Up and Coming Music List 2012. Updated 9/1/12

>> Saturday, September 1, 2012

***I apologize, this is a series, that for the last 3 years, I have kept up with on about a 3 month regular basis, and it has been one of my most popular, but this year got away from me. I'm sorry. I guess I am just not finding much music to love this year (outside of a very strong handful). But, the year is not over. So, here we go.

Inspired by Stevie's Up And Coming Book List, I am going to start the same thing with my music purchased for the year. I found this to be really useful in both 2010 & 2011, that I am now completely reliant on it for 2012.

My favorite blog to write is my year end music review. And it be honest, I start it in January of each year. I start collecting music as soon as possible, and use a smart playlist to amass them all in one place for easy listening and examining.

Below you will see a quick list of the albums I have picked up so far this year (October 2011 - Current).  I will try to update them every couple months or so. If I have an opinion of the record, will post a quick note, but keep in mind, I may change mine. I realize this list can get exceptionally long by the end of the year, and I appreciate you reading it. Thanks. I hope it serves you in expanding your 2012 music collection.

I have included YouTube links this year. Just click on the name of the artist to hear a sample song from the mentioned album.

Items added since last posting in March will be marked with an *. New opinions on original entries will be posted in GREEN.

*Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
This is what I like to refer to as a blog band. Every person with a music centric blog, like myself, has collectively made this band the 2012 indie darlings. And, and I hate to say, it is deserved. This is a solid, but unspectacular record with a strong and unique voice. Currently just sitting inside the fringes of my top 13.

*Alex Clare - The Lateness of the Hour
This is that guy who does that one song that you hate to admit you love. I just wish he was a whole record worthy. But as it sits, right now, he is a one song wonder in my opinion. Sorry Auttie.

*Allo, Darlin' - Europe
Been a fan since their self titled album came out in 2010, and this is much like that. The band has not grown, but polished. Strong, yet unremarkable album.

*Ambassadors - Litost
This shit right here is the shit. If I were to write my top 13 today, this record here would co-claim king of the hill (more of that later). Not since The Temper Trap's conditions came out in 2009 have I been this excited about a record.

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
I have been told for years that I need to get into Andrew Bird. That he is right up my alley. But I hate taking music advice from people, so I rarely give in. But this year, after hearing a snippet of Danse Caribe I decided to take the chance, and so far, so good. Musically it is very strong. But no song has swept me away... yet. Still.

Ben Kweller - Go Fly A Kite
One of my favorite records of 2012. Ben Kweller has taken a huge creative step, Songs like Gossip and Full Circle shine bright while nothing else on the album dims. Solid solid works. Strong contender for the end of the year top 13. This has fallen off hugely for me. I wish it hadn't, but I have grown tired of it. 

The Black Keys - El Camino
This record came out in late 2011, and it raced up many of the best albums of 2011 lists. Which, in my opinion is very short sighted. You cannot truly examine a record in less than a month and determine its merit. The record is not bad, but it cannot hold a candle to their 2010 release "Brothers." I cannot seem to find the soul of this record. 

*Carson Henley - 100 Hours
Now this record shows its soul in the first 8 bars. If you don't know about the 100 Hours project, you are missing out on something truly special. And it's a project that finally helped Carson find his balance on that line of soul and truth that all musicians try to reach. This music lives. It breathes, it aches and pains, it loves and breaks. This record is something I was missing.

Casiokids - Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen
Some songs drive me up the flucking wall, some songs I crank up.

Chairlift - Something
Chairlift. What I say about Chairlift. Chairlift is like shaved ice on a really hot day. Really satisfying, but not filling. And I don't mean that as a slight.

Choir Of Young Believers - Rhine Gold
I just got this today. But I could not be more excited. Their 2009 release took over my life. This was number 10 on my 12 in 2012: Most Anticipated Albums list, and I cannot wait to dive in to it. Dove in and was disappointed by its tepidness. 

*Clock Opera - Ways To Forget
This band put out one of my all time favorite songs last year. So I was really excited for the record. And although it could not possibly live up to my crazy expectations, it has not disappointed either.

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa
Damien Jurado is a NW product, and the pride of the indie Seattle music scene. And rightfully so. Up until recently, I didn't "get it" with him. But, after seeing him live a few times, it sank in. His newest album, Maraqopa, is his best. He, somehow, after being on the scene since the 90's, is still finding a way to grow.

Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
This album has me torn. They do not do anything special or different on the scene, but they do it well. Songs like California and Otherside really stand out.

