T for Tom

The Year in Review – Music 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by johnsontoms on November 8, 2012

[The only record missing is Deftone’s “Koi No Yokan” which is due out next week.  While I expect it to rock furiously, I do not anticipate placing it anywhere in the top five.  Then again, who knows.]

Usually there are a couple of anticipated records that fall flat, and that really didn’t happen this year.  While there wasn’t an outright classic, there also wasn’t a dud.  I’d say of the following list the only one you can skip over is the Shin’s “Port of Morrow,” but all the rest are really good in their own way.

It’s been a year of continuations, a better word to use than resurgences.  Bands and artists that have long since been around have put their name back into the fold – Fiona Apple’s first record in seven years, Nada Surf’s first record in five years, The Cranberries reunited for their first record since 2000, The Smashing Pumpkins forge ahead with “Oceania” (my surprise pick), The Shins return with much hype (but fall short), even Everclear gets back in the mix for the first time in eight years, and artists that once lead the underground charge are still hanging around and producing top-notch work – Lovedrug pumped out “Wild Blood”, Ben Kweller is still punking out, and MeWithoutYou puts together their most complete work ever (with a Hayley Williams cameo).

But when it comes to the best, it’s left up to the best.  And that’s the chart-topping regulars, and the upcoming new voices, not the in-between. But for all the records listed below, none of them disappoint.  Each of them is worth your time if you’ve ever been a fan of any of the bands who make comebacks this year.


  1. Goliath & The Giants – “Done Deed” – it’s quite possible that I’m putting this based on the fact that it just came out, but it could also be that I just can’t stop listening to it, that’s it fun, it’s upbeat, it’s got it all.  It’s Spin Doctors meets Nada Surf, it’s West Coast contemporary from a band from Sweden.  You’ll just have to give it a listen to know what I mean, and it’s downloadable free from pirate bay; no, not a torrent.  The band is literally hosting it for free on the pirate bay.
  2. Divine Fits – “A Thing Called Divine Fits” – Spoon’s Britt Daniel joins up with Wolf Parade’s front man to give us the best alternative record in years.  Jam vibes, synth leads, and raw rock’n’roll, this one can’t be missed.
  3. Of Monsters & Men – “My Head Is An Animal” – Icelandic band enters the world of alternative music, and while not flipping the script, writes one better than everyone else.  Uplifting folk based indie music that is enjoyable year long.
  4. Dr. Dog – “Be The Void” – still the best band around.  It’s like the Beatles stayed together into the 70s.
  5. Smashing Pumpkins – “Oceania” – mostly a nostalgic pick, but worth every minute.


Honorable Mention –

Fiona Apple – “The Idler Wheel…”  – Really wanted to include this record because it is fantastic.  But there’s just no reprieve across its hour-long journey into heartbreak, and it makes for a record that is dangerous to listen to and hard to repeat.  Still, fantastic.

Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Change…” – I absolutely love his music, and while this record is a step in the right direction, it’s also a step away from his folkgrass roots.  Nonetheless, Earle proves that he can do blues and Motown just as easily.

Gaslight Anthem – “Handwritten” – Rock’n’Roll saviors release third LP, better everytime.

Langhorne Slim & The Law – “The Way We Move” – a folk and classic revival, like going to church but groovy.



  1. “Don’t Stop” – Future Screens – This is everything music should be.
  2. “For Your Heart” – Divine Fits – The only other song from the year that absolutely stands high and above the rest, this dark, menacing tune will leave everyone asking “How long will you keep me waiting in the dark for your heart?”  Such a fabulous track.
  3. “Downward Spiral”  – Helio Sequence
  4. “Ho Hey” – the Lumineers
  5. “Sun In Your Eyes” – Grizzly Bear


Mostly though, I can’t think of any records that didn’t at least satiate.


All acquired 2012 LPs-


Alt-J – “An Awesome Wave”

Animal Collective – “Centipede Hz”

Fiona Apple – “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser…”

Band of Horses – “Mirage Rock”

Beach House – “Bloom”

Ben Folds Five – “The Sound of The Life of The Mind”

Best Coast – “The Only Place”

Cat Power – “Sun”

Counting Crows – “Underwater Sunshine, or, What We Did On Our Summer Vacation”

The Cranberries – “Roses”

Dave Matthews Band – “Away From The World”

Lana Del Rey – “Born To Die”

Delta Rae – “Carry The Fire”

Divine Fits – “A Thing Called Divine Fits”

Dr. Dog – “Be The Void”

Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Change How You Feel About Me”

The Early November – “In Currents”

First Aid Kit – “The Lion’s Roar”

John Frusciante – “PBX Funiclear Intaglio Zone”

Future Screens – “Future Screens”

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, Yim Yames – “New Multitudes”

Gaslight Anthem – “Handwritten”

Goliath & The Giants – “Done Deed”

Grizzly Bear – “Shields”

Calvin Harris – “18 Months”

Helio Sequence – “Negotiations”

Norah Jones – “Little Broken Hearts”

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – “Soul Time!”

Killers – “Battle Born”

Ben Kweller – “Go Fly A Kite”

Kendrick Lamar – “Good Kid, Mad City”

Langhorne Slim & The Law – “The Way We Move”

The Little Willies – “For The Good Times”

Lovedrug – “Wild Blood”

The Lumineers – “The Lumineers”

The Mars Volta – “Nocturniquet”

MeWithoutYou – “Ten Stories”

Mumford & Sons – “Babel”

Nada Surf – “The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy”

Of Monsters & Men – “My Head Is An Animal”

John Mayer – “Born and Raised”

Passion Pit – “Gossamer”

Romany Rye – “Quicksilver Sunbeam”

The Shins – “Port of Morrow”

Sigur Ros – “Valtari”

Smashing Pumpkins – “Oceania”

Stereo Traveler – “Public Service Announcement”

Rufus Wainwright – “Out of the Game”

Walk the Moon – “Walk the Moon”

The Wallflowers – “Glad All Over”

Jack White – “Blunderbuss”

Denison Witmer – “The Ones Who Wait”