Just this afternoon I was actually thinking to myself on the bus (nearly out loud!) where the Hell is J. Eric Smith’s list of best albums of the half-year? And lo and behold, here it is.

Mine, for what it’s worth:

  • Fun. – “Some Nights”
    Super poppy and they tend to veer into territory of a glam/Queen cover band, but it works for this album.
  • Andrew Bird – “Break It Yourself”
    Not as ambitious as some previous efforts, but still gorgeous.
  • Gregory Porter – “Be Good”
    Smoothest album of the year. Porter has one of the most earnest voices I’ve ever heard.
  • Alcest – “Les Voyages de L’Ame”
    French ambient hardcore/metal. Tread carefully if that isn’t your sort of thing.
  • Cloud Nothings – “Attack on Memory”
    It took me a few spins, but I dig it.
  • The M Machine – “Metropolis Pt. 1″
    Not that big into electronic BGM, but this one is just the right blend of relaxed yet still engaging.
  • Adam Arcuragi – “Like a fire that consumes all before it…”
    Surprised Arcuragi isn’t a bigger star. Might be my pick for album of the half-year. Also, “President’s Song” is an incredible song.
  • Anais Mitchell – “Young Man in America”
    This might be my other pick. Really unique voice.
  • Crybaby – “Crybaby”
    From the outset (“I Cherish the Heartbreak More Than the Love That I Lost”), it’s so melodramatic it makes Morrissey roll his eyes. But it works.
  • The Menzingers – “On the Impossible Past”
    These guys are great. If I’d known they were playing Norther Li—ahem, sorry, “Upstate Concert Hall” (For fucking serious? That’s not a name, it’s a vague description!), I would have gone. They opened for Against Me! along with another band that sucked and threw a fit.
  • Will Johnson/Yim Yames/Anders Parker/Jay Farrar – “New Multitudes”
    More Woody Guthrie lyrics without music, this time penned by the four aforementioned. Really great stuff and a bit more adventurous than the beloved “Mermaid Avenue” editions (no disrespect intended towards Billy Bragg and Wilco; I still love those albums).
  • Santigold – “Master of My Make-Believe”
    The most punk R&B album you’ll ever hear. I think I’m in love.
  • Amadou & Mariam – “Folila”
    Mali exports mix genres with genre-defying artists like the previously mentioned Santigold, TV on the Radio, and more. On paper it looks like it’d be a mess, but the execution is brilliant.
  • King Tuff – “King Tuff”
    Is there a more fun glam rock send-up? If you’re going to do it, do it right. And he does.
  • Off! – “OFF!”
    An all-star hardcore lineup that works. Sort of like United Nations but with more street cred and better (and I actually really like UN).
  • Todd Snider – “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables”
    The kind of thing I wish came out of Nashville more.
  • The Mynabirds – “GENERALS”
    When this one catches me in the wrong mood it’s unlistenable, mostly because of the choices made during production. But otherwise I think it’s quite brilliant.
  • Richard Hawley – “Standing at the Sky’s Edge”
    Proggy and psychedelic and singer-songwritery all in one.
  • PS I Love You – “Death Dreams”
    This took me a few spins, but once it got me it had me.


I’ve made the playlist, which I’ll be continually adding to throughout the year, available on Spotify: The Best of 2012 (So Far)

And/or get a quick taste from videos, after the jump.

Fun. (ft. Janelle Monae) – “We Are Young”

Andrew Bird – “Eyeoneye”

Gregory Porter – “Be Good (Lion’s Song)”

Alcest – “Autre Temps”

Cloud Nothings – “No Future/No Past”

The M Machine – “Promise Me a Rose Garden”

Adam Arcuragi – “President’s Song”

Anais Mitchell – “Coming Down”

Crybaby – “I Cherish the Heartbreak More Than the Love That I Lost”

The Menzingers – “Gates”

New Multitudes – “Talking Empty Bed Blues”

Santigold – “Disparate Youth”

Amadou & Mariam – “Dougou Badia” (ft. Santigold)

King Tuff – “Bad Thing”

OFF! – “Wiped Out”

Todd Snider – “Too Soon to Tell”

The Mynabirds – “Generals”

Richard Hawley – “Down in the Woods”

PS I Love You – “Sentimental Dishes”


One Response to The Best Albums of 2012 So Far (with videos!)

  1. J Eric Smith says:

    Thanks for linkage and a great list to explore . . . . I didn’t realize Off existed. Love Morris and McDonald, and how awesome to see a Raymond Pettibone album cover again, all these years on . . .

    Off to explore the others . . . 

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