KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

KamerTunesBlog Year In Review 2012

It’s that time of year again, to look back on all the music I heard over the past 12 months and figure out which were my favorites. In addition to the 130+ albums I revisited and wrote about here at KamerTunesBlog (each of which I listened to numerous times before sharing my thoughts on them), I also got hundreds of other CDs and LPs that I played throughout the year. I’m not sure where I found the time to absorb all of this music, but like the old saying goes, “where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Following is a list of my favorite discoveries and re-discoveries from this blog (with links to the related posts, in case you missed them the first time), plus two lists of other records I most enjoyed this year (broken down by new/recent releases and compilations/box sets/newly-discovered artists). Note that albums with hyperlinks will take you to a sample song on YouTube. Thanks to everyone who has visited, shared their thoughts, and who might have been inspired to check out some great music that they never knew or had forgotten about. I hope you and your loved ones have a happy New Year, and I look forward to sharing more discoveries with you in 2013.

Albums I Revisited & Wrote About That Pleasantly Surprised Me Or Cemented Their Greatness
DAVID BOWIE: Low, Heroes, Lodger, Scary Monsters, Outside
NICK DRAKE: Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter
BLACK SABBATH: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy, Seventh Star, Headless Cross
BIG STAR: #1 Record, Radio City
TOM WAITS: The Early Years (Vols. 1 & 2), Closing Time, The Heart Of Saturday Night, Blue Valentine, Rain Dogs, Mule Variations, Orphans: Brawlers, Bad As Me
THE BEACH BOYS: Surfer Girl, Beach Boys’ Christmas Album, Today!, Pet Sounds, Friends, Sunflower, Surf’s Up, That’s Why God Made The Radio
FOO FIGHTERS: Foo Fighters, The Colour And The Shape, Wasting Light
UNCLE TUPELO: No Depression, Still Feel Gone, March 16-20 1992, Anodyne
PJ HARVEY: Dry, To Bring You My Love, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea

Recent Releases That I Love (in alphabetical order)
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs
Anathema – Weather Systems
Ian Anderson – Thick As A Brick 2
The Black Keys – El Camino
Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
Don Dixon – Sings The Jeffords Brothers
Bob Dylan – Tempest
Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos
Field Music – Plumb
Gotye – Making Mirrors
John Grant – Queen Of Denmark
Gavin Harrison & 05Ric – The Man Who Sold Himself
Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do
Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (2 CD + 2 DVD)
Aimee Mann – Charmer
Paul McCartney – Kisses On The Bottom
David Mead – Dudes
Neal Morse – Momentum
Producers – Made In Basing Street
Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A. – Area 52
Rumer – Boys Don’t Cry
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Storm Corrosion – Storm Corrosion
Tin Spirits – Wired To Earth
Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth

Newly Acquired Reissues, Compilations & Box Sets I Love, And A Few Artists I Finally Checked Out, In 2012 (in alphabetical order)
Be Bop Deluxe – Futurist Manifesto 1974-1978 (5 CDs)
Booker T. & The MG’s – The Definitive Soul Collection (2 CDs)
Dave Brubeck – The Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1955-1966 (19 CDs)
Glen Campbell – The Capitol Years 65/77 (2 CDs)
Bo Diddley – Gold (2 CDs)
Earth, Wind & Fire – The Columbia Masters (16 CDs)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD + 1 DVD)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD + 1 DVD)
Giraffe – The Power Of Suggestion
Giraffe – The View From Here
Ernie Graham – Ernie Graham
The Hollies – The Complete Hollies: Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years (5 CDs)
The Knack – Rock & Roll Is Good To You: The Fieger/Averre Demos
Kool & The Gang – Gold (2 CDs)
Roger Miller – The Best Of Roger Miller
The Monkees – Original Album Series (5 CDs)
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – Sound-On-Sound
Michael Nesmith – Magnetic South/Loose Salute (2 LPs on 1 CD)
Michael Nesmith – And The Hits Just Keep On Coming/Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash (2 LPs on 1 CD)
Ocean Colour Scene – Anthology (2 CDs)
Roxy Music – The Complete Studio Recordings (10 CDs)
Rush – Sector 1, 2 & 3 (5 CD + 1 DVD each)
Skids – The Singles Collection 1978-1981 (2 CDs)
Stiff Little Fingers – All The Best (2 CDs)
Muddy Waters – The Anthology (2 CDs)
Tony Joe White – The Best Of Tony Joe White
Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’: The Best Of Howlin’ Wolf (2 CDs)

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42 comments on “KamerTunesBlog Year In Review 2012

  1. Gary
    December 27, 2012

    I’ll second Aimee Mann, “Charmer”. She lost me for the last few albums but this one sounds great.

