2012 best albums (Amarillo)

10. ALT - J - "An Awesome Wave" - Atlantic - Sep 18

9. - Alabama Shakes - "Boys & Girls" - ATO - Apr 10

8. Bear In Heaven - "I Love You, It's Cool" - Hometapes - Apr 3

7. LIARS - "WIXIW" - Mute - Jun 5

6. - Swans - "The Seer" - Young God Records - Aug 28

5. - Sharon Van Etten - "Tramp" - Jagjaguwar - Feb 7

4. - Tame Impala - "Lonerism" - Modular - Oct 9

3. - The Walkmen - "Heaven" - Fat Possum - May 29

2. - Porcelain Raft - "Strange Weekend" - Secretly Canadian - Jan 24

1. - Grizzly Bear - "Shields" - Warp - Sep 18


2012 Best Albums by MM

It’s the end of another year, a great one in terms of music.

Lots of changes in our lives are coming. New paths that promise a lot, new roads that most likely take us far, new ideas, new friends, but as always, music remains.

Below I summarize what 2012 meant to me in terms of music. Albums that traveled with me through the year, new artists that we discovered together, new songs and the meaning they acquired the moment we heard them first. At the end of this wonderful year all that becomes part of who we are and prepare us for what’s coming next.

My list below, hope you like it.




1 Efterklang – Piramida

“Piramida is perhaps the band’s greatest achievement: an album bringing the outside in, informed by frozen time and the relics humanity leaves in its expanding wake. 

Its roots were laid in 2010, when the band first saw photographs of a forgotten settlement lying, slowly dying, on Spitsbergen, an island of the Svalbard archipelago midway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. 

This ghost town, which the trio eventually visited in Aug 2011 would give their 4th album its title, and comprise the conceptual catalyst for its contents.” Official Efterklang bio by Mike Diver

2 Grizzly Bear – Shields

“Shields, the band's fourth and most compositionally adventurous record… Though full of baroque, detail-rich production and latticework melodies, Shields also offers an emotionally resonant core. The album is an excavation of loneliness, melancholy, and self-reliance. It's also a demanding record, without an instantly gratifying single to hook restless ears. But the rewards that come from immersing yourself in it are odd and profound.“ Pitchfork

3 Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits

“Down to its tongue-in-cheek title, A Thing Called Divine Fits can seem at first blush like a one-off vanity project, two experienced mechanics building a hot rod in a garage over a few weekends, or two NBA players meeting up for summer pickup ball.… it's a match too good to be true…” Pitchfork

4 Swans - The Seer

“Swans has never traveled a straightforward, clean, or uninterrupted path. But with The Seer, one thing is certain: Even during its quietest lulls, Gira has never sounded louder.” The A.V. Club

5 Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

“It's a wonderful record, a colossal achievement, and features some of the most breathtaking, moving and downright beautiful music you'll hear all year.” Drowned In Sound

6 Alt-J -An Awesome Wave

“You can see every angle and every side of the shape they've made. And the unimpeachable logic of each song, added to their odd tunefulness of the songs, makes them exciting to listen to.” Prefix Magazine.

7 Alabama Shakes - Boys and Girls

“Boys & Girls is more than a debut album. It's an introduction to a band you thought you knew for years, but are just fortunate enough to meet now.” PopMatters

8 The Walkmen – Heaven

“After 10 years and seven albums, Heaven finds The Walkmen in a better place.” The A.V. Club

9 Beach House – Bloom

“This is an album that is simply, in the most awe-inspired sense of the term, absolutely golden from end to end – a real treasure and an utter delight to experience every time you play it.” PopMatters

10 Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend

“All in all, it's a solid debut effort and one that never spares on electronic dramatics and an extensive array of far-ranging ideas.” Absolute Punk

11 Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled with Light

“For Fanfarlo, this is a follow-up that does all that it needs to do. It keeps us critics and fans happy with a healthy balance of familiarity and expansion.” No Ripcord

12 M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion

“A Wasteland Companion isn't a sonic tidal wave, per se - it's built on some of the folk troubadour's quietest, most intimate tunes in years. But where emotions are concerned, it pummels.” The Boston Phoenix

13 Poliça - Give You the Ghost

“It's the interpretation of a human voice that elevates this record beyond a curious obscurist record and makes the simmering (but never boiling over) electronica truly shimmer.” Drowned in Sound

