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


Porcelain Raft – Kung Fu Necktie – May 31, 2012 Philadelphia

Mauro Remiddi, an Italian living in London, appears shy from the beginning. His band, Porcelain Raft  played last week on May 31 at the the unique and somewhat shady Kung Fu Necktie, a venue located underneath the L station in the rough Kensington area of Philadelphia, adding awkwardness to Remiddi's interaction with the crowd. That was until he faced them guitar in hand. 

Porcelain Raft’s dreamy pop sound is grand and their music is delivered with a unique and somewhat unfamiliar edge. Their 2012 release “Strange Weekend” is a magic album, released by Secretly Canadian that combines deep lyrics with heartbreaking ballads embellished with somewhat predictive chord changes and a soft voice that provides a worth noting psychedelic flavor. 

Porcelain Raft’s show was brilliant though short, and can be added to the numerous list of surprisingly good quality artists that pass often through the Kung Fu Necktie before getting too big. ”Take me away, directionless; it doesn’t have to make any sense; use what you have, I’ll follow you; Use what you have, don’t you worry now..” screeched Remiddi in “Drifting in and out” his opening song for the night. 

From there on, he had me.

I leave you with two clips from his recent show at Cafe de la Danse in Paris (May 18, 2012) days before his show in Philly.




The End of Silence

The Way In


Δ (alt-J) - An Awesome Wave

An Awesome Wave, disco debut de este quinteto de Leeds, Inglaterra, es sin duda uno de los lanzamientos más frescos de este 2012. 10 tracks separados por 3 interludios como si se tratase de los distintos actos de una obra, en donde Alt-J repasa toda su creatividad, logrando un disco original y divertido en donde cada uno de los tracks es completamente distinto al anterior y lo único que permanece constante es la peculiar voz de Joe Newman.

Una obra completa, de esas que te sugieren la escucha sin interrupciones ni alteraciones en el orden, con lyrics más profundos de lo que se podría suponer a la primera impresión, cargados de referencias artísticas y cinematográficas que crean en conjunto este interesante debut.
Les dejo algunos vids y el stream completo... enjoy!