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The Official Amoeba Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 31, 2012 06:33am | Post a Comment

It’s official: Our lists are in and we’ve compiled them to give you our combined knowledge in the form of a top 50 albums list. The following is Amoeba's top picks for 2012 based on those who submitted lists of their favorites of the year. (For world music picks, go here; for classical picks, check out Rubin's list; and see more best of 2012 fun here.)

 

1. Frank OceanChannel Orange

Frank Ocean Channel Orange

Everyone seemed to be able to agree on Frank Ocean this year, from independent purists to mainstream fans. It’s no surprise that when compiling our top lists, Frank Ocean easily made No. 1.

 

“Outside the hype, this guy is the genuine deal. Orange is a cohesive old-school album with vivid modern snapshots of moving to the city and the characters he met there.” — Aaron Detroit

 

 


 

 

2. Light AsylumLight Asylum

Light AsylumA favorite among Amoebites, Light Asylum’s self-titled debut gripped fans of electronic music and ’80s-influenced synth pop.

 

“Shannon Funchess has that deep powerful voice like Alison Moyet. And Bruno Coviello plays those keyboards like only Vince Clark can. It is the perfect mix of dark and haunting lyrics and new wave electronics.” — Brad Schelden

 

 


 

 

3. Trust - Trst
trustThe most fun album of 2012? We certainly all loved Trust's Canadian dark electro.

"I fell in love with this band the first time that I heard them. They are a band made for me. This is the spooky and dark goth music that I love. A perfect blend of synthpop and dark wave." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 

4. ChromaticsKill for Love

chromatics kill for loveBrad (No. 1) and I (No. 8) were suckers for the haunting new album from Portland-based dream pop band Chromatics.

 

“Another perfect album of dreamy electronic love songs. These songs are seriously breathtaking and they make it seem so easy.” — Brad Schelden

 

 

 


 
 

5. Pye Corner Audio - Sleep Games
pye corner audio

Our electronic music fans went ape over the stunning album by Pye Corner Audio, one of two he released this year.

 

“Beautiful sci-fi melodies, thumpin' nods to Detroit electro & techno, and lots of John Carpenter-inspired synth arpeggios. File Under: Night Driving Music.” — Aaron Detroit

 

 


 

6. Beach HouseBloom

Beach House BloomBrad and I were both gaga over Beach House's new album.

"While Bloom’s overflowing romanticism is something to celebrate, so is its remarkable pop precision." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

7. Killer MikeR.A.P. Music

killer mikeKiller Mike's politically charged album pleased fans of hip-hop and indie rock alike.

"Killer Mike wins on all fronts: his beats are insane, like on the fast-paced “Go!,” calling to mind OutKast singles of yore; he raps better and faster than rappers half his age; and the quality of his rhymes is superb." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 



8. Ariel Pink’s Haunted GraffitiMature Themes

Ariel PinkKelly and I loved the new album from lo-fi masters Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti.

"Mature Themes is a misnomer in that Ariel Pink still sings about things like “suicide dumplings dropping testicle bombs” on Bowie-ish “Kinski Assassin.” But there’s a newfound desire to move beyond jokey lo-fi (even when it serves him well, as on the heavy blues of “Schnitzel Boogie” and ethereal jazzercise jam “Pink Slime”)." — Billy Gil

 

 

 


 

9. Fiona AppleThe Idler Wheel …

Fiona appleFiona Apple shocked fans and detractors alike with her powerful fourth album in 2012.

 

"Another long (7 Years!) hiatus spawns an essential release. Apple is in familiar territory lyrically, but her relationship analysis is wry and witty as ever and exceedingly more adept." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 

10. Death GripsThe Money Store

Death GripsDeath Grips' The Money Store bridged the gap between hip-hop and hardcore.

 

"Complete insanity. The Money Store’s gleefully violent party music slaps you in the privates and wakes you up to the possibilities of sound and energy." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 

11. SwansThe Seer

Swans The Seer"This record has been described as a sort of culmination of all-things-Swans (even Jarboe is back for some vocal and "voice collage" duties.) To my ears, this is very true and believe it to be one of Michael Gira's greatest works." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Bat for LashesThe Haunted Man

Bat for Lashes"On The Haunted Man, Natasha Khan pushes herself to the limit, whether that be vocally, on stunning opener 'Lillies,' with Khan nearly going hoarse to pull you in; or emotionally, on the crushing 'Laura,' which digs heartbreak out of choice detail." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Mac DeMarco2

mac demarco"He is sort of a combination of Pavement and Ariel Pink. This album is seriously addictive and I like it more every time that I listen to it." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Andy StottLuxury Problems

Andy Stott"Stott has been my man the last couple of years, dragging techno through the cold, dead and decaying streets of his beautiful post-apocalyptic soundscape." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

15. DiivOshin

Diiv Oshiin"As its oceanic title would suggest, Oshin moves like a wave, building and crashing, scenic and blue, with the melodies seeping through to you over time and repeat listens." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

