The Best Albums of 2012 (So Far), Selected by Laura Medina – Graphic Designer
1. Chairlift – Something
From borderline-sappy love lyrics to frenzied, violent messages, Caroline Polacheck explores the far ranges of emotions through a lens of ‘80s synthpop. The changes to the band’s original lineup didn’t hurt their sophomore album, Something, but brought a new range of intensity and emotion that wasn’t present in their debut.
2. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
From historical ocean liners to bee populations, Andrew Bird’s lyrics often need some explanation, or an encyclopedia. Break It Yourself is a dreamy album that showcases the dynamic instrumental and lyrical genius that Bird embodies so effortlessly.
3. Rufus Wainwright – Out of The Game
After a particularly long hiatus from his personal brand of pop, Wainwright returns triumphant with Out of the Game. The album is firmly rooted in his ‘70s-era singer/songwriter sound, but strips back a bit of the fuss and opulence of his past.
4. Vacationer – Gone
This debut album from Kenny Vasoli is a unique mix of sampled beats and psychedelic melodies. It’s a dream-like blend of elements that come together seamlessly.
5. Patrick Watson – Adventures in Your Own Backyard
I couldn’t be happier that Patrick Watson is back from his three-year hiatus. The only problem with his new album Adventures In Your Own Backyard is that you might fall into the rabbit hole of his dreamy haze and never emerge.
6. The Mynabirds – Generals
Generals is a war call. Its politically-charged undertone fuels the progression that stabs deep into the heart of American corruption, both past and present. The combination of the dirty electronics and the dynamic nature of Laura Burhenn’s voice makes this album a beautiful and powerful statement.
7. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Fiona Apple packs so much emotion into sharp and direct statements. Much like her last album, Extraordinary Machine, the music is powerful and the astute clarity in her lyrics is captivating.
8. Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
Mike Hadreas isn’t afraid to talk about the darkest parts of human nature, as well as his own struggles with addiction and abuse. His sophomore album, Put Your Back N 2 It, is a retrospective roadmap, attempting to decipher how exactly to live.
9. Field Music – Plumb
Plumb is not an album where individual songs can be plucked out of their lineup and analyzed individually. The 15-song, 35-minute album is best heard in its entirety. Each melodic song’s broken-down bits bind together into a cohesive whole.
10. Tennis – Young & Old
Tennis charmed their way into the music scene last year with a story of love and their debut album, Cape Dory. The duo of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore traveled the Eastern Seaboard on a sailboat, the inspiration for their beachy pop. Thankfully the two didn’t stray far from those origins on their sophomore album, Young & Old. Instead, they expanded on the lo-fi sound that they made their signature.