Guitar World Staff Picks: Josh Hart's Top 10 Albums of 2012
For all the hullabaloo about the world coming to a fiery end, 2012 was a pretty mellow year for me.
Most of the albums you'll find below fall somewhere in the indie/alternative spectrum, for which I offer no apology to the metal-hungry masses. That's not to say that I didn't spend a lot of time with Meshuggah's monster of a new album, Koloss, not to mention the new EP from Revocation and Municipal Waste's Fatal Feast. It's just that I, like Baroness on their excellent Yellow & Green, needed a bit of breathing room in my music.
I'm not entirely sure how many albums I really listened to this year (Spotify tells me my "2012" playlist would take over a week to listen to), but these 10 records are the ones that I came back to and took the time to get to know. It takes more than a few spins to start picking out the structural intricacies of El Ten Eleven's music, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor's latest — which features two 20-minute tracks — is hardly an album you can just put on while making dinner.
I won't go off and use this space to bash modern culture, but it's hard not to recognize how easy it would be for the majority of bands to spend their time crafting albums that were as easy to digest as a Buzz Feed list. It's truly something special when you come across an album that makes you work at it, and makes the work worthwhile.
With all that said, you'll find my picks for my favorite records of 2012 below. If you've gotten into some of the same records, want to disagree or just share your own favorites, sound off in the comments section below and I'll try to respond.
Josh Hart is the producer of GuitarWorld.com.
08. Mission of Burma, Unsound
"If you paid attention to my list last year at all, you'll know that I have a major weakness for classic post-punk. Fortunately for me, a lot of those bands are still making great music."
07. Baroness, Yellow & Green
"An hour-long chat with Baroness ended up being probably my favorite interview of 2012. If you'll pardon the shameless self-promotion, you can read it here."
05. Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on Sky
"Simply put, J. Mascis still brings it."
04. Pinback, Information Retrieved
"Pinback's new album neither surprises nor disappoints; it's a perfect distillation of their dry, clockwork brand of indie rock."
06. Efterklang, Piramida
"The band recorded this album in an abandoned mining town in the Svalbard archipelago. Think about that next time you complain about driving an hour to the studio."
10. Six Organs of Admittance, Ascent
"It's refreshing to see Ben Chasny back with his Comets of Fire bandmates — and for a space-themed rock album, no less!"
09. Ty Seagall Band, Slaughterhouse
"This kid is something special. I doubt he'll release another three albums in 2013, but he's doing as much as anyone to keep nasty rock and roll music alive."
02. Jack White, Blunderbuss
"This was a tough album to get into at first, but with a little time, it became the album I probably listened to more than any other this. Kudos to Mr. White for keeping the upright piano alive."
03. El Ten Eleven, Transitions
"Easily the best melding of post-rock with electronics I've come across so far."
01. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
In their own words: "We had no religion to shout at the rafters but all of us, all together, all the time. And we shouted that religion at a time when that kind of earnest noise was tagged as earnest, naive and square. And we were earnest and naive and square. And still are."