14 The xx – Coexist

“The world adored the xx's Mercury Prize-winning debut album xx. Coexist is, if anything, an even finer piece of work.” The Independent on Sunday (UK)

15 Allo Darlin - Europe

“Allo Darlin' have achieved their aim of not producing a carefree record again, and then some--instead, they've created one of considerable, admirable depth and nous, though it retains the warm, personal nature of its predecessor.” musicOMH.com


16 The Antlers - Undersea

17 Lost in the Trees - A Church that Fits Our Needs

18 Liars - WIXIW

19 Glen Hansard - Rhythm and Repose

20 Yellow Ostrich - Strange Land

21 Japandroids - Celebration Rock

22 Bear in Heaven - I Love You, it's Cool

23 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros-Here

24 Tennis - Young and Old

25 Perfume Genius - Put Your Back No. 2 It

26 Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

27 Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit

28 Hot Chip - In Our Heads

29 Dr. Dog - Be The Void

30 Regina Spektor- What We Saw From The Cheap Seats


Divine Fits – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA October 22, 2012

October was odd, completely booked with concerts (Six for me), work like there is no tomorrow and radically exciting things going on in my life. … I could barely catch up with all to the point that the cancellation of The xx gig at Union Transfer on October 29 due to Sandy felt not just like the right thing to do, but ironically like a relief…

There is, however, at least one concert for sure that I wanted to write about. Divine Fits played the Union Transfer on a beautiful Monday night (October 22, 2012). The project led equally by Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade) through amazing collaborations with keyboards and drums geniuses Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) and Alex Fischel develops into a more complex, stronger and cohesive band, which in my opinion surpasses the level of their previous projects. Divine Fits creates simple straight forward rock and electronic music that becomes hard not to like. Their live performance is evidently natural and depicts no sign of musical egos clashing as traditionally seen in collaborations from well established musicians.

The band played most of their amazing “A Thing Called Divine Fits” plus a couple of covers including a great version of Tom Petty’s “You got Lucky”, and of course “Shivers” the Rowland S. Hower cover included in their album.

I leave you with the setlist plus a couple of vids of the night including “My Love is Real” and “Shivers” that was selected by the band to complete in a magnificent way their 14 piece show.

Some people say Divine Fits is a “super group” whatever that means…well, they are.




Divine Fits –October 22, 2012
Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA

  1. Neopolitans
  2. Flaggin a Ride
  3. Baby Get Worse
  4. The Salton Sea
  5. What Gets You Alone
  6. Would That Not Be Nice
  7. Civilian Stripes
  8. Lost (Frank Ocean cover)
  9. My Love is Real
  10. Like Ice Cream
  11. For Your Heart
  12. You Got Lucky (Tom Petty cover) 

  1. Doom Town (Wipers cover)
  2. Shivers (Rowland S. Howard cover)

My Love is Real

Shivers (Rowland S. Howard cover)


The Antlers – Union Transfer Philadelphia

On Sunday September 30, 2012, the Brooklyn based band The Antlers (without a doubt one of my favorites), performed live at the Union Transfer, the beautiful venue on Spring Garden in Philadelphia. This marked their last stop in their long tour in the middle of which they released their new “Undersea” EP, which was fully performed that night along with brilliant versions of tracks from “Burst Apart” and “Hospice”. Personally, that represented my 4th The Antlers concert.

Clearly, all moves along these days. People and things evolve and morph in many sometimes unexpected ways. However, others remain intact…and that’s good too. The Antlers’ approach appears to remain unchanged, focused on melancholic, daring and intense music that is certainly not for everyone. Their rough and deep lyrics combined with the intensity and power delivered in their music, makes them for sure unique. Through these years, I’ve seen them evolve from an opening act to a stellar and completely developed band. Despite this the group led by Peter Silberman remains a collection of young and incredibly talented musicians, performing immaculately every night. Who knows what comes next for The Antlers, but whatever shapes, sounds and directions they want to explore, we will follow.

I leave you with the set-list for the night and a clip from Drift Dive.



The Antlers – Set-list September 30, 2012
Union Transfer – Philadelphia

1 Drift Dive
2 Rolled Together
3 No Widows
4 Endless Ladder
5 Kettering
6 Shiva
7 Silvia
8 Crest
9 Hounds


10 Zelda
11 Putting the Dog to Sleep


Grizzly Bear - "Shields"

¿Cuántos discos cada año en nuestras listas personales provienen de bandas con base en Brooklyn? Insisto, debe ser el agua, no es normal una escena tan prolífica.
2012 evidentemente no será la excepción. Grizzly Bear lanza en 10 días (17/18 de Septiembre) Shields, su cuarto álbum de estudio. 
He tenido la oportunidad de escucharlo, de digerirlo, de convivir con el disco como creo que se tiene que hacer con una obra así, no me ha soltado en una semana y no lo hará en mucho tiempo. Conclusión, es mi disco favorito del año, no hay mucho más que decir, solo espero que no se lo pierdan y que le dediquen el tiempo que merece. 
Les dejo "Yet Again" y "Sleeping Ute" en vivo, para The Colbert Report.


Swans - "The Seer" (2012)

Lo he escuchado por tercera vez, sin interrupciones y en completa concentración. Sin duda desde la primera supe que sería un álbum del que valdría la pena escribir algo. No es fácil ubicar a Swans en algún genero en específico, y mucho menos comparar a The Seer con algo que previamente haya escuchado y disfrutado. Esta banda de Nueva York, con 30 años de carrera y 12 grabaciones de estudio, logra con su última producción el álbum más trascendental de su larga historia, prácticamente unanimidad entre la crítica especializada y no era para menos, The Seer es un gigante, es una caja de sorpresas inmensa, es un disco difícil como todo lo que se hace con tal libertad artística y que evidentemente no tiene la más mínima aspiración comercial ni el deseo de apegarse a paradigmas que llevan 30 años sin importarles, es una película, casi dos horas que al escuchar con atención te llevan por distintos paisajes y sentimientos, es escalofriante y lleno de momentos brillantes. Les dejo un vid (del track que realizaron con Karen O, que es una JOYA), el link para comprar el álbum desde su disquera (Young God Records), un track para descargar (The Apostate) y una pequeña nota de Michael Gira, líder de Swans. 


“The Seer took 30 years to make. It’s the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it’s unfinished, like the songs themselves. It’s one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade. The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in rehearsals, live and in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they’ll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while. Despite what you might have heard or presumed, my quest is to spread light and joy through the world. My friends in Swans are all stellar men. Without them I’m a kitten, an infant. Our goal is the same: ecstasy!" 


A Thing Called Divine Fits by Divine Fits

"Divine Fits" is the name of a unique project involving Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs), Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) and Alex Fischel. As a band Divine Fits delivers an over-exaggerated pop sound with perfectly crafted keyboard, bass, drums and guitar combinations that along with the raw vocal sound of Daniel and Boeckner sound fresh, new and original.

Their album simply called “A Thing Called Divine Fits” is perfectly engineered to deliver exactly what they want. The message is clear, and the album contains some of the most interesting tracks I've heard lately. The opening track “My Love is Real” grabs you tight for an enjoyable ride that allows you to discover amazing tunes, including “Would That Not Be Nice”, “The Salton Sea”, “Baby Get Worse”, “Civilian Stripes”, “Shivers” and my favorite “For Your Heart”. The band is touring the US as we speak and “A Thing Called Divine Fits” is out at the end of this month (August 28)... I urge you to get it soon...

I leave you with a couple of clips from their recent show in Columbus, OH. and Austin, TX, plus links to NPR Music website and the band’s official site where you can hear the album in its entirety.




Divine Fits Website

First Listen - A Thing Called Divine Fits” - Divine Fits

My Love is Real

Civilian Stripes

The Salton Sea



Sharon Van Etten – Union Transfer Philadelphia – June 21, 2012

After a couple of weeks of exile, angry of the injustice and apathy in my country, it is time to move on. Below, a seriously delayed post of a great concert more than a month ago...

Sharon Van Etten played at the Union Transfer on June 21, 2012, sharing a really intimate show focused mostly on her latest album “Tramp” but decorating the playlist with multiple tunes from previous albums like “Epic” and “Home Recordings”. Personally, highlights of the night include for sure beautiful versions of “Give Out”, “We are Fine” “All I Can”, and a loud and strong performance of my favorite “Serpents”.

