For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2012. You can see what our listeners voted for as their Top Albums of 2012 here.
Michele’s 2012 Top Ten Albums
Greetings music lovers, it’s that time of the year again where the KEXP DJs reach into their hearts and reveal their truly favorite new music.
For me, the top 10 albums are not about who is the most promising artist for years to come or which musician is the most technically gifted. It’s also not about the most fun tracks or popular groups.
The best records of the year are the ones I want to keep in my personal collection for decades to come. They have staying power and are deep enough to return to time and time again. So, with that in mind, here are my top albums for 2012.
10. 2:54:00 by 2:54:00 (Fat Possum)
London sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow started out in punk band the Vulgarians. Outside the group they experimented with effects and found a psychedelic indie rock sound that is dark, edgy and stripped down. Naming themselves after the time reading of a drumroll in the Melvins song “A History of Bad Men,” 2:54 put out their first EP in 2011. This full length feels familiar and edgy at the same time.
9. Sun by Cat Power (Matador)
After years of moody, introspective music Cat Power (A.K.A. Chan Marshall) seems to reach out of her cocoon and start to stretch with new beauty on this 2012 record. The song “Cherokee” won me over first with its wishful lyric “Marry me to the sky.” It sets the tone for this dreamy, poetic album.
8. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean (Def Jam)
Frank Ocean - as a person and an artist -is mindblowing and memorable. His public coming out this year and his music were both notably brave. Mixing soul and electronic music in a whole new way, with incredible pipes, he’s the new millenium’s Renaissance man. Emotional and strong, candid and shy, worldly and curious, Frank Ocean is thankfully the true sign of our times.
7. Meat & Bone by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Matador)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion have always been inspiring. Their two ripping guitars (no bass), intense vocals and savage drums sound like no other band. That’s not easy to do in rock music! This record plays best in the car, when you are feeling bad to the bone. Roll the windows down and turn it up.
6. Running by Jessie Ware (PMR)
Jessie Ware’s sultry electronic songs and soul vocals sound are an elegant mix. She’s a new artist and this album Running got her signed to major label Cherrytree records this year. The remixes of these songs are even better.
5. The Warning by Hot Chip (Astralwerks)
Hot Chip are known for their quirky vocals and computer-pop loops. This new record finds them in a warmer, more melodic place. There are also more uptempo songs on this release, making this the most uplifting and dance-worth of all their albums so far.
4. La Voyage dans la Lune by Air (Virgin)
Since music has become digital, video has become the primary visual experience for music lovers. French electronic band Air are known for their lush, futuristic instrumentals. They wrote an updated soundtrack to the hand-colored, restored version of the 1902 Georges Méliès silent film La Voyage dans la Lune. Not only is the album itself trippy and satisfying, the film with the new soundtrack is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
3. Palace Garden 4am by Beat Connection (Moshi Moshi)
Seattle band Beat Connection’s founding members Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Jeunger started making music together as freshmen at University of Washington. Their EP in 2008 showed promise, but it’s this record that proves the young band to be one of the best electronic pop acts of the year,
2. Landing on a Hundred by Cody ChesnuTT (Redeye)
This is the kind of record to put on for a sunny morning at home. It’s funky, warm, smart and inspiring. Cody Chesnutt has one of the greatest voices known to man. The gritty stories on this album tell of Cody’s hard times and how he awoke from a dark, mental sleep. From the opening track “Till I Met Thee” to the closing note, this record’s a keeper.
1. Blunderbuss by Jack White (Third Man Records)
When the White Stripes broke up in 2011 I expected we’d miss Meg White on drums and vocals. For the first minute or two into this album I did miss her. Jack White’s first solo release reeled me in quickly, though, with raw, bluesy rock songs. The record unfolded with a passion and complexity that only an honest man could carry. It’s a truly amazing evolution of one of the best artist of our time. Don’t miss it.
Michele Myers is on the air every Friday night from 9 PM to 1 AM.