Top 50 Albums of 2012 Part 5 of 5: The Top 20

Hope everyone has had a fantastic year this year. We are all a year older, a year wiser. So here is our favorite albums of the year, check out our Spotify playlist to see where we rank everyone else.

20. Baby Island – Baby Island

19. The Soft Moon – Zeros

18. And And And – No Party 7″

17. Grimes – Visions

16. Swans – The Seer

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15. Dustin Wong – Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads

14. Grandparents – Fumes

13. Dan Deacon – America

12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

11. Beach House – Bloom

10. The Holiday Friends – Chicks

9. Tennis – Young & Old

8. Young Magic – Melt

7. Pond – Beard, Wives, Denim

6. Crystal Castles – (III)

5. Delicate Steve – Positive Force

4. DIIV – Oshin

3. Alt-j – An Awesome Wave

2. Tame Impala – Lonerism

1. Purity Ring – Shrines

Check out our comprehensive top 50 playlist on Spotify below or follow the link here.

Top Albums of 2012 Part 4 of 5: Rock ‘n’ Roll

Now for every body’s favorite category, rock ‘n’ roll. The spirit of rebellion and youthful-ness is the true mean of rock ‘n’ roll. These artists and albums are our favorite from this year check it out.

Alabama Shakes – Boys And Girls

Alabama Shakes’ debut album is full of soul, reminding us all that rock came from blues music. The guitar riffs and vocals are golden on Boys And Girls. I can not wait to hear more from this band.

Best Coast – The Only Place

Another solid album from Best Coast this year as they bring their beach pop-rock back for another round. The Only Place focuses on just how awesome being on the best coast really is.

Caspian – Waking Season

This post-rock band has been around for some time now and this new album is super solid, dare I say hella posty. Check out the entirety “>here and be taken away for a while.

Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

Cloud Nothings have such a cool, post-punk kind of sound. Attack On Memory has a lot of different elements for anyone to draw on, ranging from a Slint/Nirvana feel to old school punk to pop-rock it has something to offer everyone.

DIIV – Oshin

This Brooklyn band has been on the up-rise since the release of their singles. When Oshin came out it immediately received my stamp of approval. With a sound like Real Estate and an uptempo Pure X this album is definitely a favorite of mine this year. Check it out “>here.

Fang Island – Major

This album has been on repeat all summer long for us. With their own brand of pop-metal Fang Island is always a hit for me. Check out the whole album here.

Finn Riggins – Benchwarmers

Finn Riggins is one of our favorite Boise bands and they came out with a great EP back in April. The prog-rock pop elements they bring are so catchy, it’s hard not to dance.

Grandparents – Fumes

Another great EP release from local Portland bands Grandparents. Fumes has a great psychedelic dream-rock feel to it. I can’t wait to here more new music from these guys and girl.

Heartless Bastards – Arrow

This album rocks and rolls so hard you might think you were back in the 70s. Arrow has great vocals and sweet guitar riffs along with bodacious songwriting. Check it all out here.

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

With Japandroids’ sophomoric full length album they showed more maturity with their songwriting and style.

Jeff The Brotherhood

Another solid album from The Brotherhood, with this one produced by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys), it is definitely worth buying.

Pond – Beard, Wives, Denim

Pond has a classic psychedelic rock and roll style that kicks you back to the 70s. You can see just how awesome this album is by going here to listen to it.

PS I Love You – Death Dreams

Sentimental Dishes by PS I Love You on Grooveshark

PS I Love You is a two man band from Canada that know how to rock out. Death Dreams is full of post punk-rock riffs with really great songwriting included for your pleasure. Check it out here.

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Spiritualized’s latest album is so full with indie rock ‘n’ roll, cream filling will star pouring out of your orifices.

Tame Impala – Lonerism

Not only is Lonerism a great album name, but it is a great sounding album. It is everything you want in a rock and roll LP. Listen to it’s entirety here.

Alt-J with Wildcat! Wildcat! At Star Theater

It was but six months ago the illustrious album ‘An Awesome Wave’ was released by UK indie rockers Alt-J. Since then, they have shot up to the top of household names in up-and-coming music, selling out shows and dominating yearly top 50 charts everywhere.

So it’s a pleasant surprise when the random show a friend recommended back in October quickly became the most highly anticipated concert of the season.

The line is still down the block a half hour after doors open. Jovial gangs of drunken Santas rove the streets of downtown Portland on an otherwise miserable Saturday night.

It’s already shoulder to shoulder when Wildcat! Wildcat! quietly takes stage. A humble-looking bunch from L.A., their music is well crafted and well informed in contemporary pop aesthetics. The bumping bass sounds great in the Star Theaters deep corridor-like venue. Each song is synergistic, blending falsetto harmonies with twinkling synth beats and fuzzed-out bass guitar. The effect is reminiscent of Passion Pit, but with a distinct sensuality to the music which focuses less on narrative and appeals more to the emotions of the listener.

As an opener, Wildcat! Wildcat! is highly successful in juicing up the crowd with awesome rock. Alt-J adds the suspense by doing a thorough 30 minute sound check. By the time they start, the room has erupted in full applause and dancing bodies awkwardly rock and groove to Intro, indulging eagerly in the heavy electronic drop in the middle of the song. They don’t play their debut album from start to finish, but shuffle it and intersperse it with a Tears for Fears cover and a mash up of Slow and Still D.R.E., which compliments the original material and paces the show interestingly.

