Top 10 Best Albums of 2012 (That I Never Heard)

Welcome to the time of the year where every music writer everywhere declares a ten or more albums to be THE BEST IN THE WHOLE WORLD, like a million times better than all those other new albums you’ve been listening to under the misguided impression that they are amazing.

According to other websites’ ‘Best Of’ lists, I didn’t listen to many good albums this year. (Apparently Green Day‘s Uno wasn’t a critic favorite, what a shock). Therefore I felt unqualified to compile a ‘Best Of’ list of my own. So here are ten albums that I predict would have made it on to Autostraddle’s own “Best Of’ list, had I actually heard them. I did not.

good kid, m.A.A.d city

Kendrick Lamar

kendrick lamar

When Kendrick Lamar‘s name first started popping up everywhere on the internet, I asked my friend, “who is this Lamar person?” and he replied, “Oh, he’s one of the guys from Nickelback“. Due to my trusting nature, I didn’t bother confirming this via independent research. I know.

So! With the belief that Kendrick Lamar was one of the people responsible for this musical travesty and others, I spent most of 2012 avoiding reading about or listening to anything with his name on it. It wasn’t until earlier this month — when good kid, m.A.A.d city topped every ‘Best Of 2012′ album list — that I realised Kendrick Lamar is actually a hip hop artist and I am actually an idiot. What if he really was in Nickelback though.

Which Side Are You On?

Ani DiFranco


Ani‘s Which Side Are You On? dropped in the same month that I made a New Year’s resolution to start writing the lesbian romance novel that I’ve been half-joking about writing forever. Rather than share in Autostraddle’s excitement over Ani’s sweet new sounds, I spent January holed up in my room trying to decide which super butch name I’d give the tall, dark and dashing stage-hand who falls in love with the deeply-closeted Broadway superstar. How does everyone feel about ‘Harley’?


the xx


Coexist was released during a time that I had been sequestered to a Taiwanese monastery. There was no internet or music players, just a straw mat to sleep on and days and days of reflection time which an the xx album would’ve been the perfect soundtrack for. I fully intended to buy Coexist in the hot second of internet connectivity I experienced between Taiwan and A-Camp, but then I downloaded P!nk‘s new album instead. You probably already know this but, it was the wrong call.


Tame Impala


The only time I ever hear Tame Impala‘s name is when music critics declare that they’ve written the best album of the year, which is strange; I don’t recall anyone ever saying to me, “I’m seeing Tame Impala tonight!” or “I just bought the new Tame Impala record, it’s rad!”. Maybe I just don’t personally know any Tame Impala fans or maybe only music journalists buy their records, I don’t know.

Unlike Lonerism, I did actually buy the last Tame Impala album that reached the top of every ‘Best Of’ list, Innerspeaker (2010), but it’s sitting in my CD cabinet still in its original shrink wrap. For an unknown reason my brain has decided that I’m not going to be a person who gives Tame Impala and their critically acclaimed psychedelic rock a chance.


Cat Power


Earlier this year I talked a really big game about how the new Cat Power album was going to be totally amazing and probably also life-changing. Then another totally amazing life-changing forthcoming release must have caught my attention because Sun was eventually released and I forgot to buy it. I vaguely recall streaming it once but if I can’t really remember then it doesn’t really count.

Theatre Is Evil

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer

I was really excited about listening to Amanda Palmer‘s new album, Theatre Is Evil, ‘til I discovered that she wasn’t paying her guest musicians despite having recently raised $1.2 million via Kickstarter. $1.2 million! That’s a significant recording budget. When you add merchandise and ticket profits on top, finding a spare $35K in the budget to pay tour musicians doesn’t seem impossible. Having those funds available and choosing not to use it to pay musicians is, in my opinion, a dick move, and I never imagined that Palmer would’ve pulled it. Although she eventually started paying people, I’m still unsettled by the whole thing and need more time.


Jack White


As a rule, Jack White can do no wrong. Unless we’re discussing that song he did with Insane Clown Posse about ass licking, which was not for everyone. I’ve heard many of the Blunderbuss tracks and they’re all amazing and so it’s no stretch to assume the entire album is amazing. I have no idea why I don’t own it.

