Drowned in Sound's 50 Favorite Albums of 2012



LIST SUMMARY
VIEW ORIGINAL LIST
List Rating
78
580 ratings
Genre Breakdown
Indie Rock (8), Experimental (5), Indie Pop (3), Post-Rock (3), Dream Pop (3), Electronic (3), Hip Hop (3), Dubstep (2), Synthpop (2), Experimental Rock (2), Indie Folk (1), Deep House (1), New Wave (1), Alternative Rock (1), Electropop (1), Garage Rock (1), Ambient (1), R&B (1), Alternative Metal (1), Folk (1), Soul (1), Pop Rock (1), Chamber Pop (1), House (1), Singer-Songwriter (1), Shoegaze (1), Art Pop (1), Psychedelic (1)

1. Blondes - Blondes

Blondes - Blondes
February 7, 2012
House
CRITIC SCORE
78
11 reviews
USER SCORE
75
10 ratings

There’s a awe-inducing majesty to the moments when all the subtly introduced parts coalesce and then ebb away but there’s also a sense of feeling completely lost

1. Swans - The Seer

Swans - The Seer
August 28, 2012
Post-Rock
CRITIC SCORE
90
20 reviews
USER SCORE
85
136 ratings

The Seer is the culmination of Gira’s 30-year-journey; his finest two hours, if you will.

1. Chromatics - Kill for Love

Chromatics - Kill for Love
March 26, 2012
Synthpop
CRITIC SCORE
83
18 reviews
USER SCORE
82
121 ratings

These opening six songs are as good as it gets, and if there were four or five more, this would be the album of the year, for sure.

1. Liars - WIXIW

Liars - WIXIW
June 5, 2012
Experimental Rock
CRITIC SCORE
84
23 reviews
USER SCORE
79
57 ratings

The project is pulled off with an integrity and passion that never feels like bandwagon jumping

1. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
February 7, 2012
Folk
CRITIC SCORE
81
21 reviews
USER SCORE
82
74 ratings

It’s a wonderful record, a colossal achievement, and features some of the most breathtaking, moving and downright beautiful music you’ll hear all year.

6. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel

Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
June 19, 2012
Singer-Songwriter
CRITIC SCORE
88
20 reviews
USER SCORE
84
165 ratings

7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
October 16, 2012
Post-Rock
CRITIC SCORE
85
17 reviews
USER SCORE
82
85 ratings

For now, though, they’ve made a modestly magnificent record that entirely validates this reformation.

8. School of Seven Bells - Ghostory

School of Seven Bells - Ghostory
February 28, 2012
Dream Pop
CRITIC SCORE
72
17 reviews
USER SCORE
71
8 ratings

It’s everything School of Seven Bells' swooping/swirling debut promised, and all the things the follow-up wasn’t to be.

9. Aesop Rock - Skelethon

Aesop Rock - Skelethon
July 10, 2012
Hip Hop
CRITIC SCORE
80
13 reviews
USER SCORE
78
22 ratings

Aesop Rock's recent turmoil is very much our gain.

10. Julia Holter - Ekstasis

Julia Holter - Ekstasis
March 6, 2012
Experimental
CRITIC SCORE
82
16 reviews
USER SCORE
81
54 ratings

Ekstasis revels in the ‘open-ear decisions’ of its architect, winding its way along paths both sepulchral and ascendant, often in the same song. 

11. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
July 17, 2012
R&B
CRITIC SCORE
92
23 reviews
USER SCORE
84
266 ratings

Beyond genre lines, racial lines, sexuality lines, any lines you can think of, it's that all-too-rare gem: a universal story you'll come back to long after the hype's been and gone.

12. Chairlift - Something

Chairlift - Something
January 24, 2012
Electropop
CRITIC SCORE
77
14 reviews
USER SCORE
80
40 ratings

With Something, Chairlift haven't so much redefined their sound as papered over the cracks with an added coat of emulsion for good measure.

13. The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know
February 7, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
77
15 reviews
USER SCORE
80
8 ratings

No One Can Ever Know’s skill is in wielding bleak nostalgia with subtlety; boyish confusion and fear is tempered with the vague uplift of a reassuringly avuncular narrator.

14. Poliça - Give You The Ghost

Poliça - Give You The Ghost
February 14, 2012
Indie Pop
CRITIC SCORE
77
11 reviews
USER SCORE
73
21 ratings

There's something happenin' here and I'm not totally sure what it is but it's exciting, intoxicating and unique, and has me wondering if people will be writing post-Poliça before the year is out

15. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It

Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
February 21, 2012
Indie Pop
CRITIC SCORE
81
15 reviews
USER SCORE
80
63 ratings

These compositions, from Hadreas' distinctive, fragile vocal through to the orchestration behind the compositions themselves represents a significant progression from the bolt-from-the-blue that was Learning.

16. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city
October 22, 2012
Hip Hop
CRITIC SCORE
90
18 reviews
USER SCORE
88
250 ratings

17. Jessie Ware - Devotion

Jessie Ware - Devotion
August 20, 2012
Soul
CRITIC SCORE
84
18 reviews
USER SCORE
80
71 ratings

She captures the emotion, without the shmaltz and in doing so, she neatly elevates her work above that of countless other mainstream pop singers.

18. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
May 15, 2012
Hip Hop
CRITIC SCORE
85
18 reviews
USER SCORE
82
70 ratings

This is jazz, this is funk, this is soul, this is gospel… but most importantly, R.A.P. Music is rap music, as fresh as it comes.

19. LHF - Keepers of the Light

LHF - Keepers of the Light
April 2, 2012
Dubstep
CRITIC SCORE
84
2 reviews
USER SCORE
NR

Keepers of the Light is a rarity for a double album: its indulgence (seriously, 144 minutes?) rarely grates, and its individuality doesn’t cramp its funkiness.

20. FOE - Bad Dream Hotline

FOE - Bad Dream Hotline
January 16, 2012
Pop Rock
CRITIC SCORE
69
5 reviews
USER SCORE
65
2 ratings

21. Twin Shadow - Confess

Twin Shadow - Confess
July 10, 2012
New Wave
CRITIC SCORE
81
19 reviews
USER SCORE
79
58 ratings

Confess isn’t just steeped in the sounds of an era, but in its films, feel, stories and sense of aspiration.

22. Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Motion Sickness of Time Travel

Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Motion Sickness of Time Travel
May 14, 2012
Ambient
CRITIC SCORE
80
4 reviews
USER SCORE
65
5 ratings

23. Django Django - Django Django

Django Django - Django Django
January 30, 2012
Psychedelic
CRITIC SCORE
78
13 reviews
USER SCORE
78
77 ratings

24. Cat Power - Sun

Cat Power - Sun
September 4, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
77
21 reviews
USER SCORE
76
55 ratings

Even peering through the gauze of the back-story, Cat Power’s ninth album is a feat of musical and emotional maturity.

25. Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Deftones - Koi No Yokan
November 13, 2012
Alternative Metal
CRITIC SCORE
80
11 reviews
USER SCORE
79
26 ratings

A stomach-turning twist through corridors of riffs, around every corner another punishing progression or triumphant refrain.

26. Yppah - Eighty One

Yppah - Eighty One
April 3, 2012
Electronic
CRITIC SCORE
85
2 reviews
USER SCORE
72
3 ratings

27. Errors - Have Some Faith In Magic

Errors - Have Some Faith In Magic
January 31, 2012
Electronic
CRITIC SCORE
76
10 reviews
USER SCORE
80
9 ratings

Somehow, amidst all the rigid architecture, Errors have conjured up something utterly organic in nature, but skin-tight in direction.

28. John Talabot - ƒIN

John Talabot - ƒIN
February 14, 2012
Deep House
CRITIC SCORE
84
13 reviews
USER SCORE
80
72 ratings

Fin is a body of work that has brought into focus and solidified the musical expression Talabot has been toying with for the last three years. 

29. Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber

Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
September 25, 2012
Dream Pop
CRITIC SCORE
77
12 reviews
USER SCORE
77
31 ratings

Whatever happens next, she can rest assured safe in the knowledge that together with her beau they've conjured up one of 2012's - or any other year in recent memory - finest debuts.

30. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
January 24, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
81
16 reviews
USER SCORE
83
138 ratings

Attack On Memory might be on surface a pretty routine blast of crashing percussion, throaty vocals and biting guitars but repeated listens reveal a more nuanced affair full of charisma and spark.

31. Efterklang - Piramida

Efterklang - Piramida
September 25, 2012
Post-Rock
CRITIC SCORE
72
11 reviews
USER SCORE
74
12 ratings

Piramida is undoubtedly the band’s most immediate work to date and it might be strange to be writing it, but nearly each and every track would work standing on its own.

32. Actress - R.I.P.

Actress - R.I.P.
April 24, 2012
Experimental
CRITIC SCORE
83
14 reviews
USER SCORE
73
43 ratings

R.I.P. is the most fully realised, ambitious and rewarding project that Cunningham has yet put to record

33. Metric - Synthetica

Metric - Synthetica
June 12, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
69
15 reviews
USER SCORE
72
27 ratings

34. The Lost Rivers - Sin and Lostness

The Lost Rivers - Sin and Lostness
March 26, 2012
CRITIC SCORE
90
1 review
USER SCORE
75
1 rating

35. Crystal Castles - (III)

Crystal Castles - (III)
November 12, 2012
Electronic
CRITIC SCORE
74
20 reviews
USER SCORE
78
75 ratings

I still can’t make up my mind whether Crystal Castles peaked too early and are now coasting, or if this is their new peak.

36. Field Music - Plumb

Field Music - Plumb
February 14, 2012
Indie Pop
CRITIC SCORE
77
17 reviews
USER SCORE
69
11 ratings

That we’ve got a band asking such questions of themselves, whilst making some of the most thoughtful, intelligent pop in the country, should be celebrated.

37. Grimes - Visions

Grimes - Visions
February 21, 2012
Synthpop
CRITIC SCORE
81
23 reviews
USER SCORE
83
189 ratings

Everything on Visions smells crisp and clean, doused in eco-friendly laundry detergent; there is no stench of compromise here.

38. LV - Sebenza

LV - Sebenza
August 27, 2012
Dubstep
CRITIC SCORE
81
6 reviews
USER SCORE
74
2 ratings

39. Blood Red Shoes - In Time to Voices

Blood Red Shoes - In Time to Voices
March 26, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
71
5 reviews
USER SCORE
62
6 ratings

This is an album so texturally complex that there is simply no space to consider what it might, or might not, be missing. 

40. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
January 31, 2012
Chamber Pop
CRITIC SCORE
58
22 reviews
USER SCORE
72
101 ratings

Whole thing sounds like a poppy Bond soundtrack remixed for the clubs, although even her faster songs sound slow.

41. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
July 10, 2012
Experimental Rock
CRITIC SCORE
83
22 reviews
USER SCORE
83
129 ratings

Deadly serious even at its most eccentric, wilfully awkward even at its most accessible, dense and intricate even at its most freewheeling. 

42. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

Japandroids - Celebration Rock
June 5, 2012
Garage Rock
CRITIC SCORE
85
19 reviews
USER SCORE
83
121 ratings

The sheer energy pouring from this record is breathtaking: not until the very final song (‘Continuous Thunder’) does Celebration Rock’s sense of acceleration cease.

43. The Maccabees - Given to the Wild

The Maccabees - Given to the Wild
January 6, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
68
9 reviews
USER SCORE
78
24 ratings

Somewhat uneasy listening in places, yet sublime in others, Given To The Wild should rid The Maccabees of those 'landfill' jibes once and for all.

44. Grizzly Bear - Shields

Grizzly Bear - Shields
September 18, 2012
Indie Folk
CRITIC SCORE
85
22 reviews
USER SCORE
84
249 ratings

Any mention of Shields being slightly more up front and rougher around the edges is not to say that isn't still beautiful. 

45. Muse - The 2nd Law

Muse - The 2nd Law
October 2, 2012
Alternative Rock
CRITIC SCORE
51
15 reviews
USER SCORE
56
52 ratings

This is less an album, and more like a mixtape filled with mini meditations of musical movements. 

46. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
December 4, 2012
Experimental
CRITIC SCORE
78
17 reviews
USER SCORE
79
18 ratings

47. Yeasayer - Fragrant World

Yeasayer - Fragrant World
August 21, 2012
Experimental
CRITIC SCORE
67
19 reviews
USER SCORE
73
28 ratings

This is a record of adventure and texture, an attempt, musically, to conjure up a future we may never actually have. 

48. Echo Lake - Wild Peace

Echo Lake - Wild Peace
June 26, 2012
Shoegaze
CRITIC SCORE
74
7 reviews
USER SCORE
56
3 ratings

Wild Peace sighs and soars; melts and merges with you and ultimately, delivers many times more than the mere sum of its parts.

49. How to Dress Well - Total Loss

How to Dress Well - Total Loss
September 18, 2012
Experimental
CRITIC SCORE
80
16 reviews
USER SCORE
79
52 ratings

Total Loss isn’t weaker in any single sense, but I’m not sure it if it builds on its predecessor either.

50. Bloc Party - Four

Bloc Party - Four
August 21, 2012
Indie Rock
CRITIC SCORE
67
18 reviews
USER SCORE
68
25 ratings

Not since Silent Alarm have Bloc Party sustained such vision, ideas and indeed quality over an entire record.

Original Source: http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4145840-drowned-in-sounds-favourite-albums-of-2012--5-1

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