Top five albums of the year

The Money Store –

Death Grips

April 21, 2012

A strong debut LP from this experimental rap group from California  came out of nowhere, but was soon on everyone’s ‘best of’ list. Those who got a hold of their EP the year before had a clue of what to expect, but for everyone else, the combination of heavy hitting rhythms, simple blast beats, and MC Ride’s unique aggressive vocal style was like nothing else. It was a hip hop album that simply defied definition, played hard and lose with guitar rhythms and noise, and made for an intense  listening experience.

Lonerisim – Tame Impala

October 5, 2012

Tame Impala’s debut album “Innerspeaker” got the blogosphere excited about this outfit from Perth, Australia for their enticing blend of psychedelic and post-punk. It was a strong album. But in a gutsy move, the band’s chief songwriter, Kevin Parker, decided to forsake their strong debut’s sound for a new one that was more deeply rooted in pop melodies and fewer guitars. And it was a bold experiment that paid off. Channeling the sounds of “The Beatles White Album,” and Todd Rudgren’s “A Wizard, a True Star,” “Lonerisim” is a fuzzy psychedelic rock trip that isn’t afraid to push boundaries—but it doesn’t become completely inaccessible—and is one of the most creative indie rock albums of the year.

Gossamer – Passion Pit

July 20, 2012

A surprise to absolutely no one, this was Passion Pit’s year. They managed to build up a strong following from just one album, and avoided the dreaded sophomore slump by producing a cohesive follow up. “Gossamer” found Passion Pit evolving but still maintaining that insanely catchy, anthemic synthpop sound. There are no throw-away tracks. And with a performance on Saturday Night Live and a single (“Take A Walk”), Passion Pit has the first of many good years to come.

Harmonicraft – Torche

April 24, 2012

This album almost flew completely under the radar thanks to Torche’s indefinable sound. The band’s sound has always been described as a combination of the harmonies of pop music with the raw intensity of sludge metal. And on “Harmonicraft,” Torche perfected it, creating one of the most unique sounding metal albums of 2012. The blend of pop sludge metal sounds awful on paper, but Torche found the happy marriage between the two. “Harmonicraft” sounds too pop to be metal, too punk to be sludge, and too heavy to be pop, but damn if the whole thing just doesn’t somehow work.

Celebration Rock-


June 5, 2012

There was a lot of fear that Japandroids would, like so many others before them, explode after one album only to fizzle out completely with either a weak follow-up or a break up. But neither happened, and “Celebration Rock” picked up the ball right where their surprising debut, “Post Nothing” left off. Japandroids still makes an incredible amount of noise for just being a two-piece band. The wailing guitar crescendos, the chaotic post-punk drumming, and the howling Bruce Springsteen-esque vocals, all came back and were turned up to 11. The duo channeled their love of classic rock and punk to create a swagger of note that delivered a much needed adrenaline boost for indie rock fans and became, for many, the rock album of the year.