Nik’s Top 5 Albums of 2012

  • The Veils - Sun Gangs
What blows my mind about certain albums is their ability to totally sweep you away in the majesty of the songwriting and structure of it’s design, and yet you have never, ever heard of the band before having heard the album. Basically you wonder why you didn’t hear about them first and THEN hear the album. Sun Gangs is one of those albums. Immediately I was captured by how catchy, emotional, and striking the songs were, and it’s been one of those albums where I will still find myself humming a song, without remember who it is. Chances are it’s a song off Sun Gangs.
  • Bloc Party - Four
To speak bluntly, Bloc Party was one of those bands that really failed to deliver on two albums in a row. When that happens for me, I tend to give up on a band. I’m not saying half the album was good, and half the album was bad, I’m talking about albums with maybe two good songs tops. That just bums me out. Especially when they fail to grow or evolve, I just get sad. But wow..Four is like some kind of angry, punk, future Bloc Party. I think each member is really excelling what they do in this album, and when that is coupled with brilliantly written parts, and great lyrics you kind of have a winner. Some may dislike this album, but I think it’s a very fresh album to hear.
  • The National - High Violet
The National will always be one of my favorite bands of all time. For a while now I’ve become totally disinterested in what a lot of American Indie music has to share. The National really gives me faith that American Indie can be great, and basically be very American in sound and lyrical content. What makes me so excited about this band being very unabashedly American in nature, is there extremely heartwrenching music and lyrics. It’s a band where the music and lyrics can’t exist without eachother. The symbiosis is frightening. The album portrays so much, and  has even said some things I feel, but which I fail to find words to express. Given that this is their 6th or so album in total, and I find it to be one of their best, gives me a lot of hope for the future of these guys.
  • The Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Grave
There is really something weird about this guy. I hated his guts for years, because lets face it, he is a blatant modern Indie Bob Dylan rip off from Scandinavia. If you try to suggest otherwise, I would probably jam my fingers in my ears and start going La-La-La-La. One day, through the Bob Dylanness, I heard his songwriting, and was very touched. The melodies are pure, and his deliver, although Dylanesque and nasal, seem sincere in their delivery and paint really beautiful pictures. Also, this guy is flipping fantastic at guitar and I envy his skills.
  • Fionn Regan - The End Of History
Fionn Regan really sets it in stone for me in regards to modern folk music. If your musical shtick is doing Travis picking between the C and F chord, and singing about weird girls you dated in high-school, and nonsensical parties you attended while briefly living in Brooklyn, then Fionn Regan just made you look like a very hip, if not untalented, troglodyte. In fact he mentions troglodytes in one of his songs. Regardless though, this mans ability to mesh intense folk guitar playing and beautiful, haunting, memorable and timeless song and melody together is beyond me. A lot of how I learned to play folk music was because of this album, and this artist. He sort of faded out of the limelight after this album, and seems to be purposely keeping a private profile as of late, so I haven’t been able to hear his more recent albums due to a UK based release, but what I heard of his most recent album has me very excited, and also happy that he is still putting out artistic and creatively fresh albums.