Listening Notes, Mid-Way Party Edition (2012 Overview)

— slightly scientific ranking of 2012 releases reviewed within this site, from (roughly) most rewarding to least rewarding. Compilations included.  + or - indicates shift in “grade” since original review published.

TOP PICKS //  high A

Vijay Iyer Trio, Accelerando     (ACT)

Loudon Wainwright III, Older Than My Old Man Now     (2nd Story Sound)

Burial, Kindred     (Hyperdub)

Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas     (Columbia)

Steve Lehman Trio, Dialect Flourescent     (Pi Recordings)

Spoek Mathambo, Father Creeper     (Sub Pop)

Patti Smith, Banga     (Columbia)

Todd Snider, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables     (Aimless Records)

Himanshu, Nehru Jackets     (Greedhead free download)  +

Oren Ambarchi, Audience Of One    (Touch)



Chick Corea / Eddie Gomez / Paul Motian, Further Explorations    (Concord Jazz)

Beach House, Bloom     (Sub Pop)

Neneh Cherry / The Thing, The Cherry Thing     (Smalltown Superjazz)

Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology    (Arista / Legacy)

Quantic & Alice Russell With The Combo Barbaro, Look Around The Corner     (Tru Thoughts)

Philadelphia International: The Re-Edits    (Harmless)

THEESatisfaction, awE naturalE     (Sub Pop)

Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do     (Epic)

Jeremy Pelt, Soul     (Highnote Records)

Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music     (Williams Street)

Carole King, The Legendary Demos     (Universal)

Disappears, Pre Language     (Kranky)

Andy Sheppard / Michel Benita / Sebastian Rochford, Trio Libero     (ECM)

Jim Black Trio, Somatic     (Winter & Winter)

Dawn Richard, Armor On     (Our Dawn Entertainment)

The Magnetic Fields, Love At The Bottom Of The Sea    (Merge)

Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio    (Blue Note)

Kool A.D., 51     (Greedhead / Mishka / Veehead download)

Coleman, Sounds Of Al-Mashriq: The Land Where The Sun Rises     (Mochilla)   +

Voguing: Voguing And The House Ballroom Scene Of New York City, 1976-1996    (Soul Jazz)

The Ben Riley Quartet & Wayne Escoffery, Grown Folks Music     (Sunnyside)

De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present….First Serve    (Duckdown)

Don’t Talk To The Cops!, Let’s Quit     (Out For Stardom)

BBU, bell hooks    (Mad Decent / Mischka download)   +

Cloud Nothings, Attack On Memory     (Carpark Records)

The Quakers, Quakers     (Stones Throw)

Carter Tutti Void, Transverse     (Mute)   +

Homeboy Sandman, Subject: Matter     (Stone’s Throw)  +

Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded     (Universal Republic)

Sleigh Bells, Reign Of Terror    (Mom & Pop)

Lana Del Rey, Born To Die     (Universal Distribution)  +

Usher, Looking 4 Myself     (RCA)   +

Charles Gayle Trio, Streets     (Northern Spy)

Georgia Anne Muldrow, Seeds     (SomeOthaShip)

Darius Jones Quartet, Book of Mæ’bul (Another Kind of Sunrise)     (AUM Fidelity)

Tim Berne, Snakeoil     (ECM) 

“Blue” Gene Tyranny, Detours     (Unseen Worlds)



Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball     (Columbia)

Jeff Parker Trio, Bright Light In Winter     (Delmark)

Joe McPhee / Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Brooklyn DNA   (Clean Feed)

Hospitality, Hospitality     (Merge)   +

Withered Hand, Heart Heart EP     (Fence Records)

Cornershop, Urban Turban: The Singhles Club     (Ample Play)

Jack White, Blunderbuss     (Columbia / Third Man)

The Shins, Port Of Morrow    (Aural Apothecary / Columbia)    -

Best Coast, The Only Place     (Mexican Summer)

A Place To Bury Strangers, Onwards To The Wall     (Dead Oceans)

Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp, Early Astral     (Blackest Rainbow)

Black Music Disaster     (Thirsty Ear)

Shlohmo, Vacation EP     (Friends of Friends)

Lushlife, Plateau Vision     (Western Vinyl)

Screaming Females, Ugly     (Don Giovanni)

