2012: The Year in Music - 50 Albums, 100 Tracks 5

2012: The Year in Music – 50 Albums, 100 Tracks

2012 was a good year for lots of things, and by lots of things I mean almost exclusively music-based things. It was a good year to be a lady with a guitar, or a piano, or any other instrument, or even Other Ladies. It was a good year to have been someone who made underground rap in the late 90’s. For the third year in a row, it was a good year to be an R&B singer who likes drugs. It was a great year to be in a garage rock band, both of the Nuggets AND Stooges variety. But most of all, it was a good year to be young, gifted and black. Here, with thanks to God is in the TV for hosting, is my selection of the cream of the crop.


#50 How to Dress Well – Total Loss
Almost certainly the whitest R&B album in recent memory. Not a criticism.

#49 iamamiwhoami – Kin
Gorgeously produced, hook stuffed, scuppered by its own two year PR campaign.

#48 Right Away Great Captain! – The Church of the Good Thief
Andy Hull released four albums through three different projects in the last two years. This is the best one.

#47 Death Grips – The Money Store
Musical scud missile or idiot savants? Maybe both. Either way, this is a relentless sonic assault you can dance to.

#46 The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
As with all Mountain Goats albums, probably the album on the list that I’m most likely to start having severe cravings for for the rest of the my life.

#45 Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Their most inconsistent work since their debut, but also their most big hearted – which is saying something. And the best tracks go far beyond compensating for the slighter ones.

#44 Chairlift – Something
Four tracks in, and you’ve had four of the strongest songs of 2012. Nae bad going.

#43 …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Lost Songs
Curiously overlooked return to form by the only band to ever really combine indie rock and hard rock succesfully.

#42 Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra – Theatre is Evil
Ludicrous expenditure, unpaid musicians, “It’s art bitch,” an unbearable Twitter presence and a near perfect 11 track pop album with 16 tracks. If I didn’t love Amanda Palmer so much I’d fucking hate her.

Lower Dens Nootropics

#41 Lower Dens – Nootropics
A gloriously intricate album, heavy on atmosphere, that almost dares to pretend it’s not as good as it actually is.

#40 Twin Shadow – Confess
A straight up 80’s pop rock album, with songwriting as strong as it’s central character is unlikeable. Bateman would have loved it.

#39 Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
Natasha Khan’s cleanest, most eclectic release to date, with the year’s definitive piano ballad.

#38 Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
Simply put, no one does what Converge do anywhere near as well as they do.

#37 Cursive – I Am Gemini
Dense, impenetrable, obnoxiously introverted, wildly inconsistent. These are the reasons why I love the work of Tim Kasher.

#36 Passion Pit – Gossamer
Dear Diary, My Grown Up Angst Has Become The Year’s Most Compelling And Fertile Muse

#35 Jessie Ware – Devotion
Top tip: adult contemporary could well make a comeback in 2013 purely on the strength of Devotion. You read it here first.

#34 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
In which Ariel Pink proves that he’s always going to do just exactly what he wants, and becomes among the few artists to not embarass himself in the process.

#33 Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
The maker of 2010’s ultimate place to hide somehow follows it up with a lush, expansive record that expands on the themes on it’s predecessor without muddying the message.

#32 Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
Electronic music’s most beloved enigma opens up, brings in friends, and makes a kind-of party album.


#31 DIIV – Oshiin
Anyone who likes this kind of thing got thirty seconds into Oshiin before trying to tell EVERYONE.

#30 Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
Exemplifies all the great elements of contemporary R&B; strong songwriting, a compelling narrative voice and sonic adventurousness. And drrrty shit.

#29 Swans – The Seer
Should be higher up this list, but goddamn does being inside this thing do worrying stuff to my head. Lou Reed thinks this is what Lulu sounds like.

#28 Wild Nothing – Nocturne
I dramatically overrated Wild Nothing’s debut. This one was dramatically underrated by everyone else.

#27 Purity Ring – Shrines
Blends genres so deftly that you feel as if you’re listening to an entirely new one. Which, in a way, you are.

#26 El-P – Cancer4cure
A towering, furious ball of rage directed at anyone and everyone. Way more fun than it sounds.

#25 Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
A little disappointing as a follow up to Bitte Orca, but then isn’t everything?

#24 Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
No one else can get away with making music this unapologetically sentimental. Well, maybe Nick Cave.

#23 Bear in Heaven – I Love You, It’s Cool
A gorgeous and incredibly addictive album that absolutely no one like as much as me.

#22 Anais Mitchell – Young Man in America
Bears the single greatest lyric of 2012: “Your daddy didn’t leave a will / he left a shovel, and a hole to fill.”


#21 Menomena – Moms
Finally, a Menomena album that’s as emotionally cathartic musically as it is lyrically. Do not enter lightly.

#20 Metz – Metz
The year’s best flail-around-and-hurt-somebody album.

#19 Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance
Proof that, sometimes, all you need to do is have a neat signature sound and be really, really good at writing songs.

#18 Tall Ships – Everything Touching
The year’s best British album by a wide margin, as heartbreaking as it is uplifting.

#17 Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Came out of nowhere, and the impact hasn’t even fully set in yet. So gorgeous, it’s hard to believe we couldn’t all feel it being made.

#16 Titus Andronicus – Local Business
A cripplingly patchy album from probably the best band in the world. If anything, that makes them even more compelling.

#15 Killer Mike – R.A.P Music
Rap’s most likeable underdog finally makes good, with a ferocity, technicality and political consciousness that puts the young guard to shame.

