The best band I discovered in 2012 was Aunt Martha. I heard a song called “Bloodshot”, and then proceeded to buy their entire discography off iTunes. Their most recent release was February 2011 so I started digging, and discovered that Aunt Martha is now defunct, however Tim Noyes (the voice of Aunt Martha) released an 8-song album called “In Hands” this past February. These tunes are rock solid and need to be heard. “In Hands” kicks off with “Fade With You” featuring Noyes’ smooth vocals set to dreamy distorted guitars. “Saturday”, the album’s second cut, is complex and beautiful with sonic guitars in rhythm with Noyes’ a little more than slightly hushed vocals. Noyes then proceeds to knock the dust off of one of my favorite Aunt Martha songs in a beautifully re-worked “Blue Buildings”. Noyes makes damn sure not to waste any time on these 8 tracks delivering songs that are sure to shimmer and shine all summer long. Do yourself a favor and dig into the Noyse, Aunt Martha and everything after.
It has been far too long! I spent the winter trying to turn myself into a machine with a crazy workout routine but I am back now, still in human form enjoying an I.P.A. and listening to Frank Turner’s “Tape Deck Heart”. I feel like I just took “England Keep My Bones” out of my car because “I Am Disappeared” is one of the coolest songs I have ever heard. Tape Deck Heart is even more brilliant, full of vibrant songs packed with punch, punk, and piano including “Plain Sailing Weather”, “Recovery”, and the ever so epic “The Way I Tend To Be”. This is a record will have you spinning all summer long. Polaroid Picture is the perfect windows rolled down nostalgia song with lyrics like “in the stillness of the moment make sure you take a polaroid picture and keep it with you forever to remind yourself that there was this one time when things were okay.” Right now is the perfect time to discover Frank Turner.
“Can’t Talk Medicine” is a soul-infused garage rock record. “Halls of Columbia” is a rock solid piano driven opener. “The Round” and”Hacienda Motel” are re-done from their previous “Myths” and sound even better than the originals. “Brother Roland” is a vintage soul ballad at its finest. Songs like “Well,Well”, “Letter Box” and “Window Sill” prove the bands evolution from “Myths” and they’re what define the album as they dirty it up a bit. “Can’t Talk Medicine” is going to be one of the best things you hear this year! The album is streaming over at The Stranger.
Brooklyn Duo, The Last Royals released their full length debut in January. Twistification is an American indie infused electronic pop record full of reflective lyrics tangled up in inside of upbeat music. The album opens with the weepy “Winter Waltz” however the mood quickly changes into “Friday Night”, which will at the very least make you bop your head. “Wake Up” is a song about facing inevitable change and is one of the strongest anthems on the album. Twistification comes full circle on “Always to belong” which is pound for pound the best track on the album and is full of earnest lyrics set to dreamy guitars and a simple beat. Twistification is an album about the brutal honesty of change. The Royals capture those intimate moments that we can all relate to and hold so dearly in our hearts. Nostalgia is one of the many reasons we love music because it allows us to feel young again. The visceral “I Hate California” stops Twistification in its tracks before settling into the “Barefoot Winter Waltz”. This album is a stellar find for the summer that lies ahead. It will punch you in the gut, and twist you up into knots, yet leave you feeling infinite like a great album should. Eric James and Mason Ingram are The Last Royals, and they have arrived and hopefully will be on the radar for years to come!
Stream Twistification and buy it on their Band Camp page.
The Rouge’s new EP “Blurry” is now streaming over at Spinner and it is hands-down the best material I have heard so far this year. The Rouge offer up a vintage rock sound with raw vocals and catchy hooks like in “Handcuffs” with lyrics like “You said I look blurry in the cop-lights falling in love you, I’m in handcuffs; you took me home and laid me down and we made love until we threw up; this love is so messed up.” The song “Sinners” is a beautiful work of art and is my personal favorite as of right now. The EP is available on iTunes for $6.99 and it is worth every single penny so check it out! Here is a video of Cocaine Hero live!
I saw this a while ago and I enjoyed it. Schwartz really poses a great argument about the inordinate amount of choices that are put in front of us anywhere we go in today’s society. Are more choices better? Or would we really gain more by having less?
“…Petals on a wet black bough.” A Lion Named Roar is one of the last new artists that we discovered in 2012 and they kick off their eclectic EP titled Foreign Land with the song that appears to be about something or someone beautiful that seemed to burn out bright. “This Won’t Last for Long” will grab you and hold you just to make sure you’re listening, because Foreign Land is an EP that is sure to be the leading candidate for “talks the least, but says the most”. Lasting just over 25 minutes, A Lion Named Roar fires on all cylinders from the from the epic opener, through Desert Wind, all the way to the dreamy acoustic closer, “Ghost In New York City”. The brightest spot for me is the bridge on the track “Remember Me” with the lyrics “Oh baby can it really be love when I’ve been pretending to be what you want?” Foreign Land really strikes the right chord painting a perfect imagery of those heart-wrenching, yet, beautiful moments in life that we’ve all experienced. These songs are apparitions reminding us of the all too familiar faces in the crowd …“Are you going to make your name before the credits roll?”
Well, we finally compiled our grand list of the best (in our opinion) albums of 2012. Their are quite a few albums on here from artists that are already relatively popular, but we certainly didn’t discriminate. We made sure to include albums from artists even if they’re relatively unknown. It was a little frustrating to see a lot of popular music websites leave off bands from their “Best Albums of 2012″ that we think deserved to be mentioned. So this is our chance to show what we think are the best albums of 2012. Lastly, let us know in the comments if there is anybody you think that should’ve been on the list. We’d love to hear your opinion!
