Best of 2012 Preview: Overlooked Albums
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Easton Corbin – All Over the Road (Mercury Nashville)
After launching 2011’s best country surprise, Easton Corbin’s sophomore effort features a songwriter ready to take on the mainstream, by force if necessary. “Lovin’ You Is Fun” continues where the last album left off, an unapologetic taste of traditional country unlike anything else on country radio today.
Calexico – Algiers (ANTI Records)
Little Big Town – Tornado (Capitol)
Bloc Party – Four (Frenchkiss)
Jack White – Blunderbuss (Third Man Records)
Jack White does it all, writing, producing and recording his albums as the ultimate exercise in self-control. Both demanding and ear-catching, Blunderbuss — his first full-length since the White Stripes disbanded — proves White’s hands-on methods produce more than mere sound and fury.
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (Columbia)
Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek (Columbia)
Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl Records)
The xx – Coexist (Young Turks)
The xx returns three years after their self-titled, Mercury Prize-winning debut with Coexist, an album of confident self-reflective indie pop which refines their songwriting without losing the minimalist flourishes which set the band apart.
Shooter Jennings – Family Man (Entertainment One)
Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)
Hot Chip – In Our Heads (Domino)
Bowerbirds – The Clearing (Dead Oceans)
John Mayer – Born and Raised (Columbia)
Hamstrung by his inability to promote this album due to vocal-cord granuloma, John Mayer’s music must now speak for itself. Thankfully, Born and Raised is a confident album from a songwriter at the peak of his game. Too bad he won’t get to play these songs for fans anytime soon.
The Cult – Choice of Weapon (Essential Music)
Sara Watkins – Sun Midnight Sun (Nonesuch)
Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream (Redwing Records)
Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur (Zoe / Rounder)
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This week fans of The Amazing Spider-Man have to wait for Friday, but there’s still plenty coming out Tuesday for film junkies, including Bruce Willis’ Fire With Fire, the Blu-Ray release of A Muppet Christmas Carol, and the Criterion reissue of Kurosawa’s Rashomon.