Best Records of 2012 | 15 - 11

15. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan – Always known for their superbly creative music, Dirty Projectors were back at it this year with Swing Lo Magellan, a stylistically eclectic record that is highly danceable (surprisingly enough) with pop hooks that will grab you at the throat. It’s a record that feels spontaneous, featuring polyrhythmic elements that delight your ears from every angle. This may be the most accessible music they’ve created to date, it’s a fun album to listen to in just about all situations. Listen: Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger | Buy: Swing Lo Magellan

14. Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now – Kristian Mattson has a way with his music, his Dylan-esque raspy voice, and on There’s No Leaving Now, we’ve got new content to take in from this burgeoning songwriter. His small and diminutive stature may make his stage name ironic, but the record is great. The songwriting top notch, the music simplified, spinning this record makes you feel as though he is playing right in your living room. A slow burner record that you’ll find yourself spinning again and again, with songs that grab you quickly “1904” and songs that you’ll have to revisit again and again, “Criminals,” and songs that will make you near weep “There’s No Leaving Now.” It’s an impressive work, despite feeling similar to his older records. Listen: The Tallest Man on Earth – 1904 | Buy: There’s No Leaving Now

13. Yellow Ostrich – Strange Land – Now a 3 piece and not just the brain child of Alex Schaff, Yellow Ostrich has become a band of full sound, and songs that you can blast through the speakers. Strange Land is a great collection of songs, ones I haven’t been able to turn off for some time now, but it should be noted this does not feel like the album that Schaaf created in his basement, they ditch the loops (save for Marathon Runner) for a more balanced and energetic (and sometimes frenetic) feeling. This feels like quite a different sound yet it just really works for them. It works so much so, it may be a lot more powerful than Schaff on his own. This is a wonderful record that should be played loud and proud, turn up the sound and play “Marathon Runner,” and try not to press repeat. Listen: Yellow Ostrich – Marathon Runner | Buy: Strange Land

12. Of Monsters & Men – My Head is an Animal – I remember first hearing this band’s “Little Talks,” as just a live bedroom recording, and not thinking much more about them. Fast forward about a year, and we’ve got this indie-folk band from Iceland atop the mountain, playing sold out shows at large venues. They got their on the back of this great record, a whimsical, sitting-round-the-campfire record that is extremely catchy songs and quiet contemplative moments that create a complete album top to bottom. Listen: Of Monsters & Men – Little Talks | Buy: My Head Is An Animal

11. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar – I’ll be honest, when I first heard “Emmylou,” I loved it, but I was skeptical that First Aid Kit was anymore than just that song. It’s hard to believe a group of sisters from Sweden could make a song that hit it with American folk and country listeners, but on the strength of that song I jumped into the Lion’s Roar, and was amazed at what was found. The sometimes melancholy album really outed the Soderberg sisters stunning vocals, and rustic sound that was really filled in, as this record really spans the sonic-scape it hits extreme highs and lows, its truly mesmerizing and there might not be a more beautiful record this year. Listen: First Aid Kit – Emmylou | Buy: The Lion’s Roar