Alt-J live is a raw and soulful experience. The dynamic between lead guitarist Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton is prominent as they harmonize their voices and instruments at the front of the stage, building up the whimsical layers and gentle progressions which make up the character of these beloved pieces. A short set was followed by a short encore, where the final song they played was ‘Hand-made,’ the beautiful closer off the album.

If you’re reading in sorrow because you weren’t able to snag a ticket to Saturday’s show, dry your teary eyes, for Alt-J will be back at it again at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom on April 8th of this year. Will you be going?

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Top 50 Albums of 2012 Part 3 of 5: Miscellaneous

In this installment of our top 50 albums of the year we present the miscellaneous category. This category holds all the hip-hop, metal, instrumental rock, and any original genre that we don’t dare categorize. So hang on to your pants, they might get ripped off while listening to these albums.

Alt-j – An Awesome Wave

An Awesome Wave is one of our favorite albums this year and after listening to that song up there you should understand why. Alt-j brings a fresh of breath air into a hip-pop-rock sound and makes it something totally unique. Check out the whole album here.

And And And – No Party 7″

This Portland band is by far one of our favorite local acts. Their latest 7″ release just came out last month and it is full of jean-punching punk-rock. Check it out and download it for free here.

The Chariot – One Wing

First by The Chariot on Grooveshark

This hardcore metal-punk band knows how to get you head banging in no time. One Wing offers a broad spectrum of different hardcore music. You can check it out here.

Dan Deacon – America

Lots by Dan Deacon on Grooveshark

Dan Deacon’s America is a great album that expresses the being of America in this day in age. Full of electronic beats and orchestra parts, it makes for a great listen. Check it out here.

Delicate Steve – Positive Force

For those of you who know us, we are the biggest preachers for the church of Steve. Positive Force is the true form of literal positive force. Those who don’t know Delicate Steve should take a listen to it and be swept away by their new favorite band.

Dustin Wong – Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads

Evening Curves Straight by Dustin Wong on Grooveshark

Running in the same vain as Delicate Steve, Dustin Wong has a great style of looping his guitar riffs to build up a movement filled with a symphonies of guitars. Listen to the full album here.

El Ten Eleven – Transitions

Another great instrumental band that out out a great album this year. It is hard to imagine this group as a two man band when you hear them but it’s true. One drummer and one double neck bass/guitar player looping incredibly light-hearted guitar riffs. Definitely an album worth giving a full listen to.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed’s newest album is a doomy masterpiece of black drone post-rock goodness. Even those who are not prone to metal music should listen to this album here.

The Hood Internet – FEAT

FEAT is a great mix of different styles of hip-hop and electronic music. It is one of our favorite compilation album that has come out this year.

P.O.S. – We Don’t Even Live Here

Fuck Your Stuff by P.O.S. on Grooveshark

P.O.S. brings out the fresh beats for We Don’t Even Live Here. This whole album is catchy and full of great tunes.

Swans – The Seer

Lunacy by Swans on Grooveshark

Swans’ latest album is a super brutal sounding double LP that captures the essence of pure post-rock. But not only that, The Seer has so many different kinds of elements that make this album great. You can listen to the whole album here.

Top Albums of 2012 Part 2 of 5: Electronica

For the next installment of our top 50 albums list comes the most exciting category, electronic music. This category if for those artists pushing the technology side of music, whether it’s trip-step, chill-wave, or dance, good electronic music gives me entirely brand new sounds that I haven’t heard in music before. So enjoy our alphabetical list of electronic albums from 2012.

Crystal Castles – (III)

This Crystal Castles album is by far my favorite one of theirs, I never got into their music until this one came out in November. (III) is super rich in dark flavors, yet is very satisfying to dance to. It really engulfs all kinds of electronica and delivers a sound that is hauntingly beautiful.

Grimes – Visions

Visions is the perfect blend of electro-pop and dance. Grimes has been able make some of the freshest beats this year. Definitely worth listening to.

Onuinu – Mirror Grazer

This local Portland band has the whole electro-pop sound on lock down. Mirror Grazer is a super danceable album that will have your party going till the early hours of the day. Right now they are on tour so check here if they coming near you.

POLIÇA – Give You The Ghost

POLIÇA has a really unique sound, with lots of vocal manipulations and larger than life beats. Give You The Ghost is one of my favorites to go on a walk with, especially out in the cold weather.

Purity Ring – Shrines

Purity Ring’s Shrines is an album that has such an incredible sound to it. Not only is every song super good and fresh, but the whole album goes together really well and it is impossible to skip a song on it. Definitely one of my favorites this year.

Slow Magic – Triangle

Slow Magic is quite an appropriate name for an artist who makes this music. Great instrumental electronic music, some of the finest I’ve heard in some time. This album has it magical moments so check it out here.

The Soft Moon – Zeros

Soft Moon makes some of the most anxious music that I’ve heard ever. With that said Zeros is still such a great album for that aspect. Some really dark guitar and bass riffs that clash with the keys and synths makes for an intense listen. You can stream the whole album here.

Teen Daze – All Of Us, Together

This is Teen Daze’s first full length album which came out in June. It is a wonderful piece of instrumental electronic music. Above is my favorite track off of All Of Us, Together and you can check out the whole album here.

Young Magic – Melt

Melt is one of my favorite albums this mostly because the beats and sounds he gets are out of this world. The record includes a bunch of field recordings from all over the map, which adds a whole other depth to the music. If you haven’t heard this album yet, please go listen to it right now here.