Honorable Mentions: Garbage, Calexico, The Gaslight Anthem, The Silver Seas, Emperors, Mark Lanegan Band, Fanfarlo, Everest, and Glen Hansard.
(Oops, couldn't narrow it down to ten, so you get two extra this year.)
12. The Wallflowers - Glad All Over
I was happy to see the band working together again after Jakob Dylan spent the last few years working on solo stuff (which was also good). I probably haven't given this album enough listening time since I got it at the same time as a whole bunch of other music that I'm still slowly making my way through. Not sure it truly belongs on my favorites of 2012 list for that reason, but I'm throwing it on there for old times' sake. These guys were one of the bands that got me through my divorce. True story.
11. Band Of Horses - Mirage Rock
I was fortunate to see these guys play for the low, low price of $5 while they were on tour promoting this album. They played the song Great Salt Lake (not on this album, but probably my favorite BoH song) twice. My friends realized that none of us have ever floated in the Great Salt Lake, so we drove out there at midnight and swam as a thunder storm rolled in. It was quite an amazing experience.
10. John K. Sampson - Provincial
This is a fantastic solo album from the frontman of The Weakerthans. I haven't heard his voice for a while as it's been quite some time. The first time I listened to this album was very nostalgic for me, even though it was brand new. How that makes sense, I have no idea, but there you go. I texted an old friend to make sure he knew this was out. Music has a funny way of getting me to reach out to people I haven't spoken to in years, apparently.
9. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
A friend gave me this album, but at first I didn't take the time to listen to it all the way through. When I'm at work I listen to my music on shuffle. At least four different times I'd stop whatever I was doing in the lab to go look at who was playing, and this was the album cover that flashed up. Great collaborative effort from some of the guys from Spoon and Wolf Parade, two styles that I didn't think would mesh, but somehow do. Also, the album cover is pretty awesome. Simplicity works.
8. The XX - Coexist
Another simple album cover, another really good album from a band I finally got around to listening to despite plenty of recommendations from friends after their last album. Seriously, if you haven't heard these guys yet, drop whatever you're doing and go listen. You won't be disappointed.
7. Kishi Bashi - 151A
One of my friends called me on the phone last Spring and told me to download this song ASAP. I did. I then listened to it in the car with a girl from my lab while we were en route to the Hare Krishna temple to pick up colors for the Holi Festival. Talk about fitting. Later in the year he came here on tour, and that same friend took me on a date to the show since her husband couldn't go with her. We hung out afterward and I told him that Bright Whites is a song that makes me happy every time I hear it. I think he thought I was weird, but whatever.
6. The Shins - Port of Morrow
I don't think there has been an album by The Shins that I haven't liked. This one is no exception. I was bummed that I missed their concert this summer. (Say what you will about Salt Lake City, but they do get their fair share of awesome concerts.) This makes for good road trip music.
5. Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
The album title is a mouthful, but this is another strong effort by Nada Surf. Another band that came through and I missed out on. I didn't even know they were here until the day of the concert, and of course by then it was too late. I would've loved to have been at that show. All my friends missed it as well. What I'm saying is, we all suck.
4. Sea Wolf - Old World Romance
I'm not sure I've listened to this album enough to have it ranked this high on my favorites list, but whatever. It's good all the way through. They'll be here during Sundance, and I'm going to do my best to make it to one of the three shows they'll be putting on. I've heard they're amazing live. One of my friends said seeing them perform vaulted them to second favorite band of all time. That's a pretty strong statement to say the least. Great, now my expectations are high.
3. Alberta Cross - Songs of Patience
This one might also be ranked a bit lower if I wasn't so in love with the song Wasteland. I dare you to listen to it and try to say something bad. You can't. It's amazing. All of this band's albums are fantastic as well. If you've never heard of them, I suggest you change that.
2. The Walkmen - Heaven
Another $5 concert at the park last summer. I hadn't yet listened to this album, but am a fan of their older work, so couldn't pass up the opportunity. I convinced one of my colleagues to join me. We were both impressed. I'd say these guys have only gotten better through the years. I purchased the album on iTunes as we left the park and walked back to the car. I then proceeded to listen to it non-stop for about three weeks straight.
1. Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Not only is this my favorite album of the year, but this was my favorite concert of the year. The lead singer has so much energy (he's a little crazy, in my opinion). The concert was on a Monday night. He thanked us for joining the band on "the greatest Monday night of all time." I probably wouldn't go that far, but it was a lot of fun. They played until 1:30 a.m. The last song he climbed up into the rafters and sang it while hanging upside down with his legs wrapped around the beam. I honestly thought I was going to witness the show where he died. Glad I didn't. It would've ruined my night. His too.
All things considered, 2012 was a good year. Here's hoping that 2013 has more good things in store for all of us. Happy New Year everybody!!!