2012 Year in Review (Part 3): Best Albums

This is always the toughest list to come up with.

My 5 favorite albums of 2012.

1. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls

You’ve really gotta love this band. Their music is rooted in 60’s blues and soul, but you could easily call them an indie rock band. They’ve build a substantial following through their rocking live shows and this debut thrust them on the scene. But its not just the fact that they are rooted in the past that makes this band and this album awesome. Its the fact that it feels like the Shakes are poised to grow into a legendary band. Boys and Girls can be played front to back without skipping a beat. There are no awkward songs to skip through. This is the best album of 2012.



2. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again

His stripped-down acoustic folk style evokes images of Otis Redding. His soulful voice is timeless. You can’t help but get swept up in his thoughtful lyrics. Pop on this album and you’ll find yourself transported to another place. He has been compared to Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers. I love that at its core, the sound is retro, though the music stays novel. Home again has placed itself high on the list of my favorite new albums.



3. Dr. John – Locked Down

The good doctor is back with a vengeance.  Black Keys guitar player, Dan Auerbach produced this album and the results were astounding. Their collective aim was to create a modern recording that drew on the organic, spontaneous, spooky, swampy, nite-tripper voodoo elements that we heard in Dr. John’s earliest albums. It’s not a recreation of Gris Gris. It grooves with the feeling of swamp rock, but its got many new ideas and sounds. The band is tight and at times you can definitely feel the Black Keys style. Although it is not in any way a Black Keys album. Even in this age, it can be labeled as one of Mac Rebbenack’s finest.



4. Dr. Dog – Be The Void

As soon as the opener, Lonesome, begins one can tell they are in for a treat. Dr. Dog hits a home run with this album. They seem to be having a great time as they wind through raw but poppy harmonies and  stripped down warm lyrics. I think they have wandered slightly away from their intricately crafted pop of earlier albums. But it seems to work as the sound is more loose and uninhibited. I love that the band keeps on growing, changing, and exploring new territories.



5. Jack White – Blunderbuss

Jack White is a powerhouse in todays music industry. Having showed us his producing chops with Loretta Lynn’s comeback album, Van Lear Rose, and with his other side projects also creating a significant buzz, Jack does what he wants and it almost always comes out good. It seems funny that this is his first solo album. He places an indelible stamp on every project he has been in from the Raconteurs to the Dead Weather, so much so that you would think those are his albums. But this one is his and only his. With contradictions and squelching guitars, electric piano, beautiful melodies, and even quieter polished sounds, Blunderbuss gets better as it gets played more.


Honorable Mentions:

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Here

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Americana

The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Justin Townes Earl – Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now

Gary Clark Jr – Blak and Blu


  • Always I please to see where you are at , at the end of the year. Couple of observations: you said top six albums but you listed 5. Also, your top 3 all seem to try to harken back to a previous time. Ever get a sense that you were born in the wrong decade? yeah me too.


    January 16, 2013

  • Great observations! The 6th was going to be Ed Sharpe but I decided to leave it at the top 5. Thanks for spotting that!

    As for my musical tastes, they do tend to lean towards music that sounds like music of the past. I totally feel ya on that. Its funny because most of the music, especially the groundbreaking stuff from back then, was totally novel when it came out. Where is the groundbreaking music today? Where are the new sounds? I hope its not Kanye and KeSha.

    I read this book last year that talks about just that; peoples fascination with all things of the past. The book is called ‘Retromania’ by Simon Reynolds. Very interesting read. You should check it out.

    BTW, I would love to see your best of 2012 list. Did you make one? I really liked your top album last year, The Holy Coming of the Storm.

    Shady Groove

    January 17, 2013

  • awesome.

    I like how you break it into genre’s. its like the Grammy’s.

    I really like Joe Pug. But he kinda screwed the Philly folksong society and Im really close to them. Now he doesnt even tour in philly. Left a bad taste. but hes got a great sound. insightful words.

    Great list though dude. Its always good to hear from you.

    Shady Groove

    January 24, 2013

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