The following lists are the top releases of 2012 according to various members of WCFM who submitted a list. I decided not to mess around with any links to individual lists since I didn’t get a ton of submissions, so the lists are just arranged in descending alphabetical order according to DJs’ real first names. If you submitted a list but don’t see it here or would like to have yours listed, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put it up. Also, I’m a complete noob when it comes to doing formatting with Wordress or HTML and there are some weird formatting issues below that I don’t know how to fix, so if someone would like to make the lists more uniform or prettier, just let me know and it’s all yours. -Dylan
- Alberich, “Fall Where They Would” (self-released)
- Amofas, “Blood Like Fire” (Cinereous)
- Crazy Spirit, “Crazy Spirit” (Toxic State Records)
- Elu of the Nine, “Elu of the Nine” (Woodsmoke)
- Grinning Death’s Head, “Golden Dawn” (Youth Attack)
- Hell, “III” (Eternal Warfare)
- Horrid Cross, “Collected Wounds Private and Public” (Corpse Without Soul)
- Prurient, “Oxidation” (Hospital Productions)
- Torture Chain, “Time is but a Doorway to the Incinerator” (Eternal Summer)
- Vatican Shadow, “Ghosts of Chechnya” (Hospital Productions)
1. Havoc and Bright Lights- Alanis Morissette
2. Not Your Kind of People-Garbage
3. Screaming Bloody Murder-Sum 41
4. That's Why G-d Made the Radio-The Beach Boys
5. Control-EP-The Indecent
- “Smother” (single), Daughter
Gorgeous, haunting vocals from Elana Tonra that remind me a bit of Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins) except that Tonra makes sure you can hear every word of her searing lyrics. Daughter is an up-and-coming band, yet to release a full-length album (due in early 2013 on 4AD records).
- Kindred EP, Burial
Best dubstep for my money—appeals to my darkwave side; don’t mistake this for background music—it deserves your full attention.
- Ewig EP, Blue Angel Lounge
Crawls right into your ears and puts you in a smoky leather bar in Berlin. Psychedelic rock with driving bass vocals.
- Anastasis, Dead Can Dance
Truly a resurrection (what anastasis means) for this pathbreaking band from the 80s. Hearkens back to their mid-80s sound—rich and full of gothy, medieval resonances. Don’t miss Lisa Gerrard’s achingly beautiful vocals.
- Inner Classics, Snowblink
Quietly beautiful debut album by Canadian duo. Great songwriting craft here, lovely vocals, and striking arrangements.
- Observator, Raveonettes
The latest release from the Danish duo—closest to pop on this list, but I find it irresistible how they combine a dark lushness with a paradoxically upbeat surf rock sound.
- Aufheben, Brian Jonestown Massacre
Fantastic album from an always quirky band. My faves on this are ‘Panic in Babylon’ and their homage to the classic New Order single ‘Blue Monday.’
- Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings
Just great indie rock with punk influence showing. Play loudly!
- Tramp, Sharon Van Etten
Singer-songwriter to watch.
- Transcendentalism EP (Fat Cat Records)
I do not care if you call this post-rock or classical, the 6 tracks on this EP, are amazing. It features multiple artists signed to the British Fat Cat label (Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Samuli Kosminen of Múm).
Kindred EP, Burial
The only release from Burial, solo or in collaboration, that is on par with his first two full-lengths, his self-titled and Untrue. Kindred is far from traditional dubstep, and while Burial’s experimentation with long tracks didn’t turn out so well on his recent Truant/Rough Sleeper, the long play times on Kindred’s three tracks allow him to take his listener to the most powerful places that I think electronic music is capable of reaching.
- R.I.P., Actress The most pristine of Actress’ three full lengths, and by far the most contemplative. Unlike Hazyville (an incredibly apt title for Actress’ first full length) and Splazsh, most songs on R.I.P. are devoid of any clear percussion instruments and instead thrive on a kind of hovering repetition that demands attention to the intricacies of every sound that Actress has used to craft his songs.
- Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings Far and away my favorite indie rock release of the year. Attack on Memory is aggressive, fast, and intense, and Dylan Baldi is definitely one of the best screamers that I’ve ever heard. To echo Denise’s recommendation: “Play loudly!”
- Slaughterhouse, Ty Segall Band A fun and energetic garage-punk release. It’s hard to get tired of this album and there isn’t a dull spot throughout all of its tracks.
