The self-indulgent Retrospective series continues, this time diving into 2012, maybe THE year that my music taste fully broke and I went from a dedicated listener + hunter of new music to a depraved lunatic. Wild times here, y’all. I also started my first major relationship in early 2012 (and it’s still going! Woo!), got a job at my radio station as Assistant Music Director, went to NYC for CMJ + saw shows there for the first time, traveled to Rhode Island to see Sufjan’s Christmas show, hosted Parquet Courts and Lightning Bolt at UConn for a show, and so many more. Hope you enjoy.
Listen to the 2012 Retrospective via Spotify HERE.
- Pylon – “Precaution”
Not sure exactly how, but I got REALLY into Pylon almost first thing in 2012. Shout out to Georgia.
- Zero 7 – “In The Waiting Line”
Heard this watching Garden State for the first time with some friends on winter break and I thought “woah, this is real life.”
- Pictureplane – “Breath Work”
A dreg from plundering 2011 lists. Haven’t enjoyed a Pictureplane album like this one since but I keep coming back to it!
- Koh Ohtani – “Epilogue ~Those Who Remain~”
Shadow of the Colossus is probably my all-time favorite game and once I relaized I could listen to the soundtrack whenever I capitalized on that. Constant rotation on that.
- Cloud Nothings – “Wasted Days”
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. How bold to put a 8:52 song second on your record. Really showed that the band changed their sound.
- Memory Tapes – “Plain Material”
I don’t know why, I just listened to a lot of Memory Tapes around this time.
- TR/ST – “Sulk”
At the time listening to TR/ST made me feel all sticky and dark. It still does to a certain extent but man, it was unlike anything I’d heard before. Still such a great song.
- Trailer Trash Tracys – “Candy Girl”
Maybe one of the more overlooked great dream pop songs of the 2010s. Should be in everyone’s playlists, people!
- Schoolboy Q – “Hands On The Wheel (feat. A$AP Rocky)”
Weed n’ brews, life for me is just weed n’ brews. Two things at the time I had never tried. But man I listened to this in the dining hall A LOT.
- Chairlift – “Wrong Opinion”
Never heard the song in iPod commercial. Just heard this album and they seemed like the coolest band ever. Caroline Polachek is now everywhere and I’m ok with that.
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- Tennis – “Traveling”
Big early record for my patner and I to enjoy. We got together a few months after this came out, but in the summer it was on constant rotation.
- Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
- John Talabot – “Oro Y Sangre”
Why has John Talabot not made an album like this since 2012?
- Grimes – “Genesis”
When I was making my Best of the Decade list, I was conferring with a friend who’s a bit older than me. Grimes came up and he said he’d never listened to Visions when it came out because it seemed like something weird only kids listen to. I think about that a lot, especially regarding a lot of music coming out right now that I initially pass off.
- Perfume Genius – “Hood”
GREAT music video. Totally striking album I had the pleasure of reviewing.
- Sleigh Bells – “Leader of the Pack”
Endless replay on this one for me. Second Sleigh Bells record got panned critically which probably caused me to drop it a bit, but I remember listening to it nonstop upon its release.
- Light Asylum – “End of Days”
Watched a video of Light Asylum playing this at a Pitchfork/Altered Zones(!) party at the New Museum in NYC. As a MI-born, CT-collegiate kid who likes music, that was the coolest thing.
- Korallreven – “Sa Sa Samoa (Elite Gymnastics Remix)”
The “Losing My Edge” of listing historical, legendary clubs? Perhaps. Does a juice place live where the Paradise Garage was? I probably don’t have the fortitude to last all night at raves like that, but man it’s fun to think about them.
- The Men – “Please Don’t Go Away”
I had just recently got into The Men’s 2011 album, so this came at the perfect time. Huge favorite for me that year.
- The Field – “Over The Ice”
Listening to Here We Go Sublime and “Over The Ice” while getting whipped in the face by a snowstorm? It’s real!
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- Mister Lies – “I Walk”
A random Best New Track from Pitchfork yielded a lifetime favorite track for me. Just magic. Makes me feel real sad + weightless. The perfect combo of feelings most pop music tries to capture these days.
