2012 albums of the year

165054_10151344152660874_390538849_nIt’s been a bit too long since I updated here. Just a brief update until I get to the business at hand. Still have some work to do re: thesis but it’s almost there. My weight loss efforts have taken a little hit recently with +4lbs re-gain over the last 3 months, +3lbs just over the Christmas break – eGaDs!!  But I am re-focusing my efforts to get back on track. The holiday season and all the food grazing and rum egg nog and ale was not very kind to me but it did rekindle my awareness that I’ve put in some good work and that I need to reamin focused so it’s not all lost. I’m back in industry again starting in the new year working for eHealth Saskatchewan as a Knowledgebase Analyst, and my happiness project is still on track and Nova even got me Gretchen’s new book “Happier at Home” which I’m really looking forward to reading.

Ok, to the business at hand, my top 10 picks for 2012 albums of the year.  This year I listened to 63 new albums and dwindled my top picks to 20. This is where the task became terribly difficult. In removing albums from my top 20 list I felt like I was nitpicking but I did manage to dwindle things down (it was very very hard indeed). I did add a few extra “honorable mentions” as this year, like all years since I started doing this, had some most fantastic music ringing in my ears.  This year I also started purchasing vinyl and let me tell you, what a different listening experience indeed. I actually think I like and appreciate the music more when spinning records on the ol’ 33. In brackets after each album are the various formats I have listened to the album in.

earle10. Justin Townes Earle, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (LP, MP3). This was an early favorite for me and it has been a constant in my playlists and on the 33.  My favorites on this album include: Movin’ On, Memphis in the Rain, Baby’s Got a Bad Idea, Look the Other Way, and Maria. 

 

bidini09. Bidiniband, In the Rock Hall (MP3). Missing one of my favorite bands of all time, the Rheostatics, a good close second are the various side projects the members of the band have been putting out throughout the years. It took me a little time to get into the groove of Dave and Co.’s recent album here but once I did, I loved it!  My favorites include: I Wanna Go To Yemen, Hey Paul and Donna, Needle Beach/Outdoor Motors, Big Men Go Fast on the Water, and Last of the Dead Wrong Things.

 

rah308. Rah Rah, The Poet’s Dead (LP, MP3). Regina-based band really puts out an excellent album here. Actually, my favorite song of the year, Prairie Girl, is on this album – such a great song. This is one of the many albums that inspires me to pick up my guitar and write or pick up a paint brush and paint. It is just a good album!  My favorites include: Prairie Girl, Art & A Wife, Dead Men, I’m a Killer, and The Poet’s Dead.

 

soundgarden_007. Soundgarden, King Animal (LP, MP3). Wow!! One of my favorite bands from my high school years, and a band that was, and still is, a huge inspiration musically. They’ve come back! Kim Thayil is quite simply one awesome guitarist and Chris Cornell on vocals, Matt Cameron on Drums, and Ben Shepherd on bass all equal one recipe for musical awesomeness.  I love this album. Favorites include: Eyelids Mouth, Non-State Actor, By Crooked Steps, Taree, Attrition, Black Saturday, and Halfway There.

 

the-walkmen-heaven06. The Walkmen, Heaven (LP, MP3). I could not believe that I hadn’t heard of these folks before. When I first heard this album I immediately knew it was something special. My favorites include: Heaven, We Can’t Be Beat, Song For Leigh, Line by Line, Nightingales, Love is Luck, and The Love You Love.

 

TheWilderness_Cover_web05. Cowboy Junkies, The Wilderness (LP, MP3). One of the highlights of the year for me was when Jason and I headed up to the Cedar Lodge just outside of Saskatoon to see these fine folks. As part of a 4-LP/CD set called The Nomad Series this is the forth and final album. Such a great album! My favorites include: Fairytale, Unanswered Letter, I Let Him In, We Are the Selfish Ones, and Damaged From the Start.

 

provincial04. John K. Samson, Provincial (LP, MP3). Another early 2012 album release – which could have been easily overlooked. Alas it surely was not as it was always a constant in my playlists and on the 33. From the opening song Highway 1 East you just know that you are listening to something special. My favorite song, partially maybe due to my own thesis, well, it was just given away (haha!). An very cool album with favorites including: When I Write My Masters Thesis, Highway 1 East, Highway 1 West, Heart of the Continent, and Grace General.

 

Gaslight-Anthem-Handwritten03. The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten (LP, MP3). This album was an instant classic. Such raw energy and emotion from this New Jersey-based band. All of their albums are constantly in rotation on the 33 and otherwise. My favorites include: Handwritten, “45”, Howl, Biloxi Parish, bah!! It’s all great! Seriously, if you don’t have this album, go buy it now!

 

amelia-curran-spectators02. Amelia Curran, Spectators (CD, MP3). Another highlight of my year is when Nova, Jason, and I went to the Artful Dodger, a wonderfully beautiful music venue that just opened up in Regina, to see Amelia and her band (with opener Joe Nolan who was also AWEsome!). Such a talent and special person. On this album she adds a few more instruments to her normal repertoire and although this departs a tad from what we’re used to, still a very excellent album. Although all songs are great, if picking a few favorites they would surely include: San Andreas Fault, Blackbird on Fire, Years, and The Great Escape. Like with #3, go buy now!

 

220px-Babelcoverart01. Mumford & Sons, Babel (LP, MP3). And to the #1 of 2012 for me. This band was a band I just was introduced to in 2012 very recently. Simply fantastic!  Beautiful harmonies, excellent musicianship. These folks make me happy and are constantly spinning on the 33 or on the playlist. As with the last 2 albums all songs on this album are great but if I must pick a few: Lover of the Light, I Will Wait, Holland Road, and Hopeless Wanderer just to name a few 😉

 

Honorable mentions (no particular order, basically those in my top 20):

  • Andrew Bird, Break It Yourself (LP, MP3)
  • Mike O’Neill, Wild Lines (MP3)
  • The Skydiggers, Northern Shore (CD, MP3)
  • Joel Plaskett, Scrappy Happiness (LP, MP3)
  • The Lumineers, Self Titled (LP, MP3)
  • Patrick Watson, Adventures In Your Own Backyard (LP, MP3)
  • Rush, Clockwork Angels (LP, MP3)
  • The Tragically Hip, Now For Plan A (LP, MP3)
  • The Wilderness of Manitoba, Island of Echoes (MP3)
  • The Wooden Sky, Every Child a Daughter Every Moon A Sun (LP, MP3)

That’s all folks. As always, here’s hoping for a musically excellent next year! -t.Mac