The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap


I wasn’t even aware that the Temper Trap had a new album out until last month when they won some things at the ARIA Awards, which are Australia’s version of the Grammy’s but with one-hundredth of the budget and entertainment value. If you’re an empathetic blusher like me then it’s pretty much like watching people get pranked  – awkward and embarrassing, but for four hours straight. For some reason Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift were on the guest list; one made a polite attempt at paying compliments to Australia’s music talent and the other didn’t even pretend to care. I’ll let you mull over which was which. Anyway, The Temper Trap apparently released The Temper Trap this year but it doesn’t have “Sweet Disposition” on it and so I’m not really sure I want to listen.

Channel Orange

Frank Ocean


When Channel Orange was released, Carmen wrote this really amazing review for Autostraddle and therefore the album plummeted down the list of things that I needed to hear immediately for music editorial purposes. I’ve heard and loved a handful of the tracks (“Bad Religion” is my favorite) but I’m fairly embarrassed that it’s December and I still haven’t heard this whole record. I’d download it right now to save face except I don’t want my relationship with Frank Ocean to be built on a lie.

The Heist

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis


I can’t go a day without seeing an Autostraddle reader posting something about Macklemore on Facebook. You think that’d be motivation to listen the The Heist immediately, but the truth is that y’all seem to love Macklemore so hard that I’m actually a little scared. What if I don’t like the album? Will you still read my writing? Will you de-friend me? Maybe it’s better that we never know, you know?

Which albums did you fall in love this year?

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    • And although perhaps not quite as awe-inspiring, my other personal 2012 highlights include:
      ‘Fragrant World’ by Yeasayer
      ‘Shrines’ by Purity Ring
      ‘Shallow Bed’ by Dry The River
      ‘Crystal Castles (III)’ by Crystal Castles

      • Kate, can you help me out? I’ve tried to listen to Channel Orange 2 or 3 times and I just can’t get into it. What songs are your favorites?

        • Wow that’s a hard question to answer because I love them all so much.

          I think I found ‘Thinkin Bout You’ and ‘Bad Religion’ the easiest to listen to at first.
          I love the narrative in ‘Super Rich Kids’ but I think sonically my favourites are ‘Pilot Jones’ and ‘Pyramids’ (It’s 10 minutes long but it’s so varied it feels like you’ve heard 4 songs by the end).
          With all the short tracks like ‘Start’, ‘Fertilizer’ and ‘End’ (another favourite) I don’t think you can think of them as songs so much as audio experiences, like you’re in some weird part of Frank Ocean’s brain where he a has a tape of sounds skipping around providing background music to his life. That’s how I like to imagine it anyway.

          I realise that’s quite a long and rambly answer but I could probably discuss this album all day. If you haven’t already, read Carmen’s review linked in the article or maybe check out some of his other stuff from ‘nostalgia, ultra’ (the coldplay cover ‘strawberry swing’ is beautiful) before you write him off.

          • Thanks! Sometimes you just need to have someone gush about how much they love something before you can love it too. :) I’ll have to give it another shot.

          • Yes I think that may be my favorite too, which I’m a little embarrassed about because really, Frank? You’re using *Forrest Gump* as your main metaphor?! But it sounds so so so great, and it is very sweet.

          • I really liked them all too. Having a drive and a full listen to an album can really help break it in. Personally, I loved Crack Rock. I don’t know how many times I have caught myself singing about crack since this album. It’s redonk.

        • My advice for getting into Channel Orange is to take a weekend vacation in San Francisco in July with your best friends and listen to the album on repeat in their Haight Street apartment then drive down the coast to a beach house your buddy’s co-worker is letting him stay at for free and spend the afternoon getting slowly drunk and laughing with really amazing people while the songs are still echoing through your head. Well, it worked for me…

      • Shrines is one of my favorite things of the year. I got to see Purity Ring live and it was mind blowing, to say the least. It was one of those shows where I went in liking about 50% of their stuff and left liking 200% of it.

