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Aids At Last: Top 100 Lps Of 2012

Better late than never, and it took some time for a lot of these records to really sink in. Anyway, here is my super over-the-top list of my 100 favourite LPs of 2012, with some word vomit for the top 15. Enjoy, or don't! but I really make this list cause I like looking at it, I know less than ten of you will actually read this.
100Nautic Depths
Submental Vol 1

Mala In Cuba

pretty cool, should have been way better though
98Kashiwa Daisuke

pretty sure this is a comp and not an LP but boooourns
97Brian Eno

Another great Brian Eno album, yawn.
96Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin
Instrumental Tourist

This was a collaboration that didn't make much sense to me when I first heard
about it, but in hindsight, it makes so much sense.
95The Men
Open Your Heart

Solid, but it's no Leave Home

England can pop-punk too you guys

marks off for band/album name, but marks on for being downer-core
Some Other Time

I was in love with this initially but it wore off me a great deal, I still jam it once in a
while though.
91Smoke Fairies
Blood Speaks

I was commissioned to write this review for Weeping's little game, and I'm glad I
was. Nice, soothing folk rock from the UK.
90Crippled Black Phoenix
(Mankind) The Crafty Ape

Pink Floyd in the 21st century (not really but let me dream)
Sketches From New Brighton

Ambient from my lovely hometown of Vancouver. Not his best work, but really,
really good.
88Dinosaur Jr.
I Bet On Sky

Dino Jr. pt. 2 continues to deliver the hard jams
87Glocca Morra
Just Married

twinkle twinkle motherfuckers
86J Kenzo

this could have been so so sooooo much better, but it's still nice to hear so high
quality deep-dubstep tracks in LP form
85Jack White

I can't believe this is his first solo album, but hey, hey. I saw him tour this and it
was such a mindblowing show, what a legend this guy is.
84Pop Winds
Earth To Friend

woahhhhh dude
83Abel (NY)
Make It Right

There's potential for greatness here, but this is just a bit too christain for my liking.
Still a nice piece of Thrice-worship.
82Marijuana Deathsquads
Tamper, Disable, Destroy

81Birds in Row
You, Me, and the Violence

UK style melodic hardcore from (curveball!) France quoiiiiiiiiiiii?!?!?!?!
80The Walkmen

missed them live last week :'(
Hold Onto Your Luck

more of that new-wave of post-hardcore/screamo for the masses to love/hate
78Taylor Swift

You are sexist if this is not in your top 80 these are troo facts
Concrete Soul

hip-hop for the (concrete) soul
Eighty One

75Captain Murphy

I am friends with Josh so this was always gonna be on my list.
Clockwork Angels

Soul, Earth, Sun

The EP was better but this rules too.
Smierc w miekkim futerku

I'm hip, right?
Failed States

A massive disappointment from my favourite Winnipeg punkers, who produced on of
my favourite LPs of 2009, but still a great piece of music from a very consistent
70Grizzly Bear

Emeritus :'(
69Regina Spektor
What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Her worst LP to date but it's still Regina so I still love it. Wag on Speks, wag on.
Blue Moon Saiyeed

This one time I got SudatSUGA'd and then I had to walk to meet my parents for
dinner and I was really stoned and oh man it was equal parts awkward and
67Zazen Boys

No more "COLD-AH BEAT-AH!" but they're still the boys, and they still got that zazz.
66Jeff Rosenstock
I Look Like Shit

yeah ok but how do you SMELL bro?
65Luv NY
Luv NY

Included because Hep Kat
64Love American

I saw these guys in a basement with -15 people it was so legit they were super
bad but I bought their demo cassette tape omg I'm so indie (srs though this rules)
The Unexamined Life

Screamo still rules in 2012
62Tame Impala

smoke drugs kids
61The Saddest Landscape
After The Lights

Screamo still rules in 2012 [2]
60Sigur Ros

Is this even good? I can't remember, but I used it to sleep for like a month when I
was living in shitty, noisy hostels, so hey have a 4/5!
59 Continents.
.?.?.?and silence anchored our feet in granite

RIYL lame shit like La Dispute but also if you like non-lame shit like Loma Prieta. I
like both so yayyy!!!
58Night Shift
Trespassers Guide to Nowhere

Ambient/Other, great genre
57Mount Eerie
Ocean Roar

56Suis La Lune

Screamo still rules in 2012 [3]
55Silversun Pickups
Neck of the Woods

"ok list but lol 55" neck
Ten Stories

2nd-tier mwY album, super solid.

