Tuesday, January 01, 2013

12 Albums for ‘12

The List
In order from the best...

When I Rise
Samuel Lockridge
self released
Dropped: March 10, 2012

John Talabot
Permanent Vacation
Dropped: February 15, 2012

Channel Orange
Frank Ocean
Def Jam Recordings
Dropped: July 10, 2012

Cancer 4 Cure
Fat Possum Records
Dropped: May 22, 2012

Kill For Love
Italians Do It Better
Dropped: March 26, 2012

The Cherry Thing
Neneh Cherry & The Thing
Smalltown Supersound
Dropped: June 19, 2012

We Don’t Even Live Here
Rhymesayers Entertainment
Dropped: October 23, 2012

Wrecking Ball
Bruce Springsteen
Dropped: March 5, 2012

Les Voyages de l’Âme
Prophecy Productions
Dropped: January 6, 2012

(Mankind) The Crafty Ape
Crippled Black Phoenix
Dropped: January 31, 2012

Psychedelic Pill
Neil Young with Crazy Horse
Dropped: October 30, 2012

Stephen Lynch
What Are Records?
Dropped: November 13, 2012

Special Jury Prize
Film Festival Competitions usually throw in the Special Jury to award entries that are just as worthy of the top award as the winner, but don’t get it for some reason or another. This year’s Special Jury Album Award goes to a very special case. In 1992, Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora contacted British folk singer-song writer Billy Bragg to write some music to go along with some completed lyrics her father had written but never put to music. Bragg pulled the American band Wilco into the project and in 1998 they released “Mermaid Avenue”, arguably one of the best albums of the decade. In 2000, the collaboration released more tracks recorded during those sessions as “Mermaid Avenue, Vol. II”. The second album wasn’t nearly as good as the first. The songs felt like the cast offs from the sessions. So when I learned they would be releasing a boxed set of “The Complete Sessions” this year, with yet another whole album of unreleased material, I didn’t have high hopes for what was left. Boy, was I surprised. The third disc of unreleased tracks is nearly as good as the original “Mermaid Avenue”. So my Special Jury Prize this year goes to “Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III”. The set also includes the documentary, “Man in the Sand”, about the making of the album.

Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions
Billy Bragg & Wilco
Dropped: April 22, 2012

The Mix
This year’s mix is also a special compilation. I went all Peter Jackson this year. First, I included every scene I wanted. Then, I extended every scene for a special edition extended director’s cut. Like many of this year’s movie releases, it runs nearly three hours. It was, however, specially designed to include more than half of the special jury prize pick “Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III”. That’s how much I enjoyed that album.  As I was trying to cut down just which song I wished to include from that album (I usually only allow one song from an album for my year end mix), a thematic idea hit me. What if I returned to those songs throughout the mix? With the number of songs that made the final cut from that album, it worked out just perfectly for me to return to a “Mermaid Avenue” song every four tracks. So I carefully designed my track order to work with or without the “Mermaid Avenue” tracks. So if you can figure out how, you can listen to it either way.

Cashback Avenue: A 2012 Mix
1. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Chain of Broken Hearts (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
2. Public Image, Ltd. – Lollipop Opera (from One Drop EP)
3. Band of Skulls – Close to Nowhere (from Sweet Sour)
4. The Album Leaf – Images (from Forward/Return)
5. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Tea Bag Blues (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
6. Howlin Rain – Can’t Satisfy Me Now (from The Russian Wilds)
7. Tenacious D – 39 (from Rize of the Fenix)
8. Chromatics – The River (from Kill For Love)
9. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Go Down to the Water (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
10. Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Ramada Inn (from Psychedelic Pill)
11. Kavinsky – Protovision (from ProtoVision EP)
12. The Black Keys & RZA – The Baddest Man Alive (from The Man with the Iron Fists Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
13. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Ain’ta Gonna Grieve (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
14. Alcest – Summer’s Glory (from Les Voyages de l’Âme)
15. Crippled Black Phoenix – Hold On (So Goodbye To All of That) (from No Sadness or Farewell)
16. Stephen Lynch – The Night I Laid You Down (from Lion)
17. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Give Me a Nail (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
18. Hans Zimmer – Bombers Over Ibiza (Junkie XL remix) (from The Dark Knight Rises Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
19. Ben Folds Five – Hold That Thought (from The Sound of the Life of the Mind)
20. Pop 1280 – Crime Time (from The Horror)
21. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Listening to the Wind That Blows (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
22. Jimmy Fallon – Neil Young Sings “Whip My Hair” (featuring Bruce Springsteen) (from Blow Your Pants Off)
23. The Men – Country Song (from Open Your Heart)
24. Samuel Lockridge – Heart of Silk (from When I Rise)
25. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Gotta Walk (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
26. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (from Wrecking Ball)
27. El-P – Request Denied (from Cancer 4 Cure)
28. Wino & Conny Ochs – Dirt Floor (from Labour of Love)
29. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Jolly Bankers (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)
30. P.O.S – Wanted/Wasted (featuring Astronautalis) (from We Don’t Even Live Here)
31. Frank Ocean – Sweet Life (from Channel Orange)
32. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – Cashback (Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas remix) (from The Cherry Thing Remixes)
33. Billy Bragg & Wilco – When the Roses Bloom Again (from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III)

Playlists of both my Best Albums of 2012 and Cashback Avenue: A 2012 Mix are available on Spotify. If you're a member, you can listen to the tracks that are available on your account. Unfortunately, these playlists are only partial, but better than nothing. You'll miss my beautiful design, but at least you'll get some good tunes. I suppose I now know what it's like to have the studio edit your vision.

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