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Saturday, 22 December 2012 13:08

Best of 2012: Top 10 indie-rock and/or pop albums (graceful, vintage and shredding edition)

Best of 2012: Top 10 indie-rock and/or pop albums (graceful, vintage and shredding edition)
Written by Matt Stuttler
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This year offered so many fine albums in the indie-rock vein that it was hard to choose just 10.

What was on your list? Let me know in the comments!

1. Tame Impala - "Lonerism"

The Beatles got back together. Kevin Parker vocals sound like John Lennon/Paul McCartney/George Harrison melded, and I'm okay with that. Not only is this my top album for the year, it's among my top albums of all time. The organ/synthesizer work is psychedelically gorgeous, and the guitar tones are straight from the '70s. There's no way any equipment under the age of 30 years was used on this album.

2. Pomegranates - "Heaven"

I can't quite figure out Heaven. Each song is dark but happy, catchy but atmospheric. Everything is so sharp that each line -- whether it's bass, guitar, vocals, or even the rhythm -- prominently sticks out and puts holes in my brain.

3. JEFF the Brotherhood - "Hypnotic Nights"

This bands gets me. I like my rock 'n' roll stripped down. I like Weezer and the Ramones. I like songs about drinking and hanging out with friends. I like this album.

4. Cloud Nothings - "Attack on Memory"

Cloud Nothings really are an attack on memory. Listening to this album all the way through spaces me out. I can't seem to remember any lyrics from the album, mostly because I don't think they were really meant to be remembered. When I put "Attack on Memory" on, I feel like I'm trapped in a refrigerator while a rock concert envelopes me on all sides.

5. Beach House - "Bloom"

"Bloom" is graceful. It dances around the edge of space, teetering between peaceful, chorused-guitar strides and drum beats that could be found on a Casio. If you ever want to make a sentimental moment out of a commute to work, put this in your ears.

6. Torche "Harmonicraft"

"Harmonicraft" could be used for a soundtrack to any big natural monument, from the Grand Canyon to Niagra Falls. Torche is well trained in the art of thick riffs and knows how to balance shredding and melody.

7. Jack White - "Blunderbuss"

I think everyone expected what a solo Jack White album would sound like because he's spent so much time crafting a signature sound. What I didn't expect is "Blunderbuss" personally being the most listened to Jack White release in my library.

8. First Aid Kit - "The Lion's Roar"

The sweetest Americana to ever come out of Sweden, the folk hummings of First Aid Kit make me believe they grew up in Greenwich Village. There's so many moods on this album, it's hard to take in one sitting.

9. Titus Andronicus - "Local Business"

"Local Business" is another album that just lines up everything so well. From the punky Springsteen licks to the all-out party gang vocals, Titus Adronicus rollick through flower fields with rusted tacks scattered about. It's fun, but when you pay attention to the lyrics, it hurts just a little bit.

10. Passion Pit - "Gossamer"

"I Took A Walk" is such a electronically well-orchestrated pop song, it's hard not to include "Gossamer" on a best of list. The rest of the album is pretty good too -- a finely seasoned mix of R&B kick of clap beats and smooth vocal hooks.

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