Because Songs Matter

SOME OF CHARLES HALE'S FAVORITE ALBUMS FROM THE TOP 1/2 OF 2012

In January there was a list of seven or eight records I had heard were on the way that I was excited to hear.  Surprisingly only two records from that list makes up my favorite records of 2012 (so far).  The last thing I want to do here is focus on negatives so even though I haven’t been overwhelmed with amazing releases so far this year there are several that deserve a second mention and a little bit of your spare change.  So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorites from the first half of the twenty twelve.

7. Todd Snider – Stoner Hymns and Agnostic Fables

As I read in an article, Todd Snider’s second decade of releasing music is a stunning leap forward from his first decade.  It sounds corny to say but a few albums back he found his voice-angry about the ways of the world but with an understanding that you have to find some humor somewhere.  His lyrics are as biting as anyone’s but he’s hitting you with that smile at the same time.  There’s electric guitar all over ST&AF and the album is a loose ruckus mess of a gem.

Todd Snider - In Between Jobs     

6. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls

Somehow they made an album that several months later still lives up to the prerelease hype.  They are playing real music and selling out show after show and these videos from Bonnaroo show big stages aren’t scaring them..

Alabama Shakes - Hang Loose     

5. McDougall – A Few Towns More

I think one of the other Nine Bullets’ writers mentioned McDougall first, then AIV started swearing by A Few Towns More and eventually I gave it a listen.  Shit yeah!  Aside from the boot stomping and the restless spirit lyrics is the fact that McDougall is basically a one man band and there are instrumentals on the album.  There is wanderlust in these songs but there isn’t naïve idealism..

McDougall - A Few Towns More     

4. Dinero – Sheep

I don’t think there’s another record that sounds like this.  It’s almost like there is violence coming out of the speakers, or rage.  I saw them a week or so ago with my friend and landlord.  He was more than a little drunk but he said he loved Dinero, they weren’t trying to be famous they were just playing.  If you listen to one record on this list make it this one..

Dinero - Some People Push Back     

3. Lucero – Women and Work

You know how many times a band makes the best record of their career?  Once, so who cares if Women and Work isn’t Lucero’s best ever.  They traded a little bit of grit for a big scoop of soul and it’s not like they didn’t have a little grit to spare.  I’m down with Lucero..

Lucero - On My Way Downtown     

2. The Coloradas – Self Titled

Autopsy IV posted about this band and I was hooked.  It’s standing in the same bathroom line as The Fox Hunt and The Devil Makes Three.  I wish there were more bands like The Coloradas and I can’t wait for their next record….

The Coloradas - Our Disguises     

1. 4H-Royalty – Where UFOs Go To Die

I said it before but I can say it again “Accordion Bus” is a great song.  Every song on UFOs is an oddball alt.literary.country gem.  4H-Royalty is a damn fine Denver band and it’s a damn shame they rarely leave Denver..

4H Royalty - Fall Off The Face Of The Earth With Me     

There are also a couple of albums that I’ve heard but we haven’t written about yet.  So be on the look out for Langhorne Slim’s new record and the new Joe Pug.

And there are a few albums I’m eagerly awaiting but who knows if they’ll make my list at the end of the year but I’ll be a happy boy the day records from American Aquarium, David Wax Museum, and The Avett Brothers show up at my house.

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