It seems like every year I listen to less and less new music, and instead discover more and more great music from the past. In 2011 I was really diggin’ Steely Dan (yeah, okay, I know …), and this past year I got massively into The Blue Nile. Actually, the albums I most listened to in 2012, regardless of year of release, were those four from The Blue Nile. I’ll even go on record and say that A Walk Across The Rooftops is a 10 out of 10 – it’s absolute perfection!
As far as albums released in 2012, these were my favourites:
1) Paul Buchanan – Mid-Air
- An understated and slow-moving album from The Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan, mostly moody piano and voice with the occasional sparse keyboard patch. I barely breathe as I hang on every word and am enveloped by the songs. Mid-Air is skeletal and utterly captivating.
2) Tusks – Total Entertainment
- Our Eastern Canadian pal, Samir Khan and fellow Tusks members have crafted a very original and diverse album in Total Entertainment, full of interesting arrangements, hooks galore and played with loads of heart. And make sure to check out the great Attic Salt album from Kepler, Samir’s previous band, which also included Mike Feuerstack of Snailhouse and Jeremy Gara who went on to play in some group called Arcade Fire.
3) Sun Kil Moon – Among The Leaves
- There are 17 predominantly acoustic or stripped-down songs on Mark Kozelek’s latest Sun Kil Moon record, and I could easily listen to another 17. Lyrically the songs are a tad depressing but musically Among The Leaves is oh-so beautiful.
4) Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be A Stranger
- Mark Eitzel cuts a new band-oriented record with ultra-warm production, and as is customary with Eitzel, Don’t Be A Stranger is highlighted by good ol’ fashioned quality songwriting and his ever-present lyrical satire and wit.
5) Beachwood Sparks – The Tarnished Gold
- Beachwood Sparks have re-united and The Tarnished Gold proves there still ain’t a better easygoing, dusty California desert, retro-sounding psych-pop band around.