Flashflooder’s Top 100 Music Releases of 2012


It’s again time to reflect on my favorite musical releases from the past year. Now that 2012 is fully over and done with I’ve now had a few moments to digest all of the enjoyable things I listened to last year and put them in some sort of loosely ordered list (the list has been changing almost every day so don’t pay too much importance to order).

Unlike most other blogs and publications, I like to wait until the following year to consider and consume all the sounds that the prior year had to offer (in this case there were plenty of good ones). In addition this gives my brain some breathing room from catching up on listening to lots of albums in December that I slept on when they were released earlier in the year. I know I’m always going to miss a fair amount of good releases per year (no one can really listen to and be expected to enjoy everything) but I think this year especially I gave it a pretty valiant effort across a wide array of genres and styles. Hopefully you discover a couple new artists and albums that you enjoy or at least find intriguing as a result of this list.

On that note, I’ll never forget the moments of reading about Manitoba’s (now known as Caribou) Up In Flames as being some random guy on the internet’s #1 album of the year in 2003 (on his geocities page or something) or reading about (and then listening to the weird sounds of) Animal Collective’s critically acclaimed Sung Tongs in 2004 and having both literally change my life in terms of the way I listened to and perceived music. I realized a long while back that the discovery of new music was the best part of reading these year end lists and so I started making my own, mainly for the personal fun of making those decisions but also in hopes that someone else might read this and discover something that becomes their new favorite; because to me, there is no better feeling than hearing something you love for the first time ever. It’s a high unlike any other.

Now if you’re wondering what the process I undertake to make a list like this (maybe so you can make your own next year), I simply have a spreadsheet that I keep generally open on my main computer in which I list any albums I’ve listened to from that year and put them in a general order of my liking (after having listened to each once all the way through). Eventually as time goes on, the list gets longer and longer and forces you to try to compare various albums to each other for a relative ranking of which is better and before you know it, the end of the year will be here and you’ll have your own best albums list! To be honest, it’s a really fun activivty and if you work on it early enough in the year you can honestly see how your thoughts compare to other supposed music critics (it’s hard not be a little influenced if you start working on your list in December after already having read a bunch of other lists). A couple other caveats of this are that I do consider self released material, mixtapes, and EPs (as long as they are generally three or four solidly lengthed tracks). Since it is a yearly list I will also combine multiple EP releases for artists as some genres are more suitable to releasing albums and in others getting a few EP releases a year is more the norm.

And again, these picks are all a bit subjective to my taste so don’t take me too literally, all of the albums are good and should be taken as recommendations. However, for a comprehensive post of all the various critic’s best albums lists look to none other than Metacritic for their 2012 Music Critics Top 10 Lists collection. There’s a lot of quality in there, especially since they generally link to each actual article/post which often feature more than just ten albums in their list. And what better why to find some new good music real fast? I’m like a kid in a candy store these days with critic music lists, fast internet, and some online hookups. Anyways, enough of the this and that, onto the list…

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Prefuse 73 & Blockhead Live in SF, CA (03/16/12)

Prefuse 73 and Blockhead (who is really who I came to see) both came to 103 Harriet on March 16th 2012 for Re:Creation to play some live tunes in a dj style setting. I took some lengthy videos of each of their quality sets. I’d normally write a little bit more about each of them and what was going on in their sets; but honestly, I am way too tired right now.

As you can see in the videos below, Blockhead pulls off a little mashup action while Prefuse likes to get down with his filtering and effects (in this case with the help of Dnae Beats as can be seen above), and both produced enjoyable results. Check ’em out below.

The Best Leftover Albums of 2009

Ok, so of course there were many many albums that did not grace my Top 25 Albums of 2009 list. While some barely missed the mark, others suffered from the honest fact that I simply didn’t listen to them (or even know they were released in a few cases…yikes!).

Well, thanks to friends, critics, and the internet (who have all informed me of quality releases I missed), I have decided to give some of these other records their fair due (instead of retroactively changing my “Best of 09” list, which would set a precedent I don’t want to follow).

Call them leftovers, honorable mentions, or whatever you like, but these 2009 albums are also all worthy of your ears time, so go and check them out!

Oh No – Dr. No’s Ethiopium [Stones Throw]

Nosaj Thing – Drift [Alpha Pup]

Hudson Mohawke – Butter [Warp]

Miike Snow – Miike Snow [Downtown]

Wild Beasts – Two Dancers [Domino]

A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Ashes Grammar [Mis Ojos Discos]

Odd Nosdam – T.I.M.E. Soundtrack [Anticon]

Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship [Thrill Jockey]

The Slew – 100% [Ninja Tune]

Blockhead – The Music Scene [Ninja Tune]

Little Dragon – Machine Dreams [Peacefrog]

The Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca [Domino]

MSTRKRFT – Fist of God [Dim Mak]

Bear In Heaven – Beast Rest Forth Mouth [Hometapes]

Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care [Domino]

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic [Warner Bros]