By at 11:52 PM Sunday, December 9th 2012

 

Antiquiet’s Top 25 Albums of 2012

Best of 2012, Lists

 

We all knew it was coming. And now it’s here. The year has been amazing for music, with a wide variety of picks for best albums of the year coming in from a group of people whose musical tastes couldn’t be more in conflict. We compiled our staff votes, filtered and balanced and distilled the totals using secret sacred scientific methods, and now present the final results.

1. P.O.S: We Don’t Even Live Here

The Rhymesayers Entertainment wildcard has found a point of precise momentum to return and deliver a downright flabbergastingly fantastic album – a facegrind down the pissed and littered alleyways of America’s cannibal culture through a beast-bounce trip with molotov slingshot surprises blasting across an anarchist’s party playlist. Through killer couplet wordplay soaked in now culture, We Don’t Even Live Here reveals, in full color, an evolved & highly refined class-warfare antagonist amidst a storm of instrumentation and effects.

Key tracks: Fuck Your Stuff, Fire In The Hole/Arrow To The Action

 

2. Jack White: Blunderbuss

The demise of The White Stripes still lays heavy on the hearts of both fans and the man, even after all this time. But Jack White’s Blunderbuss finally puts a candy-cane bouquet on its gravestone and seals the tomb firmly – just by being what a Stripes record could never hope to be. The full-color character immersion present on the man’s debut solo LP, recorded at White’s Third Man Studios in Tennessee, establishes a tri-colored middleground amidst the bands with which we associate him – namely the White Stripes, the Dead Weather and The Raconteurs – and transcends them all with a razor-sharp singular vision and staggering versatility that defies any of his group designs.

Key tracks: Freedom At 21, Trash Tongue Talker

 

3. Deftones: Koi No Yokan

This is the point of arrival in a return to confidence that Diamond Eyes promised two years ago. Koi No Yokan conveys a band outrunning the shadow of their agonies, and – aided by returning producer Nick Raskulinecz – constructing a world of spectacular dynamics through peripheral textures and pendular intensity, in the most evolved musicianship of the Sacramento rockers’ careers.

With Koi No Yokan, Deftones have delivered a calculated and fragile devastation, a feather floating upward in the calming air of the eye of a hurricane. There are no disjointed moments, no breaks in flow; the album is a richly-layered jedi high-wire dance that makes one wonder where the 52 minutes went, a conveyance of truly impressive growth, while flexing the entirety of strengths the band is founded upon.

Key tracks: Romantic Dreams, Graphic Nature

 

4. Soundgarden: King Animal

Rather than cower in nostalgia or pander to the bandwagons, Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron have returned with a progressively demanding, wide-reaching power play of reestablishment. The framework is unfiltered and undeniably Soundgarden – moody, thick with riffs and vortexes of rhythm – but with the kind of evolution mandated by the progressive state of Rock today.

However shaky the peace, whatever the motivations, the reunion we first saw signs of backstage at a Pearl Jam show two years ago has come to full fruition, and the results are worth celebrating.

Key tracks: Rowing, By Crooked Steps

 

5. Baroness: Yellow & Green

Seventeen songs deep into the new Baroness double-album Yellow & Green, frontman John Baizley screams the lyric “walk the line between the righteous and the wicked.” This is exactly what he and his band mates are doing in 2012, as the group puts it all on the line with a new album that showcases the band’s evolution from their sludge metal roots into arguably one of the most innovative Rock n’ Roll bands on the planet today.

Divided into two separate records titled Yellow and Green respectively, Baroness has truly taken to heart their mission statement of keeping an open mind, confront challenges, avoid repetition and take the music to diverse audiences. Gone are the detuned palm muted riffs of Red Album and in its place are lush melodies, solid grooves and vocals rich in melody and emotion.

Key tracks: Eula, March To The Sea

 

6. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel

She’s still broken. She’s still a child. She’s still a hostage to her own fits of self-absorbed melodrama – and Jesus Fucking Christ, someone get that woman to eat a sandwich. Fiona Apple doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve – she claws at herself until it’s beating from her shredded chest in full view, drowning us in the most elegantly arcing showers of blood. And with ten new, lovely and jarring offerings, she’s back upon the altar, at it again. Better than ever.

Key tracks: Daredevil, Anything We Want

 

7. Witchcraft: Legend

We should have done a better job of bringing Witchcraft’s Legend to your attention, dear readers. Skwerl has supposedly been slacking / working on a review that could do it justice ever since its Nuclear Blast release in September, but its placement on this list should give you an idea of how we feel about it. These Swedes somehow manage to blend the spirits of Sabbath and Zeppelin together, with a touch of California desert rock influence perhaps, and yet it doesn’t feel “retro” or derivative. It’s metal enough for the hessians and groovy enough for the potheads, and it’s current enough for the rest of society that washes their hair. But most importantly, it’s original enough to fill a very specific niche in your record collection, one that we don’t recommend leaving empty.

