We here at TNB Music would like to extend a swift kick in the ass with a steel-toed boot to 2012, with menacing threats to never, ever show its ugly mug around here again. That said, this open heart surgery of a year has yielded a rich trove of enduring albums and songs, and as we impatiently wait for 2013 to pull up out front and beep its glorious horn, the intrepid writing corps at TNB Music now pause to share our favorite offerings from 2012.

To our readers, colleagues, conspirators, confederates and harried editors, we wish you all a happy, healthy and hopelessly sexy new year.

-Joe Daly

TNB Music Editor


The TNB Music Big Serious Awards


TNB Music 2012 Album of the Year: Anathema–Weather Systems

Take this album out on a long drive or retreat to a quiet place where you can absorb Anathema’s stunning meditation on life and death uninterrupted, from beginning to end. Repeating acoustic patterns, cascading melodies and heart-shredding lyrics inform this sonic catharsis, revealing new and magnificent subtleties with each listen.

Best Pop Album of 2012: Tristan Prettyman--Cedar + Gold

The intersection of bright hooks and the sharpest lyrics in pop, set against shifting textures of folk, trip hop and Americana.

Best Rock Album of 2012: Devin Townsend Project--Epicloud

A glorious Queen-sized opus delivered by one of hard rock’s boldest adventurers. There is not a single note of this record that does not satisfy on a profound, visceral level.

Best Album that Defies Categorization of 2012: PHILM–Harmonic

Rivulets of jazz, psychedelia, blues, rock and metal converge to yield a trippy, if not haunting, listening experience. We would be remiss in not pointing out that PHILM’s drummer and mastermind is none other than Dave Lombardo, timekeeper for a cozy Los Angeles quartet known as Slayer.

Best World Music Album of 2012: Mokoomba–Rising Tide

Holy shit. It’s just that good.

Best Singer/Songwriter Album of 2012: Fiona Apple–The Idler Wheel

Her latest album might just be her best yet, seeing the fragile songwriting ingenue mining the bleakest corners of her brokenness for another top tier collection of tunes.

Best Blues Album of 2012: Lurrie Bell–The Devil Ain’t Got No Music

Never a paragon of consistency, this year saw Lurrie nail it with this soulful blend of gospel and traditional blues. Bonus points for titular reference to the devil.

Best Punk Album of 2012: The Casualties–Resistance

Fitting that this year’s punk title goes to The Casualties, slinging thick slabs of old school punk, spiked with ample doses of political outrage and defiance.

Best Metal Album of 2012: Royal Thunder--CVI

This swampy metal masterpiece defied classifications while emerging as not simply the year’s best metal debut, but the best of a particularly high-quality bunch.

Best Tribute Album of 2012: Various–Who Are You: An All-Star Tribute to the Who

Boasting the talents of Ginger Baker, John Wetton, Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren, to name a few, this salute to the forefathers of punk rock showcases top-shelf selections from every era of the band’s storied history. From the Raveonettes’ velvety cover of “The Kids Are Alright” to Dave Davies’ snot-nosed take on “My Generation,” even the most intransigent of Who fans will appreciate these updates of old classics.

Best Hard Rock Song of the Year: Halestorm, “Love Bites (So Do I)”

This song is so good that we created a new category for it.


Ten Albums We Could Not Wait to Hear that Met or Exceeded Our Expectations


Anya Marina Felony Flats

Public Enemy—Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp

The Gaslight Anthem—Handwritten

Anya Marina—Felony Flats

Beach House—Bloom

Japandroids—Celebration Rock

Alt-J—An Awesome Wave

Steve Poltz—Noineen Noiny Noin

Lamb of God—Resolution

Tame Impala—Lonerism

Butch Walker & The Black Widows—The Spade



The Infinite Glory of Music Awards

Best Song That Feels Like It’s 1977 and You’re Driving Down the Highway: The Night Flight Orchestra– “Siberian Queen”

The Most Beautiful Song Named After a Blood-Soaked Murder Capital: We Are Augustines– “Juarez”

Best Song for Dancing Around Your Bedroom in Your Underwear: Echo Lake– “In Dreams”

Best Song for Proving to Your Girlfriend that You Really Are Funky: Cornershop– “Solid Gold”

Best Song About the Happy Sector of the Afterlife: The Walkmen– “Heaven”



The Lindsey Bluher 2012 Eagles of Melody Awards


Albums of the Year

1. Vacationer— Gone (Downtown)

2. Father John Misty— Fear Fun (Sub Pop)

3. Lord Huron— Lonesome Dreams (IAMSOUND)

Album Guaranteed to Make you Love Seattle Music Even More:  Macklemore + Ryan Lewis— The Heist

