Where have all the indies gone? At this point last year we were flooded with indie rock and indie folk and indie indie, but in 2012 they’re almost nowhere to be seen. And we have to say that thus far the year does not quite measure up to what we were treated to in 2011 and in 2010. Remember The National, Arcade Fire, Josh T. Pearson, P.J. Harvey, The Black Keys, and countless others? To date the pickings (irony intended) for great music releases in 2012 have been slim, but as a New Yorker might say, “cherce”. Here is our take on the top 10 albums of the year to date, not necessarily in that order. Depends on the time of day and/or night.
1.Bobby Womack The Bravest Man In The World – producer Richard Russell who worked such magic with Adele’s 21 and with Gil Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here brings out the best in the gruff-voiced Womack, whose career dates back going on 60 years. This album is so fresh it will still sound new next year and the year after. A real triumph of conception and execution.
2. Neil Young Americana – any reunion with Crazy Horse at this point in Neil’s life is bound to be worth a listen. Great stuff…
3. Rumer Boys and Girls - we keep saying she’s better than Adele. Time will tell, my friends, but there isn’t a finer voice in all of popular music. Yes, it’s a little down-tempo, but so are many of the most rewarding records ever made.
4. Beach House Bloom – we’re all over this, and in a good way.
5. Leonard Cohen Old Ideas – not quite the iconic masterpiece that “I’m Your Man” was, but still an indispensable record.
6. Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society – if this is what music has in store for us, we’re going to be just fine. Jazz, pop, fusion, and some terrific singing from someone we thought was an instrumentalist. And of course she’s one phenomenal bassist.
7. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel… when not trapped in her own exotic lyricism, Fiona is one of the most compelling talents around. Good to have her back after a seven year absence from the studio.
8. The Men Open Your Heart - one of the most exciting records every made. Period.
9. Sharon Van Etten Tramp – one terrific voice, one terrific writer. This album will get under your skin. One you may still be listening ten years from now, and God knows, there aren’t many of those about these days.
10. First Aid Kit The Lion’s Roar – a masterpiece from Scandinavia, and our lone contender from the indie-folk movement.
You can stream each of the albums below (with the exception of Open Your Heart):