16. GrimesVisions

Grimes Visions"Visions is an album that manages to have it both ways, frontloading with relatively 'normal' singles 'Genesis,' whose beat is so basic it would be limiting if Grimes didn’t do her best pop star impression over it, and 'Oblivion,' where Boucher gets freaky over a squelching beat that only goes down easy due to its bubblegum melodies, some approximation of early Madonna spaced out to infinity." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 


 

17. Zelienople - The World Is A House On Fire
zelienople
"I finally found a band that sounds like Slowdive. ... This album is really beautiful. You might need to prepare yourself before you venture into the world of Zelienople." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

18. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

Cancer 4 Cure El-P"Best album for helping raise awareness of cancer in a year when it mattered was emcee/producer El-P's stellar 2012 release on Fat Possum (his own Def Jux label is on permanent hiatus) is Cancer 4 Cure, which was dedicated to his pal/former collaborator Camu Tao who died from cancer. The album came out in a year when hip-hop lost MCA of the Beastie Boys to cancer." — Billyjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. Peaking Lights - Lucifer

Peaking Lights Lucifer"... Lucifer is a silky, trippy affair." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

20.  Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
Bish Bosch
"E-bows, machetes as percussion and disturbing (as well as amusing) scatological metaphors are some of the unlikely ingredients that make up this terrifying (and weirdly infectious) beauty. There's really nothing else like it, so enjoy figuring it out for the rest of your life." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 

 


 

21. Jessica Pratt - JP

jessica pratt"Since her debut album of lush, hand-picked folk melodies dropped a just few months ago demand for Jessica's debut, simply titled JP, has become as difficult to keep up with as the multitude of glowing reviews surfacing all over the interwebs lauding Ms. Pratt's ability to make everyone mistake her bewitching, home-brewed folkways for that of retro private press obscurities." — Kelly S. Osato

 

 

 

 



 

22. Voices From The Lake - Voices From The Lake

"Collaboration between the Italian duo of Donato Dozzy & Neel, beautifully crafted atmospheric techno album." — Oliver Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23. Vedomir - Vedomir


"Mikhaylo Vityk released a slew of records under his Vakula moniker this year, but the album released by Dekmantel by his Vedomir guise really stood out. Slow burning, haunting shit from the Ukrainian producer." — Oliver Hollywood













24. Kid Koala - 12 Bit Blues

12 Bit Blues"Best concept album expertly executed of the year was by turntablist/producer extraordinair whose deconstructed, scratch masterpiece 12 Bit Blues on Ninja Tune came in two versions (LP and CD) and featured such tracks as '8 Bit Blues.'" — Billyjam

 

 

 





 

25. Tame ImpalaLonerism

Tame Impala"Kevin Parker’s songs, written quietly and in solitude in Paris, convey the melodies you hum to yourself in your head out of boredom, while the dream-like arrangements reveal their hooks upon repeated spins, lodging themselves into you over time." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 


 


 

26. Robert Hood - Motor: Nighttime III


"Raw minimal rhythmic funk music." — Oliver Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

27. Aesop Rock - Skelethon

Aesop Rock Skelethon "Best 2012 album worth the half a decade wait was Aesop Rock's pitch perfect Skelethon on Rhymesayers — which diehard fans patiently waited five years for and were most happy with the results. The album did (and needed to) include lyric sheets to help decipher Aesop Rock's ever intricate lyrics on songs like 'Zero Dark Thirty.'" — Billyjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

28. Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, The Congos - FRKWYS Vol. 9: Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras meet The Congos - Icon Give Thank

sun araw the congos"... if you haven’t yet heard the psyched-out electronic-dub vibes of Icon Give Thank, I suggest you check it out." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

29. Anna von Hausswolff - Ceremony

"On her sophomore release, Swedish composer/singer von Hausswolff brings long instrumental pipe organ pieces together with well-crafted existential pop tunes and a set of ethereal pipes all her own." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 


 


30. Tin Man - Neo Neo Acid

tin man neo neo acid
"Long lush melodic acid lines from the Vienna producer." — Oliver Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

31. Mount Eerie - Clear Moon
mount eerie
"This album seriously surprised me and quickly became one of my favorites of the year. It might just be one of the most beautiful albums that I have ever heard." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32. Miriel Wagner - Mirel Wagner
miriel wagner

"Originally released in Scandinavia last year, the quietly-strummed folk-noir and murder-balladry of Mirel Wagner's sef-titled debut landed stateside this year. Her voice is somber and child-like, the arrangements are minimal and stark but make no mistake, she is singing the blues." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 



 

33. Homeboy Sandman - First Of A Living Breed

Homeboy Sandman"Most prolific and consistently high quality hip-hop recording artist of 2012 was Homeboy Sandman who unleashed hip-hop gems like 'Illuminati' which was on First Of A Living Breed - one of three (count em) releases that he dropped on Stones Throw in 2012." — Billyjam

