I have yet to start this year’s top albums post. Is it because I’m a procrastinator? Yes. Well, yes and no.
I haven’t started yet, in part at least, because I’m still finding out about amazing albums that were released in 2012. In fact, I’m convinced that mid-December is the most wonderful time of the year to be a music lover. Year-end lists are worth their weight in gold when it comes to discovering new bands, and I’ve found one list to be particularly Fort Knox-ish: NPR’s Music Top 50 Albums of 2012. While so many lists simply confirm what you already knew — either about the site that posted them or about the quality of the albums that everyone knows everyone loves — NPR’s stands out by virtue of its breadth, with lots of great classical and international releases I had no idea existed. Particularly strong are the Spanish-language contributions, and Chilean group Astro is proving to be a clear favorite. Clear and distracting.
One great irony of writing about music is that it can be extremely difficult to write and listen at the same time. It’s damn near impossible to concentrate on your own words when someone else’s are bouncing off your eardrums and into your consciousness, and I’m always searching for songs — usually instrumental ones — that block out the world without crowding out the thinking process. International music typically works just fine (one of the few perks of completely forgetting 8 combined years of high school Spanish and French), but Astro is different. Their style of synth-fueled pop is inconveniently and wonderfully attention-grabbing, and when all is said and done, they very well may challenge Holger for the top spot on my list of bands I’d fly to a different continent to see in a heartbeat if plane tickets weren’t so expensive and I didn’t hate flying with a white-hot passion.
Check out “Colombo” below and click here to grab their eponymous album.