You’ve got to love a year where this list is made up of so many young and emerging artists. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites from 2012.
Canadian singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen unleashes a pop album that is simply sublime. The production has a textured feel anchored by the nuanced confidence of Jurvanen’s guitar-playing. And he even manages to give the songs a subtle Caribbean feel.
For a special treat, see Bahamas live when the group passes through your town. The touring group of three vocalists, guitar and drums is enthralling.
Key Tracks: Caught Me Thinking, Lost in the Light, Okay Alright I’m Alive, Your Sweet Touch
Audio Stream: Bahamas, “Caught Me Thinking”
Pug continues to mature as a artist. His latest is more of a band affair, yet it is still imbued with the rich songwriting – infectious melodies coupled with intelligent lyrics — that we’ve come to expect from him.
Key Tracks: Deep Dark Wells, Silver Harps and Violins, Stronger Than the World, The Great Despiser
Audio Stream: Joe Pug, “The Great Despiser”
Additional Twangville coverage on Joe Pug here.
Denver’s Lumineers strike gold with their self-titled debut release. The album is filled with forlorn songs that have an uplifting air about them. Truly refreshing.
Key Tracks: Big Parade, Classy Girls, Dead Sea, Ho Hey, Slow It Down, Stubborn Love
Audio Download: The Lumineers, “Ho Hey”
After having worked with some of the finest producers in the music business, Carlile took the reigns on her latest release. The result is a resounding success, a song cycle that is powerful in emotion and relaxed in feel.
Key Tracks: Hard Way Home, A Promise to Keep, Rise Again, That Wasn’t Me
Audio Stream: Brandi Carlile, “That Wasn’t Me”
Additional Twangville coverage of Brandi Carlile: Mayer’s Playlist for June 2012
My fave rock album so far this year – a sonic blast from start to finish.
Key Tracks: All the Same, Crazy Pills, Metronome, Shooting Spree, I Need Supervision
Audio Download: Archie Powell and the Exports, “Shooting Spree”
Additional Twangville coverage of Archie Powell and the Exports here: Mayer’s Playlist for Spring, Part 3
I haven’t given this one a proper review (coming this month) but it has been in heavy rotation since its May release. This album fits like a classic coat, weathered enough to have lots of character and so comfortable that you wear it every chance that you get.
Key Tracks: Get a Gun, Out In the Jungle, Riverboat, So Familiar
Audio Download: Tim Gearan, “So Familiar”
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.