 

 

 

 

 



34. Crystal Castles - III
crystal castles
"A perfect dark electronic album for these winter months. ... But beneath [it] is a fun and vibrant energy." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35. Actress - R.I.P.
actress rip
"Superb follow up to Hazyville and Splazsh, Britain's Darren Cunningham steps out even further with this conceptual album of grainy low-end vibrations." — Oliver Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

36.  Ty Segall BandSlaughterhouse

Slaughterhouse"Ty Segall and his wrecking crew of musicians tear through roughly a half-hour of some of the best pure rock ’n’ roll in ages — one of three albums he released this year, including his solo album Twins and collaboration with White Fence, Hair." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 



 

37. The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know
the twilight sad
"This album got down deep inside of me after the first time I heard it. I keep coming back to it over and over this year. A fantastic dark album. I feel like they finally lived up to their name." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 


 

 

38. JJ Doom - Keys To The Kuffs

JJ Doom"JJ Doom is the collaboration of [MF] DOOM and Jneiro Jarel and they delivered a great album in 2012 with tracks like 'GuvNor.'" — Billyjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

39. Kendrick Lamargood kid, m.A.A.d city

kendrick lamar"Believe the hype; Lamar and his producers have made the best mainstream hip-hop album of the year by amazing at every turn. Dismiss it to your own loss." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 


 




40. Assembly Of Light - Assembly Of Light
assembly of light
"A choral group with a dozen-or-so members from Providence, RI known for their show-stealing appearance on metal-duo The Body's 2010 release, All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood. AOL's self-titled debut-proper has some of the same heavy/ethereal juxtapositions, but the vocals are turned up-to-11, floating above the crushing waves of drums and demon-yowls to a stunning effect." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 


 

41. Casual and J. Rawls - Respect Game or Expect Flames

casual j. rawls

"Bay Area hip-hop collective to have the best year in 2012 was the long-running Hieroglyphics collective whose numerous releases by members in 2012 included Casual's collaboration with J-Rawls Respect Game or Expect Flames on Nature Sounds/Fat Beats ..." — Billyjam

 

 

 

 

 


 

42. Agent Ribbons - Family Haircut

Agent Ribbons"'Family Haircut' is the title track from Agent Ribbons' current limited run cassette-only release on the Portland-based Cassingle And Loving It label, not to mention the upcoming September 11th release of their seven-inch teaser Let Them Talk on Antenna Farm records, a harbinger for the Missus Ribbons' upcoming full length LP set to drop in 2013." — Kelly S. Osato

 

 

 


 

 

43. Lushlife - Plateau Vision

lushlife plateau vision"Plateau Vision on Western Vinyl Records (a label that typically doesn't release hip-hop) features great tracks like 'Big Sur' and 'Magnolia' ..." — Billyjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

44. Prizehog - A Talking To

Prizehog"SF's own sludge-rockin' skull-crushing trio ..." — Kelly S. Osato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45. Emeralds - Just To Feel Anything
emeralds
"The album will make you think you are in the 70s. Sitting in a room with a hundred synthesizers. I have had this album on repeat since I first heard it a couple of months ago." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 

 

46. Uni and Her Ukelele - Lover's Cliche

Uni and her ukelele"An infectious pop record full of heart and heady hooks that is, I can personally guarantee, the only thing missing from the Springtime of your life if you are not bumping it right now." — Kelly S. Osato

 

 

 

 

 


 

47. Twin ShadowConfess

Twin Shadow Confess"Though everything sounds like an ’80s radio dream reconstructed by memory, Lewis Jr. breaks through the Instagrammed, instant-memory sheen by flashing some vulnerability." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

48. The Soft Pack - Strapped
the soft pack
"This is really the album that turned me into a super fan. ... Garagey catchy indie rock." — Brad Schelden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

49. The Fresh & Onlys - Long Slow Dance

Fresh & Onlys"They were are always good, but Long Slow Dance takes the S.F. garage rockers to epic heights, with a newfound clarity to their vocals and straightforwardness of songwriting." — Billy Gil

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

50. The Coup - Sorry To Bother You

the coup
"Boots Riley resurrects The Coup as a full-band after a 6-year hiatus to drop the rare 'record of our times.' Funky, fierce, funny, heart-wrenching and inspirational." — Aaron Detroit

 

 

 

 

 


 

Participators/compilers/listers:

Aaron Detroit, goth buyer/used buyer

Billy Gil, amoeba blogger

Billyjam, amoeba blogger

Brad Schelden, indie buyer

Kelly S. Osato, J-Pop buyer/cloud city admin/info broker

Oliver Hollywood, dance buyer

Relevant Tags

Light Asylum (7), Chromatics (11), Trust (6), Pye Corner Audio (3), Frank Ocean (11), Fiona Apple (9), Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (3), Death Grips (14), Best Of 2012 (31), Top Albums (4), Beach House (16), Killer Mike (11)