What follows is a list of ten albums I've been listening to a lot this year. This isn't ranked -- I won't do that until December comes -- but you can expect to see them somewhere on my final ballot in December.
A symphony of anthemic punk noise. "The House That Heaven Built" is the best turn-it-up-to-11-and-rip-the-knob-off banger in a long, long time. And the whole album is like that.
I freely admit I'm a sucker for Belle And Sebastian/C86 soundalike bands. I am, after all, every stereotype of a Belle And Sebastian fan: A natural introvert who'd rather read in a coffeehouse than rock out at parties (but still has the Teenage Fanclub back catalog cued up and ready to go). So now comes Hospitality, who wear their K Records credentials on their sleeves (even though they signed with Merge) and produce some of the best American chamber pop ever.
Tramp, Sharon Van Etten.
Young & Old, Tennis.
The Lumineers, The Lumineers.
Homage, Portland Cello Project.
The Portland Cello Project has been doing... interesting covers for a couple years now. For example, here's their cello arrangement of "N****s In Paris." Their new album collects a few of them along with some originals. This isn't some novelty band we're talking about here -- they're deathly serious about transmogrifying metal and hip-hop into chamber string arrangements.
Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends, Flaming Lips et. al.
Here's another six albums I've been ruminating over this year:
Attack On Memory, Cloud Nothings.
La Grande, Laura Gibson.
Young Man In America, Anais Mitchell.
And here's my running list of favorite songs of 2012 that's very, um, eclectic. Enjoy.