Review: 2012 Roundin’ Up The Strays [Part 2]

. . . Second verse, same as the first . . .

Before we move on to music from 2013, let’s clear the decks to make room for new inventory. There are many great albums from last year which, for whatever reason, I didn’t get around to reviewing. No time for full reviews now so I’ll just use the following summation, applicable to all:

This album rocks/is the catchiest thing ever/defines a generation. It will make you dance/bang your head/reenact Meg Ryan’s orgasm scene from When Harry Met SallyYou should go out immediately and buy it/share it/tithe 10% of your paycheck to whoever recommended it.”

Ben-Gibbard-Former-Lives1Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives 

Mr. Gibbard will be familiar to all who listen to Death Cab For Cutie (or those who follow the love life of Zooey Deschanel). On his first official solo album, Ben—as he’s usually known—uses the opportunity to record some songs written over the last decade that didn’t quite fit into the stylistic box of his usual song-delivery medium.

carly-rae-jepsen-kiss-albumCarly Rae Jepsen – Kiss 

One-hit wonder? You wish, hipsters! Jepsen can actually sing and she co-writes most of the tracks on her full-length debut. She will likely never have another hit as big as “Call Me Maybe”—I mean, there are undiscovered Amazonian tribes doing parodies of that song—but if you’re a fan of froth, you have poppy pleasures awaiting you.

FoxyShazamTheChurchOfRockAndRoll-300x300Foxy Shazam – The Church of Rock and Roll 

Do you have a “The Darkness”-shaped hole in your heart? Well then I’m about to make your day.

Derivative? Oh, yeah.

Fun? Barrel + monkeys, y’all.

Michael-Kiwanuka-Home-AgainMichael Kiwanuka – Home Again 

I love the unexpected. Michael Kiwanuka’s track “Tell Me A Tale” sounds like Steve Winwood and Traffic in 1972 with an arrangement by Curtis Mayfield. The rest of the album resides more in the realm of singer-songwriter with acoustic guitar. It’s a good realm—mellow—like sitting in a jacuzzi with a nice glass of Cabernet.

VaccinesComeOfAge600Gb270612The Vaccines – Come Of Age 

Classic indie guitar rock in the tradition of The Strokes or The Smiths (people forget that Morrissey and Marr could write bouncy tunes, too). They’ve won all kinds of awards in their native UK. Can’t get arrested in the US. (Don’t get confused by the album cover, the band is actually all dudes.)

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