30. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls – Fueled by huge buzz, I mean mega mega buzz the Alabama Shakes released their first LP this year, Boys and Girls, a record that might not have been able to be talked about more than it was. This record is all built around one thing, Britney Howard’s voice. She’s got soul, she’s got that raspy, throaty voice. The music is a 60’s soul / rock hybrid that fits Howard’s voice perfectly. If you haven’t heard of this band already a thousand times, check out the record for godsakes.
Listen: Alabama Shakes – Hold On | Buy: Boys & Girls
29. Denver – Denver – Portland, Oregon’s journeymen rockers Denver are a collection of talented musicians from all over the country rock landscape and includes members of Blitzen Trapper, and Alela Diane’s Wild Divine. From the album’s opening number “Toledo,” to the mournful sound of the closing track “Ridin’ Alone (San Antone),” the listener experiences the full gambit of rock-tinged country songs. Singer Birger Olsen put the record perfectly “Drums in the living room, singer in the bedroom, four-track cassette recorder, cases of beer, whiskey, sandwiches and a sunny porch.”
Listen: Denver – The Way It Is | Buy: Denver
28. Trampled By Turtles – Stars and Satellites – Minnesota’s Trampled by Turtles’ 2012 Stars and Satellites is one damn fine album. To say its a beautiful album, that’d probably be an understatement. I like to think the album is a macrocosm to lead single “Alone,” its beginnings small, almost like a dandelion blowing in the wind, and the wind blows it apart into millions of pieces and all of a sudden, your lawn is littered with them. The instrumentation is outstanding, the harmonies are crisp and near perfect, oh and the songwriting is damn fine.
Listen: Trampled by Turtles – Alone | Buy: Stars And Satellites
27. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter – North Carolina boys Scott and Seth Avett and their band of brothers delivered their seventh studio album. It marks their second go around with Rick Rubin, and delivers yet again on a great collection of jangly bluegrass songs that sound good to just about every pair of ears on the planet. They are a fringe success these days playing huge shows, but their music still feels very much like them, and that’s a great thing. Listen: The Avett Brothers – The Once and Future Carpenter | Buy: The Carpenter
26. Mumford & Sons – Babel – The extremely highly superbly anticipated followup record to smash hit Sigh No More hit us this year. It was business as usual for the boys, and they really didn’t disappoint with this one. Hate them or love them, its a good album that doesn’t bend the genre, doesn’t change or evolve what Mumford does, but its another set of songs to listen to that jangle, ramble and roll through banjo lines and epic harmonies. Listen: 03 I Will Wait | Buy: Babel