Here’s a pretty random list of six albums we recommend for 2013. We’re not claiming these are the best albums of 2012 – some were released years before – but we’re loving them and thought we’d share.
Silversun Pickups — Neck of the Woods
From the opening notes of “Skin Graph,” the meticulous eeriness of Silversun Pickups‘ third album takes shape, and by the 1:30 minute mark, you’re already awash in the dark mood of the album. Deep textures, frenetic drums, atmospheric keyboards, noisy (but musical) interludes, and guitar work that alternates between accents and domination define NOTW, though there are plenty of songs where the bass guitar drives the bus. The musical elements, including the androgynous vocals, mesh together in sparkling layers, and the brilliant arrangements are one thing that makes this such a compelling listen. But it comes down to the songs, and with every listen, a new track emerges as my favorite. On NOTW, Silversun Pickups is more confident and comfortable than on its previous releases, and the band is never in a hurry to get the proceedings over with.
– Andre Calilhanna, Content Manager (Disc Makers)
Raconteurs — Broken Boy Soldiers
It is my lot in life to fall in love with bands that are side projects, only to leave me in love and wanting more. This couldn’t be truer than when it comes to the Raconteurs. Their initial release from 2006, Broken Boy Soldiers, came back onto my radar with a vengeance this year. The album combines all the grit and growl of Jack White’s style with the melodic and smooth counterbalancing of Brendan Benson’s voice. You could compare it to the combo of chocolate and peanut butter, but a shot and a beer would be more apt. The highs on the album bring you to a euphoric rock trance, without being abrasive or overbearing, while the lows lull you into the back corner of a dive bar feel. So order another round, kick back, and let Broken Boy Soldiers envelop you in some good old rock and roll.
– Jesse Gray, Email Marketing Manager (Disc Makers)
Mariachi El Bronx — Mariachi El Bronx (II)
I love The Bronx, I love mariachi music, and possibly above all, I love Mexican food. This album blends all three (well, Mexican food goes well with it, as does a good Negro Modelo) into one amazing, fiesta-inducing dance-fest. The Bronx is a hardcore punk band out of LA, and their lead vocalist, Matt Caughthran, has long cited the influence mariachi music – prevalent in his neighborhood growing up – has had on his own music. With their alter ego, Mariachi El Bronx, they pay proper homage. One might make a snap judgment that a hardcore punk band putting out a mariachi album is something of a novelty, but Mariachi El Bronx fully commits to the deep-rooted traditions of mariachi music. Once you hear the blaring trumpets in the intro of “48 Roses,” you’ll feel it. Mariachi El Bronx is no gimmick, they’re singing about love, loss, and tragedy with the reverence, bravado, and skill a traditional charro suit demands.
– Julia McCracken, Marketing Coordinator (Disc Makers)
The Cult — Choice of Weapon
It’s not often I get really excited about a new record (I know, I know… I work for a company that is constantly helping bands put out great new music). Don’t get me wrong, in 2012 I enjoyed plenty of new releases but, in my opinion, none holds a candle to The Cult’s Choice of Weapon. I love this record. It’s a true “album,” 10 songs, and not a bad one in the bunch. Punchy rockers like “For the Animals” and “Lucifer,” paired with epic tunes like “Life > Death” and “Wilderness Now” flesh out an album filled with highlights. A few years ago, singer Ian Astbury said the album was dead as a way to release music and they wouldn’t do another one. Well, I’m glad he changed his tune, because records like Choice of Weapon prove the album is alive and well, and set the benchmark of what a great album should be.
– Tom Laverty, Email Marketing Coordinator (Disc Makers)
Lord Huron — Lonesome Dreams
Lush, sweeping melodies and dreamy harmonies set the tone for Lord Huron‘s first full-length album, Lonesome Dreams. Originally a solo effort, the Michigan-born outfit is now a full, five piece band based in L.A. Lead-singer Ben Schneider’s time on the shores of Lake Huron had an obvious influence on the record, as themes of nature, adventure, and exploration are apparent throughout. Daydreams of deserts, open spaces, and the forgotten West are evoked, as are feelings of melancholy and hopefulness. Fans of Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros will likely appreciate the melodic, Americana rootsy pop-rock that is Lord Huron.
– Molly King, Digital Marketing Program Manager (CD Baby)
Wild Nothing — Nocturne
I didn’t realize this was my favorite record of the year until I thought about how often I’ve played it in the months since its release. Let’s just say I’ve played it… a ton. I was never a huge fan of Wild Nothing, so I wasn’t expecting all that much with their latest release. But from the first listen, I was hooked. Nocturne seems to have a little bit of everything I like: I can hear traces of everyone from the Smashing Pumpkins to New Order to M83. Nocturne has a terrific flow, from beginning to end, it’s well-produced with a sound that fits the songs perfectly, and (the ultimate testament to a good record) there is not a single track I skip over. I’m seeing Nocturne pop up on tons of “Best-of” year-end lists, and deservedly so. I can’t wait to hear what these guys do next.
– Daniel Baker, Director of Web Marketing (Disc Makers)