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25-21

25. Mount Eerie – Clear Moon

24. Field Music – Plumb

23. Deftones – Koi No Yokan

22. The Gathering – Disclosure

21. Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s – Rot Gut, Domestic

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Listen: Deftones – “Rosemary”


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20-16

20. Coheed & Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension

19. Astra – The Black Chord

18. Ghost Mice – All We Got Is Each Other

17. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

16. Racing Heart – To Walk Beside That Ghost

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Listen: Ghost Mice – “John and Jodie”


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15-11

15. Submotion Orchestra – Fragments

14. Papercranes – Three

13. Beach House – Bloom

12. Killing Joke – MMXII

11. Farewell Republic – Burn the Boats

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Listen: Papercranes – “Save Us”


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10-6

10. The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

9. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

8. Tigers on Trains – Foundry

7. Anberlin – Vital

6. Yellowcard – Southern Air

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Listen: Tigers on Trains – “Mont Ventoux”


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Album of the Year



The Nominees

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!


Godspeed You! Black Emperor are no strangers to post-rock success. They found their calling early, with 1997s F#A#∞, an apocalyptic journey that painted the end of times as both a thing of beauty and an unspeakable calamity. Over time, their name has almost become synonymous with post-rock, and “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” only furthers their legacy. The gorgeous opening track, Mladic, is more aesthetically pleasing than most GY!BE works – a trait that infiltrates the three songs that follow. Perhaps the crowning achievement here is We Drift Like Worried Fire, a harmoniously moving opus that is both masterfully crafted and flawlessly executed. When we talk about album of the year, GY!BE have brought everything you could want to the table in 2012.

Listen: “Their Helicopters Sing”

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Regina Spektor: What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Spektor is all about the quirks. The way she mimics a drum solo with her lips on Oh Marcello, the way she dramatically inhales as if gasping for one last breath on Open, or how she buzzes her lips like a harmonica to create a perfectly fitting outro to The Party. Like anything outlandish, it can be annoying if overdone, but Regina has made a career of walking the fine line between cute and agitating. “What We Saw From The Cheap Seats” sees the songstress master her craft while adding in some of the most gorgeous moments that 2012 pop music has to offer (listen to Firewood). If you like your female artists to be creative, spazzy, and tremendously talented all at the same time, then I can’t imagine how you can do much better than this record.

Listen: “Oh Marcello”

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Swans: The Seer

With a length that exceeds two hours, almost nothing about “The Seer” is inviting. The repetitive drone style will turn off many listeners within the first couple tracks, but to those who can endure this massive thing, they will discover that it is perhaps one of the greatest albums to be released in the past few years. Michael Gira’s master mind is in full swing, concocting haunting chants, harrowing atmospheres, and disturbing lyrics that will make you feel like you are slowly descending into hell. “The Seer” is meant to be heard all at once, and if you can find a free two hours in your day, you might also discover your soundtrack to 2012.

Listen: “Lunacy”

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Converge: All We Love We Leave Behind

Converge has developed something of a reputation. Perhaps the most accurate analogy I’ve ever heard was when one of our very own staff members likened the band’s fourth album, “Jane Doe”, to getting the crap beaten out of you by a bully at school. That has always been Converge’s identity: they are going to whoop your ass, and masochist as you are, you’re going to love every second of it. Many hardcore/metal bands slowly curb their anger over time and begin to create music that is more accessible to the public. Luckily for us, “All We Love We Leave Behind” continues the brutal onslaught of “Axe to Fall” and “Jane Doe” before it with some of the angriest, loudest, brain-off-its-hinges music that you will ever hear.

Listen: “Trespasses”

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mewithoutYou: Ten Stories

Ten Stories is the album that mewithoutYou needed to make. It’s not that there was necessarily anything wrong with “It’s All Crazy! It’s All False!…”, but I think one album of campfire sing-alongs was enough to leave mewithoutYou diehards longing for the days of “Brother, Sister.” And that’s exactly what they get here. Weiss wields prophetic lyrics through a cracking, intensely emotional voice that often shouts and spews messages as if taking the time to sing them is a luxury that no one can afford. The band’s highly successful formula of old is blended with their newly found melodic side to create a best-of-both-worlds scenario, “Ten Stories.” Having Hayley Williams in the studio to perform backing vocals never hurts, either.

Listen: “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume”

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#5 Godspeed You! Black Emperor

……….

#4 Regina Spektor

……….

#3 Converge

……….

#2 mewithoutYou

……….