#14 Chromatics – Kill for Love
Of all the albums that fall under the electronic rock tag, Kill For Love is the first to truly embody both.

#13 Julia Holter – Ekstasis
Contains touchstones that span much of time and humanity, creating something both current and ageless at once.

#12 Ty Segall – Slaughterhouse/Hair/Twins
In many ways, the king of 2012. No musician working today is releasing this much material to this level of quality and consistency.

#11 Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
An uncomfortable dream pop chrysalis cracked open and a noisy, aggressive butterfly burst out. This is a perfect example of exactly what it is.

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#10 Beach House – Bloom
Affirms Beach House’s position in a genre all of their own, simply because no one else could dare to approach them.

#9 Grimes – Visions
The most 2012 release of 2012. No one really knows what to do with it still, so we’re just throwing plaudits at it and smiling.

#8 Dan Deacon – America
2012’s most defiantly heart-in-mouth paean to anything. This is the sound of an entire absence of cynicism.

#7 Grizzly Bear – Shields
Seemingly a direct response to previous criticism, Shields is wild, messy and unhinged, from a band routinely dismissed as ‘too perfect.’ Sure showed them.

#6 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel
A personal dissection of staggering frankness and ferocity, to an extent that men are debatably incapable of.

#5 Tame Impala – Lonerism
True to the spirit of prog without being deritive of it, but also capable of pop construction that reeks of genius. This is a band to whom music comes more easily than breathing.

#4 mewithoutYou – Ten Stories
Still the most slept on band working today. Lyrically and musically the strongest in an already remarkable canon. But you all still get them confused with Alexisonfire, don’t you.

#3 Japandroids – Celebration Rock
A relentless reminder of why you started listening to music in the first place.


#2 Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE
An album so broad in scope, so intelligently and so masterfully executed that it’s hard to believe it even exists. Album of the year in any other year, but..

#1 Kendrick Lamar – good kid m.A.A.d city
A stupefyingly powerful document of a boy, his family and his community, that utilizes everything that’s great about hip hop. We’re incredibly lucky to have it.

Now, in no particular order.. with hyperlinks..


Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra – Do it With a Rockstar
Bat for Lashes – Laura
Beach House – Myth
Bear in Heaven – Cool Light
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Cloud Nothings – Wasted Days
Dan Deacon – True Thrush
Frank Ocean – Pyramids
Grimes – Oblivion
Hot Chip – Let Me Be Him
Icona Pop – I Love It feat. Charlie XCX
Japandroids – The House that Heaven Built
Kendrick Lamar – Sing About Me/Dying of Thirst
Killer Mike – Reagan
Kwes – Igoyh
mewithoutYou – Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume
MIA – Bad Girls
Philip Glass and Beck – NYC: 73-78
Spiritualized – Hey Jane
Wild Nothing – Through the Grass


Action Bronson – Hookers at the Point
All Get Out – Lucky Bastard
Alt-J – Ms
Anais Mitchell – Young Man in America
Anais Mitchell – Venus
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – Pinhole Cameras
Andy Stott – Sleepless
Angel Haze – Werkin’ Girls
The Antlers – Endless Ladder
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Baby feat. Dam Funk
Bad Books – No Rewards
Beach House – Other People
Blur – Under the Westway
Burial – Ashtray Wasp
Carly Rae Jepson – Call Me Maybe
Cat Power – Nothin’ But Time
Chairlift – I Belong In Your Arms
Choir of Young Believers – Sedated
Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless
Cursive – The Cat and the Mouse
Cursive – A Birthday Bash
Dan Deacon – USA: I – IV
Daughn Gibson – In the Beginning
Death Grips – I’ve Seen Footage
Delta Spirit – California
Dirty Projectors – Gun Has no Trigger
Django Django – Default
El-P – Vic/FTL
Fiona Apple – Werewolf
Frank Ocean – Bad Religion
Kanye West – Clique feat. Big Sean and Jay-Z
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – We Drift Like Worried Fire
Grasscut – Reservoir
Grasscut – We Hold Ourselves
Grizzly Bear – Yet Again
Grizzly Bear – A Simple Answer
Haim – Come Save Me
Hot Chip – Flutes
iamamiwhoami – Sever
iamamiwhoami – Play
Jai Paul – Jasmine
Japandroids – Evil’s Sway
Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments
Julia Holter – Moni Mon Amie
Julia Holter – Goddess Eyes I
Kendrick Lamar – Money Trees
Lambchop – Gone Tomorrow
Lana Del Rey – National Anthem
Lotus Plaza – Remember Our Days
Lower Dens – Brains
Mac DeMarco – Ode to Viceroy
The Men – Oscillation
Menomena – Capsule
Metz – Wet Blanket
Micachu – OK
Miguel – Pussy is Mine
The Music Tapes – Takeshi and Elijah
Palma Violets – Best of Friends
Passion Pit – Cry Like a Ghost
Peaking Lights – Beautiful Son
Perfume Genius – Dark Parts
Plan B – Ill Manors
Purity Ring – Lofticries
Right Away, Great Captain! – When I Met Death
Single Mothers – Hell (Is My Backup Plan)
Solange – Losing You
Spider Bags – Friday Night
Tall Ships – Murmurations
Tall Ships – Oscar
Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Tame Impala – Elephant
Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Thee Oh Sees – Flood’s New Light
Titus Andronicus – My Eating Disorder
TNGHT – Easy Easy
TOY – Dead and Gone
Ty Segall Band – I Bought My Eyes
Usher – Climax
Whirr – Junebouvier
The xx – Angels

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.