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My listening year, 2012

Dec 21, 2012

My listening year, 2012

Here’s a bunch of good new-to-me music I listened to in 2012. I’m stealing my friend Mark Larson’s format for this post — it struck me this year that when I think about the music that hits me, it always comes with a context, it’s always the soundtrack to some moment. Follow me on Rdio to hear more of what I like…


January is the month I catch up with 2011 music, and everyone I know seemed to love this Yuck record. It’s good “drowning out” music, perfect for the bus.


I have a friend who’s recommended Lambchop to me for a few years, but Mr. M turned out to be the gateway drug. Love, love, love this record, and it wound up putting me to sleep in a lot of hotel rooms on book tour.

Maybe the sonic opposite, I liked the Cloud Nothings’ Attack on Memory, especially the song “Fall In,” which is what I want Green Day to sound like.


Lee Fields’ Faithful Man was my Rocky music — the album I played to feel good, to get psyched up in my hotel room while I was getting ready to give a talk. I think I played “You’re The Kind of Girl” more than any other song this year.


My friend Jed played me Future Islands’ On The Water while he was driving me around San Diego, so now whenever I hear it I think of fish tacos and the ocean.

My buddy sent me one of the singles off Grimes’ Visions about a year ago and I loved it. The album’s pretty great, too.

My wife and I listened to Andrew Bird’s Break It Yourself a lot while cooking dinner.


Somehow, despite being a Beatles nut, I’d somehow failed to hear Paul McCartney’s Ram. When I did, half of indie music suddenly made sense.

My friend Christy got me into Here We Go Magic’s A Different Ship — they really haven’t made a bad album.

Speaking of not making bad albums, Jack White’s Blunderbuss is another notch in his belt.


Okay, so Bobby Womack wasn’t new to me, but I got to see him live in June, and I listened to most of his back catalog this year. (I wore out the wonderful single, “Please Forgive My Heart,” but found the rest of Bravest Man In The Universe pretty boring.) If you need a place to start with him, look no further than his Anthology.

Other records I listened to in June: King Tuff, Lotus Plaza, and The Walkmen, who, album for album, have made some of my favorite music in the past decade.


July I was finally home from book tour, but I then spent most of the month traveling in the car with my wife. We listened to Norah Jones’ Broken Little Hearts and then I listened to a bunch of her old stuff — I like her one before BLH, The Fall, a lot too.

Caught up on Adele’s 21.

Dirty Projector’s Swing Lo Magellan is great, saw them in Austin when they came to town.


August, and the rest of the year, belonged to Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE. If Watch The Throne was 2011's car album, this was 2012's.


Surprised how much I liked Dwight Yoakum’s 3 Pears, especially the two Beck-produced tracks.

Listened to a lot of Roxy Music, and liked Divine Fit’s A Thing Called Divine Fits and Digital Leather’s Modern Problems


We spent most of October trying to get my wife to go into labor, so there were a lot of candle-lit evenings with Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours playing while she soaked in the tub.

Also liked the Deep Time record and Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack for The Master.


My kiddo was born in late October, so when we brought him home, I tried to play Gonzales’ Solo Piano II to chill him out, but it turned out that what really worked was My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, which I thought I knew in-and-out, but I listened to so much with him that it started to sound new. He also really likes reggae, so we listened to the soundtrack for Marley a lot.


I’ve been working to the reissue of the first three Gil Scott-Heron albums, The Revolution Begins and making my way through the Gram Parsons back catalog.

Bonnie Raitt’s Slipstream is actually really great and well-produced.

Currently catching up on a ton of music I missed, including Solange’s EP, and local Austin, Texas band The Young’s Dub Egg, which has some wonderful pedal steel and sounds a lot like Crazy Horse.

OK! Lemme know your favorite album of 2012 here or over on Twitter: @austinkleon

My previous listening years: 2011 and 2010,

73 notes

  1. earlyadaptor reblogged this from austinkleon
  2. unwordinglanguage said: Lots of good stuff here. Always looking forward to this time of year when I can glance at what other people have been listening to/watching/reading. Good year in music. Some of our faves parallel: bit.ly/102hhKy
  3. toddbotblog said: the year’s not over yet! listen to the new seamonster album “baldessari” - it’s all about art! seamonster dot bandcamp dot com :-) PS thoroughly enjoyed your book, and have been reading your blog for a few weeks, great stuff sir!
  4. missxx reblogged this from austinkleon
  5. ianfitzgerald said: Blunderbuss, Fiona Apple’s ‘Idler Wheel…’ and ‘White Lighter’ by Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons.
  6. listofnow said: I have yet to make my list, but Beach House’s “Bloom” was a big one for me this year. “Myth” is probably my favorite song this year. and I listened to both First Aid Kit albums a lot.
  7. adequate-muse reblogged this from austinkleon
  8. juliessuitcase reblogged this from austinkleon
  9. virtualdespot said: I have great affection for Yuck.
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