Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Best Albums of 2012: Honourable Mentions

  • R.I.P. by Actress. There are so many good tracks on here, but this record feels overlong. It’s pleasing at its best, and frustrating at its worst, but the latter only creeps in after the first ten tracks or so.
  • (III) by Crystal Castles. I was slightly disappointed when this record was not also called “Crystal Castles”, like the two before it. But, where the two that preceded it felt like continuations of each other, this feels like a departure. Half of the tracks on this record are mixed so they sound like you’re listening to them through the outside wall of a club. The other half sound like you’re pressing your ear against the speaker.
  • III – MMXII by Clubroot. Dark, deep, and tense. Truly a record for night owls. A soundtrack to a programmer’s working hours, or a hacking scene in a spy movie.
  • Pink by Four Tet. All of the tracks on this record, save for “Lion” and “Peace for Earth”, have been released prior. That doesn’t mean “Pyramid” gets any less good, though.
  • The Glorious Dead by The Heavy. Modern funk done right. Not a hell of a lot different than 2009’s The House That Dirt Built, but this is the most fun jammed into a 2012 album.
  • An Omen by How to Destroy Angels. The non-Nine Inch Nails-side-project of Trent Reznor, with Atticus Ross and Mariqueen Maandig. Their debut EP had overtones of NIN with female vocals. This EP sounds like a conscious effort to move away from that. “Ice Age” and “The Loop Closes” are highlights, but the latter leaves me longing for more Nails, pronto.
  • Crime by Night Committee. I was saddened by the breakup of Hot Little Rocket, but Night Committee (comprised of half of Rocket, plus an organist/keyboardist) is a great followup act. Jangly distorted guitars, rolling drums, and rock organs. Excellent.
  • Sleeper by Seams. This EP starts with the promising “The Glow”, but tapers slightly with the next two tracks. The six minute closer more than makes up for those, however. Polyrhythmic synths abound.
  • King Animal by Soundgarden. Over fifteen years later, Soundgarden returns with new content that sounds like they never left, which carries implications both good and bad. Good, but not comparable to their greatest work.
  • Trilogy by The Weeknd. I’ve already praised the sexiest three albums of 2011. This year’s re-release contains a few new tracks, and all the rest have been remastered. Does it hold up? Absolutely. A modern classic.
  • Coexist by The xx. Quieter than their breakout debut record. It’s a nice twist, but I can’t help but mourn the loss of some of the tension of their last effort.
  • XXYYXX by XXYYXX. Highlights include the album opener “About You”, and the midpoint “DMT”. Perhaps the most relaxed album of 2012.