As 2012 came to a close, it’s time for us to look back and reflect on what stood out to us musically. There was a bunch that we all agreed on and a few that prompted us to check out each other’s referrals. We’ve each made our lists of our top favorites of the past year. First up is Josh “The Radio Pirate’s” Top 20 of 2012!

Screaming Females - Ugly20. Screaming FemalesUgly

“Solid female fronted dirty garage rock with crazy solos. Crazy is actually an understatement for this one.”


Slingshot Dakota - Dark Hearts19. Slingshot DakotaDark Hearts

“Tom & Carly are the best modern couple in music. Not to mention how cute they are when they play live. Plus I get a mention in the liner note!”


Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind18. ConvergeAll We Love We Leave Behind

“You’d think these guys would be a little less pissed off as they get older. Wrong, it might be one of the heaviest records these guys ever put out.”


Birds In Row - You, Me, & The Violence17. Birds In RowYou, Me, & The Violence

“Got to see these Frenchmen this year. When Converge eventually retires these guys will be taking their place.”


Classics Of Love - Classics Of Love16. Classics Of LoveClassics Of Love

“Never thought I’d be into this one when I heard about it. However, Jessie Michaels of Op Ivy reminds you why it’s still fun to listen to a solid punk record.”


Swans - The Seer15. SwansThe Seer

“Best two hours ever spent listening to one record. Plus the artworks is awesome.”


The Mars Volta - Noctorniquet14. The Mars VoltaNoctorniquet

“In my opinion these guys can’t make a bad record. This one is just really disturbing but in a good way.”


Baroness - Yellow & Green13. BaronessYellow & Green

“Never liked Baroness before but this double record is heavy and pretty all at once. Not sure if I like Yellow or Green more, it probably depends on the time of day.”


Lilacs & Champagne - Lilacs & Champagne12. Lilacs & ChampagneLilacs & Champagne

“Awesome random find of the year. The dudes from Grails made Lilacs with old tapes and the record transports your mind to a deserted beach in 1950’s Europe. Best night time and summer driving record.”


Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Allelujah! Don’t Bend, Ascend11. Godspeed You Black Emperor!Allelujah! Don’t Bend, Ascend

“The most immediate from these guys. This one is direct and upfront. Glad to see them make such a solid record after being gone for almost 10 years.”


Daughn Gibson - All Hell 10. Daughn GibsonAll Hell

“This is my thinking man record of the year. Appropriate for a dark room, fine whiskey, and close company. Unsettling in all the ways that I enjoy.”


Torche - Harmonicraft 9. TorcheHarmonicraft

“Heavy, sludgy, ripping, and pop all in one. These guys are the chameleons of the scene at this point.”


Burning Love - Rotten Thing To Say 8. Burning LoveRotten Thing To Say

“First listen did nothing for me. Very quickly after I realized these guys are one of the greatest straight up dirty rock and roll bands around today. I vote them most improved band of 2012.”


Hot Water Music - Exister7. Hot Water MusicExister

“A bit late to the party on this band. First Hot Water Music record I ever listened to on my own. Blows me away. They really are as good as everyone says.”


Deftones-Koi-No-Yokan 6. DeftonesKoi No Yokan

“Late release of 2012 but is already at number 6 on my list. One of the most solid releases from this band. Should be the soundtrack to a strip club.”


Bob Mould - Silver Age 5. Bob MouldSilver Age

“Never listened to Sugar or Bob Mould before this. This record is one of the best straight up rock records in years. I’m not a lyrics guy usually but these lyrics have a deep personal connection with me. This guy gets better with age.”


Make Do And Mend - Everything You Ever Loved 4. Make Do And MendEverything You Ever Loved

“Big surprise record for me. This also became my running record for my daily runs. Got me through my first 5K with an amazing time. This record just gets me wound up!”


Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy 3. Nada SurfThe Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy

“Heard this back in January and it was the first good record I heard in 2012. Twelve Months later it cracks my top three and I’m still listening to it. I would have never listened to this if JJ didn’t tell me how awesome it is. One of the best kept secrets of the year. Another one that really personally connected with me from a lyrical standpoint.”


Silversun Pickups - Neck of the Woods 2. Silversun PickupsNeck of the Woods

“Love this band. Sounds like a soundtrack to a horror film so its right up my alley.  Never thought they could top Swoon but this one comes as close as possible. Got to see them live this year and they were fantastic as usual.”


Murder By Death - Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon 1. Murder By DeathBitter Drink, Bitter Moon

“This band is in their prime. Self releasing this was the best move they ever made. This record has a little bit of everything from all their previous releases. It might actually be my favorite from them and thats a bold statement because I like their other stuff so much. Everything from the sound to the artwork to they lyrics is just spot on. I’ll be listening to this deep into 2013.”


Honorable Mentions of 2012 (In no particular order)
Now NowThreads, Jack White- Blunderbuss
The Ting TingsSounds From Nowheresville
Every Time I DieEx Lives
Title FightFloral Green
CursiveI Am Gemini
Circa SurviveViolent Waves
The ChariotOne Wing
HuataAtavist Of Mann
YeasayerFragrant World
Dan Deacon America

Favorite EP’s 0f 2012
Crosses ††† EP ††
With Knives Schadenfreude

Favorite Vinyl Packaging/Artwork of 2012
The Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
HuataAtavist Of Mann
Murder By DeathBitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Godspeed You Black Emperor!Allelujah! Don’t Bend, Ascend
The Mars VoltaNoctorniquet
SwansThe Seer

Favorite Vinyl Reissues of 2012
The Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
Pedro The Lion – 5 Record Box set (Achilles Heel, Control, Winners Never Quit, The Only Reason I Feel Secure, It’s Hard To Find A Friend)
Tomahawk– RSD Box set (Tomahawk, Mit Gas, Anonymous)
At The Drive-Inin/Casino/out
Uncle Acid & The DeadbeatsBlood Lust

Favorite 7’’s of 2012
tile. – RSD 7’’ friend stealer/ hitchhiker
Touché Amore/The Casket Lottery Split 7’

Favorite Song of 2012
Make Do And Mend – “Disassemble”
Silversun Pickups – “The Pit”
Metric – “Youth Without Youth”

Favorite Record that first saw the light of day in 2012
The ExplosionBury Me Standing (originally 2008)

Favorite Box Set of 2012
Sufjan StevensSilver & Gold

Favorite B-Sides/Rarities Record of 2012
Millencolin The Melancholy Connection

Favorite Soundtrack of 2012
Various Artists The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Favorite Shows of 2012

  • David Bazan Band plays “Control” from Pedro the Lion @ The First Unitarian Church
  • Halloween Show featuring, Tile, Horse, & “The Misfits” @ The Burners
  • Silversun Pickups @ The Tower Theater
  • He Is Legend @ Croc Rock (Cafe Down Under) 12-29-12
  • Ceremony @ The Secret Art Space
  • Russian Tsarlag, DSU, Milwaukee Seven @ The Sportsmans Cafe

Favorite Musical Moment of 2012
Getting to bring back “The Pirate Sessions” to WXLV which ended up featuring Drose, HORSE, Motorcycles, St. James & The Apostles, & The Fireside Blues

Best Interview of 2012
When JJ, Henry and I interviewed Buzz and Dale of the Melvins @ Croc Rock

This post was written by:

Josh Hoch – When Josh Hoch isn’t helping people in need as a case manager or setting up exclusive in-studio performances/ interviews, he can be heard on the air every Friday night on“Pirate Radio” from 9:00pm to 10:30pm (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or!