Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best of 2012, part 1

Over the last couple of years, I've been listening to more & more "normal" music.  By "normal" I mean music that is not ambient or electronic.  Most of it I guess would qualify as indie music.  

I think my changing taste is due to the influence of my daughter & a few coworkers.  Maybe it's also due to accumulating such huge amounts of ambient music over the years that it all starts to blend together after awhile.  I still listen to a lot of ambient & electronic music and I'll have a list of my favorite ambient/electronic records of the year soon.  I will definitely keep making ambient mixes with some beat driven & vocal mixes sprinkled in.

My son is trying to turn me on to electronic dance/trance/dubstep/club music and even some hip hop.  As a matter of fact one of my top albums is a hip hop record from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "The Heist".  It's a ton of fun and has one of my favorite songs of year on it - "Same Love"That tune will be on another list of great songs from 2012.

For my top album of the year I kind of cheated.  Andrew Bird released two fabulous albums this year, "Break It Yourself" and "Hands of Glory".  "Hands" is sort of a companion piece to the first album so I combined them together as my favorite of the year(they are sold together as a set now).

Recorded in a weeklong session at his barn outside of Chicago, the songs were performed essentially live.  That approach gives the music an intimate feel.  I had always been aware of Bird's music but was never really sucked into his world.  But these deceptively simple folk songs combined with his beautiful violin playing absolutely blew me away.  I am now on a mission to listen to his entire back catalog.

An album that I really liked but am surprised to not see it on more end of the year lists is "History Speaks" by Deep Sea Diver.  Front-woman Jessica Dobson has played bass and keys with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, guitar for the Shins and Beck.  Just one great song after another.  Check out the link below for an excellent video from Sound on Sound.

Deep Sea Diver : In Black & White 

 One of several surprises this year was the album "Home Again" by Michael Kiwanuka.  It's possibly the most "normal" album I've listened to in years.  It has the wonderful retro, soulful feel to it.  The recording obviously is trying to sound like it's 40 years old but it doesn't feel forced, the music is completely natural.  It sounds like something I've been listening to my whole life.

 Another surprise was Neil Young's "Psychedelic Pill".  Some epic tunes that go on forever and are all the more awesome for it.  Here's a short version of "Walk Like a Giant"(long version is much better)...

One last sound sample I couldn't resist posting because they are a local band from Milwaukee.  They are Vic and Gab, a songwriting sister duo playing indie pop/rock with nice harmonies.


 I think that's probably enough babbling on for now.  I'll post a list of ambient favs soon.  And a list of favorite songs, some of which I've been playing on continuous loop for weeks now.  Wow, it was a good year for music!  I haven't had this much fun discovering, playing & really getting into new music for years.  Anyone who says there is no more good music out there is either an idiot, not really trying or both.

Here's the list...

Best of 2012:
1) Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself & Hands of Glory
2) Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
3) Neil Young - Psychedelic pill
4) Deep Sea Diver - History Speaks
5) Of Monsters & Men - My Head is an Animal
6) Father John Misty – Fear Fun
7) The Lumineers - The Lumineers
8) Michael Kiwanuka  - Home Again
9) Best Coast - The Only Place
10) The Avett Brothers - The Once and Future Carpenter
11) Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Here
12) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
13) Arrange - New Memory
14) Grizzly Bear - Shields
15) The xx - Coexist
16) Elbow - Dead in the Boot
17) Patrick Watson - Adventures in Your Own Backyard
18) DIIV - Oshin
19) Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves
20) Tallest Man on Earth - There’s No Leaving Now
21) David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
22) Vic and Gab - Bridges and Guns
23) Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour/Golden Mile
24) Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
25) Alt-J - An Awesome Wave 



Anonymous said...

Excuse me kind sir, I cant seem to find the download link :D

Unknown said...

Dave, nice work you do here, I am listening to your mixes for a while now, is always the right place to find a good ambient uninterrupted journey. :D I was so inspired that i made a compilation for this season , have a listen :)

Low Light Mixes said...


Really nice mix with "Winter Noise". Thanks for posting the link.


There is no download link, this post was just a list of my top 25 of the year. Ambient version coming today(I hope).