- Andrew Bird – “Orpheo Looks Back”
Andrew Bird DOES. NOT. MISS. Plus, one of the few times I saw him, almost entirely playing new material, he played this song. Hell yes.
- Lemonade – “Neptune”
Another rogue Best New Track that changed everything. In my top 50 most-played songs according to my iTunes.
- Julia Holter – “In The Same Room”
My first proper introduction to Julia Holter. I actually tried listening to her 2011 album but it was too weird at the time. This one really hit a sweet spot.
- Burial – “Ashtray Wasp”
Burial chained together my hype for 2011’s Street Halo with this perfect follow-up, one of the best EP’s he’s put out. Before my partner and I started dating I tried showing this song to her and even I didn’t know how to describe it to someone, especially one that didn’t like electronic music.
- Elite Gymnastics – “Here, In Heaven 4 & 5 (CFCF Remix)”
Another plea from me to you to listen to all the Elite Gymnastics content on the internet you can find. This one sounds like a Studio Ghibli cut.
- Jai Paul – “Jasmine”
I ripped it off YouTube and played it on my radio show the night it dropped. World premiere!!!
- Beach House – “Wild”
Hearing this for the first time was a big moment. Sitting on my dorm bed, hearing the same drum machine on the kids keyboard I had growing up, then just the majestic sweeping guitar and synth. I knew this album was gonna be special.
- Chromatics – “Dust To Dust”
Love this whole Chromatics album, but this song in particular is so cinematic and cool, makes me feel like I’m in some kind of Blade Runner “tears in the rain” scene.
- Kindness – “Swingin’ Party”
Had no idea this was a Replacements cover until 2016. That’s four years.
— — —
- Lone – “Raindance”
Played this one LOUD in the air studio at my radio station. Hell yeah.
- Death Grips – “The Fever (Aye Aye)”
Y’all heard of this group?
- Major Lazer – “Get Free (feat. Amber Coffman)”
One of the best songs of the decade! Best thing Major Lazer has done!
- Japandroids – “Fire’s Highway”
If you weren’t kicking holes in walls to Japandroids in 2012, where were you?
- Beck – “I Only Have Eyes For You”
If you haven’t heard Beck’s version of “I Only Have Eyes For You” I feel bad for you son. Done for a very cool art installation at the Hirshhorn in DC called ‘SONG 1″ where they projected video over the museum’s curved outer walls. I always thought that was so cool. One of those things that was covered in Pitchfork and got me hyped. OPN did a version too. Got to visit the museum in 2016 for the first time and had a moment.
- Marina And The Diamonds – “Radioactive”
I think I heard How To Dress Well’s cover first, but the original is so sick. Fuck Imagine Dragons.
- Killer Mike – “Big Beast (feat. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble)”
2012-defining track. The beginning of Killer Mike (and El-P’s) dominance over my life.
- Hot Chip – “Ready For The Floor”
I think this was inspired by me watching Hot Chip’s Pitchfork Fest set + them playing this song. Just an incredible earworm and an instant add to my exercise playlist at the time.
- Father John Misty – “Funtimes In Babylon”
One of the first CDs I grabbed to review over the summer. Didn’t know anything about FJM at the time, but I really loved this album. Defining early summer record that traveled into early fall.
- King Tuff – “Bad Thing”
Was definitely still an edgy teen at this point and was listening to music during a 4th of July fireworks event on the beach – listened to this song maybe 10 times in a row.
— — —
- Laurel Halo – “Thaw”
Absolutely morphed and shifted my entire music taste. Shout out to Ann Arbor.
- Mount Eerie – “Lone Bell”
I always associate listening to this song and the Spider Houses from Majoras Mask. Anyone else?
- Clams Casino – “Swervin’ (Remix)”
Clams Casino back with the hits! I later saw XV live and I kept yelling for him to play this song, but then I realized this was a remix, not the original instrumental to the song. Woops.
