Hannah’s “Top 12 Albums of 2012”
As the year begins to wind down and we look ahead on the work we have for 2013, all of us at TheBlueIndian.com want to extend our sincere thanks to each of you who have supported us in what marks our fourth year as “Georgia’s Indie Music Hub.” Some of us are newer than others, and we’ve expanded to not only have a close focus on music in Georgia, but to also expose our readers across the globe to the incredible music scenes throughout the Southeast. This site exists because we love what we do, and while our families, work, and personal lives limit us in certain ways, each of us are grateful for your attention. We asked each of our staff to compile a list of their personal favorite releases from 2012 for our year-end features. Since each of us have different preferences, we felt individual lists would be the best way to give maximum exposure to the bands we’ve grown to love. We hope you’ll take the time to listen to these artists and appreciate you feedback. Happy New Year! – TheBlueIndian.com
Hannah Cook‘s “Top 12 Albums of 2012”
Honestly, Bad Books’ second effort wasn’t nearly as good as their first. A few gems save the album from falling into the hungry hands of clichés, making it onto my top list by a hair. (It also helps that I didn’t find myself listening to very much new music this past year.) I appreciate Kevin Devine’s and Manchester Orchestra’s friendship, but something about it didn’t translate well. Still, songs like “Forest Whitaker,” “It Never Stops” and “Lost Creek” exemplify a certain kind of musicianship that deserves acknowledgement.
In similar—but really oh so different–nature of Blithe Field, Brothertiger captivates crowds with electronic rhythms and enough synth to feed an army of acid-tripping hipsters. Comparable to Washed Out, Brothertiger is starting to make it pretty big, especially off of Golden Years fame. Heck, he got all the Athens kids to grooving. I’m sure he could have the same effect on the whole goddamn world. For your viewing pleasure, on behalf of Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, here’s a video.
Another Athens nostalgia, Blithe Field was a pretty big staple in the music scene while I was there. One wouldn’t guess it from the many punk bands Spencer Radcliffe, the man behind Blithe Field, was in, not to mention his kind of hoodrat-y demeanor, but Warm Blood and the albums before it show a side to Radcliffe I would have to guess few people know. Blithe Field samples innocent children’s voices and sunny sounds and mixes them together into something natural, despite all the technology involved.
I’m so happy to have gone to school in Athens, Ohio, and this here album is one of the reasons. You can find some downright humble, talented musicians from within the depths of ol’ Appalachia. Jesse Remnant—also of Southeast Engine fame—released Let’s Be Friends under his band name Human Cannonball after two and a half years of careful songwriting and construction. With the help from some friends, Remnant has created an album that is authentic from its core and outwards. As simple as the songs are, it is that very simplicity that makes them so special.
Young Man shows a wise mind but a young heart. Vol. 1 is the band’s proudest moment to this date, with frontman Colin Caulfield’s boyish voice leading dreamscapes of sounds. The Chicago-based band is making it into the indie spotlight these days, and deservingly so.
Yet another Nelsonville Music Festival gem, discovered in the depths of one of the poorest towns in Appalachia. Honestly, it was the perfect place to find them. Athens, Georgia’s Claire and Page Campbell create pure music, harmonizing perfectly like the two puzzle pieces they are. Life Inside the Body is a humble piece of work that represents what I believe the Campbell sisters to be. It’s not too adventurous and yet, full of important human discoveries.
Alex Shaaf, the founder and frontman of Yellow Ostrich, decided to change things up on Strange Land, compared to the 2010 release of The Mistress. It’s a little more exciting, showcasing a refined and broadened musicianship. His lyrics remain simple–adolescent even–but they somehow fit well with all the newfound theatrics.
The Cincinnati-based weirdos known as Why? make me proud of where I’m from. Things come out of frontman Yoni Wolf’s somewhat perverse mouth that, with every new listen, I don’t expect. Sod in the Seed, an EP, is another addition to the band’s unorthodox repertoire that works to explain yet another part of Yoni’s character.
I didn’t know this band before I had to review its album for this very site. To this day, I’m thankful for that. A Stone, a Leaf, an Unfound Door possesses the kind of earthy elegance that grabs hold and never lets go. Each sound, every lyric, is thoughtfully cultivated, boasting the skills of River Whyless and explaining why they deserve more attention than what they have.
Dreadfully, we accept Andy Hull’s final installment of the haunting tale under the nomenclature Right Away, Great Captain!. The album simultaneously leaves the listener both uneasy and accepting. Much like the protagonist (antagonist?) himself, all we’re left with are memories. It’s a good thing music doesn’t expire, and I’m certain this story never will either, as it’s boasted Hulls songwriting capabilities like nothing else.
Shovels and Rope came to my attention during Nelsonville Music Festival in Ohio. Never had I so quickly and effortlessly fallen in love with a band–or duo in this case. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, married might I add, played three sets throughout the weekend, garnering a crowd larger than the last each time. They played songs mostly off of O’ Be Joyful, and they were the sincerest of songs—sincere in their meaning, in their instrumentation, in the fact that Hearst and Trent were very clearly in love. While I found myself jealous, I was also utterly content. O’ Be Joyful ended up teaching me a lot about all those conflicting feelings and that, at the end of the day, happiness and goodness should surpass them all.
Patrick Watson has always been known for his uplifting take on soundscapes; Adventures in Your Own Backyard is no exception. From the ever-changing dynamic of “Lighthouse” to the feathery consistency of “Words in the Fire,” Watson and his bandmates made me see & feel things I didn’t know existed.