The Best of 2012: A List of Albums & Bands You Need to Know

Note for next year: Keep track of all the albums I get throughout the year AS I get them. Don’t wait until the end of the year to a list of all of them and then go through the list to figure out a “Top 10”.

Ha. Lesson learned, I guess.

Anyway, here’s my rundown of the best stuff from 2012. I’ll start with the albums of 2012, and if you don’t know, I split this list in two sections; LP’s and EP’s.

I’ll begin with the former, and after my top ten picks, I’ll have every single other record I bought mentioned, too. After all, the whole reason I do this blog in the first place is to spread the word about great, independent music, and that can’t be done effectively if I only promote ten of albums I purchased during the last twelve months.

I was able to narrow my picks down to a “Sweet 16”, and having to cut out six stellar records proved to be harder than I thought. But in the end, this is what I came up with…

 TOP 10 LP’s of 2012

1.) Artist: Toadies

Album: Play.Rock.Music.

Must Listen Song: “We Burned the City Down”

Purchase on iTunes

 

2.) Artist: Delta Spirit

Album: Delta Spirit

Must Listen Song: “Empty House”

Purchase on iTunes


3.) Artist: Somebody’s Darling

Album: Jank City Shakedown

Must Listen Song: “Weight of the Fear”

Purchase on iTunes


4.) Artist: The Opium Symphony

Album: Blame It On the Radio

Must Listen Song: “Jukebox Junkie”

Purchase on iTunes

 

5.) Artist: Dovetail

Album: Mount Karma

Must Listen Song: “Julie”

Purchase on iTunes

 

6.) Artist: of Verona

Album: The White Apple

Must Listen Song: “Unique In its Madness”

Purchase on iTunes

 

7.) Artist: The Virgin Wolves

Album: Pretty Evil Thing

Must Listen Song: “End of the Line”

Purchase at a live show


8.) Artist: Milo Greene

Album: Milo Greene

Must Listen Song: “Cutty Love”

Purchase on iTunes

 

9.) Artist: Ronnie Fauss

Album: I Am The Man You Know I’m Not

Must Listen Song: “A Pretty Nice Night for Houston”

Purchase on iTunes

 

10.) Artist: The Phuss

Album: The Phuss

Must Listen Song: “The Romantic”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Honorable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

Artist: 12 Gauge Warning

Album: What Have I Done?

Must Listen Song: “Subside”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: A Silent Film

Album: Sand & Snow

Must Listen Song: “Harbour Lights”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Aerosmith

Album: Music From Another Dimension!

Must Listen Song: “Lover Alot”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Ambassadors

Album: Litost

Must Listen Song: “Falls”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Anthony Green

Album: Beautiful Things

Must Listen Song: “Right Outside” (On Deluxe Version ONLY)

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Arkells

Album: Michigan Left

Must Listen Song: “Michigan Left”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Band of Skulls

Album: Sweet Sour

Must Listen Song: “Wanderluster”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Barcelona

Album: Not Quite Yours

Must Listen Song: “Slipping Away”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Ben Kweller

Album: Go Fly a Kite

Must Listen Song: “Jealous Girl”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Best Coast

Album: The Only Place

Must Listen Song: “Better Girl”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Black Taxi

Album: We Don’t Know Any Better

Must Listen Song: “Tightrope”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Breakfast Machine

Album: A Pitch to the Wind

Must Listen Song: “Mayoween”

Purchase on Bandcamp

 

Artist: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Album: Wrecking Ball

Must Listen Song: “Death to My Hometown”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Burning Slow

Album: Diversity

Must Listen Song: “Walls of Glass”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Butterfly Boucher

Album: Butterfly Boucher

Must Listen Song: “Not Fooling Around”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Chloes

Album: Vanish

Must Listen Song: “Put it Away”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Circa Survive

Album: Violent Waves

Must Listen Song: “Sharp Practice”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Classic Crime