  1. Since I’m not much of a hip-hop fan I was pleasantly surprised that I loved Kendrick Lamar’s album. I feel like he drew from the old school but still veered into a new sound or maybe it was just refreshing to hear from him rather than the crap rap artists out today.
    I also really liked Channel Orange.

  2. the xx record sounds exactly like the other xx record, which is to say it’s incredible makeout music and probably really nice to put on while you’re taking a bath, but otherwise eh.

    • also i don’t get the frank ocean thing at. all. i keep trying (sorry carmen). my favourite record this year was grimes.

      • Agreed. I have to listen to track off Channel Orange because I work at a record store and I don’t understand the hype around this guy. There’s nothing revolutionary or different about his music. It’s not particularly invigorating and it’s been done before. Pretty lame if you ask me. A lot of R&B artists have been going too mainstream lately. Used to like Alicia Keys and I can’t stand her new album or the single :(

      • hm. I think a big part of why I like it is nostalgia for 90s/early 00s R&B before it got all dancey and ‘urban’. It reminds me of old Usher, Mario and Mario Winans (I can’t say whether these are great, just that I associate them with my childhood and therefore love them), but with better lyrics and more production value.

        I’m going to stop commenting now though because I’m aware that I’m starting to sound like a crazy Frank Ocean stalker fangirl and I’m not REALLY.

        PS I liked the grimes record also.

        • Yes, I think the lyrics are a huge part of it. I don’t even *especially* like his voice, but what a great storyteller, with a really interesting sense of form. And the kaleidoscope of fantastic sounds he’s working with just hits my eardrums in exactly the right spots. R&B is not a major genre in my record collection, but I spent a ton of time listening to this album this year.

      • I’m obsessed with the Grimes album. I saw her live, though, and it was pretty disappointing. Now please go google ”Brooke Candy – Das Me.” She’s the chick from Grimes’ Genesis video, and she is my spirit animal.

        • i saw her early in the year (like march?) and she was super awkward and uncomfortable, but then she came back around in october for a four-show run with myths as her backing band and they finally figured out how to suck it up and throw an awkward nerd dance party – some of the best shows i saw all year.

          also i really do like r&b music but not this polished autotuned garbage that sounds like it came out of a tin can. carmen is never going to talk to me again.

    • Maybe that’s why I was bored with it??? But, I think the first album was just 100 times better and more than just makeout music (although perfect for it!)

    • Yes this! I’ve tried to listen to Frank Ocean maybe a half dozen times & I just could not get into the music. Double yes on the xx comment. It’s like their new album is exactly the same as the first & that’s very disappointing.

  3. YES! I was hoping the new XX album was on here because it was amazing! they are so great live too. i saw them in madrid last month and it was so beautiful that i cried. true story.

    • I’m crying that you saw the XX in Madrid. I saw them in Seattle but it doesn’t beat Madrid. I love the xx!

      • That’s funny, because I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle. When I was younger, I was obsessed with the whole grunge and riot grrrl scene.

  4. The Amanda Palmer & GTO record is incredible, FYI.

    Also highly recommend “Young Man In America” by Anais Mitchell, the new self-titled Butterfly Boucher album, KR-41 by Clare and the Reasons, and Blues Funeral by Mark Lanegan Band.

  5. To answer that tiny yet very important question, I feel good about the dashing stage-hand named Harley.

    • I’ll second that. I’ll read this lesbian novel.

      I’m going to finish my novel this year – maybe I can trade with Crystal. Mine is really torrid. :)

      • I concur that Harley is a good name, although you may want to consider using it in conjuction with a single-syllable shortened version/nickname for those times for those times when you need to inject an extra-strong shot of alpha butch-ness. Something with connotations of thrusting. Maybe “Thrust.”

        How about Harley “Thrust” Von Davis, where the “Von” also implies a secret European heiress heritage which the heroine has eschewed to pursue alternative gender expression and a career that may provide many tense and steamy work-related circumstances.

  6. me: walk into the club like, “whaddup, I got a big cock -”
    my younger brother: no, you don’t.