- Open Your Heart, The Men Although I’m not a fan of the country influences that have seeped into The Men’s sound on this album, this is still most definitely a rock record and a very good one at that.
- MISTA THUG ISOLATION, LIL UGLY MANE This album is in need of a little explanation: Lil Ugly Mane’s music incorporates all of the most objectionable and offensive aspects of rap music: the glorification of violence and drug dealing, misogyny, and the classic elevation of money and wealth to godlike status. Although it at first appears that Ugly Mane’s music endorses all of these things, MISTA THUG ISOLATION is a study in dirty south, codeine-infused gangsta’ rap more than a genuine exposition of Ugly Mane’s life or ideas on life. The man behind Lil Ugly Mane goes by Shawn Kemp, and by doing some research, it becomes is clear that Lil Ugly Mane and MISTA THUG ISOLATION are for Kemp an art project of sorts, an attempt to replicate the sound and overblown pen & pixel aesthetics of underground dirty south horrorcore rap. I can assure you that Lil Ugly Mane has never shot “out the tires on cars while they moving” or done much of anything rapped about on this album, so it is best taken for what it is: a provocative caricature of a particular rap scene with some incredible production from Lil Ugly Mane himself.
- The Bears for Lunch, Guided by Voices A solid release from one of the indie-rock greats. Although the reformed “classic lineup” of GBV has yet to put out anything even remotely as good as their classic albums–and I doubt they ever will–The Bears for Lunch is still a good album and, more than their other two recent releases, possesses the unmistakeable sound of a GBV album.
- Crazy Spirit, Crazy Spirit I have to give credit to Andrew Langston (list above) for showing me this excellent hardcore album. I actually had a dream last night that someone was berating this album due to the lead singer’s “singing” style, but for me that’s exactly what makes this album great–you just can’t take this album as trying to be as serious as possible.
- Luxury Problems, Andy Stott A dark electronic album with great synth sounds and atmospheres. Stott is definitely a producer to keep an eye on.
- The Seer, Swans
Although I have reservations about a lot of the songs on this album and the heavy use of bells with the other instrumentation (not sure why it bothers me, but it does), The Seer is still a very compelling album that achieves profundity and a sense of epicness in many places without seeming contrived. As always, Gira’s lyrics and voice stand somewhere between disturbing and sublime and continually oscillate between the two, and it’s tough not to find this dynamic intriguing.
(alphabetical by artist)
Mature Themes — Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Bloom — Beach House
Duality (w/ music video) — Captain Murphy
Kill For Love — Chromatics
Black Is Beautiful — Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland
Swing Lo Magellan — Dirty Projectors
channel ORANGE — Frank Ocean
Shields — Grizzly Bear
good kid, m.A.A.d city — Kendrick Lamar
Quarantine — Laurel Halo
FLORAL SHOPPE — MACINTOSH PLUS
Shrines — Purity Ring
Motor City — Sand Circles
Port of Morrow — The Shins
How To Live With A Phantom — Shintaro Sakamoto
Jung Chan Yee
IS it top 10 album or songs?
Album: Good kid, m.a.a.d. city
10. Atlas Genius – Through the Glass EP
Favorite Song: Trojans
9. For All the Girls – For all the girls
Favorite Song: Valerie
8. The Lumineers
Favorite Songs: Dead Sea, Submarine
7. Once Upon Another Time – Sara Bareilles
Favorite Songs: Stay. Bright Lights and Cityscapes
6. Of Monsters and Men: My Head is an Animal
Favorite Songs: Slow and Steady. King and Lionheart
5. Passion Pit: Gossamer
Favorite Songs: Constant Conversations, Carried Away
4. The Tallest Man on Earth: There’s No Leaving Now
Favorite Songs: Bright Lantern
3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist
Favorite Songs: Starting Over, Same Love, A Wake
2. Transcendental Youth – The Mountain Goats
Favorite Songs: White Cedar, Cry for Judas, Amy aka Spent Gladiator I
1. Blind Pilot: We Are the Tide
Favorite Track(s): Colored the Night, New York
2. Channel Orange– Frank Ocean
3. Kaleidoscope Dream–Miguel
4. Shields–Grizzly Bear
5. An Awesome Wave– Alt-J
7. Devotion–Jessie Ware
8. In Our Heads–Hot Chip
9. Young Man in America–Anais Mitchell
10. America–Dan Deacon
2. Bloom - beach house
3. Confess - twin shadow
4. Visions - grimes
5. Put ur back n 2 it - perfume genius