#1 AOTY WINNER: SWANS

In my mind, there was little doubt all along that Swans would take the figurative 2012 cake. It is just so massive – and not just in terms of run time, because it contains so many different styles within its vast scope. Disc one and disc two both possess a unique identity: the first gives off a dark, brooding vibe while the latter bucks that trend from the opening second of Karen O.’s guest vocals on Song for a Warrior. “The Seer” is a little bit of everything: it is post-rock, alternative rock, stoner rock, industrial metal, drone music, and more. Sure, it is a little rough around the edges, but just like any great work, it needs some time to sink in. If you are willing to brush aside its rough exterior, you will be richly rewarded by all of the gems that this absolutely great album has to offer.

Listen Again: “The Seer Returns”

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ILJ
12.12.12
3 of your top 5 are in my top 5, and we have the same AOTY.

your just gained a ton of cool points.

SowingSeason
12.12.12
I wanted to do something really in-depth this year, but everything got crazy in November and December, so I did this instead.

SeaAnemone
12.12.12
I can't really stand that mewithoutYou album, but I'm still pretty ecstatic you like Swans so much (even if so many people complained that it was "unfounded" or whatever blah blah blah)... cool layout, definitely.

Also: I'm a little sad that I didn't give The Tallest Man enough credit this year because his past releases are so amazing (exact same thing happened with High Violet that one year), so great to see it in your top 10.

Omaha
12.12.12
Nice job, man.

Romulus
12.12.12
sea/sowing would i like swans? i really don't feel like devoting 4839223 hours to it so be real with me guys.

awesome list/format as usual sowing

ILJ
12.12.12
you've gotta have a good deal of patience for it. are you okay with some droning?

ThroneOfAgony
12.12.12
The Seer Returns is such a good song. Love the outro chants

Great ranking

SeaAnemone
12.12.12
"sea/sowing would i like swans? i really don't feel like devoting 4839223 hours to it so be real with me guys."

I really have no idea to be honest... it's kinda a complete tossup I think but either way it's DEFINITELY worth checking out considering how rewarding it tends to be for listeners when they [i]do[/i] like it... just be prepared to set aside 2 hours for it somehow

toxin.
12.12.12
I feel like our opinions are really different this year which is sorta weird but you do cover a much wider variety of genres than me. Still I thought #1 and #5 were overrated, but you have me interested in the Regina Spektor album, as well as the Tigers on Trains album.

Also I'm actually fairly surprised you have Southern Air higher than Vital but we do not see eye to eye on the former. Good list .

SowingSeason
12.12.12
@SeaAnemone: I'm surprised because I always thought mewithoutYou was your cup of tea. What didn't you like about their new album? And yeah, The Seer is kickass. PS If you haven't listened to Ghost Mice you should.

@Romulus: The first time I heard it I lost patience with the 32 minute title track. There's a LOT of repetition and a lot of it could be deemed unnecessary, but it gives the album character, makes the shorter, melodic passages stand out, and really just forces you to pay attention to every detail.

SeaAnemone
12.12.12
Yeah I don't even remember specifics re: mewithoutYou, it just sounded incredibly lackluster to me and aggressively mediocre... and yes, Ghost Mice was in my Top 10 this year, at #7

skoopy48
12.12.12
I'd say that this is a pretty good list, i was kind of dissapointed with the new mwy though.

wabbit
12.12.12
the seer is alright. But like for serious Swans has at least 6 albums that are better.

SowingSeason
12.12.12
@xtoxin: Vital and Southern Air are two of my personal favorites from this year. I have such a strong attachment to both bands, to the point where it was difficult to separate personal bias from actual skill. But nevertheless, they are both in my top 10 - it's essentially tied, but I gave Southern Air the nod because (as you probably remember from my review) Yellowcard has basically been my go-to band growing up.

@SeaAnemone/skoopy48: I really liked it (obviously, because it is my #2). To me it combined what was so good about Brother Sister (lyrics, emotion, rawness, etc.) with at least in some cases a heavy dose of catchiness a la It's All Crazy! It's All False! Fox's Dream of the Log Flume and All Circles are absolute home runs, too.

Keyblade
12.12.12
Great to see The Gathering on a list finally. Prolly my aoty I unno why I like it so much.

zxlkho
12.12.12
Awesome list. Swans definitely deserves number 1.

Keyblade
12.12.12
yea bcuz filth was released in 2012

dcha
12.12.12
Electric Electric - Discipline is not on this list.

dcha
12.12.12
Neither is Bear in Heaven, Pile, and Mutiny on the Bounty.

How?

Hep Kat
12.12.12
sowing you are seriously the epitome of the cancer that is killing this site

Trebor.
12.12.12
New Converge wasn't even very good

Xenophanes
12.12.12
in which Eli is the only one who doesn't like The Seer.