Key tracks: Deconstruction, Democracy

 

8. The Hives: Lex Hives

The new Hives record Lex Hives, which roughly translates as “Hives’ Law,” is a blast of bombastic fantasticness that far eclipses their last offering The Black and White Album, a fine-tuning of their Ramones-meets-Stooges-on-speed formula and a trimming of the fat for a beautiful leap into the world of independent self-release. It’s worn proudly on the sleeve right alongside the goofy megalomania on 1000 Answers when Almqvist howls, “I’ve got a thousand answers / One’s gotta be right / Give me a thousand chances / then I’ll get it right“. The cadence, the attitude, the jet-fueled delivery, it’s all there. Join the party.

Key tracks: Come On, 1000 Answers

 

9. Mark Lanegan: Blues Funeral

Blues Funeral is Lanegan’s first solo output since 2004?s excellent Bubblegum, and was recorded with Queens of The Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures/Eleven multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes at his 11AD studios in Hollywood, CA,  Blues Funeral features appearances from numerous friends and collaborators including Jack Irons (Eleven, Pearl Jam), Greg Dulli (Gutter Twins), Josh Homme (Queens of The Stone Age) and, of course, the inimitable Johannes.

Lanegan’s quality consistency leads us confidently through a spectral variety of sound that few other artists can convincingly achieve. His haunted romance and midnight hymns have reached new heights on Blues Funeral, and we’re happily chasing the hearse down that old dirt road, once again.

Key tracks: Gray Goes Black, Harborview Hospital 

 

10. Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania

The last fifteen years have been hard on Smashing Pumpkins fans. But at long last, it’s officially time to drop the pitchforks and stop complaining about Corgan keeping the band name – Oceania has made it clear that he still possesses the ability to write a Pumpkins’ album, and the new band is more than capable of joining him for the ride.

Key tracks: Quasar, Panopticon

 

11. Ultraísta: Ultraísta

12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

13. 8mm: Between The Devil And Two Black Hearts

14. Marilyn Manson: Born Villain

15. The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet

16. Scissor Sisters: Magic Hour

17. Metric: Synthetica

18. Dirty Ghosts: Metal Moon

19. Sleigh Bells: Reign Of Terror

20. Cat Power: Sun

21. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: The Lion, The Beast, The Beat

22. Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls

23. Local H: Hallelujah! I’m A Bum

24. Japandroids: Celebration Rock

25. Black Light Burns: The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall

Don’t like our picks? Think you can do better? Click here to let us know!

 
 

Meanwhile, On The Internet...

 
34 comments
  1. charliedontsurf says:

    glad to see volta there, all im saying

  2. Fender Bender Wetnuts III says:

    I made the well known mistake of clicking that link lol kinda bummed Coheed and BTBAM weren’t on the list. Looking very forward to the 2013 new releases coming up.

    • Reverend Justito says:

      Both of those were in my top ten. However as a democratic process the need for expired powdered donuts had more delegates then futuristic prog rock and thus they didn’t make the list.

  3. swap Black Light Burns round with Oceania and we’ll talk.

  4. Another great album this year was ‘Beard, Wives and Denim’, by Pond.

  5. AJ Perry says:

    Where’s JEFF the Brotherhood’s Hypnotic Nights? I thought you would have nudged them in somewhere. I’ll assume they’re #26, followed by PS I Love You’s Death Dreams.

  6. Luca Schuldt says:

    Awesome list! Finally someone honors Lanegans great effort!

  7. Justin Dettle says:

    P O S at the top and not A E S? You guys put the wrong Rhymesayers artist. No Spawn of Possession anywhere… despite it being the best extreme metal album of the year.

    Whatevs… get them views Antiquiet.

  8. jsun says:

    No Brother Ali?

  9. Rory Biller says:

    No David Byrne & St Vincent?

  10. Rory Biller says:

    Cloud Nothings too…

  11. Murray says:

    I think Indian Handcrafts should have broke thru somehow…

  12. “We Don’t Even Live Here” was a nice treat this year. Happy to see Cat Power, 8mm, and Witchcraft made the list, too.

  13. chris says:

    Oh man… How long have you been sitting on this Witchcraft record?! This is fucking awesome.
    Totally under my radar.

    • Skwerl says:

      i know! my fault! i got an advance in mid september, and have been struggling and failing to find time to review it properly. glad it at least scored high here. we’ll be following them.

  14. Stu says:

    No. Sreaming Females? No other hard rock album came anywhere close to their raw power this year. Doom 84 is irrefutable proof of this. So many really great albums this year that seem to have been unfairly forgotten. Aforementioned Screaming Females, Dr Dog, Matthew E White, Titus Andronicus, Punch Brothers, Lucero, J Roddy Walston and the Business, Black Girls, Lumineers, Tame Impala, etc. Maybe not everythings up Antiquiet’s alley, but this list just feels so myopically 90’s, I can hardly remember when this site was bringing me gems like Portugal. the Man, Sleepy Sun and Builders and the Butchers on a regular business

  15. Travis says:

    Yo Skwerl, Johnny,

    I remember one of you fine gentleman giving the Jane’ record ‘The greatest escape artist’ a mighty keen reception. Surely, that record was more worthy than ‘Oceania’ at least? Anyway, love your work.

  16. Alec says:

    soooooo not as hip as Consequence of sound’s list. hahahaha.

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