Genesis. That is all.
52...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Lost Songs

I'd never heard this band before this album, but they sound pretty great, so I guess
I have a few allegedly amazing albums to listen to.
Kill For Love

50Kaki King

The female Andy McKee

Former Delhi 2 Dublin violinst embarks on a unique side-project, using a live drummer
and a DJ to create a captivating combination of Drum n' Bass, Hip-Hop, and
Classical. I saw her live a couple of weeks ago opening for UK DJ Icicle and it was
truly a one-of-a-kind show. Also, hometown love.

Good good, not bad.

Not nearly as good as the EP, which was one of the best albums of the year, but
this is still a worth while listen.
46Loma Prieta

Screamo still rules in 2012 [4]
45Submotion Orchestra

If we had .1 increments in our rating system, I would still give both this and Finest
Hour 4.0
The World Is A House On Fire

43The Menzingers
On the Impossible Past

Seriously what the hell is a Menzinger?
Out Of Sync

"techno-dance remix for deviant" where are you cone I miss you
41The Cinematic Orchestra
In Motion #1

Their first album in 5 years isn't amazing, but it's just a relief that these guys still
make music. Super solid album, and who would have expected anything else from
such a consistent band?
40Animal Collective
Centipede Hz

It Hz so good.
39Venn Rain
Cymatic Cymbols

RiffOCore - 12 ratings WOAH slow down

but is it even techno?
37Dirty Three
Toward The Low Sun

"This is the best album of the year and I will give it 4/5" - Eli Manning, quarterback
36Wild Nothing

American Radass (this is important)

Best album title/album artwork of the year. Also, solid twinkles, I like.
34Drowning Horse
Drowning Horse

See? Even gigantic pussies like me can SLUDGE sometimes.
33Mount Eerie
Clear Moon

Whale-core. What? I dunno go away.
Cancer 4 Cure

I tired it the old way, that advice you gave to me was DIRT
31Jessie Ware

30The Tallest Man on Earth
There's No Leaving Now

Ultimately, this LP was a bit of a disappointment for me when stacked up against
his two others, but his top 30 spot is a bit inflated because I was in the crowd that
was the first in the world to hear songs from this album live. It was in Cape Town,
South Africa, and he played "Little Brother" and "Wind and Walls." It was a really
great show.
29Killer Mike
R.A.P. Music

I don't make dance music this is R A P, opposite of that sucka shit they play on TV.
28Kishi Bashi

Sometimes this guy sounds so delightfully Japanese and then other times he is
clearly trying so hard to not sound Japanese at all and awww he is so cute. I am
seeing him live with 24 on this list at a venue 5 minutes from my house in a couple
of weeks and yayyyy it's gonna be great.

I can't remember who said it or where, but it's still the best way I know how to
describe this album: "like the perfect soundtrack to a lucid dream."
Give You The Ghost

I read something where Justin Vernon said that this was one of his favourite bands,
and, being the embarrassingly shallow hipster that I am, that alone was enough to
convince me to give this album a go. I'm glad that I did though, because this is a
great piece of subdued indie-rock with a great tasteful use of autotune (think Bon
Iver and not Vampire Weekend).
25Aesop Rock

I was supposed to see this guy in Vancouver in January, but he broke his ankle or
some shit (dilch) and now I have to wait until late April. Oh.
24Shugo Tokumaru
In Focus?

Japan have my babies.

Nigel Godrich, famed Radiohead producer, takes his unique approach to electronic-
infused rock music and combines it with angelic female vocals to create a lovely
modern piece of synth-rock.
22John Talabot

dat Balearic Beat! If it wasn't for that one song Journeys, this probably could have
been in the top 15. I really fucking hate that song.
21White Lung

19 minutes of punchy punk-rock from no-nonsense Vancouver group White Lung.
Selling point for 70% of the people reading this list: all the band members are
20Lights Out Asia

After 2010's In The Days of Jupiter, not many fans thought that Lights Out Asia
would it around and rival their 2008 masterpiece Eyes Like Brontide, but 2012 was a
surprising year for a lot of bands. Add post-rock/electronic group Lights Out Asia
to that list.