Album: Phoenix

Must Listen Song: “Young Again”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Clepto

Album: Kebab: Live off the Grill

Must Listen Song: “Cry Me a River”

Purchase at a live show

 

Artist: Clint Niosi

Album: For Pleasure and Spite

Must Listen Song: “Shark In Your Water”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Dead Sara

Album: Dead Sara

Must Listen Song: “Timed Blues”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Deadbeat Darling

Album: The Angel’s Share

Must Listen Song: “Insomnia Salvation”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Diesel & Dixie

Album: Short Wave Rodeo

Must Listen Song: “Iron Herd”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Delta Rae

Album: Carry the Fire

Must Listen Song: “Bottom of the River”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Driver Friendly

Album: Bury A Dream

Must Listen Song: “Messidona”

 

Artist: Eleven Hundred Springs

Album: Midway

Must Listen Song: “Hard Working Just Ain’t Working Anymore”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Evans Blue

Album: Graveyard of Empires

Must Listen Song: “Crawl Inside”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Gaslight Anthem

Album: Handwritten

Must Listen Song: “Mulholland Drive”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Ghost Hotel

Album: Do You Feel It?

Must Listen Song: “Simple Fiction”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Goodnight Ned

Album: Smoke From the Sails

Must Listen Song: “Papa Jack’s Bag”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: J. Charles and the Trainrobbers

Album: Upon Leaving

Must Listen Song: “Something Wrong”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Jana Kramer

Album: Jana Kramer

Must Listen Song: “I Hope it Rains”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Jason Eady

Album: AM Country Heaven

Must Listen Song: “A.M. Country Heaven”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: JJAMZ

Album: Suicide Pact

Must Listen Song: “Suicide Pact”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Katie Carroll

Album: Desperada

Must Listen Song: Tie between “If I’m Still Falling” and “Dreams” (Stevie Nicks cover)

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Koniac Net

Album: One Last Monsoon

Must Listen Song: “This Time Around”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Lauren Mann And The Fairly Odd Folk

Album: Over Land And Sea

Must Listen Song: “Love, I Lost”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Lindby

Album: Erikson

Must Listen Song: “Here We Are Now”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Long Sword Spectacular

Album: Long Sword Spectacular

Must Listen Song: “Firewalk”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Madisons

Album: Desgraciados

Must Listen Song: “El Paso”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Midnight Empire

Album: Everything And Nothing

Must Listen Song: “Misery”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Minus the Bear

Album: Infinity Overhead

Must Listen Song: “Lies and Eyes”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Missy Higgins

Album: The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

Must Listen Song: “Tricks”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Mon Julien

Album: Mon Julien

Must Listen Song: “Punchline”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Moonlight Social

Album: Heading South

Must Listen Song: “Neither Are You”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Mothership

Album: Mothership

Must Listen Song: “City Nights”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Neckties

Album: Chop And Change

Must Listen Song: “Lies”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Neon Trees

Album: Picture Show

Must Listen Song: “Hooray for Hollywood”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Nervous Curtains

Album: Fake Infinity

Must Listen Song: “Cats In the Dark”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Night Gallery

Album: Loud As The Sun

Must Listen Song: “Separation Anxiety”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Parabelle

Album: Your Starry Eyes Will Never Make Us Even

Must Listen Song: “Whisper”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Pebaluna

Album: Carny Life

Must Listen Song: “Honey”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Public Love Affair

Album: Soul Shaker

Must Listen Song: “Won’t Ever Be Defeated”

Purchase on Bandcamp

 

Artist: Riverboat Gamblers

Album: The Wolf You Feed

Must Listen Song: “Bite My Tongue”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Riversyde

Album: See Us Now

Must Listen Song: “What’s Love About”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Roomsounds

Album: We’re #1

Must Listen Song: “Kinks”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Royality

Album: Lovers

Must Listen Song: “Mr. Hyde”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: RTB2