"sowing you are seriously the epitome of the cancer that is killing this site"

yup, and that attitude is exactly what is saving it. Thank you, Hep, the messiah m/m/m/m/m/m/m/

mynameischan
12.12.12
yeah stop liking things that other people like guys

be more like hep kat who is very cool, which he makes apparent when he posts words that say he is very cool

Douglas
12.12.12
really nice list man

mynameischan
12.12.12
and yes nice list. i wasn't thrilled with that margot album, which was disappointing given how much i like their previous releases, and i was REALLY disappointed with regina this year. cheap seats was charmless and boring to me

Hep Kat
12.12.12
channing you sell out


Winsomniac
12.12.12
Whoa guys, its 12/12/12

zxlkho
12.12.12
"sowing you are seriously the epitome of the cancer that is killing this site"

loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

Jom
12.12.12
Great blog, really nice formatting!

toxin.
12.12.12
"Vital and Southern Air are two of my personal favorites from this year. I have such a strong attachment to both bands, to the point where it was difficult to separate personal bias from actual skill. But nevertheless, they are both in my top 10 - it's essentially tied, but I gave Southern Air the nod because (as you probably remember from my review) Yellowcard has basically been my go-to band growing up."

Ah yes, sometimes I forget that you're a bigger YC fanboy than Anberlin fanboy. Fair enough. And like everyone else is saying, awesome blog.

theacademy
12.12.12
rot gut domestic was pretty bad

if that say anything album hadn't come out this year, that'd be the most disappointing

also yellowcard pfsh hahahahahahahahaha

klap
12.12.12
Agreed worst Regina album. Cool list tho

theacademy
12.12.12
regina is derivative fuckshit



theacademy
12.12.12
bollocks

klap
12.12.12
Probably most Sputnik list all year at least among staff

theacademy
12.12.12
sowing how many albums did u listen to this year becaue deftones is in your 25 and you wrote that semi-scathing 3.0 review

Xenophanes
12.12.12
Sowing didn't write a review for that album.

SowingSeason
12.12.12
huh? that was Eli, I gave Koi No Yokan a 4.

If anything, I was too generous this year. Tons of 4.5's and two classics

Xenophanes
12.12.12
And I gave it a 2.5 so idk what the hell he's talking about.

NightmareCinema16
12.12.12
That was a very good list. Still, no Clockwork Angels in sight. Guess you didn't listen to it?

theacademy
12.12.12
fuck my bad yea it was xeno

NocteDominum
12.12.12
only 25?

SowingSeason
12.12.12
@Hep Kat: it's not you or me that is the cancer, it's those who fill up the site with mindless comments and contribute very little that is actually worthwhile

@Chan: I've actually heard from a lot of people who agree with what you said about Cheap Seats. I think I'm in the minority on that one - I think it is tied with Soviet Kitsch for her best work to date,

@Jom: Thanks!

@Klap: Agreed that a lot of these are sputnik favorites, but how many lists do you think you will see that contain Field Music, The Gathering, Racing Heart, Papercranes, Tigers on Trains, etc.?

SowingSeason
12.12.12
@NightmareCinema16: Nope, haven't heard it. I have casually listened to parts of their older discography, but I've never gotten hooked. I know they are one of the greatest bands of all time, so I'll have to pay them some respect and buckle down eventually, but there's just so many other kinds of music that appeal to my taste more.

NightmareCinema16
12.12.12
Understand that well, man. Well said. Anyways, I still thought the list was good even so.

NocteDominum
12.12.12
I like the desciption for your AOTY, rough edges, crusty etc. It's all good - and it doesn't exactly need polishing.

SowingSeason
12.12.12
Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you 'Cas

SowingSeason
12.12.12
shoutbox me some good pop-punk...I require meaningful lyrics though

NocteDominum
12.12.12
meaningful like Gangman Style ?

SowingSeason
12.12.12
Hmm yeah no

Irving
12.12.12
Only listened to 7 albums out of your top 25 =( I think I fared slightly better with Robin (around 9 or so).

Either I've been listening to lots of different stuff, or I've been listening to stuff you guys thought were crap, or - and this is the most terrifying - I simply haven't listened to enough all year.

Trebor.
12.12.12
I've heard 8 of these, damn I'm even more Sowing than Irving

menawati
12.12.12
nice Astra in there

greg84
12.12.12
Killing Joke, Converge, Deftones and Coheed and Cambria are my favorites on here. Good, diverse list.

fish.
12.12.12
great list but music can never be 'aesthetically pleasing', just saying

johnnydeking29
12.12.12
W00t, Disclosure is on here

fish.
12.12.12
I've tried listening to the seer several times but i have trouble keeping concentration with 6 track eps, let alone 2 hours of mostly repeated motifs

menawati
12.12.12
"great list but music can never be 'aesthetically pleasing'"

i dunno, some things come close, a lot of Dream Theater is like that, impressive and techically attractive but totally soulless

fish.
12.12.12
just googled and apparently I'm wrong and aesthetics can relate to music, I was under the impression it only described physical things

HitlerIsPissed
12.12.12
"I think it is tied with Soviet Kitsch for her best work to date"

agreed, those are the only two albums from her i really like.

