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2012 The Best Albums of 2012

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List Rules As usual, I don't include live albums, compilations, or reissues

No stone classics this year on par with last year (Black Keys and Adele), but overall about 10 truly excellent releases, and many really good ones. In many cases I've added a video of a track to check out. Overall, a lot of good releases in the rock field (I don't like hip-hop or contemporary-sounding R&B and country for the most part).

While I listen to a lot of new music, I am also loyal to bands that I love and will typically pick up their new albums and give them a shot. On that front:

Surprises: Rush, ZZ Top, Smashing Pumpkins, Dr. John, Neil and the Horse.

Letdowns: DMB, Muse (just a slight letdown - "Madness" is at least a killer track), Heartless Bastards, Sigur Ros, Paul Weller, Soundgarden, and the 3 Green Day records, which combined maybe have 10 decent songs on them and very few great ones.

(I didn't include Aerosmith and Van Halen in either bucket because my expectations weren't very high to begin with, but at least each of their albums have a few solid songs).

If you want to really go deep, here's my top albums of the '90s and the '00s, as well as my Top 500 Bands Of All Time.

1
Psychedelic Pill is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Psychedelic Pill Neil Young & Crazy Horse

The Greatest Guitar Rock Albums of All Time The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen

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Wrecking Ball Bruce Springsteen - Have to admit, while (like all of his comeback records) I liked this from the start, I didn't love it till I heard these songs live. What a tour. Check out "Death To My Hometown" with honorary E Streeter Tom Morello.  ...

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Tempest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Tempest Bob Dylan - Though consistently good, the last 2-3 songs are where this gets great, which puts it a notch above his last studio record.

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Blunderbuss Jack White - Most Valuable Rocker of 2012?

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Locked Down is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Locked Down Dr. John - Producer Dan Auerbach is also a strong contender for MVP of the year.

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Boys & Girls is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Boys & Girls Alabama Shakes - I have had a couple of these songs for a year and a half now and they still pump me up every time. 

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Oceania The Smashing Pumpkins - Wow. Billy is back, full-on. If you don't believe me check out this song Quasar.

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Blak and Blu Gary Clark Jr

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Centipede Hz Animal Collective - Doesn't blow me away the way Merriweather Post Pavillion did, but great stuff nonetheless. Check out the embedded track Today's Supernatural for a serious mind-meld. 

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'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! Godspeed You! Black Emperor - The two main (long) pieces on this album are songs they have been playing live these past two years, and that blew me away live as they blow me away on this record.

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Sweet Heart Sweet Light is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Sweet Heart Sweet Light Spiritualized

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Mirage Rock is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Mirage Rock Band of Horses - Another strong BOH record - and it might grow on me more, like the last one did

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Clockwork Angels is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Clockwork Angels Rush - Even more shocking than how good the Pumpkins record is, this is the first Rush record I have kept going back to since . . . Power Windows 25+ years ago. Whouda thunk I'd be riveted watching Rush play almost an entire new album live ...

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Silencing Machine is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Silencing Machine Nachtmystium - At first I didn't like as much as their last few, but that has definitely changed. 

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Noctourniquet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Noctourniquet The Mars Volta - This record was largely ignored, but while it may not be their best work it is still pretty great.

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Lonerism is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Lonerism Tame Impala

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Sun is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Sun Cat Power

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Grace and Lies is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Grace and LIes Family Band

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>Album Title Goes Here< is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
>Album Title Goes Here< deadmau5 - Deadmau5 is the one new (tidal) wave of EDM artist who consistently blows me away

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Home Again While the rest of the record (tho quite good) doesn't quite scale these heights, check out Tell Me A Tale, which might be my absolute favorite song of the last 2 years. 

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Blues Funeral is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Blues Funeral Mark Lanegan Band - Maybe his best

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The 2nd Law Muse - Bit of a letdown from the last two, though Madness may be their best song yet

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The Magic Door Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Very much beneath the radar, Chris Robinson's new jamband released 100+mins of quite strong material on two albums with DIY ethos and "cosmic, man" artwork. They are about equally good and remind me more than anything of ...

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Big Moon Ritual is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Big Moon Ritual Chris Robinson Brotherhood

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Handwritten is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Handwritten The Gaslight Anthem

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Women & Work is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Women & Work Lucero

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Down IV Part I - The Purple EP is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Down IV Part I - The Purple EP If the whole Down IV comes out like this I will be a happy man.

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Babel Mumford And Sons

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Americana is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Americana Neil Young & Crazy Horse - What can I say, Neil and Crazy Horse could sing the phone book and it would still probably make my list. 

Famous Oberlin College Alumni Words That Definitely Should Be Real... But Aren't

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L'Enfant Sauvage is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
L'Enfant Sauvage Gojira, Felicia Atkinson

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I Bet on Sky is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
I Bet On Sky Dinosaur Jr

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Here is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Here Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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Yellow & Green is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Yellow & Green Baroness - Very inconsistent but a good one to cherry pick for MP3 listening. 

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La Futura ZZ Top - Outside of a handful of songs i haven't liked a ZZ Top record since Afterburner ('86). Thank you Mr. Rubin. 

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The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends The Flaming Lips - Spotty (Ke$ha? Please.), but both dark and joyful at the same time. And "Do It" is probably the best thing Yoko has ever done without John (which to me at least is not saying much at all)

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Landing on a Hundred is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Landing On A Hundred Cody ChestnuTT - About time. 

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Driving Towards the Daylight is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Driving Towards the Daylight Joe Bonamassa - Starting to become a big fan of this guy and slightly ashamed to find out how long he's been kicking along below my radar. 

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How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? SinĂ©ad O'Connor - This is some raw emotional vocal stuff on some pretty upbeat tracks in some pretty catchy songs. Sometimes when I put this record on I'm astounded. Other times it just doesn't feel right.

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United We Stand is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
United We Stand Brad

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The Only Place is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
The Only Place Best Coast

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Tomorrowland is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Tomorrowland Ryan Bingham

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De Vermis Mysterlis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
De Vermis Mysterlis High On Fire - A letdown for the first 5 listens or so, it's starting to grow on me. 

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Old Ideas Leonard Cohen - The old guy had real life in him not just live, but new material wise as well

The Best AFI Albums of All Time The Best Pudding Brands

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The Sheepdogs is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
The Sheepdogs The Sheepdogs

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Big Inner is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Big Inner Matthew E. White

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Little Broken Hearts Norah Jones - I like this record's sound though I haven't fallen hard for any individual tracks yet. 

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MMXII Killing Joke - The unsung postpunk juggernaut that is Killing Joke continues with probably their best since the S/T one that Grohl drummed on. Might move up a lot in my rankings as I only just picked this up.

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Afterglow Black Country Communion

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Fanatic Heart - Another kinda shocking comeback, except that Heart also made a pretty strong record a few years back. Seriously, if you liked Heart back in the day you will dig this - Ann especially sounds fantastic

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Kill My Blues Corin Tucker Band - Not bad, not bad at all.