Album: 2

Must Listen Song: “Wire to the Walls”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Said Kelley

Album: Cupcake

Must Listen Song: “Make Me Up”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sara Radle

Album: Same Sun Shines

Must Listen Song: “The Pins”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sarah Jaffe

Album: The Body Wins

Must Listen Song: “Glorfied High”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Silvergun & Spleen

Album: Semi Truck

Must Listen Song: “An Eye for an Eye”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sleeper Agent

Album: Calebrasion

Must Listen Song: “Be My Monster”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sleigh Bells

Album: Reign of Terror

Must Listen Song: “Demons”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Smile Empty Soul

Album: 3’s

Must Listen Song: “Warning”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Smile Smile

Album: Marry A Stranger

Must Listen Song: “Fatal Flaw”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sonar Lights

Album: Here We Are

Must Listen Song:  “Oversaturated”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Spook Easy

Album: Faux Show

Must Listen Song: “Arrive Alive”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Stars

Album: The North

Must Listen Song: “Backlines”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Steven Graves

Album: Matter of Time

Must Listen Song: “Right From My Heart”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sucre

Album: A Minor Bird

Must Listen Song: “When We Were Young”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Sword

Album: Apocryphon

Must Listen Song: “The Veil of Isis”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Taylor Marie

Album: Breaking Points & Sleepless Nights

Must Listen Song: “Imprint”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Trebuchet

Album: Said A to B

Must Listen Song: “Sing of the Times”

Purchase at a live show

 

Artist: Turnpike Troubadours

Album: Goodbye Normal Street

Must Listen Song: “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Vespers

Album: The Fourth Wall

Must Listen Song: “Footprints in the Snow”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Wedding

Album: No Direction

Must Listen Song: “Kill Any Excuse”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Will Johnson

Album: Scorpion

Must Listen Song: “Winter Screen Four”

Purchase on iTunes


TOP 10 EPs of 2012

1.) Artist: Always The Alibi

Album: We Are Waiting

Must Listen Song: “We Are Waiting”

Purchase on iTunes

 

2.) Artist: SpaceCamp

Album: The Daydreamers Guide to: Wasting Time

Must Listen Song: “Before You Die”

Purchase on iTunes

 

3.) Artist: Admiral Grey

Album: Long Road

Must Listen Song: “Pulling Strings”

Purchase on their online merch store

 

4.) Artist: The Soldier Thread

Album: The Bull EP

Must Listen Song: “Pretty Bones”

Purchase on iTunes

 

5.) Artist: April Kry

Album: Music Speaks

Must Listen Song: “Symphony of Misery”

Purchase on iTunes

 

6.) Artist: Meridian

Album: Meridian

Must Listen Song: “Nights Like This”

Purchase on iTunes

 

7.) Artist: Serosia

Album: Variables

Must Listen Song: “Superposition”

Purchase on iTunes

 

8.) Artist: We the Ghost

Album: My Mixtape Summer

Must Listen Song: “Swallow the Key”

Purchase on iTunes

 

9.) Artist: Ifs and Buts

Album: Ifs and Buts

Must Listen Song: “Little Bit”

Listen to it on Soundcloud

 

10.) Artist: People On Vacation

Album: The Summer and The Fall (NOTE: This is technically an LP, though some of the songs are from their debut EP. Hence, why I’m putting it in the EP category.)