Dia Frampton - Red
This record, from the runner up of the Voice last year, took me by surprise. I expected to find it chalk full of canned pop songs with an indie edge, but thankfully, I was wrong. The depth and subtle touch on this record is uncannily strong for a major label debut. Although, I do not dislike it, I keep finding myself skipping tracks when they come on. Hmmm

*Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
I want to like this band. I really do. But I just can't. Someone explain the appeal to me.

Drake - Take Care
This record has fallen off for me since I got it in late 2011. I loved it first, but now I find it to be a bit shallow and one note. That one note is great, but to stretch it to 19 tracks gets a little tired. Bored.

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
It's like if you took southern cali beach rock and shoved them into a garage. And it works, one of my dark horse favorites of 2012. Fallen off tons.

*Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Here
Yes please.

*Electric Guest - Mondo
Makes me wanna dance. Which is a mistake.

*Eric Hutchinson - Moving Up Living Down
I have a soft spot for singer song writers. This should be well known by now. But, singer song writers have been stupid and disappointing lately, except for Eric Hutchinson. His record, not only follows up his strong debut, but out shines it. One of my easy favorites.

*Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light
Some bands don't need growth to prosper, Allo, Darlin' is the perfect example, but some bands fall stale so quickly that without growth you find disappointment. Fanfarlo is sadly the perfect example of that.

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
Officially has front runner status. One of the best records of 2012, First Aid Kit has found their maturity without losing what made them special. Still the best two part harmonies I have heard in the last 5 years. Has lost front runner status, has lost all status. 

*FM Radio - Out of the Blue
This little duo rocked my 2011 with one track. And thank got they didn't disappoint with their full length. One of my favorite records of the year, easily.

*Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
I can't help but wish this album was more. Not longer, or more tracks, but just more. It's hard to put in words. You feel like this record is superficial, and does not delve deep enough to matter.

fun. - Some Nights
I can't make up my mind here. Their 2009 release "Aim & Ignite" has become one of my all time favorite albums, so I am having to overcome my own expectations to give this record a fair shake. I can tell you this, Why Am I The One and Some Nights Intro are easily two of my favorite tracks of the year. I give in. This album is great. 

*Gentleman Jesse - Leaving Atlanta
A fantastic ruckus of a record.

*Glen Hansard - Rhythm and Repose
Glen Hansard does not take any changes on this record. Glen Hansard does not tread any new paths. But Glen Hansard does not have too. Fuck, he just does his shit, and does it well.

*Gold Motel - Gold Motel
Not what I was hoping for from them, but not bad. I love her voice.

Good Old War - Come Back As Rain
You know how I said that First Aid Kit has the best 2 part harmonies? Good Old War is right up there in the 3 part harmonies race. This record has an earnestness that has been missing from music since The Tallest Man On Earth last released a record. I am in love with this record. STILL.

Gotye - Making Mirrors
I wanted to hate this record. Somebody That I Used To Know is everywhere, and as great as that song is, and it is fucking great, its overabundance is rather annoying. But, so far, this album is more good than bad, although there are a few songs that miss the mark, the ones that hit are pretty special.

Ingrid Michaelson - Human Again
Who knew Ingrid Michaelson could pull this record off? I didn't that's for sure. I only picked this up during a half asleep middle of the night buying spree. I didn't even remember it until it shuffled on while driving to work the next morning. But, wow. This record is spectacular. Seriously, she is one of the strongest song writers out there currently. This is the surprise album of the year. Almost a surefire lock for top 13. Lock for top half of the list.

*J.D. McPherson - Signs & Signifiers
I don't know if I truly like this record or if I am a fan of the novelty of it.

Jennifer O'Connor - I Want What You Want
Quiet grace and beauty. This record begs to be played. Give it a chance.

*Jason Mraz - Love is a Four Letter Word
I never thought I would complain about this on a record, but, Jason Mraz is too fucking optimistic for me. This record is so sugary sweet, hope and love and bunnies it is tiresome after one listen. It's a record for hospice care, not for the general public.

Josh Ritter - Bringing In the Darlings
I just picked this up. Too early to judge. Unremarkable.

Julia Stone - Let's Forget All The Things That We Say
Julia Stone needs to stick with Angus. There is nothing wrong with this record, and I bet that if this was the only album she had put out, and if Angus and Julia Stone didn't exist, I would probably love this, but knowing what I know, and knowing how great she can be, this just falls short.

K'naan - More Beautiful Than Silence
Strong, but short. Come on K'naan, give me more that 5 tracks, I've been waiting 3 years already. But, still, K'naan is the man.

Katie Herzig - The Waking Sleep
I like this record a lot. I has a unique perspective, but does not feel off-putting of non fans.

