In absolutely no numeric order — I could never pick favorites with a list like this!
- Jens Lekman, Night Falls Over Kortedala
- Throw Me The Statue, Moonbeams
- Cave Singers, Invitation Songs
- Okkervil River, The Stage Names
- John Vanderslice, Emerald City
- Arthur & Yu, In Camera
- Low, Drums and Guns
- J. Tillman, Cancer and Delirium
- Night Canopy, Of Honey and Country
- Tiny Vipers, Hands Across The Void
Looking at my non-list, I not only get warm fuzzies, but I also realize there’s perhaps two degrees of separation from each artist. For example, Throw Me the Statue is now labelmate to Jens Lekman on Secretly Canadian, and Okkervil River is nearly their “family” on sister label Jagjaguwar. Jenny Jimenez of Night Canopy took the photos for the album artwork on Cave Singers debut, and both bands feature members of (R.I.P.) Pretty Girls Make Graves. Low and Tiny Vipers can both be found on Sub Pop, while Arthur and Yu was released by their offshoot label Hardly Art.
As for Vanderslice, he recorded [and briefly appeared on] a previous Okkervil release at his studio, Tiny Telephone. J. Tillman’s current backing band features Casey Wescott of the Fleet Foxes, who played to a sold out Crocodile crowd with the Cave Singers on November 30th; the following night Tillman played the High Dive with Whalebones — a band featuring Amy Blaschke of Night Canopy. Phew!
Frighteningly enough, I could actually go on, but I believe my point has been proven. Perhaps the kinship and overlap in my top list could be construed negatively, a limited field of vision resulting in only seeing what is immediately in front of me. From my perspective, it’s just the opposite. While I do appreciate any number of bands, genres, and strange incestuous sub-sections, this is what I love. In 2012, these are the songs that will bring about the most visceral remembrances of five years prior, because this was my heavy rotation out of everything made available in the past year.