I have always meant to compile a list of my favorite records from the past year. Music in general is too valuable to me not to share ... especially when it's music I love!
So here are my top 25 records of 2012. I'll start with the top 5 and then share the next 20 in no particular order. Enjoy!
FIVE. David Ramirez: Apologies. David is the definition of raw talent. I heard it put really well earlier this year when a friend said, "That guy is on the Ryan Adams level." I couldn't agree more. The songs get better and better. Buy it here.
TWO. Matthew Perryman Jones: Land of the Living. As a Kickstarter backer for this record and spoiling myself by listening to it for the first time driving through California mountains, the brilliance of this record would be just as present if I listened to it in a junk yard. Most of my favorite combinations of lyrics and melody from the year are on this record. Buy it here.
ONE. Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again. The best sound I heard this year. It amazes me how different guys with guitars enter the music scene with unique sounds, but the production and instrumentation on this record blow me away more than any other. It is the freshest collection of songs I have come across in a long time and is well-worthy of being number one on this list. Buy it here.
- Lord Huron: Lonesome Dreams. Having loved the vibe their record puts out, I was pleasantly surprised when their live show had more of an "islandy" feel than I expected. Buy it here.
- Paper Route: The Peace of Wild Things. Rock geniuses with incredible programming talent. And they have so much energy live. Buy it here.
- The Tree Ring - Brushbloom. I Iove so many things about this record: the ode to San Diego's nature and topography, the incredible arrangements, subtly perfect harmonies. Listen here and buy hereor here.
- alt-J: An Awesome Wave. I had the chance to watch them play a few weeks ago and their live set rivaled their record, which says a lot. Buy it here.
- Lecrae: Church Clothes. An incredible record to run to, there is no surprise how it charted Number 3 on the Billboard 200. So much truth so well said. Buy it here.
- Sara Watkins: Sun Midnight Sun. Sara is full of raw talent. As far as acoustic & folky instruments make music, her collaboration with Blake Mills produced one of the best collections I can remember. Buy it here.
- Sucre: A Little Bird. I almost forgot to include Sucre on this list, but I wore this out when it came out in April. So glad for melodies like these. Buy it here.
- Asgeir Trausti: Some sweet Icelandic word. Austin and Jordan told me about Asgeir Trausti after their autumn trip to Iceland. They described him as an "Icelandic Bon Iver" and I listened to it for a few weeks straight. I couldn't get enough, especially of Leyndarml. Unfortunately, you can't purchase this record, but you can listen to it here.
- Walk The Moon: Walk The Moon. This band is making pop-rock cool again. Watching their set in November was captivating. I walked in to the House of Blues just after they started their set and everyonewas moving. The energy was palpable. This record is a great representation of what I saw that night. Buy it here.
- Lovelite: In Three Persons. Lovelite & Tyler Chester are a "power team". The songs all have specifically incredible qualities, but my favorite is " Every Breath is a Chance". Listen to and buy it here.
- Frank Ocean: Channel Orange. You can't go very far these days without hearing about Frank's first record. What I appreciate about this record the most is there are no rules (i.e. a 10 minute song). Buy it here.
- John Mayer: Born & Raised. John Mayer can do no wrong. This record is timeless. His playing could not be more perfect. His honest songwriting couldn't be more transparent. I love it. Buy it here.
- The Digital Age: Rehearsals. New circumstances pushed these guys to new territory, and I love where they're going. Lots of sound for fans to be excited about. Buy it here.
- Taylor Swift: RED. Continually impressive that she writes these incredibly catchy songs herself. You know you like her too. Buy it here.
- Greg Laswell: Landline. Greg is such a great songwriter. Love how he approaches his craft. The record's title track is a highlight for me. Buy it here.
- Father John Misty: Fear Fun. I loved the latest J. Tillman record, and have kept my loyalty even among a name change. Buy it here.
- J. Thoven: City Maze. There is a bright future ahead for this 5-piece group of guys. Aside from being genuine people, their knack for good songs is developed way past the level you would expect a new band to be at. You will be so pumped when you see their SerialBox Presents session. Buy and listen here.
- Lauren Chandler: The Narrow Place. You might have seen my thoughts on Lauren's EP recently, but I am so stoked on how this EP turned out. Worth several listens after you buy it. :) Buy it here.
- Hauschka: Substansial. As a novice writer, I would have a hard time describing to you the circumstances and emotion when I first heard this record. However, it couldn't have been any more picturesque. Although it didn't come out this year (2004), I played it enough to be on my "top records list" for the next 3 years. Buy it here.
- Young Oceans: Young Oceans. Music with spiritual value is rampant, but Young Oceans stands out to me above the rest. Listen to it and I think you'll know what I am referring to. Buy and listen here.
Thanks for reading! Excited for the year of music ahead.