Must Listen Song: “Because Of The Sun”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Honorable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order)

Artist: Abacu5

Album: Sandwich Squad

Must Listen Song: “Say What You Want”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Alyssa Sease

Album: Lay Rest Your Soul

Must Listen Song: “Lay Rest Your Soul”

Free download on Noisetrade.com

 

Artist: The American Tragedy

Album: The Flame

Must Listen Song: “Blood On the Stage”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Anydoll

Album: Anydoll

Must Listen Song: “You Are Amazing”

 

Artist: Aprilemade

Album: Bright

Must Listen Song: “Come On”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Beat Dolls

Album: Death of the Party

Must Listen Song: “We’ll See”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Beta Wolf

Album: Just Before Morning

Must Listen Song: “Just Before Morning”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Bethan

Album: Chapter 1:

Must Listen Song: “Pyewacket”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Bravo Delta

Album: Sunset Wasteland

Must Listen Song: “Loose Cannon”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Cozy Hawks

Album: No Blues

Must Listen Song: “Water Wings”

Purchase on Bandcamp

 

Artist: Daylight Industries

Album: Future of an Illusion

Must Listen Song: “Something’s Wrong”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Eisley

Album: Deep Space

Must Listen Song: “Lights Out”

Purchase on iTunes 


Artist: Flatworld

Album: Contradictions

Must Listen Song: “Dark”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Kelsey Schneider

Album: Brother

Must Listen Song: “Something’s Got to Give”

Purchase on Bandcamp

 

Artist: Loyal Sally

Album: Things From Thoughts

Must Listen Song: “Stereo”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Loyal Sally

Album: Pleased to Meet You!

Must Listen Song: “The Ride”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Merriment

Album: Through the Rough

Must Listen Song: “Rewind”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Nikki Jensen

Album: Under The Rain Tree:

Must Listen Song: “Hypotheticals”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Oddlot

Album: Oddlot

Must Listen Song: “Howl”

Free download on Reverbnation

 

Artist: Pistol Whippin’ Ike

Album: Dying The Dream

Must Listen Song: “Last Cigarette”

Purchase at live shows

 

Artist: Red Angel Theory

Album: When the Dust Settles

Must Listen Song: “Inception”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Roses & Revolutions

Album: Earth & Everything

Must Listen Song: “Fall Away”

Purchase on iTunes


Artist: Signs of Reason

Album: One Bullet Away

Must Listen Song: “Where Rockstars Go to Die”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: The Soldier Thread

Album: Matador - Single

Must Listen Song: “Anybody”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Steven Graves

Album: Let it Ride

Must Listen Song: “Take a Stand”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Sunward

Album: A Magical Display of Lights and Rays

Must Listen Song: “Wooden Birds”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Urizen

Album: Boxmakers

Must Listen Song: “Boxmakers”

Purchase on Bandcamp

 

Artist: Waking Alice

Album: Retribution - Single

Must Listen Song: “Treason”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: We the Ghost

Album: White Noise

Must Listen Song: “Wash These Sins Away”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: Windsor Drive

Album: Wanderlust

Must Listen Song: “Wide Eyed at Midnight”

Purchase on iTunes

 

Artist: You vs. Me

Album: The Book Of…

Must Listen Song: “Break”

Purchase on Bandcamp

 

Artist: Zoe Ann

Album: Zoe Ann - Single

Must Listen Song: “Better Than Revenge”

Purchase on iTunes


When it comes to shows, I had a much more difficult time at picking out a top ten list. Out of nearly 130 shows I attended this past year, I narrowed the list of potentials down to about 40. Cutting nearly 30 out took a lot of thought, but I did it. This is the result…

1.) The FEDS (Reunion show) at Dan’s Silverleaf on June 28*

2.) The FEDS (Reunion show) with Space Cadet (Reunion show) & Upside (Reunion show) at Friday Curtain Club  on January 13*

3.) Toadies with Quiet Company at Billy Bob’s Texas on October 13

4.) Blue October with A Silent Film & Barcelona at House of Blues on November 23

5.) Delta Spirit at House of Blues on November 4

6.) Bravo, Max! at Club Dada with Somebody’s Darling & Goodnight Ned on October 6

7.) Missy Higgins at Granada Theater with Katie Herzig & Butterfly Boucher on September 12

8.) Milo Greene at LaGrange with The Southern Renaissance on October 10

9.) Night Gallery at Curtain Club with Dark Horse Darling, Meridian & Daylight Industries on June 30

10.) Opium Symphony at Curtain Club with The Orange & The Breakfast Machine on June 8

(After three years since there farewell performance, it feels DAMN good to be able to again include The FEDS on this list… Even if it is a possible one-time only thing.)

