Indie Street’s Best Albums Of 2012
10. WHITE HILLS - FRYING ON THIS ROCK [THRILL JOCKEY]
In 2012, it seems weird to not have at least one experimental space/psych- rock album on your year-end list. It would be like not mentioning any garage albums (which I don’t). White Hills nails it for me in this genre, and though many of their past releases are super limited, you should still be able to snag a copy of this record.
9. BATTLES - DROSS GLOP [WARP]
Remix album #1 on my year-end list, and it’s here based almost entirely on presentation. The album was originally released on a series of four 12” records. Collect the entire set and you’ve got an attractive collection featuring stellar remixes by folks like The Field, Hudson Mohawke and Shabazz Palaces.
8. GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR - ‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! [CONSTELLATION]
They came back, you guys. They came back and rendered all other 2012 “post rock” meaningless. I’d been waiting almost 10 years for this and then it was real… and even though I was waiting, expectations were low. But, here it is. A stunning return. “Mladic” kills.
7. EFTERKLANG - PIRAMIDA [4AD]
It’s easy to forget about a band like Efterklang. They’re in a cycle. They release a stunning studio album every couple of years and then tour extensively to nearly no U.S. hype (I think they’re a fair bit more popular everywhere else). Then it’s back into hiding before the next release. I saw this album get a bit more press before it came out, but then nothing. This album is darker than other Efterklang releases, and it really works to their benefit. An experimental, electronic album that feels refined and meticulously detailed.
6. WHY? - MUMPS, ETC. [ANTICON]
In which Anticon ushers Why? back to the hip-hop fold. While it’s not album of the year for me (or for anyone, really), it’s certainly album cover of the year. This is a hip-hop album you listen to right when you wake up. Maybe after a night of staying up late to read Moby Dick. A critically overlooked album, which comes as a surprise after the almost unanimous blog love Why? usually receives. But he baited everyone! And it works. Sick rhymes.
5. CURSIVE - I AM GEMINI [SADDLE CREEK]
This isn’t a great record. It probably isn’t even a good record. But I have a duty and an obligation to Tim Kasher. I can’t really explain it. How long will Saddle Creek have this soft spot in my heart? Who knows. Ultimately, this record fails as a concept album. However, there are several strong tracks and some exploration of new sonic material for Cursive here. Just like the Why? album, you’ll probably not see this hailed elsewhere and I have it here because I don’t want it to get completely lost in the shuffle. If you can, you should grab the vinyl because it’s really beautiful.
4. MOGWAI - A WRENCHED VIRILE LORE [SUB POP]
Okay, so I guess technically there is one other post-rock album that mattered this year, but it’s also a remix album… so give me a break. Basically I want to know how an album that combines Mogwai with folks like Tim Hecker and Zombi would not show up on my Top 10. Sub Pop set the trap and I fell for it and here it is at #4.
3. THE MOUNTAIN GOATS - TRANSCENDENTAL YOUTH [MERGE]
What the hell happened to me? The Mountain Goats clocking in at #3? Well, it only took several dozen albums for them to grow on me. John Darnielle has been at this for over 20 years! Who would have guessed in 1992 that he’d produce something as lush as this? “Cry For Judas” is an essential track and with “Lakeside View Apartment Suite” Darnielle proves that he’s destined to save indie rock. See him live and make him make music fun for you again.
2./1. MOUNT EERIE - CLEAR MOON / OCEAN ROAR [P.W. ELVERUM & SUN]
Okay, this is a weird review to write. First, I swear to God (or whoever) that I’m not just shilling here. Yes I sell the stuff… but something happened with these releases. Longtime fans of Indie Street know that a few years ago, Eric would turn on The Microphones or Mount Eerie on the show and I’d gripe and complain and I hated it. I did. So here’s my caveat for this pairing of albums: these records are exceptionally personal and I truly don’t understand loving these as much as I do if I didn’t live where I do. These records are straight-up soundtracks to the place that I find myself in daily. Also, you’ll note that I don’t make a distinction between which album is #1 and which is #2. This is truly a set to me, to be digested as a whole. Indeed, when Clear Moon was released, I thought “meh”. With Ocean Roar, I got itand found the two albums inseparably linked. I feel like I have to defend myself more, but there you have it… a very Anacortes album(s) of the year.
- Nick Rennis
WHY? announces 2013 tour dates
02-08 - Cincinnati, OH - The Taft Ballroom #$
02-09 - Cleveland, OH - The Grog Shop #$
02-10 - Rochester, NY - Water Street Music Hall #$
02-11 - Hamden, CT - The Space #$
02-12 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall #$
02-13 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall Of Williamsburg #$
02-14 - Philadelphis, PA Union Transfer #$
02-15 - Falls Church, VA - State Theatre #$
02-16 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar #$
02-18 - Columbus, OH - Ace Of Cups #$
02-19 - Bloomington, IN - The Bishop #$
02-20 - Galesburg, IL Knox College #$
02-21 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall #$
02-22 - Madison, WI - SETT @ UW Madison $
02-23 - Minneapolis, MN - The Fine Line %
02-24 - Fargo, ND - The Aquarium %
02-26 - Billings, MT - Manny’s $
02-27 - Missoula, MT - Wilma Theater $
02-28 - Spokane, WA - A Club $
03-01 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s Crystal Ball$
03-02 - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore$
03-03 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom $
03-04 - Eugene, OR - W.O.W. Hall $
03-05 - Oakland, CA - New Parrish Of Oakland $
03-06 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall $
03-07 - Pomona, CA - The Glasshouse $
03-08 - San Diego, CA - Irenic $
03-11 - El Paso, TX - Tricky Falls &
03-12 - San Antonio, TX - White Rabbit &$ = w/ Dream Tiger% = w/ Sarah Winters# = w/ Astronautalis& = w/ Baths