Ten Albums You Should Listen To In 2012

The next 21 could be in here.

by Alex Heigl

2012 is three days old and I'm already drooling over this year's upcoming releases. A lot of these are still up in the air: at this time last year, Watch the Throne was allegedly dropping in February. But my fingers are still crossed for these, the most anticipated albums of 2012. I will gladly die in the Mayan apocalypse if I finally get to hear D'Angelo's follow-up to Voodoo.

1. Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas (January 31)

Seventy-seven-year-old Leonard Cohen might have a few years on Tom Waits in their battle for the title of "Most Grizzled Literate Old Man Chronicling the Human Condition," but they're not weighing on him at all. Some of the songs on Old Ideas (his first album since 2004's Dear Heather) have been circulating in Cohen's repertoire since his 2008 comeback tour, and the title track has been online for a while — it's vintage Cohen, featuring his velvet-grit baritone and stirring imagery.

Listen: “Show Me the Place”


2. Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror (February 14)

Sleigh Bells were either awesome or grating in 2011, depending on your particular taste and how much your could stand their "BOOM BOOM *girl vocals* SUPER LOUD GUITAR" formula. But there's no denying their impact, and Reign of Terror is definitively one of the most anticipated sophomore efforts of 2012. The band will be touring with "hipster black metal" (an obnoxious if semi-accurate term) band Liturgy and Diplo in Florida in support of the album. Stock up on earplugs now.

3. Dr. Dog, Be the Void (February 7)

Dr. Dog have been churning out solid, '60s-sounding indie rock since 1999, and though they're not exactly the most avant-garde or extreme band making the rounds, they've steadily racked up a pretty great discography in that time. (My personal favorite is 2010's Shame, Shame.) New tracks "Control Yourself" and "Warrior Man" show that the band's quirky, hooky sensibilities are still firmly in place.

Listen: “Control Yourself”


4. The Magnetic Fields, Love at the Bottom of the Sea (March 6)


The Magnetic Fields' ambitious 69 Love Songs was followed by a "no-synth" trilogy; Love at the Bottom of the Sea promises to reunite Stephin Merritt's acerbic baritone with any number of squalling electronic noises. With song titles like "I've Run Away to Join the Fairies" and "All She Cares About is Mariachi," Love at the Bottom of the Sea will at least maintain the streak of romantic absurdism that first brought the band attention.

5. The Shins, Port of Morrow (March)

The first Shins album in five years, Port of Morrow should mark a return to form for Epileptic Natalie Portman's favorite band from that movie about Jersey. Leader James Mercer spent recent years collaborating with Danger Mouse under the Broken Bells name, and it'll be interesting to see how that collaboration may have affected his main band. Not that 2007's Wincing the Night Away was a departure, exactly, but I'm excited to hear what five years off did for The Shins. 

Listen: “Unknown Title”


Commentarium (7 Comments)

Jan 03 12 - 1:52am

Yay for new albums in 2012! I was kind of worried that 1)Santigold had retired and 2)we'd never hear from D'Angelo or Mars Volta ever again.

Jan 03 12 - 3:57pm
mr. man

Let me add the new CD by Esperanza Spalding, to be released this spring.

Jan 03 12 - 7:41pm

Seconding this, great new musician finally getting the attention she deserves.

Jan 03 12 - 9:24pm

So the Shins rumors were true, thank cod.

Jan 03 12 - 9:30pm

And it will be interesting if Tyler the Creator will keep cultural relevancy. I think he has what it takes to do something entirely different and have it be just as interesting, but we'll see.

Jan 03 12 - 9:36pm

Sub Pop was the trump to your bluster. Myke would buy.

Jan 04 12 - 6:25pm
The Actual Myke

Cool comment bro.