These are records I found myself listening to/enjoying the most that were released over the course of this year. Here's to 2012... $O$ by Die Antwoord is an incredibly interesting recording top to bottom. These are guys are also the most visually intriguing band I encountered this year. My heartfelt apologies to Lady Gaga.
A Thing Called Divine Fits by Divine Fits was my favorite "indie rock" type release this year. I've long been a huge fan of the great Columbus, OH drummer Sam Brown and though this recording may not give the listener a true impression of how good he is, it does show that so far as musicality in the world of drumming is concerned, Sam Brown has to be near the top of that list these days. Excellent songs and really fun guitar playing to boot.
Righteous Buck & The Skull Scorchers is actually a record that came out in 2010. But I just got hip to it this year. It's from the band's Comfest (a great music and arts festival in Goodale Park in Columbus, OH) set and it's absolutely smoking. You can get it at www.righteousbuckandtheskullscorchers.bandcamp.com.
O' Be Joyful by Shovels and Rope is a beautiful record. The song "Birmingham" has some truly great lines in it. "Making something out of nothing with a scratcher and our hope," is one that comes to mind. Michael and Cary Ann have a way of simplifying things to get to the heart of a song. This record is full of text-book representations of what a song needs to be to reach you...simple and great.
Songs about Cars, Space and The Ramones by Drivin' N' Cryin' has the best pop/rock song I've heard this year on it. The tune "Hot Wheels" is really tremendous. Am I biased? Probably. Do I care? Absolutely not. I dare you to find a better straight ahead pop/rock tune that came out this year. Just gorgeously jangly and always appropriately nostalgic. Features my favorite rock guitarist discovery this year, the great, Sadler Vaden.
Shit Sandwich by Elmo Buzz & The Eastside Bulldogs. My favorite rock'n'roll record of the year. You really can't go wrong with a band that includes both Bobby Keys and Todd Snider. "37206" is my favorite tune on the record, clocking in at a whopping 1:56. If you're looking for the real deal, this is it. Brilliantly under played (but also perhaps not) and filled with great Snider one liners like "Hey pretty boy, go back to Franklin, nobody here wants to talk about publishing," these songs are a great glimpse into life on the true East Side of Nashville, TN and will do wonders to affirm any sort of paranoia you may have about the ways of the world at large.
There you have it folks. May your 2013 be merry and bright. May you find the guts to say it all and the wisdom to know when.