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The Best Music of 2012


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My spotify playlist is in no order, but it includes my top 10, and my honorable mentions.

This blog is ordered correctly though...starting with Sera Cahoone's Deer Creek Canyon at #1......My top 10 Albums of the Year

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

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Nice, eclectic list (with video clips) from David Hajdu.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Just posted a list of my favorite songs from 2012. Unfortunately, my site went down shortly after posting the piece (and is still down), but here's the list. Songs are in no particular order:

1. “Mladic” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

2. “South Downs By Morning” by Brother Sun, Sister Moon

3. “Hands” by Sam Billen

4. “Black Rose” by Northern Valentine

5. “The Swart Raven” by Winterfylleth

6. “Life Away From The Garden” by Damien Jurado

7. “Preschtale, Part 3” by C-jeff

8. “Savage Streets” by Perturbator

9. “Room 10” by Kuroshio

10. “I Want Your Love” by Chad Valley

11. “Oblivion” by Grimes

12. “Into Deep Sea” by Lightfoils

13. “Christmas Unicorn” by Sufjan Stevens

14. “Mid Air” by Paul Buchanan

15. “Sing Once For Me” by Joy Electric

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I haven't listened to anyway near enough music to warrant any kind of list. But here are a few of the things that I did hear, and like a great deal, over the past year. Here are the tunes, the links, and some mildly diverting information as to how I came across them:

by the Palma Violets. My girlfriend bought this on vinyl, and I instantly loved it. Great big guitar shout-fest, with soul.

by Lower Dens. This is spacey and good. Also bought by girlfriend.

Sonnet by Hundred Waters. Saw this on my sometime-brother-in-law's spotify playlist, and found it pleasant.

by Post War Years. These guys recently supported Mumford and Sons on their UK tour. Years go I played a gig alongside them in a crappy toilet venue in Leicester, so listen to this track with a mixture of joy and resentment -

Goodbye My Darling by Sam Lee. Caught the tail end of this on a radio show - folky goodness.

by Toro y Moi. I had never heard of this guy, but youtube recommended it at the end of a video I watched.


by Dirty Three. I belatedly downloaded the album last month. I fell for this track in a big, big way - I then realised that it sounds like a messed up, sloppy version of Keith Jarrett's Vienna Concert, which is one of the very best things ever, so this was hardly surprising.

The juggler by Melanie Page. A totally biased choice - I helped do a few bits on this album, and she is a close friend. However, on this, the best song on the album, I contributed zero. This is haunting, beautiful, and, as one might expect, seems to be about death and finitude. Whatever you do, don't not listen to this, especially if you like songs that go all the way down. Flutey folk beauty; droney ebow moans; death. 'Remember to taste the air, whilst there's plenty more'

p.s. thanks for Whitman for the Bill Fay tip this year.

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Top Ten Worship Songs of 2012 Podcast

Hi all!

I hope you all don't mind; but I have just posted the latest podcast of "Prayer Meeting Podcast", which counts down the list of my favorite Worship songs that I had learned the past year.


The ten songs (actually they're 11, but two are in a mashup) are as follows:

O The Blood by Gateway Worship

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

From Glory to Glory by Jackie Francois

Lay Me Down by Chris Tomlin / Passion

When the Stars Burn Down by Jennie Lee Riddle

One Thirst and Hunger by Jeremy Riddle

The Everlasting by Fellowship Church

Behold Our God by Sovereign Grace Music

God I Look To You by Bethel Worship

Sometimes by David Crowder Band / Where I Belong by Building 429

The podcast itself starts off with a worship set composed primarily of Christmas Carols and some chant (this was recorded during the Christmas season, which we're still in at this writing). Then there's some prayer. Then there's the countdown, where I play snippets of each track, then demonstrate how I would play the song on my trusty acoustic guitar, with cut-capo arrangements I would use. I would also discuss lyrical content, and where I believe such a song would best fit for today. The whole podcast runs a little more than an hour, but there's a time log on the site, so you can fast forward if you wish.

Congrats to all songwriters and performers! May 2013 be one of greater worship blessings!

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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Sounds like I may have to check out some of the albums from last year (maybe Damien Jurado and the Welcome Wagon's).

