Well it’s halfway through 2012 and there have been some great releases this year so far. All the albums we thought were going to be great (Lana Del Rey, The Shins) fizzled out. So it was up to the underdogs to step up and make 2012 a surprisingly great year for music.
Here are my favorite albums of 2012 so far.
Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
The 90s guitar revival is still alive and well (at least in the indie world). Cloud Nothings’s breakthrough hit is so far the best guitar rock album of 2012.
The Men – Open Your Heart
The Foo Fighters ain’t gonna last forever, and when they go The Men will take their place as the kings of hard rock…well, I mean as long as they make great albums like Open Your Heart.
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Mr. White’s debut solo album is already considered a classic, and I would have to agree. The album blends all of White’s favorite styles into an organic mix of what we can now call that signature Jack White sound.
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
The Boss literally does not have to make any more music for the rest of his life, and yet he and the E Street Band are still chugging along. Wrecking Ball is a genuinely great album that actually may catch you off guard with how folky it sounds. With songs addressing the Occupy Wall Street movement, this is an album for a specific era of American history.
Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
How I stumbled across this album I’ll never remember, but I’m so glad I found it. Etten’s voice can scare the hell out of you and also break your heart, all at the same time. She’s even better live.
John Mayer – Born and Raised
I was surprised with how little buzz John Mayer’s fifth album got, but it doesn’t really matter – the music will stand the test of time. Mayer’s country-rock influences come across naturally and combines well with his pop smarts. Be prepared for this being his last album that he’ll ever sing on due to issues with his throat.
River City Extension – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger
This album is still very fresh in my memory, but I can tell you now this album will be one of my favorites by this year’s end. A beautiful mix of alt-country and noise rock with lyrics as good as the harmonies. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, this is the album for you.
The Henry Clay People – Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives
This album clocks in just under 28 minutes, but you’ll be too busy banging your head to notice. This album is fast and furious, yet it’s melodic and sweet. Imagine if Big Star were more of a punk band.
Frank Ocean – Channel Ocean
The story of the year goes along with the album which I assume will top every music publication’s list as the best album of 2012. This isn’t so much a rap record as it is a soulful and beautiful portrait of an artist as a young man. There were times I thought I was listening to Stevie Wonder, and that’s a huge complement.
Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber