Top Ten 2012

It’s “Best Of” season here on the internet–i.e. that special time at the end of each year when tastemakers, critics and bloggers across the digital universe frantically compete to author the definitive list of Things Worth Remembering from the preceding twelve months. As such, we felt it was high time for us to jump into the virtual fray, and to audaciously offer a Best Of list of our own. But unlike all those other ones out there on the internet, this list–or list of lists for that matter–comes from DJs you know and trust. They are your friends and neighbors, and they devote large amounts of time to following the latest developments in their preferred musical genres so that you don’t have to. Take a look, you’re sure to discover some gems that you missed the first time around…

Vicky   (Morning Music Mix):

  • Django Django — “Django Django”
  • Richard Hawley — “Standing At The Sky’s Edge”
  • Sharon Van Etten — “Tramp”[youtube]
  • Violens — “True”
  • Kid Koala — “12 Bit Blues”
  • JD McPherson — “Signs & Signifiers”
  • Haunted Windchimes — “Out With The Crow”[youtube]
  • Amadou & Miriam — “Folila”
  • The Reminders — “Born Champions”
  • Grizzly Bear — “Shields”


  1.  Heartless Bastards — “Arrow”
  2.  Shins — “Port of Morrow”
  3.  RNDM — “Acts”
  4.  Grizzly Bear — “Shields”[youtube]
  5.  The XX – ” Coexist “
  6.  Neil Young — “Psychedelic Pill “
  7.  Kaki King — “Glow”
  8.  Duke Spirit — “Bruiser”[youtube]
  9.  Polica — “Give you the Ghost”
  10.  Bat for Lashes — “The Haunted Man”

Steve Harris (Grass Roots Revival):

  1.  The Steel Wheels – “Lay Down, Lay Low” (Self)[youtube]
  2. Todd Snider –  “Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker”  (Aimless)
  3.   Keller Williams & the Travelin’ McCourys – “Pick” (SCI Fidelity)
  4.  Yarn – “Almost Home” (Self)
  5.  The McEuen Sessions – “For All The Good” (Mesa)
  6. The Infamous Stringdusters – “Silver Sky” (High Country/SCI Fidelity)
  7. Joe Pug – “The Great Despiser” (Lightning Rod)[youtube]
  8.  Grant Farm – “Grant Farm” (Self)
  9.   Jerry Douglas – “Traveler” (E One)
  10.  Old Crow Medicine Show – “Carry Me Back” (ATO)
  11.  MilkDrive – “Waves” (Self)
  12. Darrell Scott – “Long Ride Home” (Full Light)

Dick Fairley (Classic jazz Excursions):

  • Kurt Elling —  “1619 Broadway”
  • Eric Reed — “The Baddest Monk”
  • The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie — “Live in Paris”[youtube]
  • Uptown Vocal Jazz Quintet — “Hustlin’ for a Gig”
  • Keith Jarrett, Jack Dejohnette & Gary Peacock — “Standards”
  • The Clayton Brothers and Friends — “The Gathering”
  • Diana Krall — “Glad Rag Doll”
  • Catherine Russell — “Strictly Romancin'”
  • Curtis Fuller — “Down Home”
  • Lenny Marcus Trio — “A Tribute to Ray Bryant”
  • Stephan Grapelli & Toots Thielemans — “Bringing It Together”[youtube]
  • Todd Coolman — “Perfect Strangers”
  • J C Stylles — “Exhilaration”
  • The Steve Hall Quintet — “Crusin’ on Burnside”
  • Tom Harrel — “Number Five”

Iggy Igloo (Planet Groove):

  1. Neil Young with Crazy Horse — “Psychedelic Pill”: He knows how to make an album! I never thought I’d ever think a 27 mintute song was to short.[youtube]
  2. Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang — “En Yay Sah”:  Mind blowing set up. 
  3. Thee Oh Sees — “Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP”:  One of my buddies brought me two double album cassettes from these guys a few months back and they still just rock my world. Robber Barons quickly became my skate boarding theme song![youtube]
  4. Mati Zundel — “Amazonico Gravitante”:  Better than coffee
  5. Grimes — “Visions”: I’m a sucker for cute girls with synthesizers 
  6. Lee “Scratch” Perry — “Master Piece”: Epic.
  7. Novalima — “Karimba”:  There is a place in my heart for Peruvian dance music.
  8. Tennis — “Young & Old”:  These Denver folks are making some delightful songs, Young & Old is much more polished than their first.[youtube]
  9. Antibalas — “Antibalas”: I’m glad to see someone still making that super funky African organ music.
  10. Jeff the Brotherhood — “Hypnotic Minds”:  I can totally jive with thse brothers!

Nathaniel Carter:

  1. Mark Lanegan Band — “Blues Funeral”
  2. Heartless Bastards — “Arrow”
  3. Jack White — “Blunderbuss”
  4.  Tame Impala — “Lonerism”[youtube]
  5. Various Artists — “Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac”
  6. Bruce Springsteen — “Wrecking Ball”
  7. King Animal — “Soundgarden”
  8. The Mars Volta — “Nocturniquet”
  9. Out of the Game — “Rufus Wainwright”[youtube]
  10. 1776 — “1776”
  11. Richard Hawley — “Standing at the Sky’s Edge”
  12. Dinosaur Jr. — “I Bet on Sky”

G.T. (Vintage Voltage):

  1. Paul and Linda McCartney — “Ram” (1971): Sir James Paul’s more fully realized solo sophomore effort, complete with two hit singles, and poppy pot-shots at not only John and Yoko, but Linda’s first husband. My personal solo fab four fave! Bonus cuts and clips abound!
  2. Rory Gallagher — “Calling Card” (1976): The Emerald Isle’s late, great premiere bluesman’s most well-rounded effort, as it shows off not only his not inconsiderable blues-chops, but strengths in areas where he might not neccessarily have been expected to excel. Cuts of the bonus variety round-out this superior-sounding re-issue.
  3. King Crimson — “Lark’s Tongue in Aspic” (1973):This was the release that introduced bassist/vocalist John Wetton and Yes-drumsman Bill Bruford into the ever-varying Crimso fold to no mean effect. Adventurous prog-workouts rest easily aside beautifully moody ballads like “Book of Saturdays” and “Exiles”.[youtube]
  4. The Red Bird Girls — “Very First Time in True Stereo” (1960s): Leiber and Stoller’s answer to Phil Spector’s stable of bouffant-bearing, ballad-belting babes. They more than meet the challenge, and again, as the title states, four words: “first time true stereo”!
  5. The Complete Columbia Singles — “Mark Lindsay”:In my not-so-humble opinion, easily one of the most under-rated vocalists and to spring from the 60’s pop-music scene. Though this collection leans more heavily on the tender than the tough, the Raider’s frontman proves himself more than up to the task, tackling both hit singles and considered covers with equal adeptness!
  6. Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake — “Small Faces”(1968):Finally, from the original master tapes, the diminuitive dynamos’ swan song and “Sgt. Pepper”! Plus,this generously outfitted multi-disc re-isssue comes in an actual (ahem) “tobacco” tin, mimicking it’s original-issue circular cardboard album sleeve!
  7. ACTION! THE SONGS OF TOMMY BOYCE AND BOBBY HART (1960s):From bonafide top-40 placements, to obscure girl-group sides and excursions into psychedelia (by The Monkees!), this generously-filled out release proves that there was so much more to these 60’s pop-songsmiths than just (great as a song as it is) “Last Train to Clarksville”!
  8. Various Artists — “Piccadilly Sunshine Vol. 7″ (1966-70):The latest, if not neccessarily the greatest of this series of practically-unheard of 60’s Brit-psyche, pop and cod-soul sides, known only to the most hardcore of collectors. For completists only, but you could be obssesive about worse.
  9. Art Garfunkel — “The Singer”:A superbly-compiled retrospective from this most angelic of tenors in that it mixes hits (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”), obscurites (“Waters of March”) and even a token new track or two. Points docked only for the fact that it excludes any of the early sides by the former “Tom Graph” of Tom and Jerry (“Hey Schoolgirl”) fame.[youtube]
  10. Goffin and King — “Something Good from the Goffin and King Songbook” (1960s): The album title surely an exercise in redundancy, in that the subjects of this latest dig into their not inconsiderable discography wrote anything less than “good”, and more often than not, much better than that. Students of 60’s pop-songcraft, take note

5 Responses to Best Albums of 2012: DJ Picks

  1. Marty says:

    I thought Alabama Shakes “Boys and Girls” was a no-brainer. Also Balmoreah “Stranger”, “The Lumineers”, Dr John “Locked Down”, Sigur Rus “Valtari”, Of Monsters and Men “My Head is an Animal”, Jay Farrar et al “New Multitudes”.

  2. Steve says:

    Marty you are so mainstream!

  3. Barbara Hegarty says:

    Great choices from the best DJs in southern Colorado!

  4. No Spode says:

    I wanna see Jeff’s picks!

  5. Mike Murphy says:

    How about Bob Dylan’s Tempest? The old man keeps getting better and better.


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