    In other words, listen to Macklemore. Plenty of amusement and sick beats for all. (That line above is from “Thrift Shop,” fyi.)

    • Me too. They’re one of my favorite bands right now – I’m completely obsessed. I also know quite a few people that listen to them. Maybe it’s because I work at a record store :p

      I also recommend ‘Bloom’ by Beach House and ‘Oshin’ by DIIV for anyone into indie stuff.

  7. Soundgarden’s King Animal.

    Big Wreck’s Albatros

    Deftones’ Koi No Yokan

    Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day

    • deftones!!!!

      school of seven bells – ghostory AND the ep they just put out.

      i also dug kinda smaller records by holograms, the soft moon, 2:54, tamaryn, light asylum, wild nothing, trust, metz. was obsessed with the purity ring record for a long time but it has too much filler to make the list for real.

      happy to see the new garbage record turn out to be better than it needed to be.

      thought the amanda palmer record was easily the biggest disappointment of the year. so impressed with what she’s doing in the music industry, wish the output had been more interesting.

      gonna stop with my unpopular opinions now.

      • Ghostory is probably my favorite record from 2012. I also really enjoyed The Presets even though some of the tracks are not very good tbh. Also the new Hot Chip, Calexico, Cat Power, Santigold and the Azealia Banks EP. Expected more from Gossip and Metric. Ladyhawke was disappointing too.


      i really have been living in a cave this year. i’m gonna go buy that right now.

  8. Definitely Visions by Grimes as my number one.
    Looking back on the year, I would definitely put Kill for Love by Chromatics, Put Your Back N 2 It by Perfume Genius, Bloom by Beach House, Channel Orange, The Money Store by Death Grips, and probably Idler Wheel… and Burial’s Kindred EP in my top ten somewhere.

    But let’s be real- in terms of actual time spent listening to the album, Born to Die and Take Me Home rank higher than most other albums sorry I’m not sorry

    • Oh yeah Visions by Grimes is gooooood!!! Can’t believe I forgot it! And I am STILL listening to Born To Die. It’s like Chrimas that she released a Paradise edition just when I was about to slightly get bored.. Ride, cola and Bel Air are amazing tracks.

  9. Wow, is there a lot of music out there.

    I’m tempted to say “I’m getting old! I can’t keep up with all the stuff the kids are listening to these days!”

    But who am I kidding? I couldn’t keep up with all the music when I was a kid. I’m always discovering stuff everyone else knew about when it first came out. I think my middle name is just “behind the curve.”

  10. Polica’s Give You the Ghost, Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel album, Actress’s R.I.P there was other music I can’t remember and music I got into but albums didn’t necessarily come out this year.

  11. Macklemore will always remind me of A Camp September 2012. Lucia exposed Rachel and me to it as we drove up that mountain. I then made sure Katie knew it and now we dance to it at all straddler parties.

    So, “Call me Maybe?” was May camp can’t wait to find my personal theme song for May 2013!!

        • No no you spelled it right! I just like to confuse people. J/k legally it’s spelled with two c’s but I didn’t know that until I tried to file my taxes a couple years ago and found out I was using the wrong social security number/name my whole life. For awhile I thought I should start spelling my name the way it’s spelled legally, during that time I joined this site officially, but then I decided that would be too confusing, and I’m too lazy to figure out how to change it on here. It’s all my parent’s fault.

          • Once I almost got arrested because a police officer stopped my car and I didn’t have my wallet so I told them to look up my name and they were like “there is no Lucia Oberste in our system?” That was a scary day.