This underexposed piece of independent hip-hop from Toronto is surely a sign of big
things to come. As a debut, it is stunningly accomplished and mature, and it would
be wise to keep an eye on Emay in 2013.
18Hidden Orchestra

A live band of jazz musicians which combine their musicianship with electronics and
thoughtful samples to create a unique marriage of jazz and electronica. RIYL
Submotion Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, Do Make Say Think, The Cinematic Orchestra
17Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Pamyu Pamyu Revolution

J-Pop has arrived. Embrace it.
16Andy Stott
Luxury Problems

UK techno legend returns with his most engaging, cohesive, complete work

Down a member but showing no signs of slowing down, the multi-talented men of
Menomena gloriously announced their new sound in 2012. While this is true of all
Menomena albums, it carries more weight when talking about Moms due to the
sudden lineup change since 2010's Mines: it was always going to be impossible for
fans to know what to expect from this off-the-wall group of maniacal indie-rock
geniuses with the new album. Some were worried that the magic would be gone,
but nothing could be further from the truth. Their sound is no less full or varied; in
fact much of the LP feels so much more expansive and indulgent than anything
they have done since their debut. The lineup has changed and a key songwriter
has been lost, but like a truly great band should have the ability to do, Menomena
have evolved and left their past behind them, where it belongs, and gained a
renewed sense of purpose and creativity.
if we get there one day will you please open the

The top-tier of post-rock is a level that is rarely reached these days, but Swiss
outfit Leech are coming closer than most. Grossly cliche album titles aside, If We
Get There? is both a nod to the genre's storied past, and a purposeful look towards
the future. They know when to stick to tested formulas and staples of the genre's
sound, always executing them well, but also know when to take a left turn and
expand on the expected instrumentation of the style by throwing synthesizers into
the mix. This gives their music that dazzling sparkle that few instrumental rock
bands can boast, and boosts If We Get There? in to the short list of my favourite
albums of the year.
13Toys That Kill
Fambly 42

I can't remember the last time I loved an album so much, but had so little to say
about why. Like many of my favourite records of 2012, Fambly 42 is rough around
the edges -- a burst of jubilant emotion that falls somewhere in the punk/folk
spectrum. It is easily one of the most fun albums of the year, and if I have to say
much more than that to convince you to give it a go, then it probably isn't really
your thing anyway, moving on?
12Big Boi
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Following up on his crowd-pleasing debut was always going to be a tough task, but
Big Boi does the job quite convincingly here. Everything that you ever liked about
him is present on Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors ? his signature, rapid-fire flow,
his clever jabs and witty one-loners, his constant allusions to his earlier work in
Outkast ? but this time there is so much more. The guest list reads like the lineup
for a "dirty south" rap festival in ATL, with a few curveballs thrown in just for fun.
Many accuse it of being overblown and even cheesy at times, and I hardly
disagree. My only rebuttal: it's Big Boi baby, soak it up. My only other rebuttal:
Boy check the resume it's risky business in the A?in the A?in the A A A A.
11Right Away, Great Captain!
The Church of the Good Thief

Andy Hull completes his trilogy of conceptual solo albums with The Church of The
Good Thief, and further proves that he's no slouch without the other members of
Manchester Orchestra. This LP, the crowing jewel of the trio, is a winding tale of
lust, loneliness, desperation, and heartbreak. One of its greatest strengths is that
Hull demonstrates his ability to capture and amaze the listener by using either
grandiose elements and huge sounds, or delicate, quiet, and simple passages of
emotional vulnerability. This is a lyrical folk album as powerful as any you are likely
to hear this year, and it is not to be missed.
American Weekend

The same four chords over and over, the same hissy, lo-fi buzz on each track ?and
yet Kate Churchfield makes you wonder if any of this even matters with her gripping
and heart-wrenching solo album, recorded following the break-up of P.S. Eliot.
Comparisons could easily be made here to the early era of The Mountain Goats, the
tapes that were released when John Darnielle was armed only with a Panasonic
Boombox and a head full of twisted stories and metaphors. Few people can pull this
kind of sound off: throwing away studio wizardry and clean recording techniques in
favour of pure, honest songwriting, and a gritty exterior, but Churchfield has, time
and time again, proven that this is precisely where she feels most comfortable.
American Weekend is the epitome of a grower; something about it gets under your
skin from the first listen, and it keeps you coming back. Get lost Mumford and Sons:
this is the sound of true folk music in the 21st century.