    Like

    • Hi Gary. I agree that her albums were starting to sound a little too “samey,” although I always enjoy hearing her voice, but “Charmer” is definitely her strongest album in years.

      Like

  2. Lewis Johnston
    December 27, 2012

    There is a lot of good music in that list. If someone was to start a collection from scratch then this would be the way to go. I have enjoyed your blog enormously and look forward to whatever direction you take in 2013.

    Like

    • Thanks, Lewis. With the amount of music out there, and the ease at which you can acquire it these days, these lists barely scratch the surface and I’m sure there’s plenty of good music I’m missing. Thanks to you, I got to know those Mike Nesmith albums this year, and for that I’ll be forever grateful. For anyone reading these comments who likes good country-rock (Gram Parsons, Poco, early Eagles, The Byrds, etc), you really need to check out those Nesmith albums. They are every bit the equal of those better known artists.

      Like

  3. Heavy Metal Overload
    December 27, 2012

    A great list of music there. A few things I wouldn’t mind checking out myself… Big Star, the Ian Anderson and Storm Corrosion stand out! I see you’ve been picking up some Blues stuff too. Nice!

    I loved that Be Bop Deluxe box set. That was superb value. Quite a few of those comprehensive career spanning sets coming out. It’s an interesting trend and a good way to dip into bands’ careers if you don’t have any of their stuff. What a player Bill Nelson is, by the way. They don’t seem to make them like him any more. So colourful!

    Hope you had a great Xmas and all the best for 2013! Can’t wait to read more about your awesome discoveries and re-discoveries.

    Like

    • Thanks, HMO. I appreciate the feedback. There’s no doubt that Bill Nelson is an amazing talent. I’ve been a Be Bop Deluxe fan for years. I owned all of their albums on various formats, but that 5-disc package was a perfect way to get everything in one place, with bonus tracks, all remastered. I’ve only dipped my toes into Nelson’s solo catalog, so imagine my surprise when I got “Sound-On-Sound.” How did I miss that album all these years? It’s every bit as good as anything in the Be Bop Deluxe catalog.

      Those blues collections were among my favorite purchases this year. I’ve been a blues fan for a long time, and I have a number of various-artist collections and some great individual releases (like BB King, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Son House, Robert Johnson, etc.), but I realized that I didn’t own anything by artists like Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and numerous others and I made it a point to remedy that oversight. I’m sure you understand the concept of filling holes in your music collection, and every year I uncover artists who do just that.

      Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you. I look forward to keeping up with your musical commentary throughout 2013.

      Best….
      Rich

      Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        December 28, 2012

        There seemed to be a lot of Bill Nelson activity over the last couple of years. I’ve only got the Be-Bop Deluxe set so far but, once I’ve listened to it more, I’ll stretch out. I think Bill had a big solo box set out too didn’t he?

        I understand the concept of filling gaps in my collection only too well! One of the most enjoyable purchases for me last year was the first two Little Richard albums. So in 2013 I intend to look into the early Rock N’ Roll side of things. Chuck Berry next I think. There’s a label called (I think) Bear Family that has put together some interesting looking compilations of Chuck and the rest. I’ll probably start there!

        Like

      • I’ve had my eye on that Bill Nelson box set for a while, but it’s just a little too pricey for me. I’ve got a particular price in mind, and as soon as it comes down to that amount I’ll get it. If you’re a Be Bop Deluxe fan and haven’t heard Nelson’s “Sound-On-Sound,” I can’t recommend it highly enough. I believe it was his first solo album after BBD broke up, and it has all the elements that made that band great with a slightly more modern (ie. late-70s) sound with hints of The Cars and Gary Numan. If I did my list in order of favorites rather than alphabetical, that album would’ve been near the top.