Best Album to Get Stuck in Traffic With: Cat Power— Sun

EP From 2011 That you Could Have Sword Came Out in 2012 That Makes you Feel ALL THE FEELINGS: Daughter— His Young Heart
Best Album That Would Have Made my Best of 2012 List No Matter What it Sounded like but is Actually Really Great: Benjamin Gibbard— Former Lives
Best Album That May Get Written off Because of Its Too-Catchy First Single: The Lumineers— The Lumineers
The Album Every Hipster Will Mention Loving in 2012: (Tie)  Purity Ring— Shrines; Alt J— An Awesome Wave
Best Album to Play on Repeat for Hours and Chain Smoke Camel Blues to: Sea Wolf— Old World Romance



The 2012 TNB Jiffy Awards

The Best Song for a Fall Drive: Oberhofer, “oOoO”
The Best Song to Play in a Kitchen During a Late Night House Party: Pond, “Elegant Design”
The Best Song that Paul Westerberg Never Wrote: Deer Tick, “Born at Zero”
The Best Song About Drugs: The Cult, “Honey from a Knife”
The Best Grooving Anthem With a Weird Falsetto Chorus: Killing Joke, “Fema Camp”



The J.M. Blaine 2012  Soul of Music Awards


Albums of the Year

1. Hammock – Departure Songs

2. Gossip – A Joyful Noise

3. No Doubt – Push & Shove

4. Rockabye Baby – Lullaby Renditions of Prince/Depeche Mode

5. David Phelps – Classic

If you’re 35 and still pedaling your Huffy to work late shift at the Quik-Stop: Van Halen – Stay Frosty

If you’re driving the time machine toll bridge from 2012 to 1975 and you really don’t mind the drive:
Mike Doughty – Sunshine

If your El Camino is idling in the gravel lot of a rundown motel and it’s raining and you realize you don’t
even know her name: ZZ Top – I Gotsta Get Paid

If you’re trying on corduroy bell bottoms at the overpriced hi-style hippie place downtown: Avicii /
Lenny Kravitz – Superlove Remix

If you’re holding up your cigarette lighter until the gripwheel burns your thumb — Black Country
Communion – Song of Yesterday (Live from Germany)

If you’re thinking all Nashville stars look like sorority sisters from Old Miss and clerks at The Buckle and
that country music sounds like a commercial for Diet Dr. Pepper: Hank Williams Jr. – I’m Gonna Get
Drunk & Play Hank Williams All Night Long / Old School

If you realize that you really didn’t play much new music in 2012 and decided to tell the truth about
what you really listened to and hoped that maybe they might put something new out in 2013:
Fleetwood Mac



The 2012 Brad Listi Vanguards of Heavy Metal Awards

ancient vvisdom

Best Heavy Metal Song: Kvelertak–”Blodtørst”

Best Song for Standing on a Mountaintop and Beating Your Chest: Avatar–”Napalm”

Best Song for Chasing an Intended Victim Through the Woods: Marduk–”Into Second Death”

Best Drug Song: Melvins Lite–“Baby, Won’t You Weird Me Out?”

Best Song for Experiencing a Nervous Breakdown in Rush Hour Traffic: Black Breath–Doomed

Best Song for Lifting Weights in the Garage on a Saturday Afternoon: Orange Goblin – “Red Tide Rising”

Best Acoustic Ode to Lucifer: Ancient VVisdom – “The Opposition”



The William Boyle “Achievements in Sound” Awards of 2012

Phantom_Limb-coverAlbums of the Year

1. Water Liars, Phantom Limb (Misra)

2. Sharon Van Etten, Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

3. Jessica Pratt, Jessica Pratt (Birth)

Best Album by an Artist Who Hasn’t Released an Album in 41 Years: Bill Fay, Life is People

Best Live Show: Shovels & Rope at Proud Larry’s, Oxford, MS on 10/23/12

Best Album That Didn’t Actually Come Out in 2012: Hiss Golden Messenger, Poor Moon

Best Video: Tom Waits “Hell Broke Luce” 

Best Everly Brothers Cover: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Dawn McCarthy “Christmas Eve Can Kill You”

Best Song to Punch Someone in the Dick to of 2012: Kelly Hogan “Ways of This World”

Best Goddamn Record Store in the World: The End of All Music, Oxford, MS



The 2012 Howard J. Kirchbaum Memorial Circle of Creative Achievement

The Howard J. Kirchbaum Golden Dove Recipient: My Dynamite- “Take It or Leave It”

The Howard J. Kirchbaum Bronze Falcon Recipient: Howlin’ Rain- “Self Made Man”

The Howard J. Kirchbaum Platinum Hawk Recipient: Anya Marina- “Heart Stops”

The Nancy Feldstein-Kirchbaum Memorial Excellence in Songwriting Award: Foxy Shazam–”I Like It”