I spent nine months of 2012 travelling abroad, and though I promised myself I
wouldn't go on about this in my write-ups (it was hard not to: most of these
albums come paired with very specific memories), for this one I could not resist.
When I left Canada in September 2011, my knowledge of dubstep, like most North
Americans, did not extend very far past the figureheads of the popular American
movement: Skrillex, Datsik, Zeds Dead (woooo Canada!). I had dabbled in the less
aggressive and more thoughtful side of the genre, but nothing had quite stuck yet,
though (cliche alert!!) Burial was coming close. Now, a year and a half later, I
consider myself modestly knowledgeable about the true origins of the genre and all
the modern-day incarnations of the sound, of which there are many. But when I
think back on this musical journey, the one album I hear in my head, the one
memory I am instantly drawn to, is walking through the streets of Berlin listening to
Clubroot's third album. Though I continue to listen to it regularly, it always reminds
me of those first few obsessive days, wandering through graffiti covered streets
and billowing shisha smoke in a daze, transfixed by a sound that I previously
thought did not exist. My taste has continued to evolve, and I now listen to
dozens of UK deep dubstep producers, but the scene has, to my knowledge, not
produced such a stunning, glorious, massive LP in a long time. I can't describe this
album with words at all, but something about it is just so desperately gripping and
immediate that I would only need to show someone my favourite track (Lurking in
the Shadows, definitely) to convince them that I was right about Clubroot and the
sheer, undeniable quality of his music.
8Fiona Apple
The Idler Wheel...

The Idler Wheel? is yet another voyage into the twisted thoughts of prolific
songwriter Fiona Apple, who has proven herself to be one of the most consistent
artists in music today, even if her pace is slower than most. The seven year wait
between LPs seems to have paid off however, as the 2012 rendition of Fiona's
sound is harsh, bitter, catchy (but at the same time, the complete opposite of
catchy), and glorious from start to finish. The Idler Wheel? is a unique look at
unrequited love and what it can do to a person's psyche. She communicates this
theme not just trough her fantastic lyrics, but also through warped, unsettling
piano runs, fidgety drums beats, and a variety of other unorthodox musical
approaches. It is an album with a distinct personality that jumps out of the
speakers and fascinates listeners with its strange appeal. Many are turned off in
the process, but Fiona Apple does not care, for The Idler Wheel? sounds exactly
like it was supposed to, kitschy appeal and all.
7John K. Samson

It's been six years since the last studio album from legendary Canadian indie-
rockers The Weakerthans, and there isn't any word of a reunion tour anytime soon.
Thankfully, John Samson, their genius lyricist and charming frontman, is doing what
he can to fill the void. Provincial, his first solo full-length (sort of), can't help but
draw comparisons to masterpieces like Left and Leaving and Reconstruction Site,
which is definitely natural. However the album is distinct in that, more than any
album he has ever produced as part of a band, Samson completely lets loose with
his analogies and metaphors and indulges in all the many eccentricities of his
personality. The resulting album is less focused and emotionally powerful than Left
and Leaving, and it isn't as deliciously catchy and ironic as Reconstruction Site.
Instead we get a cleverly worded (as always, aww shucks John) glimpse into the
mind of a man who writes HTML code, plays Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto (San
Andreas), feels strongly about Manitoba and Winnipeg local politics ? and so much
more. We still wait patiently for a new album by The Weakerthans, but their music
is sort of a drug to me, and Provincial is the perfect hit by their enigmatic frontman
with his strange way of making the mundane feel desperately magnificent.
The Woods