Deviant.
12.12.12
"I was under the impression it only described physical things"

You can consume music with your ears just as you would a book with your eyes

Ethics
12.12.12
lol

Aids
12.12.12
I consume food with my mouth

Tyrael
12.12.12
Good write up man, can't say I enjoyed a lot of the albums you mentioned here though

NocteDominum
12.12.12
I like aesthetics.

Sunn177
12.12.12
Swans are definitely deserving of Aoty for sure!very nice list man keep up the great work!

Wolfhorde
12.12.12
Some nice stuff here. Still don't get the buzz about Swans.

fish.
12.12.12
"sowing how many albums did u listen to this year becaue deftones is in your 25 and you wrote that semi-scathing 3.0 review"
statements like these make me realise I really need to listen to more music cos I have 3.5s in my top 10

Cygnatti
12.12.12
"I have 3.5s in my top 10"

me too...maybe it's just a bad year for me


fish.
12.12.12
it's always the same for me though, lol. I think I rate harshly, or maybe I just don't like music as much. cos my average rating is 3 and most people have their average rating at around 3.4-3.7. plus I usually end up listening to a lot of albums from the previous year. so my 2011 top 10 list would look so so different if I redid it now

SowingSeason
12.12.12
Same with everyone i think...nobody's ratings are rigid. Tastes change.

dcha
12.12.12
I don't get how you could have a 3.5 in your list. There has been so much excellent music that came out this year. There's not an album on this list that wasn't on the front page for weeks.

ProjectFreak
12.12.12
this confirms my belief that i am the only person who didn't like Ten Stories.

that said, fun list, gonna check out as many of these as i can before year's end.

aok
12.12.12
"in which Eli is the only one who doesn't like The Seer"

nah man --> i couldn't even get through it bleh

NightmareCinema16
12.12.12
Whatever you say.

fish.
12.12.12
I haven't loved a lot of what this site has hyped up. Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Regina Spektor, Deftones, Converge, Mount Eerie, Swans, there's loads

fish.
12.12.12
@dcha

KINGSTATICTHETHIRD
12.12.12
hell yeah 11. that album is criminally underrated and unheard

tarkus
12.12.12
how is the seer stoner rock tinged at all jesus dammit

greg84
12.12.12
true, there's absolutely no stoner rock on The Seer

dudebro
12.12.12
just played the Godspeed track to see what thebig deal is and it's several minutes of nothingness
for the life of me, I will never understand why you people love them so much

fish.
12.12.12
that's probably their weakest track though. mladic is much better

SGGreenman
12.13.12
Pretty sweet list. Were you not a fan of the new Sigur Ros?

NightmareCinema16
12.13.12
The Seer is definately a worthwhile metal recording, it kept me interested.

Aids
12.13.12
I miss the days when SowingSeason talked less about Converge and Swans and more about Taylor Swift and Yellowcard

ProjectFreak
12.13.12
i'm kind of astounded that yellowcard wasn't top 5 at least

Irving
12.13.12
I miss the days when SowingSeason talked less about Converge and Swans and more about Taylor Swift and Yellowcard [2]

heyadam
12.13.12
I actually really loved the new Margot, I'm surprised that it seems like people didn't dig it that much.

ProjectFreak
12.13.12
this is unrelated
why is sputnik telling me i can't use a gif as my profile picture when people on this site have them all over the place?

Willie
12.14.12
Oddly enough, I think our lists match more than anyone else's on staff.

Ignimbrite
12.14.12
"just played the Godspeed track to see what thebig deal is and it's several minutes of nothingness
for the life of me, I will never understand why you people love them so much"

yeah, that song is in no way representative of the band. it's a drone interlude, for Christ's sake

SowingSeason
12.14.12
That is odd. The end must be near.

CaptainHadouken
12.19.12
Yet to listen to the number one here. Converge, yes. Finally heard Godspeed! two days ago, and few others off this list i have listened to. Work usually keeps me busy from listening to everything out. Good list though.

Janeeet
12.22.12
only 2 of these would be in my top 25

Iluvatar
12.22.12
this list is so very sowing. as chef Gordon Ramsay would say: this list is bland man!

SowingSeason
06.25.14
What a great year.

2014 is even better though.

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