Best Albums of 2012

As has been the case in recent years, there was a lot of fine music being made in 2012.  New technologies have not only changed the accessibility of music, they also seem to have inspired a venerable geyser of creativity and experimentation.  Some big names forged exciting new directions for themselves, while others far less heralded blazed trails in uncharted territory.  I hardly consider this list to be absolute, but based on what I heard this year, these are the 15 albums that stood out to me: 15) Cloud Nothings, Attack On Memory – In one of the most schizophrenic albums of the year, Cloud Nothings segue from the sprawling gothic instrumental coda of “Wasted Days” to the tight radio-friendly punk jam “Fall In”.  And that’s just the end of the third track.  They pull it off, though, largely because they cultivate the same pleasant angst in their sound in every song. Essential Listening: “Fall In”, “Wasted Days” 14) Beach House, Bloom – In some ways, the name “Beach House” is very fitting for this Baltimore duo.  The guitars often use tinny, chasmy surf-rock timbres, and Victoria Legrand’s haunting vocals sound as if they’re processed through a seashell.  Bloom nestles more »

Best TV Moments of 2012

The Golden Age of Television is upon us.  True, the black hole of TV crap seems to be expanding exponentially, but for every Honey Boo Boo out there, there’s a Walter White.  Because of the range and depth of the quality on TV right now, it would be impossible for me to rank them in any concise list.  Last year, I chose to compile a list of my favorite characters on TV, but since a similar list this year would yield nearly identical results, I decided to take a different route this year. Below are my favorite moments from my favorite shows this past year (of the ones I’ve seen, at least).  They range anywhere from single scenes to entire episodes, but they are all unforgettable in their own ways.  To avoid any sort of hierarchy, they are simply presented in chronological order: The Colbert Report, Maurice Sendak interviews from “Grim Colberty Tales” – We may have lost Sendak this past year, but at least we have this memorable tribute to his wonderful, deranged little mind.  Taped interviews such as these are typically highlights in the Colbert Report oeuvre, but Sendak’s toast-dry, asphault-dark sense of humor makes him perhaps the more »