2012 was a “thinner” year for me, as I maintained a fairly strong connection to the channels through which I received my music-culture input, while at the same time withdrawing to a place where I spent less time seeking to find, and more time learning to redirect my own creative energies towards building stability for my family. Does this make sense?
There was a time when I bent the majority of my intellectual energy toward the uncovering of new artists and songs. It was hard work, long hours spent deeply absorbed in a world of sounds. I invested inordinate amounts of time just hearing things I never would have had the patience for if I hadn’t believed that there was some value to be discovered within the cacophony of the potentially-sublime creative output of some kids in a bedroom half a world away.
Upon moving to California, I adopted something of a passive attitude about such things. I was determined to remain in the dark about all of the shows I was now missing out on, mere miles away. I did go to a few, mind you, but nowhere near the number I would have gone to, had I not been so committed to pinching every penny we had. I locked up my input streams, and let the music flow to me, and flow it did. In pleasantly manageable quantities, too.
I won a spot on the guest list for Damien Jurado’s show in San Diego, and later I was able to tag along to a VIP hangout with Mutemath. Those were my concert-going activities for 2012. Will 2013 be more eventful? I fully expect it to be so.
Here is my list of top albums from 2012. Someday, an expansion on why Maraqopa was chosen will be due. I chose it very early in the year. Nothing has eclipsed my decision since.
- Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
- Grimes – Visions
- Chromatics – Kill for Love
- Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
- elite gymnastics – ruin
- Japandroids – Celebration Rock
- Beach House – Bloom
- Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
- Kent – Jag är inte rädd for mörkret
And a couple of honorable mentions. Why are these two honorables mentioned? Well, for one, Silver & Gold is a compilation of Soof’s past 5 Christmas albums. Also, it is a masterwork of staggering genius. Small Black’s Moon Killer Mixtape was released on 11/11/11 and was missed by yours truly (as a whole). I wound up digging on the title track a heck of a lot in 2012, so, I place this mixtape here as an honorable mention.
- Sufjan Stevens – Silver & Gold
- Small Black – Moon Killer Mixtape
I don’t know what to expect from Sufjan, anymore. I just don’t.
Best un-owned (not unheard) albums from 2012. These are albums which I listened to- in this age of Rdio, Spotify, Grooveshark, and Soundcloud- and was highly impressed with, but hitherto have not been so moved as to purchase them. I would like to, though.
- Purity Ring – Shrines
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
- Jessie Ware – Devotion
- Liars – WIXIW
- Chairlift – Something
- Passion Pit – Gossamer
- Woods – Bend Beyond
- Memory Tapes – Grace / Confusion
- The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance
- Crystal Castles – (III)
And finally, here is my list of favorite songs from 2012.
- Moon Killer – Small Black
- Genesis – Grimes
- Cherokee – Cat Power
- Give It Up – The Big Pink
- Wildest Moments – Jessie Ware
- No. 1 Against the Rush – Liars
- Into the Black – Chromatics
- Truth – Alexander
- Darkness – Leonard Cohen
- Working Titles – Damien Jurado
- Size Meets The Sound – Woods
- I’m Not Talking – A.C. Newman
- Presence of Mind – The Fresh & Onlys
- Shallow Tears – Light Asylum
- They’re Talking About Us – Tronics
- The House That Heaven Built – Japandroids
- Met Before – Chairlift
- Obedear – Purity Ring
- Wishes – Beach House
- h e r e, i n h e a v e n 4 & 5 (CFCF Remix) – elite gymnastics
- All Your Gold – Bat For Lashes
- Only in My Dreams – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
- Fineshrine – Purity Ring
- Kill for Love – Chromatics
- The Theory of Relativity – Stars
- Museum of Flight – Damien Jurado
- Laura – Bat For Lashes
- Last Rights – Jeremy Enigk
- Heaven – The Walkmen
- Christmas Unicorn – Sufjan Stevens