  12. If I had to choose highlights from the admittedly limited amount of new music I heard this year, this is probably what I’d pick:
    WHY?- Mumps, etc. (They’re playing at my school in February and I am SO STOKED)
    Between the Buried and Me- The Parallax II: Hypersleep Dialogues
    The Contortionist- Intrinsic
    Jack White- Blunderbuss
    White Rabbits- Milk Famous
    Death Grips- The Money Store/No Love Deep Web (collectively; not so much separately)
    Periphery- Periphery II
    Stepdad- Wildlife Pop

  13. Re: Amanda Palmer & the GTO
    A couple of blogs that AFP wrote regarding the whole situation with the articles posted above:

    That aside you should really give the album a try. It’s a work of art. I at least ask that you watch one of these two videos before tossing the whole album aside:

    “Do It With a Rockstar” (FULL UNCENSORED – NSFW)

    “Want It Back” Official Music Video (Uncensored | NSFW)

    Or just listen to the bed song:

  14. Loved the new stuff this year from Grimes, Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple and Daughter.

    Also, she doesn’t have a full album yet, but has anybody seen this Brooke Candy video? Am I the only person on here who knows what I’m talking about?

    So raunchy and funny and catchy, AND she’s in a queer rap collective called Fag Mob. Yes please! Somebody get on my level!

    • Haha that Brooke Candy video has been cycling around my job because one of the girls twerking in the video has a tampon string popping out…so, it has now become a viral thing around the office. Naturally.

      But I met Brooke Candy and took a couple of photos of her for work. She is very much so in her own world, haha.

    • I try not to listen to white girls who appropriate black culture. It’s not really a good look.

  15. ahh i love this list!!
    i have listened to most of the albums you listed above – they’re good.
    ps. pink’s new album is my guilty pleasure ;)

    • i’m still not really feeling the new P!nk album, maybe i need more time with it. maybe i’ll feel differently after seeing ALL THE CONCERTS in 2013.

  16. In addition to most of the albums on this list, I really liked Ryat, Flying Lotus & Beach Fossil’s new stuff. Other than that, I’ve been listening to all the old classics. This new stuff is killing me!

  17. My favourite album this year was owl city’s the midsummer station, and I hvent even heard of a lot od the bands talked about here but the temper trap is awesome

  18. Fiona Apple’s new album made my summer. I listened to it on repeat for 3 months straight, basically. And hers was the best show I’ve ever seen, I cried because I’m a giant fangirl.

    Cat Power and Jack White both had excellent albums as well. It was a good year for my favorite artists to put out records. I’m going to check out some more on this list.

  19. WHY DID NOBODY MENTION REGINA SPEKTOR. I saw her live from the second row and it would have been the best concert I’ve ever been to if the hipster fangirls next to me didn’t start crying BEFORE she came on stage.

    Anyway here is my list, which I coincidentally just posted on tumblr.

    Honorable Mention: Synthetica – Metric, Threads – Now, Now

    10. The Lion’s Roar – First Aid Kit
    9. Glow – Kaki King
    8. The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle – Missy Higgins
    7. Bear Creek – Brandi Carlile
    6. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
    5. Some Nights – Fun.
    4. Battle Born – The Killers
    3. Human Again – Ingrid Michaelson
    2. Babel – Mumford & Sons
    1. What We Saw From the Cheap Seats – Regina Spektor

    • I listened to a lot of these albums in 2012 and loved them so hard – regina, kaki, brandi and missy’s in particular. I haven’t heard first aid kit’s yet but it’s on my to do list.

  20. Okay, of these albums that I’ve actually heard…

    Coexist, the xx – It’s like lying at the bottom of a swimming pool – it’s quiet and relaxing, but nothing really happens.

    Theatre is Evil, Amanda Palmer – I usually love her, but I didn’t really feel this one.

    The Heist, Macklemore – I love this album quite a lot. I always like to see people from my home town make it big. Also he’s really talented. The standout track for me (aside from the Thrift Shop/Same Love singles) is definitely Wings.

  21. I saw Macklemore perform in Austin last month and I’ve been meaning to check out his album because he was pretty damn good live. The only album that really stood out to me this year was Lianne La Havas’s “Is Your Love Big Enough.” She’s all the right kinds of soulful and folksy. And she’s a damn good song-writer. In terms of creativity, it beats out Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ even though I listened to that way too much to. Oh and Santigold’s album was nice. Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” also had its strong points. Okay so maybe more than one album stood out to me.

