here I am. It says something that I have a hard time picking a favorite song from this album (though if forced, I'd probably go with "Big Mouth"). This was the album I put on when I want to simultaneously zone out and dance. I don't want to overthink why I like it.

- Django Django: Django Django

It's not that Django Django has an identity crisis - it is identity crisis. Listen to a single song from this album, and you might get a folk song, or a rock song, or a techno song, or a weird amalgamation of the three. What ultimately appealed to me about this album was that the band has fused organic sounds (drums, hand claps, etc.) with electronic music that probably shouldn't work, but does. I've listened to this album many, many times over the past 6 months or so, and when I inevitably start putting their songs on mixes and playlists, I can basically close my eyes and point.

- Dr. Dog: Be The Void

It's possible that my appreciation of this album benefited from relatively low expectations. I've been listening to Dr. Dog for half a decade, but they were one of these bands that I liked just barely enough to keep checking out their albums. I would usually like one or two songs per album. So imagine my surprise when I liked every song on Be The Void after the very first listen. After hearing it for the first time, I chatted the one coworker I have who has similar music taste and told him to give it a listen. That's become a telltale sign that I really like an album - if I ask Andy to listen to it, something must have clicked with me (for the record, he liked it, too). 

Some more very good to great albums to try out:

Eric J. Perkins is a molecular biologist and father of three. He lives in the Boston 'burbs, and what little free time he has is spent listening to music, reading, and writing about music and reading.

Previous Posts By This Author: Some Thoughts on Wes Anderson and "Moonrise Kingdom"

Music Memory and "Marquee Moon"

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