Leah’s Top 10 Albums of 2012
1. Murder By Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Among the many reasons I love Murder By Death is their ability to seamlessly weave indie/folk/Americana/punk/orchestra into one coherent genre. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time and it seems that with each album they bring forward a new facet of their “IFAPO” style. Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon is filled with a larger dose of hard hitting dark orchestral rock than I’ve heard out of them before… and, I like it.
“I Came Around”
2. Hot Water Music – Exister
Hot Water Music has been a band since I was five. By the time I was first introduced to them in 2005, they had already released 7 full length records and had broken up. I drooled over their discography for the remainder of my teens, jealous that I missed their heyday. Lucky for me, they recently reunited and released Exister, their first full length record in 8 years. If you needed more evidence than their first 7 records to prove that they have the best rhythm section out of any rock band around – this is it. Exister encompasses many of my favorite aspects of HWM’s reign: ridiculous(ly awesome) bass lines, hard hitting drums, and Chuck Regan’s raspy yet lovely voice.
“Drag My Body”
3. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
It will be hard for TGA to ever write a record better than the “59’ Sound.” I think they know that, too. That being said, Handwritten has some songs that come pretty fucking close to par. I always have trouble trying to explain to people why I like TGA so much and this album is no exception. I just really like it, ok?
4. Deep Sea Diver – History Speaks
This record (and this band) caught me off guard. I had heard the name DSD thrown around on KEXP and posters in the city but had never actually heard them. This first time I listened to History Speaks I liked it but wasn’t in love with it. Well, it grows on you. It grew on me more than any record ever has. I’ve listened to this record countless times this year and every time I’m impressed. Everyone knows Jessica Dobson slays at guitar but she can also write a damn good song (or 10) and her husband, Peter, gets into a drum grove on these songs that totally blew my mind. He is even better live. I’m excited to hear what they come up with next.
5. Cheap Girls – Giant Orange
If you didn’t already know, I love pop-punk. Good pop punk seems to be harder and harder to find but this year I was lucky enough to find Cheap Girls. I first heard about them because Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! Produced and recorded Giant Orange and I automatically assume that I like the same kind of music she does. I was correct. This record is impressively robust for CG only being a three piece band. The guitar tone is huge and perfectly suited to highlight the simple chord structure and catchy leads while allowing the unique tone of the singing to hold its own. The lyrics on this record are also great, they are super honest and nostalgic and I think everyone can relate to them in some way.
“Gone All Summer”
6. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
This record is so good. The Menzingers are a band I heard here and there over the past couple years but didn’t really fully appreciate until this record. It’s 13 straight songs of pure honest emotion and punk rock. The first song of On the Impossible Past probably resonated with me more than any other song this year and sets the stage for the whole album. If I had to paraphrase the meaning of this record with one line it would be, “I am just freaking out, yeah I’ll be fine.”
7. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
I’m pretty sure Celebration Rock wins the award for the album I listened to the most times in my car this year. I spent the summer driving around with the windows down yelling along to all of the OOOHHHHHs and AAAHHHHs. This isn’t the most intricate or amazing record of the year but it’s definitely fun and still has some swag of its own. These two gentlemen can capture a feeling in a guitar riff better than most.
“The House That Heaven Built”
8. Dad Punchers – Dad Punchers
I might be jumping the gun a little on this one seeing as though the album just came out this week (mid-December) and I’ve only given it a few listens… but I love it. It is perfect post-punkish emo and embraces so many different things that I like. The whole record was written and recorded by Elliot Babin, the drummer for Touché Amore. Just to make this totally clear: HE PLAYED EVERY INSTRUEMENT AND SANG EVERY LYRIC ON THE RECORD. (Did I mention that he is also really attractive? Dreamboat) It seems that being on tour for 9 months a year with his band gave him the perfect amount of nostalgia, self-loathing, and optimism to write an awesome record.
9. Touché Amore – Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
I discovered the Dad Punchers record this year by first discovering Touché Amore. I’m late to their party. They’ve been doing their awesome post-hardcore thing since 2007 but better late than never, I suppose. I’m picky about my hardcore music. It is a fairly abrasive genre and something about a record really has to hit me in the right spot to keep my interest. Touché Amore seemed to reel me in effortlessly. The songs are short, fast paced, and filled with self-reflection and blatantly honest and emotional lyrics. Also, I am really impressed with and jealous of the drumming on the record. How the fuck do you do that? (I know this record is from 2011 but I just discovered it in 2012. So whatever)
“Home Away From Here”
10. Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight
The Bloom and the Blight is the 2Gs first record in 5 years… and it shows. It is packed full of songs that hit harder than most of the other 2Gs albums combined. It feels like they have been sitting behind locked gates for 5 years and are now that the gates are open they are raging (in a good way). Adam’s voice seems to have taken on a new level of grit and it sounds like he added a few more distortion pedals to his setup. It’s totally different than the last couple of albums that these two guys have put out. What this record lacks in harmonica it makes up for in rockin’ guitar riffs and kick drum. Dig it!