Lindi Ortega “Every Mile of the Ride” from Cigarettes & Truckstops (Last Gang www.lastgangrecords.com 2012) —80. Starting off my annual countdown of favorite albums of the year, a terrific Canadian singer and songwriter.Buy it!
Beachwood Sparks “Tarnished Gold” from The Tarnished Gold (Sub Pop Records 2012) —79. This album from the legendary psych-country rock band didn't quite live up to my expectations, but that doesn't mean it wasn't very good.Buy it!
Alameda “Summer Dharma” from Procession (self released 2012) —78. Portland-based band led by singer/guitarist Stirling Myles and cellist Jessie Dettwiler.Buy it!
The Dig “Break The Silence” from Midnight Flowers (Buffalo Jump 2012) —77. Brooklyn band led by David Baldwin with its second album.Buy it!
Field Report “EVERGREEN” from Field Report (Partisan Records 2012) —76. Former musical pal of Justin Vernon, Chris Porterfield's first band under the Field Report moniker is gorgeous.Buy it!
Sweet Lights “Are We Gonna Work It Out” from Sweet Lights (self-released 2012) —75. One of my favorite cuts of the year, by Shai Halperin and friends from Philadelphia.Buy it!
Brothers Lazaroff “Science Won” (self 2012) L —74. Just another fine album -- but this time unplugged -- from the veteran St. Louis band.Buy it!
Hurray For The Riff Raff “Born to Win, Pt. One” from Look Out Mama (self-released 2012) —73. Super-underrated album by Alynda Lee Segarra from New Orleans.Buy it!
Justin Townes Earle “Memphis in the Rain” from Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now (Bloodshot www.bloodshotrecords.com 2012) —72. A busy, productive, post-rehab year from the talented Mr. Earle. He not only released his most musically rich album but also produced the great Wanda Jackson.Buy it!
The Inner Banks “WILD” (DAG! Records 2012) —71. One of many Brooklyn bands in my top 80. This one features the psych-dream pop of husband and wife Caroline Schutz and David Gould.Buy it!
Joe Pug “Hymn #76” from The Great Despiser (Lightning Rod 2012) —70. Joe Pug made a leap to a full band sound on his second full-length album -- the strength of his songwriting sustains him.Buy it!
A.C. Newman “The Troubadour” from Shut Down the Streets (Matador 2012) —69. Allan Carl Newman just doing what he does: writing witty, interesting, catchy indie pop. But with banjo on this cut from his third solo release.Buy it!
Amanda Shires “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” from Lowe Country (Fiesta Red www.fiestaredrecords.com 2012) —68. An album I wish I'd played more this year. Country-influenced covers of great Nick Lowe songs. Artists include Ron Sexsmith, Chatham County Line, JEFF the Brotherhood and Caitlin Rose. Highly recommended.Buy it!
Neil Halstead “Digging Shelters” from Palindrome Hunches (Brushfire Records 2012) —67. Beautiful acoustic album from the Slowdive and Mojave 3 leader.Buy it!
Father John Misty “Fun Times in Babylon” from Fear Fun (Sub Pop 2012) —66. J. Tillman, late of Saxon Shore and Fleet FoxesBuy it!
Old Lights “We Laid Down” from Tower Groove Records Vol. 1 (Tower Groove Records 2012) L —65. A massive and excellently done 2 LP compilation of St. Louis bands. If you're not into vinyl, you can stream the whole shebang on Spotify.Buy it!
The Jungle Fire “Lions of War” from The New Blood (self-released 2012) L —64. Powerful rock 'n' funk 'n' soul with Farfisa, flute and yes fun from St. Louis.Buy it!
Allah-Las “Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)” from Allah-Las (Innovative Leisure 2012) —63. A band that met at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles.Buy it!
Quantic & Alice Russell with The Combo Bárbaro “Look Around The Corner” (TruThoughts 2012) —62. This song was picked as "Song of the Year" by both Chris Lawyer of Hip City and Christian Schaeffer of Collector's Edition. Check out all the DJs' "Songs of the Year" at KDHX.org.Buy it!
Norah Jones “After The Fall” from Little Broken Hearts (Blue Note 2012) —61. Masterfully sung by Ms. Jones and produced by Danger Mouse.Buy it!
Kristina Train “Dream Of Me” from Dark Black (Mercury Records Limited 2012) —60. Very much under the radar west of the Mississippi, but a gorgeous album by Ms. Train. The title cut is one of my songs of the year but I thought this fit into the lush sound of this set. Produced with Ed Harcourt Martin Craft.Buy it!
