Posted on

Best of 2012: Steve Jones

In the past I’ve put my favorite albums of the year in a ranking order. This year I’ve decided to not to do that because at some point during the year each of these records have been my favorite.

Patterson Hood Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance (ATO)

Patterson Hood is absolutely my favorite songwriter/storyteller. No one does a better job of writing about the South than him except maybe Larry Brown.

Spider Bags Shake My Head (Odessa)

Dirtbag rock ‘n’ roll made by dirtbags for dirtbags. The Bags might not be the best live band, but they ARE the best band to see live.

River City Tanlines Coast to Coast (Big Legal Mess)

I’m a sucker for female-led powerpop, and Alicja Trout is really good at it.

Japandroids Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

This is a rock ‘n’ roll record.

The Golden Boys Dirty Fingernails (12XU)

Spider Bags’ Texan dirtbag cousins. I once had the misfortune of seeing John Wesley Coleman pull his cowboy boots off on the porch at the Layabout. I’m not sure how long they had been on tour, but Wes had apparently lost or forgot socks. I’ve never seen a nastier sight in my life. I still have nightmares.

Gentleman Jesse Leaving Atlanta (Douchemaster)

I have no idea why this band isn’t huge. Not many people can write and play hooks like Jesse. He also has a sweet cat named Chong.

Ty Segall Twins (Drag City)/ Ty Segall Band Slaughterhouse (In the Red)

Ty Shreds.

Beachwood Sparks The Tarnished Gold (SubPop)

This is a beautiful, beautiful record.

Kathleen Edwards Voyageur (Zoë)

No one uses the word “fuck” as gracefully as Kathleen Edwards. Pretty sure the only Canadian on my list.

Posted on

Best of 2012: Kyle Miller

We can argue all day about what “best” means, so let’s just call these my favorite non-Churchkey songs of 2012.

Spider Bags — “Simona La Ramona”: There have been lots of songs I’ve loved over the course of the year, but this has been my favorite song for the entire year, even before I heard the recorded version. I love dancing to it at live shows. I love dancing to it at my desk. I love dancing to it in the car. It means a lot to me in a way that I can’t elegantly explain. So even though I can’t be bothered to put the rest of the list in any sort of order, this one goes first.

Plateaus — “Beach Coma”: I’m absolutely loving this song right now. Conveniently, it’s the end of the year, so we don’t have to find out if it stands the test of time. It really reminds me of some of the Jay Reatard Matador singles.

The Golden Boys — “We Are Young”: This is probably my favorite sing-along song of the year. Er, make that shout-along song. That Golden Boys show at Kings was one of my favorite shows this year, and I totally lost my voice the day after. Please come back, Golden Boys. And thanks for giving me a ride, Chaz!

Terry Malts — “Tumble Down”: “Up on the hill, I held your hand. Both of us so drunk we couldn’t stand…” It’s a pretty adorable love song, and it gets me bopping up and down without noticing. Everyone in Durham is glad that Dan & Craig introduced us to Terry Malts, right?

Cloud Nothings — “Stay Useless”: What happened to Cloud Nothings? They were on my “must see” list at SXSW this year (they were excellent) and then they pretty much disappeared. Anyway, “Stay Useless” is 90s as fuck, and got a ton of repeats this spring.

Howler — “Beach Sluts”: I listened to America Give Up almost every day this spring and summer on my afternoon walks to the post office. Walking to the post office when the weather’s nice is actually one of my favorite things to do, and the Howler record just sort of became part of the habit. I love that I run into friendly faces all around downtown, and it’s nice to stop and chat or just wave. “Beach Sluts” sparks some of that warmth in me, even when it’s too cold to walk to the post office.

Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”: It’s not just a hell of a pop song. Every time I hear “Call Me Maybe” it stirs up fond memories of summer nights at the DBAP.

Gross Ghost — “Devious”: I think “Lurker” is probably my favorite song on Brer Rabbit, but since it came out in some form or another in both 2010 and 2011, I’m going with “Devious” here. There’s no wrong choice—Gross Ghost rules. I rang in 2012 just minutes after Gross Ghost finished their set at The Soapbox, and I’m already looking forward to seeing them for the first time in 2013 (Jan. 15th @ The Pinhook.)

Superchunk — “This Summer”: The “This Summer” / “Cruel Summer” single almost singlehandedly got me through a tough road trip in June. It got me some pretty weird looks on 95, too.

Jaill — “Everyone’s a Bitch”: Speaking of driving, I listened to “Everyone’s a Bitch” on repeat the whole drive from Portsmouth, NH to Logan airport. It was kind of a mistake at first, but I just went with it. What? You think I’m a weirdo?

Posted on

Best of 2012: Jordan Lawrence

For the past couple years, I’ve been asked to vote in a year-end lists at a couple publications. One problem: All of those publications only want a ballot of your top-10 records, which means I spend a couple of weeks obsessing over some 30 or 40 LPs with a shot at making my final 10, leaving a solid assembly of deserving records sitting on my spreadsheet. This year, I’m trying to correct my problem. Below, you’ll find my “honorable mention” top 10, the records that just barely missed the cut on my year-end ballot. Enjoy.

11. Dirty Projectors — Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)
12. Mount Eerie — Ocean Roar (P.W. Elverum & Sun)
13. Dan Melchior — The Backward Path (Northern Spy)
14. Dan Deacon — America (Domino)
15. Thee Oh Sees — Putrifiers II (In the Red)
16. Death Grips — NO LOVE DEEP WEB (self-released)
17. Baroness — Yellow & Green (Relapse)
18. Tyvek — On Triple Beams (In the Red)
19. Titus Andronicus — Local Business (XL)
20. Hawks — Pushover  (Learning Curve)