My favourite albums of 2012:

Woven Hand - The Laughing Stalk

Bill Mallonee - Amber Waves

Lovedrug - Wild Blood

Andrew Peterson - Lights For The Lost Boy

Mumford & Sons - Babel

My top 20 2012 songs:

I Believe In You - Buddy Miller

Give God The Blues - Shawn Mullins

Come Healing - Leonard Cohen

Live Like A Warrior - Matisyahu

The Drug That You Can't Take - Cush

Voice Of The Lord - Charlie Peacock

Radio - Sixpence None The Richer

I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons

Babel - Mumford & Sons

Strange Girl - The Choir

Premonition - Lovedrug

Great Divide - Lovedrug

Carry The Fire - Andrew Peterson

The Cornerstone - Andrew Peterson

Once Your Heart Gets Broken (It Just Keeps On Breaking) - Bill Mallonee

One Kiss At A Time - Bill Mallonee

Fakin' - Lecrae

The Laughing Stalk - Woven Hand

In The Temple - Woven Hand

As Wool - Woven Hand

He finds no mercy

And he's lost in the crowd

With an armoured heart of metal

He finds he's running out of odd-numbered daisies

From which to pull the petals

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The rankings are still fairly tentative, but here goes:

1). Paul Buchanan - Mid-Air

2). Lost in the Trees - A Church That Fits Our Needs

3). Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

4). Bill Fay - Life is People

5). The Bad Plus - Made Possible

6). John K. Samson - Provincial

7). Redd Kross - Researching the Blues

8). Sam Billens - Places

9). Spain - The Soul of Spain

10). Twin Shadow - Confess

What would be in my top 20: Farrar, Johnson, Parker, Yames - New Multitudes; Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge; Wovenhand - The Laughing Stalk; Bill Mallonee - Amber Waves; Ben Folds Five - the Sound of the Life of the Mind; Life and Times - No One Loves You Like I Do; Bobby Womack - the Bravest Man in the Universe; Dirty Projectors - Swing Low Magellan; Jessica Bailiff - At the Down-Turned Jagged Rim of the Sky; Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know

Hit tip also to local Pittsburgh band Sleep Experiments for their full-length. I still haven't had a chance to really dig into their self-titled, but it's really good.

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My 2012 favorites in alphabetical order, which works out well because the first two are in a league of their own and I don't want to rank the rest:

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America

Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man in the Universe

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa

Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Japandroids - Celebration Rock

JBM - Stray Ashes

mewithoutYou - Ten Stories

Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again

Stealing Sheep - Into the Diamond Sun

Some honorable mentions: Cat Power, Sarah Jaffe, Boom Bip and Charlie White, Max Richter, Kanaku y el Tigre, Old Time Machine

Edited by yank_eh
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Been enjoying Ren Harvieu's Through the Night LP right now. I'm not crazy about the title-track, but at about my third listen of the whole album I can say it's very, very good, and maybe better than that. I like the fact that it mixes pop with soul with taste, and that the singer takes risks. In this album I hear echoes of Maria McKee, Dionne Warwick, ABBA (yes, "Walking in the rain" recalls "Dancing Queen" a bit), and her vocal style sometimes Linda Ronstadt. I think Ren and her collaborators made a great job with this first album and I wish them the best for the next offering. If you're ever curious start with "Open up your arms", I think it's my favorite song, but the whole album is quite varied.

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Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral

Released at the beginning of '12, and for me, was never topped. Not even by my beloved David Eugene Edwards. Lanegan's first record since 2004, Blues Funeral was almost summary of the man's career, from the psych and stoner rock of the Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age to the electronic treatments of his collaborations with The Soulsavers; and long-carried influences of blues and folk.

As good as this record was, in 2012 he still managed to keep a near-perfect record of quality collaborations and one-off projects, including a lovely Karen Dalton cover and three tracks on the Nick Cave/Warren Ellis soundtrack to Lawless.

[And still improbably managed to not play a show in the Southern U.S.]

Despite a two-decade record of excellence in rock music, the man seems almost criminally under-recognized, even in circles of people who love music.

For a taste, consider the ground covered in 16 minutes of thehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCa9BBVeTjo.

Or link to a Spotify playlist of Lanegan collaborations and contributions.

My list:

1. Mark Lanegan - Blues Funeral.

2. WovenHand - The Laughing Stock

3. Father John Misty - Fear Fun

4. Calexico - Algiers

5. Frida Hyvonen - To The Soul

6. Alejandro Escovedo - Big Station

7. Explorers Club - Grand Hotel

8. Chuck Prophet - Beautiful Temple

9. Big Dipper - Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet

10. Lawless soundtrack - Nick Cave/Warren Ellis/The Bootleggers + various artists

And- hello all - it's been a while.

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And- hello all - it's been a while.

Welcome back! I always look forward to your music-related posts. The last Lanegan album I'd heard was Bubblegum, and I didn't even realize he had a new one. Must check it out. (I did really like his work in The Gutter Twins, too.)

Thank you, Jason!

One can expect a Lanegan's record to live in the same neighborhoods as those of his friends and collaborators; so fans of Greg Dulli, PJ Harvey, even Nick Cave are probably going to enjoy them.

But there are tracks on Blues Funeral that could be New Order or Pet Shop Boys lost tracks...and yet they fit right in beautifully.

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