The Best (& Not So Best) Albums of 2012: A-K

Yup. It’s that time of year. It’s time for all the best of blah blah blah lists. Well, fuck it, I have opinions, too.

I normally do a review of books I’ve read in the past year, but since this was such an awesome year for music, I’ve decided to review albums released in 2012. That’s not to say that this is a comprehensive list of 2012 releases. It only includes albums personally listened to by me.

I have eclectic taste in music, so you probably haven’t heard of some of these bands, which is kind of the point of this post. I like to share and enknowledge you. I listen to tons of different types of music, but there should be something here to appeal to practically everyone (unless your taste in music is just horrible, then sorry.).

I’ve included the most used tags from to give you a general idea of what these bands might sound like. Sometimes, the tags are not very helpful or accurate, but it’s better than nothing. I’m not going to link all of these because it would take me forever and I’m lazy, but if any of these sound appealing, they all have songs on YouTube or so you can try them out.

In alphabetical order:

Baroness | Yellow & Green


Tags from progressive metal, progressive rock, stoner rock, sludge

Favorite Tracks: Little Things, Twinkler

From: Savannah, Georgia.

I’ve long been a fan of this band. Red and Blue are some good records. Yellow and Green are much more sedate than what I’m used to from these guys with a lot of acoustic guitar and ethereal choral-like singing with harmonies. It’s great background music for writing. Unfortunately, while touring for this record in Europe, their bus crashed. I hear they’re on the mend. Get better soon, Baroness.

Beastie Boys | Hot Sauce Committee Part 2


Tags: You ought to know who the Beasties are by now.

Favorite Tracks: Crazy Ass Shit, Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament, Too Many Rappers [new reactionaries version] (featuring NAS), Make Some Noise

From: No Sleep Til Brooklyn.

Daaaw. This came out right before Adam died. So sad. At least he left us this album. I had almost given up on the Beasties, but I’m glad I didn’t. This is the best record since Paul’s Boutique.

Black Sleep of Kali |BSOK/UOS Split LP


Tags from sludge, stoner metal, sludge metal, stoner, american

Favorite Track : The Crow And The Snake (it’s not even on the split, it’s on Our Slow Decay. That’s cheating!)

From: Denver, Colorado.

Holy hell, their album Our Slow Decay grabbed me by the balls, even though I am a girl and I don’t have balls. They put out a free split LP this year. Yay for FREE! I suspect that I’m one of 100 people who has ever heard of these guys, but that ought to change. The Split isn’t as good as Our Slow Decay, but it is free. They also have a side project band called IronHorse.

Cannibal Corpse | Torture


Tags from death metal, brutal death metal, metal, grindcore

Favorite Track: Crucifier Avenged

From: Buffalo, New York.

Oh, how I love some torture. Well, not really, but I do enjoy some Cannibal Corpse from time to time. They have been around, eviscerating earballs with their instruments and song titles, longer than I have I think. This is something like their 4,579th album and, you know what? It’s bloody good. Cannibal Corpse just never slows down. Ever.

Chromatics | Kill For Love


Tags from electronic, synthpop, post-punk, indie, experimental

Favorite Tracks: The River, a cover of Neil Young’s Into The Black (I like Neil Young’s songs, but I hate his voice).

From: Portland, Oregon.

This album is like the very best of the 1980’s, but it was just released this year. It’s the music the 1980s should have put out instead of the crap that it did. This will not eviscerate your earballs.

Corrosion of Conformity | Self Titled


Tags: punk (you can’t go by for COC tags because you’ll be very confused)

Favorite Tracks: Leeches, The Moneychangers

From: Raleigh, North Carolina.

I have a confession to make. I used to be a punk chick. Mohawk, $20 combat boots from the army navy surplus store, leather jacket. Daaaaaw. I was never into COC back in the day. I bought Wiseblood accidentally and said “what is this lame metal crap?” and threw it under my bed or something. Then, decades later, when I had finally gained some open-mindedness, I listened to it. Hey, this shit ain’t half bad, I thought. It deducted several punk cool points, but what do I care? Well, COC is back with a vengeance with this self titled number. It goes back to their punk roots, sans Pepper Keenan, and it’s hella fun if you’re into that sort of thing. COC is really two bands. There’s the metal stuff in the middle and the punk stuff on both ends.

Death Grips | Self Titled


Tags from hip-hop, experimental, experimental rap, rap

Favorite Track: The Cage

From: Sacramento, California.

Death Grips’ last album, Exmilitary, fluctuates between tracks of sheer brilliance and tracks that sound like the crazy guy who talks to himself outside the liquor store put out his own tape and is trying to make you listen to it so you’ll buy it for $2 and he can go get himself a forty ounce of fine malt liquor. This new release is similar but with a little more crazy and a little less sheer brilliance. I expect the next release to be just rambling about aliens and tinfoil hats or something.

Die Antwoord | Ten$ion


Tags from hip-hop, rap, next level beats, afrikaans

Favorite Tracks: Fatty Boom Boom, So What?, I Fink You Freeky

From Cape Town, South Africa.