The Brooklyn-based singer is certainly not a new artist however “Tramp” represents her most successful album so far. Despite her recent success, Sharon Van Etten remains a simple, organic and extremely talented musician with an easy going, joyful and somewhat witty personality. That night, she took time to interact with several family members joining her for the show. In a very intimate moment, she apologized for not being with her dad on father’s day offering to play a song for him. “Did you practice “Tell Me”?” shouted her dad from the crowd…

“Tramp” represents one of the best albums of 2012 and most likely the beginning of a significant and well-deserved amount of attention to Sharon Van Etten music. I am sure we’ll be hearing more from her in the future…

I leave you with a clip from "Kevin’s" as played that night at the Union Transfer, one from "Tell Me", the 2010 song requested by her Dad during the Philly show ans "Serpents" as played in Studio Q in February...





Tell Me



2012 Half-year best albums by MM

It is that time of the year when we attempt to summarize the music that has been with us for the past 6 months. This blog allows us to share our stories, our lives and through music we have collectively seen time as it passes by. As I always say, the half-year post is special, and allows you to correct your path, reinforce your amazing findings and look at those things you have somehow missed.

This year has certainly been one filled with new discoveries.

The top part of my list includes new artists that have completely impressed me with their debut albums (Alabama Shakes, Poliça, Porcelain Raft); new releases from favorite artists from previous years (Beach House, Fanfarlo, The Walkmen, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros); albums from artists I just discovered this year (Sharon Van Etten, Allo Darlin); and even some that I have neglected in the past, but cannot ignore anymore (M. Ward).

As I often do, I expand beyond 10 albums, offering another 10 recommendations comprised of extremely good choices. Some of which, in fact, might end up moving to higher places in my list as time progresses but that have either been released very recently or for whatever reason have not had enough time to gain enough momentum yet.

Interestingly (I guess), 4 out of my top 5 albums come from bands with a female lead singer. Similarly, on a not so modest comment, I can proudly say that 9 out of my top 10 picks represent bands that either I’ve already seen live or that I expect to see them live in the near future….lucky me.

Below, my list, I hope you like it…




MM – Best Albums- Mid 2012

1- Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
2- Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
3- Beach House - Bloom
4- Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light
5- Poliça - Give You The Ghost
6- M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion
7- Allo Darlin’ -  Europe
8- The Walkmen - Heaven
9-  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros-Here
10- Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend


11- Lost in the Trees - A Church that Fits Our Needs
12- Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
13- Liars - WIXIW
14- Yellow Ostrich - Strange Land
15- Japandroids - Celebration Rock
16- Bear in Heaven - I Love You, It's Cool
17- Glen Hansard - Rhythm and Repose
18- Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
19- Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
20- Hot Chip - In Our Heads


Radiohead – Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ – June 13, 2012

In this blog, we try to emphasize new music. We often discuss artists that appear all of the sudden and change the direction in music. We try to focus our attention on those that shape things and provide a different perspective on sound, lyrics and new ideas. Radiohead has done exactly all this for decades and everything released by them brings up the level for everybody else. Without hesitation I’d say the band remains as the greatest of our era and perhaps of all times.

Radiohead played at the majestic Susquehanna Bank Center located on the Delaware River (Jersey side) on a cool though beautiful night on Wednesday June 13, 2012. This was the third time I’ve seen them live, my wife’s fourth (so proud!)…  As expected, just like the two of us, the crowd remained engaged throughout the close-to-2 hour show and could barely keep up with the energy of the band led by Thom Yorke.

The selected playlist although based on their latest “The King of Limbs” focused significantly on “In Rainbows” and included also multiple songs from previous albums (OK Computer, Kid A, Hail to the Thief). Before their second encore, Yorke announced that night represented their last show in the US “for a while”. The band then proceeded to close the night with “House of Cards” (In Rainbows), “Reckoner” (In Rainbows) and “Everything In Its Right Place” (Kid A).

Hard to predict what Radiohead will do next. One thing I know, along with me a lot of people will be waiting for it…

I leave you with the set-list for the night and their flawless performance of “King of Limbs” as it appeared in “From the Basement” . 