The Tom Mohrman 2012 Commemorations of Achievement in Excellence Pertaining to Melody, Rhythm and Songwriting (aka “The Mohrmans”)
6PAN1TAlbums of the Year

1. Lemolo— The Kaleidoscope

2. Kid Koala— 12 Bit Blues

3. Die Antwoord— Ten$sion

Undeniably Kick-Ass Song Within an Otherwise Underwhelming Latter-Day Second Release: Tenacious D— “39”

Still-Relevant Award: Dizzee Rascal— “Here 2 China,” (on the Calvin Harris album 18 Months)

Fewest Steps to Most Funky: THEESatisfaction — “Bitch”

Dreamiest Ironic Wistfulness: Father John Misty— “Now I’m Learning to Love the War”

Award for Actually Doing Something Great with his Frat Rap Largess (and Showing Signs of Being Entirely Awesome): Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert — “Same Love”

Existing Entirely Within a 1970’s Psychedelic Dream Award: Goat “Goatmen,” World Music (Also the goatiest song in a very goaty year.)

Most Danceable Weird Dub/Hip Hop Song Concerned with iMacs and Mobile Tech: LV feat Okmalumkoolkat — “Zulu Compurar,”



The 2012 TNB Music Little Acorn Awards

Best Song for Embracing a Bold New Perspective About Life: The Answer – “Nowhere Freeway”

Best Song for Burning One Down on the London Tube: Chris Robinson Brotherhood- “Blue Suede Shoes”

Best Song for Driving Along an Open Stretch of Highway on a Friday Night at Sundown: Slash–”Standing in the Sun”

Best Song to Make You Feel Like a Kid Growing Up in a Chicago Suburb in 1989: Cold Specks- “Winter Solstice”



The Kevin J. O’Conner’s 2012 Stairway to the Next Floor Awards

fagenAlbums of the Year

1. Donald Fagen, Sunken Condos

2. Pet Shop Boys, Elysium (Deluxe Edition)

3. Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas

Best Album that Probably Sounds Way Better on Vinyl: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra — Theatre is Evil

Best Joe Jackson Album in Years that Isn’t a Live Album: The Duke

Most Welcome Reissues: (Tie) Working Week, Working Nights;  The Jam, The Gift (Deluxe Edition); the Frank Zappa catalogue

Most Ironic Reissues: The Beatles catalogue on vinyl

Best Cheerleader-Type Song Sung by a Middle-Aged Woman Who Isn’t Toni Basil: Madonna “Give Me All Your Luvin’”

Best Political Satire by the Only Artist with the bBlls to Even do That Sort of Thing Anymore: Randy Newman “I’m Dreaming”

The “What Would Tom Petty Think Of This?” Award: New albums on vinyl going for $24.98 and up…



Brianne Turner’s Monuments of Majestic Noise Awards of 2012

fun-albumAlbums of the Year

1. fun., Some Nights (Fueled By Ramen)
2. Jack White, Blunderbuss (Third Man Records)

3. The Paranormals, American Spirit (Sons of Old Town Collective)

Best Underrated Hip-Hop Album of 2012: Blu & Exile– Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them
Best Americana Album of 2012: Shovels and Rope– O’ Be Joyful
Best Album To Play On A Sunny Day: Kishi Bashi–Room For Dream
Best Song About Smoking Crack of 2012: Cody Chesnutt–“Everybody’s Brother”
Best Song To Wear Sunglasses At Night To of 2012: Twin Shadow–“Be Mine Tonight”
Best Song To Dance Alone In Your Underwear To of 2012: Tanlines– “All Of Me”
Best Song To Play When You Arrive At A Desert Island of 2012: Bahamas–“Caught Me Thinkin”



For your enjoyment and edification, we put together this playlist containing a selection of this year’s winners. Who loves ya, baby?

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JOE DALY writes for a number of publications, including the UK's Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines, Outburn, Bass Guitar Magazine and several other print and online outlets. He is the music and cultural observer for Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor site and his works have been published in several languages. When he is not drafting wild-eyed manifestos, Joe enjoys life in San Diego's groovy North County, teaching music journalism, doing yoga, running, playing guitar and spending tireless hours in deep and meaningful conversations with his beloved dogs, Cabo and Lola. You can check out his rants at http://joedaly.net and follow him on Twitter: @JoeD_SanDiego

3 responses to “The 2012 TNB Year-End 
Music Awards”

  1. Richard says:

    No Godspeed? With all these awards? First Romo throws the game away and now this. That hurts, JD.

  2. Laurie says:

    Great picks! And I can’t wait to look up the one’s I don’t know. 🙂

  3. Shelley says:

    I know Adele is taking some time off, but I’m still grateful to her for breaking out of the “American Idol” mold of volume/production and taking us back to the old way: the singer’s good if she has a strong, variable, unique voice.

    It’s all the voice.

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