FAVORITES OF 2012
Found a great combination of artists of all ages making music still vital, challenging and just plain entertaining. Gorgeous melodies, strong grooves and relevant themes continue to shine each year, in both the album format and the digital single. These are not really the biggest selling records, but more the ones I spent the most time listening during the year.
I decided for the first time to divide the music makers into three age groups. Never really thought about that before, but now that so many men and women are making pop and rock music into their 70’s, it has stretched the writing cycle well beyond teen angst and middle-aged revolution.
BOB DYLAN – ‘Duquesne Whistle’ has the single best groove of the year.
ROLLING STONES – Mick Jagger is as annoying as ever. ‘Doom and Gloom’ is the best Stones in 20 years.
THE dB’s- 30 years between albums. ‘The Wonder of Love’ is the horn song of the year.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – The man is unstoppable. He was great at SXSW as the Keynote speaker. His albums continue to be thoughtful, sincere and hard rockin’ as can be, and the live show has not wavered since the Main Point days.
SHINS – one of the best melody writers in the business today. His arrangements are pure pop in the Jimmy Webb, Bacharach-David style for the new generation. Saw them live, didn’t care for the show, but love his writing.
A C NEWMAN – the best melody writer in the business today. He has been on a creative run since Twin Cinema that just continues to offer great pieces of music.
JACK WHITE – the best riff writer in the business today.
CALEXICO – gorgeous, atmospheric song scapes. ‘Splitter’ is one of the best songs of the year.
ZEUS – garage rock single of the year with ‘Are You Gonna Break My Heart’.
THE STRAY BIRDS – accomplished, reverent, literate, passionate and genuine.
JOHN FULLBRIGHT – most cinematic new writer on the scene. The next Dave Carter.
TITUS ANDRONICUS – lyrically their work really caught up to their hard driving rock skills
LORD HURON – the best song of the year with ‘Time To Run’
FATHER JOHN MISTY – unflappable and full of music. Reminds me a little of Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.
MICHAEL KIWANUKA – amazing songwriter. Mature way beyond his years.
So many good tracks from Free Energy, Grizzly Bear, Low Cut Connie, Heartless Bastards, Mumford & Sons, Django Django, Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, Dr Dog, Tame Impala, Gabriel Kelly and more. Gabriel wrote the song with the best use of strings this year. As bands like The Amazing and Foxygen pay such close homage to the 60’s, Gabriel hit the 70’s singer-songwriter arrangement and production style right in the sweet spot.