You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.

This year is shaping up to be musically notable:

  • I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the LPs I’ve heard so far this year. Of the 12 albums I list here, I don’t consider any one of them to have more than two weak, filler-type songs. These albums make me appreciate the long-play recording again, instead of viewing the album as a commercial bucket that contains a few good songs and a bunch of bad songs, just because the good songs have to be contained somewhere. Full-album appreciation hasn’t been the norm for me in recent years.
  • Hip-hop hasn’t sounded so good since the golden era, the ’90s. I think maybe that’s because the regional qualities of the music are blending, and the cream is rising to the top. Of course, in a house with two children younger than four, hip-hop is relegated to headphones and ear buds. But, my taste for it is as strong as ever. When I was a sophomore in high school, a wizened senior told me, “you’ll stop listening to rap when you get a little older.” 2012 is making a liar of him. Related reading: Hip-Hop And You Do Stop is a great summary of why the ’90s were special.
  • My kids continue to be eager for jams. Jackie makes occasional requests, although she hasn’t latched on to any newer songs as tightly as she did last year. McLain is just starting to discover the dancey side of his alter ego, Party Boy, but the kid can flat-out do a soulful impression of Usher. I don’t have video of this yet, but imagine an almost-two-year-old singing high notes and pretending to strain, eyes closed, as he moves his head around in a Stevie Wonder kind of way.

Speaking of McLain, he also had his first genuine sing-along moment with a song. We were in the car, and I was playing Wordless Chorus by My Morning Jacket. Out of the blue, he chimed in with the chorus…”Ahhhh, Ahh Ahhhhhh Ahh Ahh”. I shouldn’t have been surprised — in addition to sharing the same initials as the band, his first concert (in utero) was My Morning Jacket.

I’ll never forget McLain singing along with an unfamiliar song for the first time, just as I never forgot that time I was changing Jackie’s diaper a couple of years ago. Grizzly Bear’s While You Wait for the Others was on the home stereo, and she jumped in on the refrain towards the end, when Droste or Rossen is wailing, “Oh Oh Oh Ohhhhhh”.

Back to the purpose of this post — here are my favorite LPs and tracks for the first half of 2012.
Note: Each track has a Spotify play button. You’ll need a Spotify account and the app installed to play the songs.


Hot ChipIn Our Heads
The Walkmen — Heaven
Killer Mike — R.A.P. Music
Royal Headache — Royal Headache
Bear In HeavenI Love You, It’s Cool
John TalabotFin
Schoolboy QHabits & Contradictions
The MenOpen Your Heart
Andrew BirdBreak It Yourself
Lower DensNootropics
Cloud NothingsAttack On Memory


Igoyh — Kwes.

Really In Love — Royal Headache

Stay Useless — Cloud Nothings

Inspector Norse — Todd Terje

Climax — Urrsher

Hurting (Tensnake Remix) — Friendly Fires

Brains — Lower Dens

Unless You Speak From Your Heart — Porcelain Raft

Lazuli — Beach House

Oblivion — Grimes

Know Me — Frankie Rose

Sinful Nature — Bear In Heaven

Lay Your Cards Out — POLICA

Gun Has No Trigger — Dirty Projectors

Every Single Night — Fiona Apple

The House That Heaven Built — Japandroids

Heaven — The Walkmen

Black Treacle — Arctic Monkeys

One Second of Love — Nite Jewel

Simple Song — The Shins

Monoliths — Lotus Plaza

Candy — The Men

Hood — Perfume Genius

Brodermordet — War

Give Out — Sharon Van Etten

Hole in the Ocean Floor — Andrew Bird

November Skies — Tomas Barfod, Nina Kinert

Betty Wang — Hospitality

Tiffany Lou — Daughn Gibson

Ashtray Wasp — Burial

I’ve Seen Footage — Death Grips

Untitled — Killer Mike (featuring Scar)

There He Go — Schoolboy Q


The Full Retard — El-P


Image from Raleigh

Urban dirt-biking

I took this post-apocalyptic picture outside Jones Barber Shop in Raleigh last year.