We have traditionally waited until Jan 1 to post our top 10 albums of the previous year, but last year amongst much arguing we never posted a final list. So, after a week or two of not posting we kind of just forgot about it, even though it was mostly completed. Here we are 12 months later, with some perspective, and I’m pretty proud of this list, and how relevant these albums still are. None of the bands have broken up. Some of them have moved to greener pastures, and some of them have reached a level of fame they were only dreaming about at new years last year.
“The Perseids” was recorded summer of 2011 at Archer Avenue Studios and moves more into the ambient electronic area of indie than The Lovely Few have visited in the past. “The Limited Abilities of Man” touched on drums machines, but was equally organic featuring acoustic guitars, drums,banjo and horns. This time around the songs are just as intricate and delicate, but in a darker atmosphere.
Treat Yourself are the first recordings from Octopus Jones that do their live sound justice. The album is a series of emotional moments better compared to a foreign film score than a dude standing outside of your window with a radio above his head.
Charleston-based Indie rock trio Run Dan Run pulled off what would make or break most bands: they recorded a full length record with each other from three completely different states. If the sound of the record is anything to go by, this test of the band’s dedication and cohesiveness was a very successful one.
In a lot of ways this album sounds like a farewell and a big middle finger to record labels and everything that was the process of Ghost Town. They open up the album with “Witch of the South” which sheds any clean image that they might have created over the years and throw it out the window. When Osborne sings “When he kisses your breast” in the chorus I can only imagine that their younger female fans will have fits, but he goes on to sing about being drunk and high. This is where Sequoyah fans will either be like “hell yeah” or say “About Rain and Holy City are the best songs ever, they really messed up on this album.”
Solid. It’s the only word that comes to mind when I try to describe The Sea Wolf Mutiny’s First EP, The Last Season. It’s funny, the definition of “solid” is a near perfect description of the band’s eight song EP: “not hollow or containing gaps” and “strongly built or made of strong material.”
Say Brother shows have cemented themselves in Columbia folk legend as some of the wildest around and the album release show for All I Got is Time specifically had a hand in that. This album is raw country, based around the blues, which is where that pop country shit on the radio today went wrong.
With Letter to a Friend Elonzo emerged from virtual local obscurity to being one of the leading bands in the SC music scene. Now they make their home in Charlotte, shhh it’s alright, with a new album set for release in early 2013 along with a residency at one of Charlotte’s hot spots, Snug Harbor.
All Get Out’s debut full length The Season has been years in the making. To fans, it has been a myth, a rumor and something that has been much-anticipated. The band went from playing hundreds of shows in 2008, 2009, and 2010 to regional one off dates for much of 2011. They had started to become a staple at SXSW, but in 2011 were absent. They rode hard their first, much beloved Spitting EP, and then re-released it as self titled on Favorite Gentlemen Records. Self titled records are saved for when a band finds its true sound. Had All Get Out found it’s true sound before it ever released a full length?
This sophomore album from Toro Y Moi might go down as one of their most important albums when it’s all said and done. It gave Chaz and co. the opportunity to shed their chillwave skin and be themselves. They got funky, they got dancy, and they hopped over the sophomore slump and continued to ride that chillwave around the world and firmed their footing in the relevant indie music world.
Looking back from the end of 2012 now, this album has kind of gotten lost, but without it Shovels and Rope wouldn’t be where they are now. Now as in, their most recent release was ranked as the #3 album by American Songwriter, #37 by Paste, #5 in Shuffle Magazine, and will be our #2 album. “The Hardest Thing”, “Hell’s Bells” and “Are You Ready to Die” are some of the bands finest songs, hopefully not lost in their rebranding.
With Slow Runner’s third album Damage Points Michael Flynn and Josh Kaler found the perfect mix of serious, and cute-and-clever, with songs like “Spooky Ghost” beside “Devil Moon” and “Apocalypstic Kiss” beside “Damage Points”. Slow Runner found a tasteful way to combine their love for video games and the 8 bit sounds from their youth with Flynn’s clever and poignant lyrics. Damage Points is beautifully sad and nostalgic.