The Woods is a remarkable debut full-length from a young Vancouver-Island based
producer poised to join the group of a select few North-American electronic
producers that are dedicated to pushing the boundaries and exploring new sounds
all the time. While his musical influences in past were coming almost entirely from
the realm of dubstep and drum and bass, this budding amateur has increased his
range exponentially in a remarkably short time, and the result in a wholly unique
combination of minimal UK style deep dubstep and organic guitar melodies, but
showing influence from a virtually endless list of styles including trip-hop, ambient,
drum and bass, downtempo, even folk and shoegaze. The genius of this LP is how
the producer is able to tie all these sounds together into a piece of music that is
cohesive and truly one of a kind. The Woods is a refreshing piece of organic
electronic music that is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys deep bass, engaging
beats, and soothing textures.
Celebration Rock

There are not many modern rock bands that divide the greater musical fan base as
sharply as the Vancouver-based duo Japandroids. I have already typed many
words in defense of my love for their pure, sincere, and glorious take on garage-
rock, so I will try to keep this one brief. Brain and Kevin are two guys who enjoy
life with an intensity matched by few. They live fast and hard, and they play loud
and with reckless abandon. There is nothing remarkably unique about their
songwriting or instrumentation at all really. What these two offer in place of flashy
technique and musicianship is pure, raw emotion, the sort that is universally
relatable to anyone who has ever cherished the memory of a night of inexplicable
magic fueled by too much beer (stolen from the parent's special fridge - the one in
the garage) and the happy, carefree vibes of camaraderie among good friends.
4Flying Lotus
Until The Quiet Comes

Every FlyLo fan seems to have a different opinion on the arch of quality and
consistency of his career's musical releases, and they're all equally irrelevant, so
what the hell, here's mine: Since Steven Ellison began creating his enchanting
brand of instrumental hip-hop under the Flying Lotus moniker, he has been steadily
improving with each album. His fourth LP, Until The Quiet Comes, is a sprawling
twisted journey filled with all the lovable sonic approaches of many of his previous
works, but with a sense of sonic unity that ties the whole album together. If Los
Angeles was the gripping, cohesive epic, and Cosmogramma was the quirky work of
art that was majestic in its sporadic nature, then UTQC is the marriage of the two,
with just the right amount of playfulness thrown into the mix (a throwback, in some
ways, to his earlier days as a producer of short musical interludes and cartoon
theme music with Adult Swim). Flying Lotus has been on the leading edge of
experimental electronic music for nearly a decade now, and his most recent effort is
the brainchild of an accomplished and knowledgeable musician. Is it better than his
previous albums, each magnificent in their own right? Again, that's for the
individual to decide. But for this fan, nothing Ellison has made has ever sounded so
fresh, lively, and engaging.
3The Mountain Goats
Transcendental Youth

Few bands, if any, can boast a discography as deep, consistent, or magnificent as
The Mountain Goats. They no longer need any introduction, and Darnielle's status
as a modern day poetic genius was cemented long ago. From the years between
2000 and 2005, Darnielle's usual output of remarkable music was kicked into
overdrive, and The Mountain Goats produced (in my opinion) the best run of albums
ever. Five undeniable classics, each a different take on folk/rock music, and each
a perfectly crafted piece of emotional expression and detailed story-telling. While
the music after 2005 continued to be phenomenal, most fans would agree that
Darnielle hasn't threatened his top tier since 2005's The Sunset Tree. The 2012
rendition of The Mountain Goats' unique sound may not eclipse the golden years,
but it's the closest the band has come. Transcendental Youth, like most tMG
albums, is a tale of passion and disillusionment, of trying to find the answers
without knowing the questions, of defining oneself against the society that fostered
our bizarre personal quirks and habits. In many ways it is a triumphant expression of
rediscovered youth and vigour, though in others it is a disgruntled cry for a tangible
meaning of life. In other words, it is what we have come to expect from The
Mountain Goats. Transcendental Youth, while it definitely fits in with their
discography well, is in many ways a completely fresh Mountain Goats album with its
own identity. When John Darnielle decides to release something, it is usually in
among the best pieces of music of the year, and it should be no surprise that 2012
is no different. The most consistent band of all-time shows no sign of slowing
down, and it wouldn't be entirely ridiculous to expect another "golden era" of
comparable quality to 2000-2005. Exhibit A: Transcendental Youth ? a huge step-
up from a level that most other bands could only ever dream of being at to begin
2Godspeed You! Black Emperor
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