Japandroids, Celebration Rock     (Polyvinyl)

Actress, R.I.P.     (Honest Jon’s)

The Best Of Perception & Today Records     (BBE)

Waco Brothers & Paul Burch, Great Chicago Fire     (Bloodshot)

Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls     (Rough Trade)

Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again     (Polydor)

Lee Ranaldo, Between The Times And Tides    (Matador)

The Men, Open Your Heart     (Scared Bones)

K-Holes, Dismania     (Hardly Art)

Co La, Daydream Repeater    (NNA Tapes)

Blu, NoYork       (download)

Oh No, Ohnomite     (Stone’s Throw)

Group Of The Altos, Altos     (self-released)

Ahmad Jamal, Blue Moon: The New York Session    (ACM / Jazzbook)

The Unthanks, Diversions Vol. 1: The Songs Of Robert Wyatt And Antony & The Johnsons     (Rough Trade)

Schoolboy Q, Habits And Contradictions     (Top Dawg)

Bola, Volume 7     (Awesome Tapes From Africa)

Tropicaza, A Mover El Bote! Afro Dancing Rhythms From The Americas - Mexican Style     (Mochilla)

Matthew Shipp Trio, Elastic Aspects    (Thirsty Ear Recordings)

Craig Finn, Clear Heart Full Eyes     (Full Time Hobby)

Esperenza Spalding, Radio Music Society     (Heads Up Int’l)

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leaving Eden     (Nonesuch)

Physical Therapy, Safety Net EP     (Hippos In Tanks)

Kathleen Edwards, Voyageur    (Zoe Records)


OTHER //  B to D

It’s A Musical, For Years And Years     (Morr Music)

Dave Aju, Heirlooms     (Circus Company)

DIIV, Oshin     (Captured Tracks)

OFF!, OFF!     (Vice)

The Walkmen, Heaven     (Fat Possum)

The Ting Tings, Sounds From Nowheresville     (Columbia)

Colleen Green, Milo Goes To Compton     (Art Fag)

Cate Le Bon, Cyrk     (The Control Group)

Haunted House, Blue Ghost Blues     (Northern Spy)

Garbage, Not Your Kind Of People     (Stunvolume)

Tennis, Young & Old     (Fat Possum)

2:54, 2:54     (Fat Possum)

Fun., Some Nights     (Fueled By Ramen Records)

Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s, Rot Gut, Domestic    (Mariel)

The Big Pink, Future This     (4AD)

Jill Scott, Crates: Remix Fundamentals, Vol. 1     (Hidden Beach)

Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974 - 1984     (Chocolate Industries)

Paul Weller, Sonik Kicks     (Yep Rock)

Katy Perry, Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection     (Capitol)

Windy & Carl, We Will Always Be     (Kranky)

Sonny Landreth, Elemental Journey     (Proper Records)

Joe Walsh, Analog Man     (Concord / Fantasy)

Struck By Lightening, True Predation     (Translation Loss)

Speech Debelle, Freedom Of Speech    (Big Dada)

Ryan Power, I Don’t Want To Die     (NNA Tapes)

MV & EE, Space Homestead     (Woodsist)

Chairlift, Something      (Columbia / Young Turks) 

Shooter Jennings, Family Man     (eOne)

SpaceGhostPurpp, Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles Of SpaceGhostPurpp     (4AD)

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, The OF Tape Vol. 2     (Odd Future)

Field Music, Plumb     (Memphis Industries)

Jack DeJohnette, Sound Travels    (Entertainment One Music)

Brian Jonestown Massacre, Aufheben     (A. Recordings)

Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters, Underrated Silence     (Bureau B)

Jesus Music Anthology: The 70s     (Maranatha Music)

Terry Riley, Aleph     (Tzadik)

Lionel Richie, Tuskegee     (Mercury)

Dinowalrus, Best Behavior    (Old Flame)

Busdriver, Beaus$Eros    (Fake Four)

Daughn Gibson, All Hell     (White Denim)

Trembling Bells / Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Marble Downs     (Honest Jon’s)

Lil B, God’s Father     (self-released)

Lil’ Keke, A.B.A. II     (Music Access)

Najee, The Smooth Side Of Soul     (Shanachie)

The Doozer, Keep It Together     (Woodsist)