Let me know what was on your list for this year in the comments!
Bob Mould - "Silver Age" (Merge)
This album has power-pop type hooks underneath his most aggressive rhythm section in years. For me the guitar is front and center and awesome. Add the Sugar reissues to this and it's basically been the year of Bob Mould for me.
Bruiser Queen - "Swears" (Self-released)
This whole album kicks ass. Everything about the singing and the playing kept this at the top of my "currently digging on" stack at home. Great garagey-type rock.
Cody ChesnuTT - "Landing on a Hundred" (Breakaway Recordings)
The most soulful record I picked up all year. It has flavors of '70s soul (a strange urge to listen to Marvin Gaye) and tackles deep subjects with bigger arrangements than his first record (which came out 10 years ago).
Disappears - "Pre Language" (Kranky)
It makes sense that this groove-heavy band is headed by Sonic Youth's drummer Steve Shelley. Metallic and industrial but still accessible, there's an edge that you know is there, can't see it, but it makes you tense knowing it's there.
Gold Motel - "Gold Motel" (Good as Gold)
Versatile doesn't begin to cover the styles touched on and hinted at by this five piece. Some tracks have a nice Fender Rhodes thump, others showcase both guitarist, but all the songs have Greta Morgan's killer singing. Another disc where every song hits the mark.
Metric - "Synthetica" (Self-released)
This was a bit of a slow burn for me, but I found myself going back to it. Contemplative in some songs, danceable in others, the production is tight. I was happy to see them live, and they killed it.
Santigold - "Master of My Make-Believe" (Atlantic)
This was on my "most anticipated of 2012" list, and I was happily surprised that it surpassed my hopes for it. It has the same slightly ominous sound of her past material even though a lot of talented hands worked the boards.
The Raveonettes - "Observ(ATO)r" (Vice)
I haven't done any personal playlist research yet, but between this full-length record and "Into the Night EP" the Raveonettes have more spins than almost anyone else on "Train of Thought." Catchy and shoegazey, maybe just a hair addictive.
The Union Electric - "Time Is Gold" (Rank Outsider)
I love this album. Since I'm not a genre warrior it's hard to let words like "roots rock" or "Americana" sum up this release by a veteran St. Louis band (featuring 88.1 KDHX DJ Tim Rakel).
Various - "Tower Groove Records Compilation Vol. 1" (Tower Groove)
This vinyl comp had me hooked before Side A finished. A great snapshot of local bands, and if I could say something like, "There's a unity to the sound and style to it" without sounding like a cheeseball I would. Mostly originals with a couple of choice covers also.
Train of Thought top 10 singles
Galactic - "Ash Wednesday Sunrise" (Anti-)
Robert Glasper - "Afro Blue" (feat. Erykah Badu and Phonte; 9th Wonder's Blue Light Basement Remix) (Blue Note)
Ben Kweller - "Time Will Save the Day" (Noise)
Jens Lekman - "She Just Doesn't Want to Be With You Anymore" (Secretly Canadian)
Lacuna Coil - "Against You" (Century Media)
Metric - "Clone" (Metric Music International)
Middle Class Fashion - "July 31" (Blip Blap!)
The Raveonettes - "The Enemy" (Vice)
Sleepy Kitty - "Box Elder" (Tower Groove)
Wild Nothing - "Paradise" (Captured Tracks)