I love these crazy South African muppets. Their music is like what I would produce if I had any musical talent and was a hip hopper. There are some really great tracks on the new record, but I think $O$ is better overall. Still, I fink u freeky and I like you a lot.

Down | Down III: Over The Under


Tags from stoner metal, stoner rock, southern metal, metal, heavy metal

Favorite Track: Witchtripper (This song kills all other songs)

From: New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mega ultra super band containing members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod and Crowbar came out with new New Orleans sludgy rock and it’s awesome. You could easily put all three Down albums on full shuffle and not come up with one bad track in the bunch.

Earth | Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II


Tags from drone, doom metal, drone doom, stoner rock, doom

Favorite Tracks: Just listen to it straight through.

From: Olympia, Washington.

Earth is drone doom. If you have no idea what that is, you probably aren’t missing out based on your lack of genre knowledge. It’s slow and it drones on. Doom, as a musical genre, isn’t really as doomy as you’d think. It’s very, very mellow. It just means that it doesn’t have a good beat and you can’t dance to it. This is the ultimate background music. This album is part two of the set, both of which were recorded at the same time, but this one came out in 2012.

Goatwhore | Blood for the Master


Tags from black metal, blackened death metal, death metal, metal, american

Favorite Tracks: Collapse In Eternal Worth, Judgement Of The Bleeding Crown, actually, it’s all good.

From: Thibodaux, Louisiana.

How in the name of the holy goat lord can you not love a band called GOATWHORE? Oh, it’s just me? Alright, I admit it’s not for most, but if a band named Goatwhore appeals to you at all, I would highly recommend checking them out. All of their releases are good and this one is no exception.

Gojira | L’Enfant Sauvage


Tags from progressive metal, metal, thrash metal, BADASS (I added that last one)

Favorite Tracks: Explosia, Liquid Fire

From: Bayonne, France.

Oooh, Gojira. I love Gojira. They’re the best band France ever produced. In fact, they’re so badass that it’s hard to believe they’re French. This band rules. If you like any of the genres listed above, particularly if you like amazing drummers, go get all of their albums now.

Greydon Square | Type II: The Mandlebrot Set

Tags from hip-hop, atheism rap, rational response squad, hip hop

Favorite Tracks: Prison Planet, As a Legend

From: Compton, California.

Take one part atheist, one part science geek, one part math geek and two parts helluva good rapper and you have Greydon Square. He will blow your mind. I am in love. You can buy his stuff for cheap and help support a new artist here.

High On Fire | De Vermis Mysteriis


Tags from stoner metal, doom metal, sludge, metal, stoner rock

Favorite Tracks: Romulus and Remus, Fertile Green

From: Oakland, California.

Heavy sludgy goodness. This band never lets up. Every single album is great and this one is just another brick in their wall of awesome.

Iron Mtn | Self Titled


Tags from doom metal, psychedelic, stoner metal, psychedelic rock, stoner rock

Favorite Tracks: Erebus, The Mountain God, Light Years Later

From: Los Angeles, California.

This is not doom or metal. This is messy, fuzzed out instrumental rock with some really catchy hooks. Psychedelic, yes. Stoner, maybe. Doom metal, NO. I love it.

Jeremy Denk | Ligeti/Beethoven


Tags from classical, pianist, classical piano

Favorite Tracks: Piano Etudes (Book One): II. Cordes à vide, Piano Etudes (Book One): V. Arc-en-ciel

From: Durham, North Carolina.

I’m not a big fan of the piano. In fact, other than the higher end woodwinds, it’s my least favorite instrument. But how could I pass up Beethoven? This is some mighty fine piano right here, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Joy As a Toy | Dead As A Dodo


Tags from synth rock, psycho-rock, effectysm, horror rock

Favorite Tracks: Zombie Safari, Hot Water (Acid Trip)

From: Italy.

I’m not sure what this is or where I got it. It’s like wacky French lounge music, but they’re not even French. If I knew what “effectysm” was, I might go with that one.

Kishi Bashi | 151a


Tags from indie, experimental kishi bashi (he apparently has his own genre)

Favorite Tracks: Bright Whites, Manchester, I Am the Antichrist to You

From: Seattle, Washington.

One of my blog stalkers, (that’s what I call y’all – in a good way!) weebee, recommended this dude when I was talking about my synesthesia. I immediately fell in love. Kishi Bashi has more talent in his pinky than all of the musicians on the Top 40 charts (maybe – I don’t really know since I don’t listen to the radio. Anyway, watch this and tell me if I’m right). Listening to this album is like an expected summer rain in a drought. You are curled up under a colorful quilt of blues, pinks, purples, greens and yellow, all safe inside. Snuggling up next to you is your favorite person who is reading you a story book. And just as the book gets to the a happy ending, the sun comes out and you can go outside and play, stomping in puddles under a rainbow. It’s that good.

Continued in Part Two: L-Z.