        I don’t own anything from Bear Family, but I know they’re known for incredibly detailed box sets. I haven’t seen anything on their label that I need to own, but one day I’d like to check out their work. When it comes to old rock & roll guys (Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Richie Valens, Rickie Nelson, etc), I’ve been content with single- or double-disc anthologies. An exhaustive box set on any of them might be more than I need to hear. I am, however, a huge fan of Buddy Holly and own two box sets of his work, as well as Elvis Presley (I have at least 20-30 CDs of his music, and I can always use more). If you get any of the Bear Family sets, I’d love to hear what you think, not just of the music but the packaging too.

        Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        December 28, 2012

        I couldn’t see myself stumping up much cash on that either. “Sound on Sound” sounds great though. I’ll definitely check that out. I’ve read some good reviews of it in the mags lately too.

        I had heard that Bear Family specialized in big deluxe sets. The ones I’ve been looking at are just single or double CD anthologies. They do them for each major Rock N’ Roll artist. They’re called “Rocks” and, from what I gather, they focus on the best Rock tracks and omit the novelty stuff. From the Amazon reviews they seem quite well regarded and the Chuck Berry one looks perfect for me!

        Like

      • Please let me know what you think of the Bear Family Chuck Berry collection whenever you get it. I own a Berry CD compilation called “The Great Twenty-Eight,” which came out in the ’80s, and it’s literally non-stop rock & roll, although I’m sure the sound quality doesn’t compare to recent remasters.

        Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        December 28, 2012

        I’ll let you know when i get it. Could be a while… I’m going to be clamping down on my spending in 2013. In theory anyway! But, at any rate, that one is pretty high on my buying list.

        Like

      • I know all about clamping down on spending, but some things you just have to spend money on. One of the reasons I started this blog was to focus on the music I already owned so I wouldn’t constantly be buying new things. I’ve definitely reduced the number of random CD purchases (you know the ones…when you see something you don’t really need or even want, but the price is right so you give it a shot), and I’m much more particular about what I spend my money on, but I still keep an ever-growing list of artists & albums to check out. I’ll be curious to see what kind of music acquisitions 2013 brings after such an incredibly fruitful 2012.

        Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        December 29, 2012

        Absolutely agree. I think we’re on the same page. The plan is to be more discerning about what I buy. Buy the music I really want to hear rather than buying a CD just because it’s cheap or it’s such-and-such an artist. And also explore the huge library that I have already.

        Your point about the random purchases is spot on too. I do that a lot. I’ve decided I’d rather have one expensive album that I’m really excited about than a bunch of cheap albums that I’m not fussed about. I don’t mean to sound too analytical but this kind of thinking has massively improved my music enjoyment this year. It’s been great and I want to see how far I can take it!

        Like

      • We music obsessives can never sound too analytical. I’m glad we’re on the same page, and our recent approach to purchases has increased our musical enjoyment. That’s what it’s all about. once again, here’s to a great 2013

        Like

      • Heavy Metal Overload
        December 29, 2012

        Amen to that. Happy hunting in 2013! Hope you have a great year of listening.

        Like

  4. mikeladano
    December 28, 2012

    Nice post Rich. I have a few of these albums you mentioned and I liked that you split it into new releases and reissues. I got all three Rush Sectors now so I hope to get you some reviews to check out soon. (Well, Sector 2 I got in July so that review is coming.)

    It’s interesting that the list of reissues is virtually as long as the list of new releases. I probably buy more reissues than new releases these days myself. I’m looking over at my stack of recent purchases now, and I see new albums by Slash, Ian Anderson, Zeppelin and Testament, but the rest is mostly reissues.

    Like

    • Thanks, Mike. It was an exceptionally good year for me, musically speaking. I think my purchases are usually split evenly between reissues/compilations and “new” releases (“new” can mean an old artist or album I never heard before). I’m usually more skeptical about brand new artists, since there’s always a classic out there that I’d probably prefer hearing, but there are also lots of great new artists that I love once I give in and check them out. Of course, there’s nothing better than a well-packaged reissue, whether it’s an artist you already know well (like Rush with those “Sector” box sets and the Roxy Music “Complete Albums Collection”) or an artist I’m just discovering (i.e. the Mike Nesmith albums on my list).

      Like

      • mikeladano
        December 28, 2012

        I posted my Sector 2 review today, and I now have the other two. I wouldn’t have bought them on my own if they were not gifts!