Radiohead – June 13, 2012
Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ

There There
Kid A
Morning Mr. Magpie
The Gloaming
Like Spinning Plates
15 Step
Lotus Flower
Paranoid Android
Little By Little

Encore 1:

Give Up The Ghost
I Might Be Wrong

Encore 2:

House of Cards
Everything In Its Right Place

Radiohead - King of Limbs - From the basement


10 discos / Medio Año / 2012 / Amarillo

10 discos y un montón de recomendaciones extra, pocos años tan prolíficos para la música como este 2012, lleno de joyas en diversos géneros, de las que irremediablemente y en ocasiones por razones poco explicables decides quedarte y adoptar solo unas cuantas para siempre. Les dejo mi lista esperando que la segunda mitad del año sea al menos tan buena como esta, enjoy...

10. "Give You the Ghost" - Poliça
The Fly (UK), Apr 20, 2012 (90) "It's an album that reels you in, enveloping everything in a black mist, from the slick protestations of 'Dark Star' to the surging intensity of closer 'Leading To Death'."

9. "Rooms Filled with Light" - Fanfarlo
Consequence of Sound, Feb 28, 2012 (80) "Opulent, unique, but still rooted in Fanfarlo's original pop-folk style, Rooms Filled with Light is an ornate offering for spring."

8. "Put Your Back N 2 It" - Perfume Genius
Prefix Magazine, Mar 7, 2012 (80) "Put Your Back N 2 It is a deeply affecting album, but also a plainspoken one."

7. "An Awesome Wave" - Alt-J
New Musical Express (NME), May 29, 2012 (80) "A brilliantly disquieting debut."

6. "I Love You, It's Cool" - Bear in Heaven
Paste Magazine, Apr 4, 2012 (80) "All told, I Love You, It's Cool won't resonate upon first listen. It'll have to grow on you, but once it does, there's no denying its enchantment."

5. "Tramp" - Sharon Van Etten
Drowned In Sound, Feb 2, 2012 (90) "It's a wonderful record, a colossal achievement, and features some of the most breathtaking, moving and downright beautiful music you'll hear all year."

4. "Bloom" - Beach House
Pitchfork, May 14, 2012 (91) ""Bloom" is also what these 10 songs do, each one starting with the sizzle of a lit fuse and at some fine moment exploding like a firework in slow motion."

3. "Boys & Girls" - Alabama Shakes
Uncut, Apr 6, 2012 (80) "Alabama Shakes are scarcely the first ornery yet soulful rock sound to have emerged from northern Alabama, but they're abundantly worthy bearers of the standard."

2. "Heaven" - The Walkmen
This Is Fake DIY, Jun 5, 2012 (90) "There may well be no such thing as a ten out of ten album, a level of perfection and flawlessness that is by all likelihood totally unobtainable; but it's hard to imagine anyone coming closer than these five men from New York."

1. "Strange Weekend" - Porcelain Raft
Consequence of Sound, Jan 27, 2012 (80) "The legacy of Remiddi's latest LP, Strange Weekend, is the eerily beautiful atmosphere it creates, just like the work of older artists such as Angelo Badalamenti, and more recent work by Ariel Pink, Perfume Genius, and John Maus, who invest a huge amount of emotion and cerebral conceit into their work, which pads out their music with shambolic, poetic insulation."

"Maraqopa" - Damien Jurado
"The Bravest Man In The Universe" - Bobby Womack
"WIXIW" - Liars
"Here" - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
"There's No Leaving Now" - The Tallest Man On Earth
"Standing At The Sky's Edge" - Richard Hawley
"Celebration Rock" - Japandroids
"A Wasteland Companion" - M. Ward
"Europe" - Allo Darlin'
"Sweet Heart Sweet Light" - Spiritualized
"Me. Me." - Plushgun
"Spooky Action At a Distance" - Lotus Plaza
"Electric Cables" - Lightships
"Delta Spirit" - Delta Spirit
"Kill For Love" - Chromatics
"Nootropics" - Lower Dens
"Port of Morrow" - The Shins
"Open Your Heart" - The Men
"Pegasvs" - Pegasvs
"Hospitality" - Hospitality
"Mr. M" - Lambchop
"Fear Fun" - Father John Misty
"Herreros y Fatigas" - Klaus & Kinski
"The Something Rain" - Tindersticks
"Be The Void" - Dr. Dog
"Young And Old" - Tennis
"The Lion's Roar" - First Aid Kit
 "Given To The Wild" - The Maccabees

...y mi favorito en español:
"Las Orillas" - McEnroe