Oddly enough, half of that list is national touring acts, and it was almost painful to leave out some astounding local shows. That’s why (unlike some other blogs) I don’t do some random “Top 59” lists or something like that, because top ten ones make it more of a challenge. I would however like to throw out a couple honorable mentions to two of the festivals I attended this year which barely missed the cut. One was Dia De Los Toadies, while the other was the Homegrown Music & Arts Festival.

2012 was an interesting year, in both positive and negative aspects.

On the good side, in December I marked my one year anniversary of podcasting, and there’s no denying I’ve come along way on that front. (There’s still PLENTY of room for improvement, mind you, but I’ve gotten much more comfortable and confident behind a mic.)

Speaking of that, my WhiskeyBoy Radio family put on a benefit concert in August where we raised $1,00 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. That was definitely a highlight of the year for me, knowing we were helping out a worthy cause.

On that note, Matt (of WhiskeyBoy Radio), another party and I formed RYA Entertainment and put on a few concerts. It was fun, though there were some, shall we say, circumstances, that resulted in a lot of grief. Still, it was fun times.

I think those are the highlights, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t add becoming closer friends with some musicians I already knew, and getting acquainted with some badass ones I did not previously know.

Oh, and of course I need to shout out the Granada Theater (specifically Tim and Gavin), both of whom have been kind enough to get me into some killer shows at the venue this past year. Go check out the place, as it is my second favorite venue in Dallas!

Those far out way the bad things of 2012 (at least in terms of music), like the debacle that was (and is) the band, Rains. That was, and will always be, the worst show I’ve ever seen, and I still regret the fact that money was spent to get into that one.

The only other thing I can think to add to this negative list is something I’ve been quite about since it happened, except for a brief reference on one of my podcasts. I feel compelled to get it out now, though.

Back in mid-October I went to see a show at the City Tavern in Dallas, and of course had to show my ID to gain entry to the venue. The door guy then looked at my driver’s license, held it up to the light from a street lamp and bent it every which way. He asked me what year I graduated high school, and when I answered him, told me that wasn’t right. He then told me, “…I can’t let you in with this…”, and when I responded with, “That’s funny, because it’s gotten me in practically every single club in Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth.” He responded with the ultimate asshole answer. “Doesn’t matter, it’s not getting you in this one.”

What incensed me the most about that incident wasn’t even the fact that I missed out on seeing a concert I had been anticipating for a couple months. It was the fact that Mr. Incompetent effectively called into question my entire character by accusing me of having a fake ID, and that is one thing I will never tolerate from anyone. My records spotless, in any and all aspects, and for the legitimacy of my state issued driver’s license, which plainly states that I am twenty-three, to be questioned made me irate.

I only mention this now as a cautionary tale to anyone who owns any type of establishment. Make sure you know the people you hire are competent enough to treat people with respect. In this case, make sure whoever you have working your door has a black light to use on all IDs so they can determine the real ones from the fakes. Better yet, make sure their intelligence level is high enough to tell the two apart. Because for better or worse, how an employ treats a (potential) customer reflects back on the company that hired them, and when you are treated the way I was, then you have absolutely no desire to ever even think about returning to the venue/restaurant/store/etc.

Oh, I forgot the kicker. Before trying to get in there I had left a show that was twenty-one and up only show that was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s which I got into no problem. And I had to pay $10 to park in a parking garage here, which meant I basically paid a guy $10 to park my car, then immediately go get it for me.

I guess that covers the big stuff of 2012. I hope you enjoyed this list, and I really encourage you to check out some of those bands you may not be familiar with when you have a chance to, as they will not disappoint.

So cheers, and here’s to a rockin’ 2013!