So let’s get started…
50. Bahamas – Barchords
49. Motion City Soundtrack – Go
48. Cat Power – Sun
47. Dr. Dog – Be the Void
46. Our Lady Peace – Curve
45. Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit
44. We Were Pirates – Change
43. Citizen Cope – One Lovely Day
42. Passenger – All the Little Lights
41. Glen Hansard – Rhythm & Repose
40. Everest – Ownerless
39. The Wallflowers – Glad All Over
38. A.C. Newman – Shut Down the Streets
37. Anberlin – Vital
36. Jack White – Blunderbuss
35. Band of Horses – Mirage Rock
34. Metric – Synthetica
33. Sea Wolf – Old World Romance
32. Van Morrison – Born to Sing
31. Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts
30. Bad Veins – The Mess We’ve Made
29. The Shins – Port of Morrow
28. Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives
27. Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
26. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
25. Beth Orton – Sugaring Season
24. Miniature Tigers – Mia Pharaoh
23. Barcelona – Not Quite Yours
22. Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
21. The Walkmen – Heaven
20. Morning Parade – Morning Parade
19. Paper Route – The Peace of Wild Things
18. Alberta Cross – Songs of Patience
17. Love Drug – Wild Blood
16. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die (Paradise)
15. Andy Davis – Heartbreak Yellow
14. Phillip Phillips – The World From the Side of the Moon
13. The Oh Hello’s – Through the Deep, Dark Valley
12. Jukebox the Ghost – Safe Travels
11. Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon
10. The Freelance Whales – Diluvia
The Freelance Whales are a new band for us this year, and we were both very impressed right from the beginning. This band that hails from Queens bucked the trend of depressing music last autumn with their fun and upbeat sophomore album. For a “whale” of a good time, check out the Freelance Whales! 9. Ben Howard – Every Kingdom
Every Kingdom was a late discovery for the two of us. As soon as I started playing this album, I knew it was going to be a good one. Ben Howard has such a soothing voice, which explains why this album was on such a heavy rotation during the Fall. 8. Field Report – Field Report Many people like to compare Field Report to his friend and former bandmate Bon Iver. Although they are similar in many ways, he has finally been able to separate himself with this debut album. It’s the perfect winter album to listen to on a rainy or snowy day. It’s a kick-your-feet-up and reflect on your life type of album that promises not to disappoint. You will probably have to listen to it a few times just to grasp the depth and breadth of Chris Porterfield pouring his heart out. 7. Tyler Lyle – The Golden Age & the Silver Girl Tyler Lyle is one of those semi-undiscovered/under-rated music artists that has a very bright future. There really is something to be said about a singer with such a genuine voice, and in this case, lyrics that will touch you to your very core. 6. The Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls There are two great things about the Alabama Shakes. The voice of Brittany Howard truly takes you to another place. The band does an outstanding job of straddling between the styles of current alternative rock and the roots that made it what it is today. Second, the lyrics are so raw and true that it’s difficult not to listen to this album. It also provides evidence that this is their first album, created during the time that the band wasn’t even quite what they were all about yet. 5. Of Monsters & Men – My Head is an Animal
Of Monsters & Men are the quintessential typical fun, anthemic band that really make you feel good about your life. They’re not exactly the type of band you’d expect from Iceland, but they do a superb job of giving you the feeling of what life should be like. Nanna, the female lead vocalist, has a very strong voice that I think is the best part of the band. The whole album is outstanding and certainly not worth passing up. 4. Fun. – Some Nights
This album is exactly what the band represents. Fun. You’ve probably already heard a few of these songs on the radio. This band really is “fun” to listen to, and in a lot of ways they remind me of a modern Queen, but with more bells and whistles. 3. Mumford & Sons – Babel
I was really nervous when this album first came out because I didn’t think Mumford & Sons would be able to match “Sigh No More” with their Sophomore album. I can say with certainty that “Babel” either meets or exceeds their first album. They start out strong with the first song “Babel”, and even finish strong with an outstanding cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” (which I think sounds better than the original). 2. The Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
Speaking of feel-good albums, the Imagine Dragons have truly delivered with “Night Visions”. The one thing that separates the Imagine Dragons from the pack is their ability to provide great songs to sing and dance to, while finding a way to change pace and offer songs with a bit more depth. The lead singer, Dan Reynolds has such an outstanding voice, I see a very bright future for the Imagine Dragons. 1. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
I keep telling myself I don’t want the Lumineers to become too famous because I want to keep them all to myself. Wesley Schultz sings with such power and conviction that it’s hard not to connect with their music on a very deep level. They’re most popular for “Ho Hey”, but in my opinion “Dead Sea” is the best song on the album (although I truly enjoy every song). Do yourself a favor and put this album on repeat. I promise you will not be disappointed.
*Not quite what we expected, but these artists’ albums are still worth a listen: Cory Chisel, Dave Matthews Band, the Avett Brothers, Snow Patrol,the Killers, M. Ward, and the Temper Trap.
I am excited about the Indie Lunchbox for the opportunity to share ideas and art. I took an interest in Philosophy during college and really only scratched the surface, so it’s cool to dive into and discuss worlds of different ideas. I love music and writing, but I don’t pay as much attention to it as I’d like now that I’m 27 and life has grown busy, but I am hoping the Indie Lunchbox will change that. Welcome to our new adventure! It’s good to be here.
Born & raised in Upstate New York, I’ve always had a strong passion for independent music/up-and-coming music artists. I practically revolve my life around music and I’ve always been looking for a good way to share with people that have similar interests, or with anyone who is just a little curious. Take a few minutes to check out what we have to say and please feel free to leave a comment, share with your friends, or follow us on Twitter.