From the first time I heard Godspeed You! Black Emperor in the summer of 2007 I
was instantly hooked. I had never heard anything even remotely like it before. It
is now 5 years on, and while I have been expanding my knowledge of post-rock at
an exponentially increasing pace since that fateful day, I have still never heard
anything like them. Sure, many attempt to imitate, and some even do it quite well,
but none of these bands can mimic the urgency of their build-ups, or the sheer
beauty of their crescendos, the absolutely perfect field recordings, or, most
importantly, the conceptual arch that ties all of their pieces together. Many say
that post-rock is a "dead genre", and I would argue that (if it is even true) this is
because it has been ten years since the Godspeed released three of the best
albums ever recorded, and no one has even come close to reaching that bar they
set. So imagine my surprise and delight as a megafan when, completely out of the
blue, one day in October, the recently reunited but long-dead (in terms of studio
albums) group drops an LP of new studio material. People say many things about
Allelujah!..., like "it is just a rehash of their old sound" and "these songs have been
being played live for a decade". To both of these supposed complaints, my
response is "?.so?" Why would they change it up now, nearly a decade later, as
still arguably the most popular "underground" band of all-time, and the masters of a
certain sound? Is it ground-breaking like The Infinity Unit? Is it brilliantly
conceptual or punchy like the Slow Riot EP? Is it as marvelously grand and
breathtaking as Lift Your Skinny Fists?? Well, no, of course it isn't, but that does
not mean that it is not a remarkably FRESH piece of post-rock (yes, I said 'fresh',
again, who else sounds like this?) that is monstrous and epic in its own right. Say
what you want about this album. Say it is comprised of ideas that are recycled or
irrelevant after nearly a decade, or say it doesn't come close to their other work.
But this is the first LP in ten years from the undeniable kings of a once flourishing
genre, and as its own piece of music, not being compared to the classics of the
genre, its quality is stunning. Nearly an hour of shimmering guitar lines and sharp,
exotic violin themes combined with bombastic percussion and clever samples,
producing an overall musical tone that is foreboding, epic, and distinctly Godspeed.
When I first started listening to their music in 2007, I never thought I would have a
new studio album to digest. But somehow, the reunion took shape and eventually
delivered exactly what I thought could never happen, and it's everything I could
have ever hoped for.
1Hop Along
Get Disowned

2012 was a momentous year in music for me. It saw my two favourite bands of all
time release LPs, and a large number of my favourite songwriters releasing fantastic
solo efforts (John Samson, Andy Hull, Katie Churchfield, etc.). There were plenty
of strong releases from the world of electronic music, as well as a large number of
top rap/hip-hop albums. But with all this going on, rising to the top of the pile is an
ugly folky indie-rock album that is nothing if not rough around the edges. Frances
Quinlann's yelpy vocals have deterred many, being called "screechy" at times, and
they are certainly hard to love. This is true of the entire album in fact: through ten
tracks of loud, often abrasive madness, Hop Along bears their collective soul via
raw, passionate rock music. It is not a settling album, I can agree with its
detractors on that point, but therein lies the strange beauty of Get Disowned. It
sounds nervous, fidgety, and unsure of itself, pairing perfectly with Quinlann's
open-ended questions of love and desperation. There is something undeniably
human about the sounds and words found within this frenzied album, and while
some are turned off by its ugliness, something about the sound that Hop Along
have perfected here appeals to me in a way that is impossible to articulate. Get
Disowned is a remarkably emotional and personable album once the listener can
begin to accept it for what it is, flaws an all. Perhaps Quinlann herself said it best
on No Good al Joad when she yelps (and I mean fucking YELPS) "everybody is a
little hard to love sometimes." In a year of the first Godspeed LP in 10 years, the
best Mountain Goats album since their golden era, and dozens of other fantastic
releases, this slow-burner has left them all in its dust. Best album of the year?
Dear god no. But nothing released in 2012 carries the same emotional weight for me
as this album does. It is ugly, neurotic, but yet strangely uplifting (sometimes even
life-affirming) and I can't get enough of it.
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