Manuel’s Top Ten of 2012


I didn’t invest a lot of time towards music these past twelve months like I have the previous 40+ years. A shame, really. I’m sure there’s been a lot of original stuff that I’d go crazy for had I made the effort to look for it. If I don’t turn it around this year, I’ll soon become that middle-aged dude that thinks the music kids hear today is crap.

Don’t let me become that dude.

10. Muse “The 2nd Law” (2012)

Not their best, not by a long shot. But I did enjoy it. Nothing wrong with bands stretching themselves, especially with the talent these three have.

9. Metric “Synthetica” (2012)

This album firmly establishes Metric as the premier Synth Pop band of the planet. At least, out of the three Synth Pop bands I heard this year…I have to admit that considering my lack of listening this year I should not subject anybody to baseless hyperbole.

8. Shearwater “Animal Joy” (2012)

I had never heard of this band prior to this year. Great stuff. I will be watching out for their future releases.

7. Band of Skulls “Sweet Sour” (2012)

Not a bad representation of the bluesy indie rock being released these days. I listened. And I liked.

6. Django Django “Django Django” (2012)

I listened to a lot of Talking Heads this year. This band reminded me of them, as well as The Beta Band and Gomez. Looking forward to hearing where this band goes in the future.

5. The War on Drugs “Slave Ambient” (2011)

Universally thought of as one of the most unique sounding albums released in 2011, I glommed onto it during the first half of 2012. I agree. It’s like Dylan singing Wilco over a sound board mixed by Phil Spector. Getting to attend a local, private show with the band also contributed to its overall appeal. Highly recommended.

4. Longpigs “The Sun is Often Out” (1995)

I like to consider myself a Britpop sophisticate. But I never heard of this band. I now suspect that since the internet didn’t really take off until the late 90’s, there are a lot of bands I missed out on. Big ups to Stu for showing me the light, ’cause I’ve enjoyed the f#ck out of this album since the first day I heard it.

3. Eight And a Half “Eight And a Half” (2012)

Let me get this straight: two thirds of the band members from Eight And a Half are from The Stills? Sign me up! My iTunes play count doesn’t lie. I listened to this album a lot. But in all honesty. by the middle of this year it had worn its welcome. I do still consider the first half quite excellent, however.

2. Hot Chip “In Our Heads” (2012)

In 1982, I got my first Walkman (oh dear god I’m old!). One of the first albums I ever listened to was “A Flock of Seagulls.” That low hum of sound at the beginning of “I Ran (So Far Away)” was an instant eargasm for me. Oh sure, Kraftwerk were the true pioneers of electronic music. But there was real warmth in the sound and lyrics that Mike Score & Co. produced. It was then that my journey into Electronica began in earnest. Hot Chip has continued the lineage for me. Their latest hits my earbone in much the same way as those New Wave bands of yesteryear. I couldn’t stop listening. Keep the tunes coming, you dorky geniuses!

1. Noel Gallagher “High Flying Birds” (2011)

I came late to this party, but I am the last to leave. I don’t have much to write about this one, other than to say it’s excellent. Noel’s signature sound has been around so long in my life that it hits my comfort zone the second I hear his voice.

Hot on Everyone’s Heels…

  • Magnet “Ferrofluid” (2012) — Even brilliant Even Johansen can’t hit a home run every time he steps up to the plate. Was that too esoteric an American colloquialism for y’all?
  • Patrick Watson “Adventures In Your Own Backyard” (2012)
  • JBM “Not Even in July” (2010)
  • Richard Hawley “Standing at the Sky’s Edge” (2012) — This barely missed the cut. Great album.

2 thoughts on “Manuel’s Top Ten of 2012

  1. Nice list fella. Of course your number 1 choice is always going to get my approval! Good to see we had a couple of cross-overs this time around in our lists. I hadn’t heard of Eight and a Half before so had a listen over the weekend. Perhaps I was expecting a similar sound to Stills which was a pretty high standard to hit, but was left a bit disappointed. Will have a few more listens though.

    Glad you’re enjoying the Longpigs as much as I have. For me a great example of mid 90s Britpop.

  2. Good list – not as ummmm strange as I’d expected. By strange I mean stuff that I haven’t heard of. Or something!

    Bit surprised about Noel being #1. And Hot Chip doesn’t really do it for me. But hey! Would be boring if everyone liked the same stuff.

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