- Hot Chip – “Flutes”
More Hot Chip. Huge 2012-defining song. I’ll always think of 2012 when this comes on. When I covered a show for a friend, I definitely played this one. I think my good friend & old roommate also references 2012 with this song. Big moment for sure.
- Fiona Apple – “Werewolf”
I wasn’t a full-on Fiona fan at that point, only really listening to “Criminal”, but The Idler Wheel shaped my summer fully.
- Ty Segall Band – “Slaughterhouse”
I think I was a casual fan of Ty Segall until 2012, when he really established his dominance with three albums. The Ty Segall Band record is still far and away my favorite, with the title track being a huge powerhouse.
- DIIV – “Doused”
Still slaps! Ultimate slapper! Seeing them perform this and go super hard later in October was a year highlight.
- Frank Ocean – “Pyramids”
If your 2012 didn’t include freaking out to this song, what happened?
- Purity Ring – “Amenamy”
Maybe the first vinyl record I ever pre-ordered. It came with a little polaroid from the band that I still have in the sleeve. I don’t think the whole album still holds up but there are still the hits.
- Trash Talk – “Awake”
I would do planks to the entirety of this song in my room over the summer after doing the elliptical for 30 mins. Aside from that, all I did during the summer of 2012 was play Fire Emblem games, listen to music as the Assistant Music Director and goof around with my partner.
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- Baroness – “March to the Sea”
Killer guitar solo dude!!
- Royal Headache – “Psychotic Episode”
I miss Royal Headache.
- TNGHT – “Higher Ground”
This absolutely blew my mind when it first came out and accompanied every single run. If this comes on, my mind immediately goes to 2012.
- Captain Murphy – “Mighty Morphin’ Foreskin”
The mystery of Captain Murphy was an exciting one. I wonder if the press outlets knew it was FlyLo from the start. If they did, they did a really good job at making it mysterious. I later saw FlyLo perform some Captain Murphy songs live in 2017 and it was a really big moment. Just an aside, he also mixed the Twin Peaks and Ghost In The Shell themes together and my brain exploded.
- Moons – “Waves At Night”
- Meadowlands – “Oye”
These are two sort of hidden gems from Gorilla Vs Bear, two things I’ve continued to put in playlists and feature on the blog since their release in 2012. I didn’t see any other outlets post about these two, so it’s kind of like they’re my special secret. It makes me think about how other people who crawled blogs at the time likely have rogue mp3s of bands that didn’t end up going anywhere and don’t exist anywhere else anymore. An era lost, except for those that carry mp3s in locket-like libraries.
- Ryan Hemsworth – “SLOWED SUMMER MIX”
This doesn’t exist on the internet anymore but Ryan Hemsworth, if you’re reading this, please re-release for the public to hear. Previously a free download from Scion (the car company?) this kind of summarized where things were at in 2012, with free mixtape, album and mix downloads from Soundcloud being posted about on blogs. In terms of subject matter, it engages my nerd self with samples from Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong Country (most notably features Rick Ross over the main map theme from DKC2) along with lots of great hip hop like Kendrick Lamar and Juicy J.
- The Velvet Underground – “The Gift”
Had never listened to White Light/White Heat until late summer 2012. “The Gift” turned into an obsession. I may have been re-reading J.D. Sallinger at the same time. Good timing.
- Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Forever Heavy”
Do you remember the first time you heard Black Moth Super Rainbow? Do you remember he first time hearing that Tom Fec is straight-edge? Fuck yeah dude.
- Dan Deacon – “True Thrush”
After being weirded out by Mr. Deacon from the friend’s recommendation, his 2012 album redeemed it in a big way. Also loved the music video for this one.
— — —
- Wild Nothing – “Midnight Song”
This album came out right as school was starting back up – sophomore year of college! Wild times! Felt like the coolest dude in the solar system playing this on the radio.
- Swans – “Mother Of The World”
Never heard Swans before. It made me feel like a malformed giant.
- Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute”
Grizz was basically the first “indie rock” band I got into, so their first album into my continue dig into “indie” music meant a lot. This song in particular has moments that I still think about, particularly the percussion and wild sound effects in the background, like the sound of something sliding down a metal wire and clacking into a wooden wall, or the bubbling, brooding synth, or the bright flashbulbs of guitar. It’s a cinematic, black and white, oversaturated, drama of a song.
- Merchandise – “In Nightmare Room”
A year-alterer for sure. Totally morphed my fall listening. Later I saw them at a local record store play one of the loudest sets I’ve ever seen, even with Carson, the lead singer, sticking toilet paper in his ears. Those sets are on YouTube somewhere and you can see me looking very self-conscious and trying to be cool, desperately failing.
- Taken By Trees – “Only You”
Ok, this is just so good and so overlooked. Dubby, tropical, syrupy pop music. Had the pleasure of reviewing this for my radio station and gushed for a while. It was pretty much all weirdo art punks at the time so they probably thought I was lame for loving this, but hoo-wee, it’s still a big fav of mine.
- Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?”
Another constant radio show album.
- Death Grips – “Lock Your Doors”
I’ll admit it, I locked onto the goose chase on /mu prior to this album coming out. The fake links, the fake pictures, the conspiracy theories, the scavenger hunt, the deep web (I didn’t go on the deep web, but hearing about people going on looking for DG things), and remember getting up EARLY and seeing this album dropped, trying to download before class and annoying my sleeping roommate. It was a moment that few people took part in (compared to the fanbase now) and I don’t think anything like it could happen now. That’s probably ignoring artists that 20-year olds are listening to now, but it was thrilling. I haven’t gone on /mu for about 6-7 years now, but NO LOVE DEEP WEB was probably the defining piece of work of that period.
- Hundred Waters – “Visitor”
One of those moments where I chose this CD to review for the radio station and it changed my life. Hundred Waters (“Hundo”) continue to be one of my favorite bands and this album is a highly underrated piece of the 2010s indie pop canon. I also remember being turned away from Pianos at CMJ 2012 because I was underage. Just wanted to see Hundo, god damnit.
- Submerse – “Tears”
Burial but on just a bit of uppers.
- Tame Impala – “Apocalypse Dreams”
What a perfect lead single. I was into Tame on their debut, but this showed a step up in every dimension. Something I played on my radio show every week. I remember standing in line for UConn Union taco salad and sharing an earbud with a friend like “dude you have to hear this right now”.
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- Boris – “ブラックアウト”
This is one of those songs where it hits you IMMEDIATELY. Like instant attention grabber. Maybe the first “sludge metal” song I’d ever heard. Later saw them perform this album in its entirety in 2016. Maybe the foggiest show I’ve ever been to.
- Snowing – “Pump Fake”
I tried to get into emo for a bit. I don’t listen to emo anymore!
- Kendrick Lamar – “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”
Dabbled in Section .80 when it came out the year prior, but was obviously in for Good Kid. I remember listening to this album on a train into NYC EARLY in the morning and was really really into it.
- Mac DeMarco – “My Kind of Woman”
- Mac DeMarco – “Ode To Viceroy”
Ok, my posting of Mac DeMarco here serves as a landmark for not only 2 coming out but also my first CMJ experience. First off, playing Mac during any get-together in college was an instant win. It was before he saturated through everything. It was sick. Second, CMJ was amazing or me, even though I wasn’t 21 yet. I got to experience going to shows in NYC and Brooklyn for the first time, seeing GZA, Killer Mike, Mac DeMarco, Chairlift, DIIV, The Antlers, Andy Stott, Kilo Kish, Sky Ferreira, so many more. Foundational stuff. Thinking back to it now – NYC was about to get rocked by Hurricane Sandy and change forever. Looking back at old lineups from CMJ 2012 and it’s insane. All the venues that don’t exist anymore. All the hyped bands that have faded. Kind of sad, but warm. I miss that time, but I recognize things will never be that way.
- Andy Stott – “Numb”
Filled in for someone’s show during Hurricane Sandy of all things and played this – felt very eerie as wind shrieked outside. I had just seen him spin live in a dome at CMJ with horror movies playing on a huge projector.
