Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 30 Albums of 2012: 10-1

Here is the third and final installment of my Top 30 Album of 2012.

10.  Let’s Get You Somewhere Else by Luther 
From my review –
Let’s Get You Somewhere Else is 11 songs that sound like a mix of The Bomb, Dramarama, The Gaslight Anthem, The Ataris, and Superchunk--in other words it freaking rules!  From top to bottom, this is an outstanding record, each song a potential anthem and classic.

9.  The Lumineers by The Lumineers
 The Lumineers’ self-titled debut is a gorgeous record.  From my review –
This music dances on the fences of folk, indie pop, Americana, gospel, and rock all at the same time.  There are moments when the vocals remind me of the band fun. with their theatrical crescendo-like qualities (but then again fun. reminds me of Queen).  The Lumineers has an instantly timeless quality to it.  This is the kind of record that is going to sound just as fresh in 20 years as it does today.  In the same way that U2’s The Joshua Tree is a timeless piece of musical perfection, The Lumineers is a classic album that will be listened to for generations to come. 

8.  Silver Age by Bob Mould
Silver Age is the kind of record that made Bob Mould a legend.  Like Husker Du’s Flip Your Wig and Sugar’s Copper Blue, Silver Age is filled with thunderous power pop filtered through the veins of classic punk.  This record is a must for fans of Buffalo Tom, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., and the aforementioned Husker Du and Sugar.

7.  40 Miler by Tim Barry
From my review –
Tim Barry’s latest album, 40 Miler, is nothing short of brilliant.  The album is classic Barry with passionate lyrics and vocals on top of his acoustic guitar Americana/folk punk music but this time around the theme is more uplifting than on his previous records.  What I’ve always loved about Barry’s songs, even going back to his time in Avail, is how he perfectly captures the essence of the working class misfit that is caught in the middle of this insane world, standing there, shaking his head, disgusted by what he sees all around him.  It’s that outlook that has spoken so clearly to me over the years and with the desperate passion of someone who cannot believe how the world doesn’t see the idiocy all around.  That attitude is in full force on 40 Miler.  On top of the great lyrics, 40 Miler includes some of Barry’s best songs to date.

6.  Brand New Beat by Kurt Baker
Kurt Baker is power pop.  He is quite honestly the best thing to come along in the genre since the glory days of Cheap Trick.  Brand New Beat is 10 flawless power pop gems that are some of the best songs that the genre has ever produced. 

5.  Freak Out! by Teenage Bottlerocket
Simply put, Teenage Bottlerock is one of, if not the, best pop punk bands around today and Freak Out! is a perfect pop punk record.  That is really all you need to know.

4.  Exister by Hot Water Music
It’s Hot Water Music; it’s awesome.  From my review –
Exister does what any good HWM record does, it combines classic rock ‘n’ roll hooks and melodies with angular post hardcore rhythms and drive by deep, throaty, and gravelly vocals.  From beginning to end this is classic HWM

3.  Canyons by Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves
Chris Wollard is an amazing songwriter.  That is obvious from his work in Hot Water Music, but it is made even clearer on Canyons.  From my review –
There are some records that have to grow on you and there are some that grab you within the first few chords and makes you scream “holy f-ing crap this shit is genius!”  Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves’ sophomore full-length Canyons does just that.  This album is 10 songs of rock ‘n’ roll purity.

2.  Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
As one can probably tell from the length of my end-of-the-year lists, there was a lot of great music released in 2012.  The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten was the first record that hit me as being phenomenally great.  In fact from the first time I heard this record, it was my favorite of the year—until I heard the one that just edged it out of the top spot—and because of that it received some of the heaviest rotation of any release in my home/MP3 player/computer this year.  As I stated in my review, Handwritten is “nothing short of rock ‘n’ roll perfection.”   

1.  Masked Intruder by Masked Intruder
This album is stupid good.  Right from the opening chords I knew that this was something special.  From my review –
Hailing from MadisonWI, Masked Intruder has produced one of the freshest, most enjoyable, and ridiculously catchy pop punk records, not only of this year but probably of this decade.  The band’s self-titled full-length debut is nothing short of spectacular.  Sure this is well covered ground, but few bands do it this well (and this is coming from someone who is an avowed fan of the genre).  Right from the outset, Masked Intruder smack you across the head with their infectious brand of power pop meets pop punk complete with tight musicianship and ‘50s doo-wop vocal harmonies.  The lyrical content is completely over the top but played with an earnest sincerity that prevents the gimmick of the band (the members are unnamed and all wear ski masks) from becoming trite shtick. 

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