*Kyler England - Electric Hum
Some of you will wag your finger at me for this, but I love this record. It has so much drive and heart that it is hard not too. Yes, it is rather poppy for fans of this blog, but quality is quality.

*Lemolo - The Kaleidoscope
Best NW release of the year, and its not even close. This record, released this summer, is only getting better as the days get shorter and fall rolls in. It is a winter record.

Los Camesinos! - Hello Sadness
Disappointing. I am not sure if it is the changing members, or the turn in the writing, but nothing has caught up with that debut record. A couple of tracks have started to stand out. But it does not make up for the shortcomings of the whole album. 

Lost In The Trees - A Church That Fits Our Needs
Just got it. Too early to judge. Unremarkable.

*The Lumineers - The Lumineers
I mentioned co-king of the hill earlier when I was talking about Ambassadors, this is the other half of the co. This record just gets me. I play it more than any other, and I play it loud.

*M. Ward - A Wastland Companion
I want to love this album, and when I sit and down and listen to it independently, I really feel it, but as soon as it's over, I forget all about it.

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
Nada Surf is still out there making tunes. I was not surprised to find this out, but I was surprised to actually like the music. And it's not at all like I remembered it being in the 90's. Yeah, it's standard alt rock, but the writing is strong, the musicality is solid, and it is a very decent record.

*Niki and the Dove - Instinct
I love me some Niki and the Dove. I have since their first record dropped into my inbox from the Moshi Moshi membership. And they have yet to let me down. Not for everyone.

Of Monsters And Men - Into The Woods
This album is a beautiful mess. Little Talks & Love Love Love are special special songs, but the other two on the EP miss the mark. That is only a 50% success rate. However, considering how great the two successful songs actually are, I still call this one a win.

*Passion Pit - Gossamer
I forgot this was released until this week, and just picked it up. So far I like it, but don't love it. It could go either way.

Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
I have only spun through this whole record once, so I am not comfortable putting words down on it yet. But so far I really like it.

Real Estate - Days
Another late 2011 release that ended up on a bunch of best of lists, but this one I can agree with. It is not a unique perspective on rock and roll, but it is a strong outing that does not have any missteps.

*Rebecca Ferguson - Heaven
Take Norah Jones and Adele, squish them together and you end up with Rebecca Ferguson, and its grand. I LOVE her voice. But I am not sure that makes up for a lackluster song selection.

*Right Away, Great Captain! - The Church of the Good Thief
Officially the most disappointing record of the year. But I think that's my fault. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the first two releases by this Andy Hull side project so much, that I put everything into it being spectacular. And I think it is. But, I am not the same guy I was when I first found RAGC, so it does not resonate with me as it should.

The Roots - Undun
Good but not great.

Samantha Crain - A Simple Jungle
I love Samantha Crain. She could release a track of her sneezing into a microphone and I would probably buy it. But, with that said, objectivity, this is a great EP, I cannot wait to find out what she has in store for her next full length.

School Of Seven Bells - Ghostory
I bought this because I liked the name of the album. "Ghostory." And the driving airy electrop pop rock jarred me. Actually jarred me. I was all like "WTF music!?" and I have been a fan ever since. But, it has not moved past that initial burst of like into need. 

Sleigh Bells - Reign Of Terror
Still trying to figure out the big deal.

*The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now
Like Glen Hansard, he does not need to change to grow. It's a lot of the same, but for once that is not a bad thing.

*The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap
Looks like Conditions was an anomaly. Not that the entire album is crap, but it does not hold a candle to it predecessor.

Tim Myers - Technicolor
One half of FM Radio, who is putting out an album shorting, Tim Myers is a bad ass. This record, and the subsequent stuff he is doing along with Schuyler Fisk for FM Radio is killer. This album has quickly become one of my favorites. I have some concerns about its longevity, but for now, hell yes!

*Tom Williams & The Boat - Teenage Blood
I forgot I had this, it's on my computer, but never made the move to my iPod where it should be. So I have no opinion formed yet. But from the song linked above, I kinda like it.

*Trampled by Turtles - Stars and Satellites
Yes and no.

*Walk The Moon - Walk The Moon
I think I like Walk The Moon. I really think I like Walk The Moon. They are more than Anna Sun.

*The Wave Pictures - Long Black Cars

White Rabbits - Milk Famous
Too new to judge, but excited to get started. I have judged and have found it leave me wanting more, which is never a good sign. 

Xiu Xiu - Always
I dislike this greatly.

*Yeasayer - Fragrant World
Just picket it up. No opinion yet.

Zola Jesus - Conatus
Even though it was released late in 2011, This is right up there with First Aid Kit as the early front runner for the record of the year. I cannot get the album out of my head.


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