Before I get started with my fifth and final list, I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to all you awesome people who visited You Hear That, left a comment, wrote a guest post, or shared a recommendation over the course of the past year. This here blog means a great deal to me, and whether we know each other in real life or in 1’s and 0’s, I’m tremendously thankful for all the support and feedback you’ve provided, and I’d hug every single one of you if it were physically possible and/or in keeping with your particular feelings about boundaries and personal space and stuff.
It’s getting a little misty up in here, so let’s get on with the matter at hand — the 5 albums that rocked my socks off in 2012.
When Richmond Playlist posted its Best Richmond Albums of 2012 list last week, two things immediately became clear: Richmond produced a bumper crop of new music in 2012, and I managed to wrap my brain around only a small portion of that output. But instead of blaming myself, as is customary for a person with a guilt complex as highly developed as mine, I’m going to project blame onto the following 5 LPs, which were so damn good I couldn’t stop fawning over them. Here are my favorite full-length albums from Richmond artists this year, along with a bonus list of the EPs that loomed large as well.
Now that we’ve taken a look at songs and collaborations, I thought a fun way to warm up for the discussion of 2012’s best albums would be to recognize the ones I’ve been drooling over since other people’s year-end lists started hitting the interwebs. Given a little more time, any or all of these albums may very well have wiggled into my own list of favorite albums. (Quick side note: I know I’m ridiculously late to the party on some of these — COUGHKishiBashiCOUGH — but what can I say? A group of wise men once sang that “You do what you can, when you can, where you are.” Words to live by, as far as I’m concerned.)
We already have songs covered, and doing favorite albums on Day 2 of a 5-part feature would be like Skynyrd playing “Sweet Home Alabama” at the beginning of the concert… so how’s about collaborations? Yeah? Let’s do it! Here are the 5 momentary musical marriages I enjoyed most in 2012.
Merry Christmas, y’all! I hope all your gifting wishes came/are coming true, and that if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’re having some extra tasty Chinese food.
As for me, 2012 will definitely go down as the year I fell in love with Christmas music. I don’t know what took me so long — my parents were crazy about it when I was growing up, so I should have been on the bandwagon from the start. Whatever. I’m on board now, and I thought I’d post quickly about the 5 records in my bourgeoning collection I’m most excited to be playing today.
A few weeks ago, when the time came to start working on my 2012 Top-Whatever post, I started think about how much effort went into last year’s Top-10 albums post, and how the silly thing ended up being more than a thousand words, and, with no small amount of lazi/restless-ness, I decided I didn’t really feel like doing that again this year.
So what did I choose to do instead? Something even more time-consuming of course! Taking inspiration from the squirrel in that creepy White Stripes song, I’ve decided to split my year-end post up into 5 parts, each one a Top-5 unto itself (with a bonus, Christmasy Top-5 tomorrow). First up? My favorite 5 songs of 2012, in the order in which I’d put them if I was assembling a mini-mixtape.
Before I switch into year end list mode (I have some fun stuff planned for next week), I want to sneak one last post in — one I should have written a long time ago.
All the way back in August, when I was in Duck, NC and the weather was a slightly warmer shade of unpredictable, friend of the blog Travis sent me a message about Alt-J, asking whether their debut full-length was available for purchase anywhere online. I tried (and failed) to dig up a working link — turns out it hadn’t been released in America yet — but what I didn’t do is listen to it. The album was just a few clicks away on Soundcloud, yet for whatever reason, I didn’t reach for it…
Looking back, I feel pretty good about everything I put on there, but my appreciation for one of those albums has changed dramatically since the end of 2011. It’s not that I’d drop Bon Iver’s self-titled effort, if given a do-over, it’s just that its legacy has shifted. I say that because, when I see the cover of Bon Iver now, I immediately start thinking about Bonnie Raitt, John Prine and Peter Gabriel.
“I remember loving sound before I ever took a music lesson. And so we make our lives by what we love.” — John Cage
I love this quote. I found it on Tumblr last night, and the second sentence is so simple and poetic, I just want to hold it and squeeze it and wear it around the house like a Snuggie so it never stops warming up my worldview. Sure it’s idealistic (people with crappy jobs they can’t wait to punch out of at the end of each day are nodding their heads vigorously right now), but it’s applicable to more than just one’s vocation, and it’s a powerful reminder that if you love something — music, food, your kids, pole vaulting — you have the power to shape the rest of your life around that thing and make yourself sublimely happy. Don’t believe me? Check out this 90-year-old pole vaulter.
The other reason I love this quote is because it reminds me of Ryan Adams, or more specifically, his reputation.
Do you believe in signs? Not, like, stop signs, or that neon beer sign your college roommate had all four years but tried to pawn off on you after graduation because his girlfriend said it didn’t fit into the decorating scheme she’d devised for their first shared apartment. No, I’m talking about those fate-leaving-you-breadcrumbs-on-the-way-to-some-poignant-eventuality-type signs. I used to, but I can’t say that I do anymore. At least not wholeheartedly. I do love Fools Rush In, though. Wholeheartedly.
All the same, if something tickles the front of your consciousness long enough, you’re gonna scratch that sucker, and that’s exactly how the album pictured above ended up on my turntable last night. The acute itch started with a bandmate wearing a Sun Records t-shirt on Saturday night, and continued just a few hours later when Mrs. YHT and I were having a late-night snack at Gibson’s Grill and saw an incredibly sexy, vintage/diner-style Sun Records clock hanging on the wall nearest to the restaurant’s street-level bar. But in truth, the itching started long before that.