Ben Bedford “Cahokia” from What We Lost (Waterbug 2012) L —59. Probably my favorite album from the Springfield, Ill. songwriter. Highly recommended for fans of Slaid Cleaves and Bill Morrissey.Buy it!
Paul Kelly “Cold As Canada” from Spring and Fall (Gawdaggle 2012) —58. Just another collection of spotless songwriting from an artist that's virtually unknown in the states but a hero in Australia.Buy it!
Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker & Yim Yames “When I Get Home” from New Multitudes (Deluxe Edition) (New Rounder 2012) —57. I recommend seeking out the deluxe edition of this album if you can find it. Bonus tracks like this one are very much worth the coin.Buy it!
Graham Parker & The Rumour “Long Emotional Ride” from Three Chords Good (Primary Wave 2012) —56. Do not judge this album by its silly cover.Buy it!
Andrew Bird “Give It Away” from Break it Yourself (Mom + Pop 2012) —55. A mostly live recording from a barn in Western Illinois with percussionist Martin Dosh, and guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker, and on this track, the harmony vocals of Nora O'Connor.Buy it!
Beth Orton “Dawn Chorus” from Sugaring Season (Anti- 2012) —54. If you're going to take six years to release a follow up to one of your best albums you'd better make it good. And Ms. Orton did just that, with the help of Tucker Martine, Marc Ribot and others.Buy it!
The Royalty “How I Like 'Em” from Lovers ((RED) Victory 2012) —53. Featuring Nicole Boudreau from El Paso.Buy it!
Sera Cahoone “Deer Creek Canyon” (Sub Pop 2012) —52. Ms. Cahoone's third album was produced by Thom Monohan.Buy it!
Aaron Embry “When All Is Gone” from Tiny Prayers (Communion Music 2012) —51. Really, really good songwriting, and some sneakily Dylanesque vocals from the So. Cal. producer and multi-instrumentalist, who recently had the good fortune of touring with Mumford & Sons.Buy it!
Alejandro Escovedo “Headstrong Crazy Fools” from Big Station (Fantasy 2012) —50. Alejandro's third consecutive project with producer Tony Visconti and continued songwriting collaboration with Chuck Prophet.Buy it!
The dB's “World to Cry” from Falling Off the Sky (Bar/None 2012) —49. A reunion album that few predicted and even fewer expected to be this good.Buy it!
David Wax Museum “All Sense of Time” from Knock Knock Get Up (self released 2012) —48. David Wax Museum put on one of my favorite shows of 2012 at Off Broadway. Don't miss this band the next time it comes through town.Buy it!
Jens Lekman “I Know What Love Isn't (Radio Edit)” from I Know What Love Isn't (Secretly Canadian 2012) —47. Just because this album didn't make my top 40 cut, that doesn't mean I don't absolutely love it. Recorded over three years in Brooklyn and in his Native Sweden.Buy it!
Aimee Mann “Crazytown” from Charmer SINGLE (Superego 2012) —46. Did you know Ms. Mann turned 52 this year? If you know her secret, feel free to share.Buy it!
Admiral Fallow “Isn't This World Enough” from Tree Bursts In Snow (Nettwerk 2012) —45. Frightened Rabbit comparisons are inevitable but Louis Abbott and the rest of these Glasgow dudes put out one of the finest Scot-pop albums of the year.Buy it!
Bettye Lavette “DIRTY OLD TOWN” from Thankful n' Thoughtful (Anti- 2012) —44. I'd argue that this is the definitive version of the Ewan MacColl classic. The rest of the album of covers is also far from shabby.Buy it!
Bonnie Raitt “Right Down The Line” from Slipstream (Redwing 2012) —43. Hell of a return to form by Ms. Raitt. And another concert of the year for me, down at the Pageant.Buy it!
Darren Criss “NEW MORNING” from Chimes of Freedom - The Songs of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International) (UMGI - Fontana International 2011) —42. Never imagined Mr. Criss, best known as a member of the Glee cast, would appear on an FLGH playlist, but I rather like this sweet cover, which also features his brother Chuck, and Chuck's band Freelance Whales.Buy it!
The Tallest Man on Earth “1904” from There's No Leaving Now (Dead Oceans 2012) —41. Can someone explain to me why Mr. Matsson hasn't done a show in St. Louis, or if he has, why no told me about it?Buy it!
John Hartford “Boys From North Carolina” from Goin Back to Dixie (Small Dog Barking) —Steam-Powered Soul: A Tribute to John Hartford and KDHX Benefit - December 29 at Off BroadwayBuy it!
Like everything else, times are approximate.
Spinitron and this station are not liable for errors or omissions.