        I do love the deluxe edition format. The idea of a bonus disc with a nearly complete set of B-sides and associated material is just mouth watering.

        Like

      • I totally agree about the deluxe editions, especially when they’re done right. It bothers me, though, when they don’t utilize the disc space available and include everything they possibly can. The people who buy those things are usually dedicated fans, and they want the best bang for their buck. If the record company can fit every b-side, they should do it, and not just what they consider the best b-sides. I have numerous deluxe editions where each disc is an hour or less. Do you have most/all of the Thin Lizzy deluxe editions? I only have the “Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels” box set on CD, and then each album on MP3 copied from a friend’s CDs. If I’m ever going to buy the individual albums, I’m hoping the deluxe editions are a good value. The same goes for the Deep Purple sets.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 29, 2012

        I have all the Lizzy’s and all the Purples. Not all the Purples are two disc sets, but I think they all pack some pretty good value. The Lizzy’s are cool, Joe Elliot and Scott Gorham did some interesting remixes to pad out the albums. I’m not sure I care so much about new remixes, but they’re not bad remixes.

        I have heard there are more Lizzy’s coming this year, including Thunder and Lightning. I sure hope so, because I passed on the chance to get the double deluxe vinyl (with 4 song live EP) in expectation of the deluxe CD.

        Like

      • The Lizzy & Purple deluxe editions will be on my radar for 2013 if I can find them at the right price. As long as they’re not deluxe editions, I should be able to get them eventually without breaking the bank.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 29, 2012

        I had to pay a lot for Black Rose. Over $40. They are all imports in Canada, so very expensive unfortunately.

        Like

      • Not sure I’m willing to go that high, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that prices on imports will come down. Sometimes it saves money to buy from Amazon’s UK store.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 30, 2012

        This is true. I have done that with a few items, and the shipping isn’t even that bad. I have had to order vinyl from there actually.

        Like

      • A lot of the items on my year-end lists were purchased via Amazon UK. One thing a lot of people may not realize, at least in the US, is that the prices on their site include VAT (approx. 17%), which is deducted for non-UK orders. So the price you pay is 17% lower than what’s indicated (of course, the conversion rate more than makes up for it).

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 30, 2012

        Yes, but there are lots of things I haven’t been able to find on the American Amazon site that they have. The UK issue of Slide It In by Whitesnake was an easy find there, and cheap too!

        Like

      • I’ve also been enjoying some “Classic Album Series” mini box sets, with 3-5 CDs in replica LP sleeves tucked into a slim box. They’re no-frills (no inner sleeves, booklets, credits, etc), but they’re so cheap and you get so much music in a small space that it’s hard to pass up. It’s amazing how much cheaper it is to buy directly from the UK.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 30, 2012

        I have one of those from Journey actually. And the price was right, I was getting three albums for the price of one. Normally I don’t go for those because I like the frills, but Journey albums aren’t known for their bonus material. I’ve seen good ones from Aerosmith and just about everybody else, too.

        Like

      • I’m like you when it comes to the frills, but depending on the artist, sometimes I’d rather hear as much music as possible for a nice low price. Some people may mock me, but in 2012 the two “Classic Albums” mini box sets I bought were The Monkees (their first 5) and Harry Nilsson, and they were two great purchases. Five albums from each artist for less than $15 US is an amazing deal. I’m curious about the Journey set you got. Were the discs the expanded editions that Sony released several years ago, or just the original LPs? Both sets I got had a lot of bonus tracks that made them even more worthwhile.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 31, 2012

        The Journey set does have bonus tracks. The albums are:

        Departure
        Escape
        Frontiers

        Really, an excellent slice of mid-period Journey.

        Like

  5. waynelaw
    December 29, 2012

    Wow! That is an impressive collection of music to wade through and let wash over you. I can’t even fault you for throwing in The Knack,…after reading that list, I may have to revisit them…maybe they are worthy.. Great stuff from all over the board.

    Like

    • Thanks, Wayne. I’m glad you liked the lists. It’s hard to believe that those were just the cream of the crop, as I listened to a couple hundred other newly purchased albums this year that didn’t make the cut but were still really good. I got very few clunkers in 2012, and I hope that continues in 2013. I briefly checked out your blog, and I’ll stop by again soon when I give your posts the time they deserve. I like what you’re doing there. I appreciate you stopping by.

