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Off Key With Eric D. presents the Top 12 Albums of 2012!!!

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Greetings and good tidings, friends in music,

Following on last year’s ridiculously short “best of the year” album reviews for your iPhone 4S viewing convenience, I’ve decided to up the ante this year by pulling together even shorter reviews for your now-outdated smartphones. That having been said, enjoy the no-more-than-one-sentence album discussions that make up the Top 12 of 2012:

12. Spiritualized – “Sweet Heart, Sweet Light” [Japanese version] (Double Six)

J. Spaceman’s latest is better than the album before it, which was better than the album before that, which was worse than the album before that, which was worse than the album before that, which remains a truly legendary recordKey tracks: “Hey Jane,” “I Am What I Am,” “Life Is A Problem”

11. The Big Pink – “Future This” [iTunes pre-order version] (4AD)

“Future This” may not be the monolithic example of excellence that was The Big Pink’s 2009 debut, “A Brief History of Love,” but its cutting-edge beats and massive hooks keep the band’s popularity from falling like dominos, dominos, dominosKey tracks: “Stay Gold,” “Hit The Ground (Superman),” “77”

10. Cat Power – “Sun” [Japanese version] (Matador)

While Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) may freak out over everything, you’ll freak out over how good her new album is.  Key tracks: “Cherokee,” “3,6,9,” “Nothin But Time”

9. Bloc Party – “Four” [Limited Edition] (Frenchkiss)

Bloc Party’s “Four” represents a lot of things: the number of members in the band, the years since their last album, and the amount of times you’ll have to listen to the new album before it starts sounding like old Bloc Party.  Key tracks: “Octopus,” “Day Four,” “We Are Not Good People,” “Mean”

8. Lavender Diamond – “Incorruptible Heart” [iTunes version] (Paracadute)

It took five years for indie folk-pop outfit Lavender Diamond to release a follow up to their much beloved debut, but the results are nothing short of epic and, as is their hallmark, lovey-dovey.  Key tracks: “Everybody’s Heart’s Breaking Now,” “Forgive,” “Oh My Beautiful World”

7. David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Love This Giant” (4AD/Todo Mundo)

A balancing act between songs that are brilliant, blasé, and overly bombastic, all backed by a brass band, one wonders why these two titans of indie rock didn’t just call their album “Like This Giant.”  Key tracks: “Who,” “Dinner For Two,” “Outside Of Space And Time”

6. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Mature Themes” [Japanese version] (4AD)

With themes like Dr. Mario and schnitzel set to off-kilter music reminiscent of ‘60s through ‘80s rock and R&B, how can this album not be mature?  Key tracks: “Only In My Dreams,” “Schnitzel Boogie,” “Symphony of the Nymph”

5. The Raveonettes – “Observator” [iTunes version] (Vice)

After last year’s wan “Raven In The Grave,” The Raveonettes make a triumphant, short-awaited return with their finest album since 2007 and their shortest one to date.  Key tracks: “Curse the Night,” “She Owns the Streets,” “Downtown”

4. Paul Banks – “Banks” [Japanese version] (Matador)

Paul Banks’ second solo outing can be compared to his lackluster first via the lyrics to one of his new songs: “Sometimes people f*** up, and then you have to give them another chance, so that they can change and become a better person.”  Key tracks: “The Base,” “Another Chance,” “No Mistakes,” “Perimeter Deactivated”

3. Jack White – “Blunderbuss” [Japanese version] (Third Man)

Though far from the brilliance of The White Stripes’ output, Jack White III finally got around to releasing a proper solo album as only he could, featuring two backing bands, more soon-to-be classic singles, and an explanation, through song, as to why the Stripes broke up (Spoiler Alert: it was Meg’s fault).  Key tracks: “Sixteen Saltines,” “Freedom at 21,” “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy,” “Love is Blindness”

2. Stars – “The North” [iTunes version] (ATO)

“The North” is, without any doubt, Stars’ greatest album, exhibiting an unprecedented amount of heartfelt, magnificently hook-laden indie pop to the point where it becomes the band’s defining statement and the zenith of their decade-plus career.  Key tracks: “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It,” “Lights Changing Colour,” “The Loose Ends Will Make Knots,” “Progress”

1. Beach House – “Bloom” (Sub Pop)

Beach House didn’t really “bloom” with this album so much as they did the same thing as last time but better, proving once again that there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken.  Key tracks: pretty much the whole album, but if you want specificity, “Myth,” “Lazuli,” “Wishes,” “Irene”


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