- Parquet Courts – “Stoned And Starving”
I’d like to think myself and UConn folks were “Parquet Courts early adopters” as they played a WHUS show with a local hardcore band, Lemonade and Lightning Bolt. They were the second band up. Bought this LP off A. Savage, a real cool dude. In this same show I got to hang out briefly with the Brians of Lightning Bolt and that was so cool.
- Aphex Twin – “Blue Calx”
Aphex Twin albums that aren’t Selected Ambient Works 85-92? They exist!
- Mustafa Ozkent Orchestre – “Uskudar”
Started toying at the idea of having a world music show at my radio station once I downloaded a worldly things, like this funk album from Turkey. Turkish funk is fantastic and I highly recommend you all take a journey. Either way, the world music show did happen and it was a load of fun.
- Liar – “Bruised Knee (feat. Borealis)”
Just a song I was obsessed with that year. Not many folks I know have listened to this, it’s great electronic, folks!
— — —
- Laraaji – “The Dance #2”
Realizing there are other Brian Eno ambient albums? Who’s Laraaji? (cut to five years later). Ohhhh
- Stardust – “Music Sounds Better With You”
Ok if you’ve heard this song you know the first time someone hears it, it’s a MOMENT.
- Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – “Manheru Changamire”
More world music! This time a great Zimbabwean band that I’d play a cut from at least once a week.
- El Polen – “Mi Cueva”
GREAT psychedelic folk from the mountains of Peru. Just recently put on streaming! I bought a CD copy of this on Discogs for probably $40 and then realized they reissued the vinyl and then bought that for probably $35. Such a fantastic record I own it on two formats. Would play often on my world music show.
- Macintosh Plus – “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー”
Vaporwave, the internet, fashion, life, the world… was never the same again.
- Yo La Tengo – “Autumn Sweater”
Listened to I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One for the first time. That did some things.
- The Microphones – “The Pull”
Started diving deep into Phil Elverum’s work around this time. It Was Hot is a good album.
- Miguel – “Do You…”
“Do you like drugs? Do you like hugs? Me too.”
- Glocca Mora – “Y’all Boots Hats? (Die Angry)”
More emo I don’t listen to now.
- Dean Blunt – “The Narcissist (feat. Inga Copeland)”
I’m gonna be a basic loser and say this is Dean Blunt’s best song.
— — —
- Jessica Pratt – “Night Faces”
Fall and Jessica Pratt’s first album? You gotta be kidding me!
- TOPS – “Turn Your Love Around”
A late addition to the 2012 canon, but man it changed my tastes forever. While this wasn’t my all-time favorite of theirs, it put them on the map and primed me for their landmark follow-up in 2014. I’ve seen them live five or six times at this point.
- Le Tigre – “Deceptacon”
I saw this popped into my library around this time. I forget what exactly got me to download this one specific song, but it must have been something good.
- Have A Nice Life – “Bloodhail”
Huge for me, and it helped a lot of other music nerds at the radio station also knew HANL. It helped that they were from CT.
- Wu Fei – “Cloud Of Birds”
One of my favorite finds from my world music mining days. Gorgeous zheng playing.
- Burial – “Rough Sleeper”
Hilariously this came out near the end of 2012 and after one listen it was my “favorite track of 2012”. That was obviously in the heat of the moment (it’s still great, fantastic even) but it’s not my favorite track of the year. Gotta go back and edit. Burial had a great year though with this and Kindred.
- Hop Along – “Tibetan Pop Stars”
Listened to Get Disowned near the end of 2012 and kind of lumped it into the emo stuff I was getting into at the time. No no no, it would grow into something much more.
- Solange – “Losing You”
Played this on multiple new music radio shows at the end of the year. So fun to blast in the air studio and dance around to.
- Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe – “MoOoOoOn”
Super lovely minimal/micro-house album that not too many people know about.
- Cocteau Twins – “Cherry-Coloured Funk”
I remember listening to Heaven Or Las Vegas for the first time right at the end of 2012. I had heard Treasure in high school and thought it was fine. This unlocked, shall we say, an obsession with Cocteau Twins.