      Also, The Knack are a severely underrated band. I remember the backlash against them after the success of their debut album, but it was unwarranted based on the quality of their music. If you like melodic rock/power pop, they’re among the best.

      Like

  6. Every Record Tells A Story
    December 31, 2012

    When you list the music you listen to in a year it looks quite amazing!
    Happy new year to you – I have enjoyed your posts in 2012.
    Looks like I need to listen to that Aimee Mann LP…

    Like

    • Thanks, and same to you. I look forward to another year of your excellent posts. As for Aimee Mann, her latest is highly recommended. A lot of her albums were starting to sound a little too repetitious, even though I always enjoy hearing her voice, but the new one stood out from some of her recent work.

      As for the lists, it’s amazing to me that what’s included here is probably only about 15-20% of all the new music I listened to in 2012. Most of what I got was really good, and it was hard to narrow it down to as few as I did. That’s always the sign of a successful year. I hope you feel the same about your music purchases.

      Like

  7. danicapiche
    December 27, 2014

    This is an outstanding list, Rich. I’m not sure where to start or what to single out for comment. I like everything from The Black Keys to Roxy Music to Howlin’ Wolf (built for comfort :)). This is the first I’ve heard of Giraffe, so I’ll have to check them out. Thanks!

    Like

    • Thanks for checking out my year-end list from 2012, Danica. Every year I’m amazed at the scope of new and new-to-me music I get to spend time with, in addition to the artists I revisit for this blog. If you check out Giraffe I’d love to know what you think. I discussed the late, great Kevin Gilbert in my discussion of Toy Matinee in my first One And Done post, and I mentioned Giraffe in my Two And Through post. Needless to say I love everything Mr. Gilbert released in his too-short recording career. I’m still working on my Year In Review 2014 post. Hope to complete it within the next day or two.

      Cheers!
      Rich

      Liked by 1 person

      • danicapiche
        December 29, 2014

        Hi Rich, I enjoy all of your posts and am making my way through your older ones. I also need to go back and take a closer tour through your newer ones. There’s just so much goodness 🙂

        I’ve started to listen to some Kevin Gilbert and Giraffe…I found his cover of Kashmir and I like it, to my surprise. I’m a bit of a purist that way when it comes to Led Zeppelin. He didn’t try to sound like Robert Plant but was solid. Did he stay with the one drummer for most of his recordings? I can search that if you don’t know off the top of your head.

        I am really looking forward to your Year In Review 2014 post!

        Thanks again, Rich.

        Danica

        Like

      • Thanks again, Danica. Kevin Gilbert played with more than one drummer, but my favorite is Nick D’Virgilio, who was one of two drummers on the underrated Genesis album “Calling All Stations” (the one after Phil Collins left) as well as a founding member of modern prog band Spock’s Beard. He eventually became their lead singer but has since left to play with various other bands as well as Cirque du Soleil. Toy Matinee continues to be my favorite thing that Gilbert was involved in, but his solo albums and those two Giraffe releases are spectacular. He also had a tenuous connection to Sheryl Crow around the time she became famous. I think there are articles about them online, so if you’re curious it’s worth looking into that.

        Best wishes,
        Rich

        Liked by 1 person

      • danicapiche
        December 29, 2014

        That’s the one, Nick D’Virgilio. He stood out for me so it’s not surprising that he’s gone on to do interesting projects independently. Playing with Cirque would be an amazing musical experience.
        The Sheryl Crow connection has already surfaced with the term “acrimonious” among others. Ah well, what’s great music and art without some passion?

        Like

      • I’ve often wondered if the Gilbert-Crow split, and her subsequent rise to superstardom, led him down the path that resulted in his death a few years later. Not that I’m looking to blame her, but the cause-and-effect is not out of the realm of possibility.

        Liked by 1 person

      • danicapiche
        December 29, 2014

        The timing is noteworthy. Her breakthrough album was titled after their sessions, wasn’t it?

        Like

      • Yep, he was part of the Tuesday Night Music Club but by the time the album was released I think most or all of his contributions were missing (or uncredited). Sadly, we’ll never know the full story.

        Liked by 1 person

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