  22. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes– was perfect. Also the short film made for it…most incredible thing I’ve seen all year.
    Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid M.A.A.D. City
    Jessie Ware – Devotion
    The xx- Coexist
    Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls
    Purity Ring – Shrines
    Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
    Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?
    XXYYXX – self titled

    There were also some amazing EPs and mixtapes. Iggy Azalea, Solange, Angel Haze, TNGHT, Kilo Kish, Azealia Banks.

    Wow, 2012 was a good year.

    • Agree 110% on Jessie Ware and Lianne La Havas.

      Anyone listening to The Mynabirds? “Generals” – best o’ 2012 list for sure.

  23. i love this post so much, for its honesty. i also haven’t listened to cat power’s new album. WHAT IF I CHANGED THAT TONIGHT. i could. i might.

  24. Okay, guys, but what is the WORST music of 2012?

    I’m tempted to say “Call Me Maybe” but I feel like there’s something even stupider I’m forgetting.

    • I will be nice to ‘Call Me Maybe’ since the Music Video has a gay surprise ending.
      Worse one to me was Judas by Lady Gaga (and anything Lady Gaga actually).
      Also Katy Perry with Part of Me got really ridiculous trying to show off she is over her break up with super cool russell Brand. It was just lame.

  25. I love that the roots/americana/bluegrass sound is coming back into vogue, because it’s my favorite kind of music. On that note, my top albums of 2012 are:
    Greensky Bluegrass – Handguns
    The Crane Wives- The Fool in her Wedding Gown
    Mumford and Sons- Babel
    The Avett Brothers- The Carpenter
    The Ragbirds- Travelin’ Machine

  26. I was really not into the new Cat Power, I have to say! Except for “Manhattan,” which I loved a bunch. That kind of icy, distant production and those sorta new-agey lyrics really don’t play to what I feel are her best strengths. But it was pretty well-received — people who liked it, tell me how come!

  27. Totally on board with CHANNEL ORANGE, Coexist, and The Heist! Also Purity Ring, Polica, Metric, and Fiona Apple. And “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats” is so amazing! Also:

    Miike Snow, “Happy to You”
    Mother Mother, “The Sticks”
    Bat for Lashes, “The Haunted Man”

    Also also the album St. Vincent and David Byrne put out was awesome and weird in all the right ways.

  28. I had to do a similar top 10 for my radio station (4ZZZ in Brisbane, Australia. I do a feminist radio show). This was my top 10 in 2012:

    1. Purity Ring – Shrines
    2. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
    3. Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
    4. Fiona Apple – Idler Wheel
    5. Julia Stone – By The Horns
    6. Tori Amos – Gold Dust
    7. Grimes – Visions
    8. Texas Tea – Sad Summer Hits
    9. Some Jerks – Buddy Rich Made Me Cry
    10. Love Like Hate – Rabbit Hole

    First Aid Kit and Regina Spektor were amazing in concert too. <3

  29. HUGE Disappointment over the XX new album!!

    Best album of 2012 is Lana Del Rey – Born To Die – Paradise Edition
    Then there is 9 other albums I loved this year:

    GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
    FOUR TET – Pink
    GRIZZLY BEAR – Shields
    O. CHILDREN – Apnea
    BEACH HOUSE – Bloom
    MIIKE SNOW – Happy To You
    LEILA – U&I
    Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

    If you love one of those Call me, maybe!

    • oooh the new GY!BE was great i wish i put it in my list oops

      confession time: i didn’t really love pink. at all. but i do love four tet and still listen to there is love in you all the time, so maybe i’m not their worst fan ever?

      • Well, I have to agree that ‘There is love in you’ was better but this new one makes me trip a lot! :)
        I was so happy to have a new GY!BE, all their albums are amazing. After the great Explosions in the sky of 2011, it was good to have theirs!

  30. Threads by Now, Now is definitely one of the best albums of the year, sad that they’re not getting the recognition that they should be!

  31. I’m fully prepared to be judged for this, but…

    My favorite album of the year: Taylor’s Swift’s Red. It’s so wrong and so very, very right. It’s also for some reason compromised my ability to listen to Speak Now (her third/”transitional,” if you will, album) but not Taylor Swift and Fearless (her first two “country-pop-but-actually-with-country” albums). So, whatever, I love her.

