2012 Wrap-Up: Best Albums

Happy Holidays, my politically correct readers!

2012 has been an amazing year for me. I started my blog, got engaged, moved to Maryland, interviewed with Flying Dog, and got a new house (which has what is keeping me inactive the last week or so)! I'm sure there are a ton of other things that fill in the cracks between those events, but those are what jumped out at me immediately.

Along with the countless delicious beers I've drank this year, I've also listened to a lot of new releases from some great bands. And in the spirit of cliche, top 10 lists, I thought I'd throw my useless lists into the hat and make my voice heard. It'll be a series of three posts, Best Albums, Best Beers, and Ultimate Let Downs. Alternatively  you can find more music related stuff from me, and a group of my cohorts on Chimpbot Radio on Twitter or Facebook.

Today, I will be focusing on the music, specifically my top 10 albums that came out this year. After reading, I'd love if you left YOUR list in the comment section! Music taste, much like beer, or any other kind of taste, is all relative.

So lets get to it!

10) Ministry - Relapse

I was really excited when i heard Uncle Al was making a comeback, but was also really anxious to see if it would just be more of the same thrash and anger he initially ended his run on. It is, and it isn't  Yeah, hes angry, but instead of focusing his anger on ONE individual, he's able to spread it out among a plethora of the problems we face in our country. And the music is fast, focused and intense.

Stand out track: Ghouldiggers

9) Marilyn Manson - Born Villain

You must think I'm some 16 year old, painted up like a goth, world hating teenager after seeing this entry. I'm not, I never was. But MM has always done right by me in terms of music. A constantly evolving artist. An extremely intelligent, well spoken individual. This album is a culmination of everything hes done, leaning heavily on Mechanical Animals, in my opinion. I thought it was a fantastic release, especially considering his last couple have left me a little bored more often than not.

Stand out track: Pistol Whipped

8) Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Pinata

This is one band that keeps getting better with each album. Their first album captivated me with its extremely avant-garde, swing-meets-metal meets-opera styling  The second album took that ball, and continued to run with it, adding some middle-eastern flair to it. Now, the third album kind of blows me away. They took all of the first two albums, and added some Spanish/Latin flavor to it. I promise, you've never heard anything like this.

Stand out track: Of Kali Me Calibre

7) Soundgarden - King Animal

This is an album I have been waiting 15 years or so for. I remember being heart broken in the 8th grade when the news came of their split. Now, they're back, new album in town, and it is REALLY good. They picked up, from what my ear tells me, right where they left off, and it leaves me feeling nice and safe. My only issue, which is why this album ranks lower, is that some of it makes me believe they are leftover Chris Cornell solo tracks. With that said, this album is everything you could want from this legendary band.

Stand out track: Rowing

6) Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Deftones rarely disappoint me. I love that they've been around long enough, and I've been into them long enough, to watch them grow and evolve and become what they are now. And that is an experimental, atmospheric, beautiful, and aggressive band, fronted by one of my favorite vocalists. This album makes me forget that Saturday Night Wrists happened. This album is the perfect culmination of everything they have done post White Pony. I thought 2010's release Diamond Eyes was the epitome of the Deftones, and I couldn't be happier to be wrong. This album is fan-fucking-tastic.

Stand out track: Goon Squad

5) If These Trees Could Talk - Red Forest

Relaxing, amazing, and ethereal music. If you're new to them, and the post rock genre, this is a perfect stepping stone. Out side of that, this album encapsulates everything I love about them, and the genre in general. It speaks for your music when you can convey emotions without uttering a single word. The music soars, it crashes, it rocks, it relaxes. It's just great music, from a great band.

Stand out track: When the Big Hand Buries the Twelve

We are halfway through the list! You still with me?? Here is something cute and funny to revitalize you:

4) Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...

Boasting one of the most absurdly long titles of any album I've seen since maybe her second album, Fiona returns after 7 years with a near flawless record. In contrast, this album stands out to me due to the more tortured (as in what you'd expect from her) sound compared to her last effort, Extraordinary Machine. She seemed to have just come out of nowhere with this album, and it has certainly wept the world by storm. She stands here showing us her self loathing, and incapacity to handle...much. She sounds like a lunatic at points, and that what I have come to expect. I love it.

Stand out track: Hot Knife

3) Santigold - Master of my Make Believe

Shes my guilty pleasure. Well, not really. She's pop music, I guess. But with heart, and talent. Santigold stole my heart when I first heard her a few years ago, and haven't really stopped listening since. I was so, so excited when I heard about a new album in the process, I checked almost daily for some kind of status update. When it finally did come out, I didn't like it. I was so let down. But I kept at it, and it grew on me. I soon started to realize this album for the genius that it is. Seeing her live solidified it all for me this summer. If this isn't on the top of more lists this year, I'd be super surprised.

Stand out track: Fame

2) El-P - Cancer for Cure

This album was well worth the wait, which seems to be the theme of 2012- albums I waited years for. The beats are insane, the topics are apocalyptic  the lyrics are at often times dystopian, and the album in general has an impending sense of doom, with a glimmer of hope. El-P made 2012 his bitch. This monstrous album paired with his killer Mike collaboration kind of reinforced why he's that best at what he does. El-P as a producer, was always top notch, as an MC though, he took some getting used to. He has an awkward flow on a lot of his tracks, like a slam poet or something of the sort. This time around though, he has mastered his flow. This album is perfect, in almost every way.

Stand out track: $ Vic/FTL (Me and You)

And now.... drum-roll please...

The moment you have been waiting for, and I waited 5 long years for, my number one record of 2012...

1) Black Light Burns - The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall

Remember Limp Bizkit? Remember how they weren't really good, but the guitarist was noticeably weird and incredibly talented? Well, he started a band of his very own, and they are leagues and fathoms different than LB. In 2007, they released their debut album, which still gets an almost daily spin from me, it really is that good. A year or so later they released a follow up b-sides and covers album. That was the last I heard from them until they popped up on the last Underworld soundtrack. And now, 5 years after their initial debut, they come back with this album. It has taken my breath away.

Wes Borland has created this weird landscape of music, and I couldn't be more in love with it. The videos are exceptionally surreal to watch (Here is the newest [NSFW]). There isn't one thing about this album I don't like. I find myself headbanging at times, or listening intently, not really paying attention to much else going on around me, other than the music. This album is a piece of art. It is everything I could ever want from an album. Please don't let the LB affiliation dissuade you from checking them out. I didn't  and I couldn't be happier.

Stand out track: Tiger By The Tail

So that wraps up the first part of my year end wrap up! I hope you check in in a few days for the next installment (given we're still alive)!