June 21, 2012

Best of 2012: First Half Favorites

The Best Albums:
01. The Tough Shits - S/T // Burger Records
I've got nothing against The Japandroids, but I don't necessarily get all The Replacements comparisons. It wasn't loud messy guitars and anthemic choruses that made us fall for the Minneapolis band. The Mats were obnoxious dicks who purposely bombed shows just for the hell of it. Westerberg and company were hopeless underdogs with a comically poetic and always relatable sense of what it meant to be a kid, a loser, and just human. After all, they had the audacity to put "Gary's Got A Boner" side by side with "Sixteen Blue" and somehow turn it into of the greatest rock 'n' roll records of all time. If you dig The Japandroids, that's great, but if you're looking for that signature Replacements charm and Westerberg-ian wit, the group you ought to be listening to is The Tough Shits.

The Philly band's humor-filled eponymous debut riffs on the simple day-to-day goings ons of life in relatable and heavily self-deprecating fashion, hitting on topics like the "Space Heater" in their apartment, taking the "Chinatown" bus, and "Holding A Seance." The record's a bit of a classicist take on pop-punk with a clean-toned, tightly arranged, and sharply melodic set of numbers that rarely ever breach the 3-minute mark. But like the Mats, what really sets them apart is lyrics and attitude. The Tough Shits are pricks, albeit entirely lovable ones: they switch hats with ease from degenerates picking up coke from their neighborhood dealer one minute ("Hombre De La Cocaina") to sympathetic, thoughtful, and caring the next, as they talk a friend out of suicide on "Early Grave." After a few listens, you'd swear you were sitting around telling stories with a couple of your oldest buddies.

02. Father John Misty - Fear Fun // Sub Pop
03. Chromatics - Kill For Love // Italians Do It Better
04. The Walkmen - Heaven // Fat Possum
05. Lands & Peoples - Pop Guilt // Analog Edition
06. King Tuff - S/T // Sub Pop
07. Lower Dens - Nootropics // Ribbon Music
08. Eternal Summers - Correct Behavior // Kanine Records
09. Sonny & The Sunsets - Longtime Companion // Polyvinyl Records
10. Tanlines - Mixed Emotions // True Panther
11. Grass Widow - Internal Logic // HLR Records
12. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp // Jagjaguwar
13. The Memories - S/T // Underwater Peoples
14. Natural Child - For The Love of The Game // Burger Records
15. Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair // Drag City

Best Songs:
01. Lace Curtains - "High Fantasy"
02. TV Torso - "No Idea Why" (Stream)
03. Terry Malts - "Tumble Down"
04. Father John Misty - "Nancy From Now On"
05. Fletcher C. Johnson - "Lost My Head" (Stream)
06. Grass Widow - "Under The Atmosphere" (Stream)
07. King Tuff - "Wild Desire" (Stream)
08. Blake Mills & Danielle Haim - "Heart of Mine" (Watch)
09. FIDLAR - "No Waves" (Stream)
10. La Sera - "Please Be My Third Eye"
11. Levek - "Black Mold Grow"
12. Teen Mom - "You and Me"
13. Allah Las - "Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)"
14. Hospitality - "Friends of Friends"
15. Porcelain Raft - "Shapeless & Gone"
16. POP ETC - "Halfway To Heaven"
17. So Many Wizards - "Lose Your Mind" (Stream)
18. Tiger Waves - "Weekends"
19. HAIM - "Forever"
20. Here We Go Magic - "How Do I Know"
21. Gentleman Jesse - "We've Got To Get Out Of Here" (Stream)
22. Molly Nilsson - "I Hope You Die" (Stream)
23. JEFF The Brotherhoord - "Sixpack"
24. Pure Bathing Culture - "Ivory Coast"
25. Mikal Cronin - "You Gotta Have Someone" (Stream)

Most anticipated second-half LPs:
Thee Oh Sees
TV Torso
Grizzly Bear
Air Waves
So Many Wizards

Grass Widow


  1. Bummer Eternal Summers album doesn't come out til July 24th.... the second half of the year.

  2. Sorry, I have a promo copy, and I've been burning through it. I guess it's a list for my first half favorites, not the calendar year's. The Sonny & the Sunsets LP isn't out yet either. However, I highly recommend your pre-order both...on vinyl.

  3. Wasn't 'Dawn of Eternal Summers" this year? So they another album coming out? Hmm... ok, cool.

    Also, just ordered that Tough Shits album, thanks for the rec.

    1. Dawn of Eternal Summers is a collection of early material, songs like "Fall Straight Back" and "Lightswitch." I've got it on vinyl--totally fantastic. Correct Behavior is all new material. Very different, but also quite excellent.

  4. Ah ok, thanks for clearing that up.

  5. agreed w/tough shits choice