    Beyond that, let’s be honest, Hello My Name Is… by Bridgit Mendler is also pretty entertaining. She stars on a Disney Channel show, which usually means the music will suck, but “Ready or Not” is my favorite pop song of 2012. So do with that what you will.

  32. AOTY 2012 top tier:
    Extra Life- Dream Seeds (you will feel feelings harder than you hoped and you will love it)
    of Montreal- Paralytic Stalks (psychedelic pop, maybe the best of Montreal album yet, most danceable always interesting)
    Larkin Grimm- Soul Retrieval (maybe you’d call it psychedelic folk, or dreamy, but it’s better than the idea of that genre or adjective. and unpretentious, despite this awful description. Beautiful vocals and imagery. )
    very close contenders:
    Swans- The Seer (almost 2 hours, swansy, apocalyptic)
    Scott Walker- Bish Bosch (listen to with the lights off)
    Divorce- Divorce (full-length LP debut, screeching noise rock)
    other greats:
    (asterisk means you can free download from bandcamp)
    *Told Slant- Still Water (like Modest Mouse but better)
    Xiu Xiu- Always (if you know Xiu Xiu listen to this. if you don’t know Xiu Xiu consider their other recent album’s title “Dear God I Hate Myself” and if like the sound of that listen to this.)
    Whirr- Pipe Dreams (new shoegaze)
    *sin (x) sin- sin (x) sin (darkwave-type synthpop)
    *We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves- One Belongs Here More Than You (imagine a heterosexual variant of The Smiths. this is it. I guess we’ll take what we can get)
    Teen Suicide- I Will Be My Own Hell Because There Is A Devil Inside My Body
    *Teen Suicide- DC Snuff Film (do you like the implications of these words you will like these albums)
    Death Grips- The Money Store (almost as good as Exmillitary)
    Screaming Females- Ugly (not as much screaming as you might hope, but very fun and nice)
    Perfume Genius- Put Your Back N 2 It (sad, dreamy, good to be sad to)
    *Parenthetical Girls- Good Christian Men Rejoice, It’s Parenthetical Girls (It’s a christmas album and it’s so great it’s worth listening all year, like all their others)
    No Babies- Yo No Soy Como Tu (A+ noise rock)
    *heroin party- summer made me blue; summer gave me sky (this is very depressing it’s very good)
    Grimes- Visions (sweet synthpop, I am certain you’ve heard at least one song from this)
    *Gang Wizard- So Excited (noisy, excited)
    Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra- Theatre Is Evil (best Amanda Palmer solo work yet)
    From The Mouth Of The Sun- Woven Tide (sweet gentle ambient)
    My Bloody Valentine- New Album (oh… wait… nevermind)

  33. PRESETS! PRESETS! PRESETS! PRESETS! Srsly, check out their new record if you haven’t, it’s so good.

    Much like Crystal, I missed most of these albums this year. Whoops.

    My faves from this year:
    Sam Sparro
    Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
    Simian Mobile Disco
    The 2 Bears
    Hot Chip
    Scissor Sisters

  34. I missed a lot of these as well. Thanks for the post! Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do.

    One problem though: Emeli Sande didn’t make it onto the list. And, and, no one has even mentioned her in the comments. Why not guys? Surely everyone has heard and loves “Our Version of Events”…? I’m not very big into R&B/soul pop but this women has an amazing voice.

    My favourite songs: My kind of love, where I sleep, breaking the law, daddy, next to me, heaven. Actually, just listen to the whole thing.

  35. I really loved Ani Difranco’s new album like always..I’m so exited over Tegan and Sara new album Heartrob, needed to listen something new beside “The Con”. Purity Rings “Shrine” was great to hear. Diamond Rings, my new favorite.Two Door Cinema Club, got me dancing, . Love Trance music so Armin Van Buuren and Tydi hands down were my favorite dj’s of the year!2012 overall had some great music and artist popping up.

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