Best Records of 2012 | 20 - 16

20. Best Coast – The Only Place – LoFi sun-pop outfit Best Coast released their second record a shining record that smells like the Pacific, sparkles like a sunny day at the beach, and is the absolute perfect sunny day record. Song after song, are perfectly shimmering pop gems that are extremely catchy, fun, and total earworms. Listen: Best Coast – The Only Place | Buy: The Only Place

18. Goodnight, Texas – A Long Life of Living – Goodnight Texas is a cross collaboration from Avi Vinocur and Patrick Dyer Wolf, and a Long Life of Living is their attempt to build folk music based on stories of hardship, loss, broken relationships and life of post civil war Appalachia. It’s Appalachian folk style is a modern take on a historical music styling. The record is full of songs that make you sing, make you weep, and go for the repeat button again and again.
Listen: Goodnight, Texas – Jesse Got Trapped in a Coal Mine | Buy: A Long Life of Living

18. Bad Books – II – The second incarnation of the Kevin Devine / Andy Hull collaboration Bad Books as they release II, an expertly written record of alternating tracks from Devine and Hull respectively. They hold a foothold on the tenderly strummed whispervoiced tunes like “Pytor,” and “42” but amp it up a bit on tracks like “It Never Stops,” and “No Reward,” plugging in with a full band. It’s no surprise this album is as good as it is, these are two fine songwriters pushing each other with every song. Listen: Bad Books – No Rewards | Buy: II

17. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself – Andrew Bird is one of the “tinkerers” of this musical generation. His seventh album may be his most intimate. Recorded with what feels like a thousand different stringed instruments in his barn outside Chicago, Bird created an album that feels quiet & introspective, but at times bigger and beautiful than anything he’s done before. Check out “Eyeoneye” and Lusitania. Listen: Andrew Bird – Eyeoneye | Buy: Break It Yourself

16. Dr. John – Locked Down – New Orleans legend Dr. John has made a career out of reinventing himself, from psych swamp rock to piano jazz Dr. John has made music vastly wide ranging and for a long time. Produced by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Locked Down brings a retro vibe into modernity, its full of soul, jazz elements, and rocks from beginning to end. Listen: Dr. John – Revolution | Buy: Locked Down