Best Albums of 2012 So Far & Neil Young and Crazy Horse Review

Jim and Greg love lists so much they can’t wait until the end of the year to make them. Tune in to hear The Best Albums of 2012...So Far.

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Best Albums of 2012...So Far

Determining a year-end Best of album list is the highlight of a critic’s year. Now that it’s June, Jim and Greg get a jump on the winnowing down process with the Best Albums of 2012...So Far. Here are their mid-year best picks:

Jim

  1. Spiritualized, Sweet Heart Sweet Light ( Fat Possum)
  2. Kelly Hogan, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain ( Anti-)
  3. EI-P, Cancer 4 Cure ( Fat Possum)
  4. The dB’s, Falling Off the Sky ( Bar/None)
  5. Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls( ATO)
  6. Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music ( Williams Street)
  7. Dr. John, Locked Down ( Nonesuch)
  8. Cloud Nothings, Attack on Memory ( Carpark)
  9. Screaming Females, Ugly ( 101 Distribution)
  10. Jack White, Blunderbuss ( Third Man/Columbia)

Greg

  1. Killer Mike, RAP Music ( Williams Street)
  2. Kelly Hogan, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain ( Anti-)
  3. Japandroids, Celebration Rock ( Polyvinyl)
  4. El-P,Cancer 4 Cure ( Fat Possum)
  5. Dr. John, Locked Down ( Nonesuch)
  6. Screaming Females, Ugly ( Don Giovanni Records)
  7. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel... ( Epic)
  8. Nick Waterhouse, Time’s All Gone ( Innovative Leisure)
  9. Jack White, Blunderbuss ( Columbia)
  10. Bobby Womack, TheBravest Man in the Universe ( XL)

It’s a long way to December. Check out more Top 10s.

Rust Never Sleeps Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Americana (Deluxe Edition)

Despite rumors that the perennial collaborators would never work together again, Neil Young and Crazy Horse are back with a new album. The combination that produced Rust Never Sleeps, Zuma, and Greendale just released Americana, which takes its inspiration from the American folk vernacular. Think Jesus’ Chariot sounds familiar? You might know it better as She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain. So what can we expect when Neil Young and Crazy Horse take on the elementary school songbook? According to Jim, Crazy Horse is the vehicle Neil Young was meant to drive. It might be a cliché, but they could do a musical version of the phone book and kill. They give new life to these songs by unearthing original verses too dark to have made it to the school recital. Though the tempos are a bit slow, these tracks have a groove, and Young rides it masterfully. Jim says Buy It. Greg thinks of Neil Young as music’s answer to Howard Zinn. Both are alternative American historians. Just like Neil Young classics Cortez the Killer and Pocahontas, these new songs are about the price paid for the conquest of this country. The album works, Greg says, because of the hunger the band brings to songs we take for granted. It’s a Buy it for him too.

Jim

Sociologists talk about the concept of a gateway drug. For his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox, Jim turns to the singer who was his gateway drug to music. When a six-year-old Jim popped his dad’s old Frankie Laine LP on the record player, he knew music was a mysterious force he couldn’t live without. An Italian-American from Chicago, Frankie Laine remade himself into an icon of the American West. Songs like High Noon and Rawhide are undeniable cheese, but between Laine’s rich baritone and those horns, you have to buy whatever he’s selling. (And who could forget that scene from The Blues Brothers where the band gets on the good side of a raucous country crowd by playing Rawhide?) Jim’s song pick, however, is Cry of the Wild Goose - the epitome of Frankie Laine insanity.

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