Darko’s Top 10 albums of 2012


You’re not gonna find any sign of Japandroids or Frank Ocean in my Top 10 albums of 2012. I reckon The Cloud Nothings are overrated too. But then again, I’m not 23 so I probably don’t need that much angst in music anymore. Everyone went gaga for Andy Stott’s Luxury Problems but I think it’s just too pleasant – no real teeth, coffee morning electronica – and not a patch on the preceding one-two of We Stay Together and Passed Me By.  The less said about The XX the bet…..Zzzzzz.

In no particular order:

1. Django Djano – Django Django (Bright, breezy with a hint of weirdness)


2. Dan Deacon – America (Skittles rainbow symphony)


3. Giant Giant Sand – Tuscon (Bleached sun and desert dust, at times mournful, others beautiful)


4. Swans – The Seer (If you find Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch too much, try this)


5. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant (Fun for horny toads)


6. VCMG – Ssss (Bang ting bang ting + squelch)


7. Monolake – Ghosts (Clank and boom and steam)


8. Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense (A sharp lyrical wit compensates for this album being three songs too long)


9. Orbital – Wonky (Widescreen technicolour comeback)


10. Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know (Another guttural and broody take on Father issues)

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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Facebook: DAR


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  1. Love Love Love that Dan Deacon album. Im in my mid 40s… and still like to rock now and again. It really takes effort to see why some of the albums are so popular, but also easy for others. Dan Deacon comes from West Babylon, NY which is 10 minutes from me. Love the opening track. Seems to be an interesting cat.

    Havent heard the new Orbital, I will have to pick it up. Saw them back in the 90s..

  2. They are all good selections out of another great year for music (if you are looking in the right places). I would add;

    Alt J – An Awesome Wave

    The Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

    Susanne Sundfor – The Silicone Veil

    Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man Alive

    (and a lot of others well worth checking out)

  3. An excellent list John though there are a few I have not heard which I will check out.
    Will be hiding the XX album behind the couch to try and maintain some semblance of street cred.

  4. Can’t wait to check some of these out JD; that is for those I haven’t heard already (the Swans latest is quite good, though hard to top what was supposed to be their swan-song…no pun intended…Soundtracks For The Blind). I agree about Cloud Nothings latest; I don’t know if Albini did it, or Dylan Baldi…but all the fun has been stripped from their eponymous title previous to it.

    However…I have to say, the clamor over Channel Orange is well-deserved IMO. It’s not even my classic fare, but I find it’s genre-bending R&B sound mesmerizing.


    • Chris, I have to agree with you re Channel Orange. The Dark One got it wrong on this occasion and then made it worse by bracketing them with the Japandroids (a fun garage ban to be sure but not noteworthy).

      OMH took a rather different view and placed at the top of their 2012 album picks.


      So no one should be put off giving Channel Orange a serious listen by John’s public display of dubious taste.

      To make amends for the mis -step I suggest John post a link to video of him dancing to any of his top five recommendations.

      • I am with John on Channel Orange – I just dont get the hype, and on another forum I rated it as the most overrated album of the year. I purchased it soon after Pitchfork gave it a big wrap, and have given it numerous spins to try and get into it. Even tried listening to it in the car. Underwhelmed.

        • *sigh* Oh well. “It takes all sorts” and “there’s nowt as strange as folk” etc.

          So (don’t be shy) tell us what was the album that popped your cork in 2012?

          • Some of the albums that really worked for me in 2012, in no particular order, were
            Bat For Lashes – Haunted Man
            Beach House – Bloom
            Mark Lanagan Band – Blues Funeral
            Bettye Lavette – Thankful n’ Thoughtful
            David Byrne & St Vincent – Love This Giant

            And for an Aussie flavour
            The Rubens – The Rubens
            Julia Stone – By The Horns

  5. John,

    Your reviews turned me on to Monolake earlier this year. I loved it, and I’ve continued looking. Have you heard the album “9980” by artist “Connect.Ohm”? Here’s a link for instant lossless download:


    The album was just recently released in October. I’d call it ambient, down-tempo, or chill-out. I’m not sure if that’s your genre, but it may be worth a look.

  6. Solid list although it seems you’re missing Lorn – Ask The Dust. Superb album, especially considering you like your electronic.

    • Thanks Peter – I’ll look into Lorn. They’re on Ninja Tune I see, so that’s a good start.

  7. Hi John,

    I totally agree with your #1 rated album. Andy Stott has quickly established his own sound with that slowed-down, dark techno. Have you checked out his last album “Passed me By”? I’m also a big fan of his album artwork.

    I must get around to checking out Monolake’s “Ghosts” as I have a couple of his earlier albums. Love “Momentum”!