In the past couple weeks, many artists released singles from forthcoming albums. The list below contains a selection of some of these singles, arranged in order of album release date.
After hearing these songs, I must say I am most excited for Bob Mould’s album and the follow up to First Aid Kit’s excellent album, The Lion’s Roar (2012).
The Secret Sisters “Iuka” from Put Your Needle Down (April 15, Republic Records)
The Black Keys “Fever” from Turn Blue (May 13, Nonesuch)
Conor Oberst “Governor’s Ball” from Upside Down Mountain (May 20, Nonesuch Record)
Bob Mould “Hey, Mr Grey”, from Beauty & Ruin (June 3, Merge)
Fucked Up “Paper the House” from Glass Boys (June 3, Matador)
First Aid Kit “My Silver Lining” from Stay Gold (June 10, Columbia Records)
You can also stream Split Single‘s Fragmented World. This band features Jason Narducy (Verbow, Bob Mould’s band, Superchunk) on vocals & guitar, Britt Daniel (Spoon, Divine Fits) on bass, and Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats, Bob Mould’s band) on drums. It is definitely a recommended release.
On the New York Times, you can stream OFF!’s Wasted Years (April 8, Vice Records). This is a very random placement for this punk album’s preview. But go ahead.
Here is Part 2 of the best songs of 2012:
“Continuous Thunder” – Japanadriods (from Celebration Rock)
Without a doubt, this album should be on just about everyone’s list for the best of the year. This song is one of the best. It is strong like the single (“The House that Heaven Built”), but a bit quieter. The fuzzy guitars are subdued and wonderful. Even though Japandriods are just two people, they create a exuberant sound. As this song progresses, its hard not to imagine driving down a road with windows open during the summer. Its just a great track.
“Heartbreaker” – Walkmen (from Heaven)
The Walkmen are often described as a “Musician’s band” because of their tight melodies and generally strong musicanship. This album is a great display of all of these characteristics. I was able to see the band perform at Bowery Ballroom on June 6, 2012 and they really dazzled the audience during this intimate record release show. This song is one of the best of the album (although just about every other song is great as well).
“I Never Knew You” – The Avett Brothers (from The Carpenter)
These brothers construct a lush sound in every one of their songs. This song starts off with piano and draws the listener in. The harmonies are at the forefront and created a sing-along atmosphere. This is another strong song from a strong album.
“The Descent” – Bob Mould (from Silver Age)
As mentioned in a previous post, Bob Mould is back. This opening track to Silver Age sets the stage for a bunch of charming loud songs about growing old. This one specifically is the most upfront. The lyrics weigh success over artistic individuality. To answer Mould’s question towards the end of the song, he does make it up to us.
“National Anthem” – Gaslight Anthem (from Handwritten)
I was not thrilled by this album’s single (“45”). It seemed too overproduced and too obvious. Instead, I was charmed by “National Anthem.” This song is much simplier and quieter. It showcases Brian Fallon’s voice and lyrical prowess. He is quiet but strong. It is similar to other Gaslight gems like “Here’s Looking at You, Kid” (from The 59 Sound) and “The Navasink Banks” (from Sink or Swim).
“1957” – Milo Green (from 1957)
“Harder Before It Gets Easier” – David Wax Museum (from Knock Knock Get Up)
“This Summer” – Superchunk
“Hey Ho” – Lumineers (from self titled)
“Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting” – Glen Hansard (from Rhythm and Repose)
“Love Love Love” – Of Monsters and Men (from My Head is an Animal)
“In a Big City” – Titus Andronicus (from Local Business)
“Maria” – Justin Townes Earle (from Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now)
Here is part 2 of my best concert list of 2012:
John Roderick (January 28, Mercury Lounge)
The Long Winters have not released an album since 2006. Frontman John Roderick really knows how to engage an audience. With a plethora of witty banter and audience participation, this was one of the most fun concerts of the year. Now all there is to do is hope for a new album sometime this decade.
Pulp is a newer discovery for me. After many different people suggesting this English alt-rock band to me, I dove into their discography and then went to see them live. The live show sold me. Jarvis Cocker pranced around the stage and up the sides of Radio City Music Hall. He had so much energy and the band was tight. The entire audience danced along and sang out the lyrics. It was a pretty magical experience.
Regina Spektor (May 15, United Palace Theater)
United Palace is a very unique place to see a concert. Located in Washington Heights, it has the charm of the old theater. In fact, it looks like no updates were made this century. Spektor fit in perfectly in this venue. Her old-school charm and quirky nature really shined through.
Radiohead (June 13, Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden NJ)
Radiohead, outside venue, Thom Yorke dancing. That is really all that needs to be said.
Bob Mould (Sept 7, Williamsburg Park)
This former Husker Du/ Sugar frontman started the set with the seminal Sugar album “Cooper Blue.” He then went on to play other selections from his solo releases and Husker Du albums. Another energetic concert, the background of an concrete park fit perfectly with the vibe of the songs and Mould’s voice. His album “Silver Age” is definitely one of the best of the year.
Bonus: The Hold Steady (December 31, Wellmont Theater, Montclair NJ)
Opener Lucero really pumped up the audience and laid the groundwork for an excellent show.
Despite being put on hold for about 10 minutes due to an incident on the dance floor, this show was awesome top to bottom. With a set of older and newer songs, Craig Finn and the rest of the band worked the audience through fist pumps and sing-alongs. They counted down at midnight and shot confetti into the audience. There was complimentary champagne and giant balloons that floated from the stage. It ended around 1:20 in 2013 and can be counted as one of the best shows of 2012 and 2013.