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Best Albums of 2012 So Far & Neil Young and Crazy Horse Review

Jim and Greg love lists so much they can't wait until the end of the year to make them. Tune in to hear The Best Albums of 2012…So Far.

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Best Albums of 2012…So Far

Determining a year-end“Best of”album list is the highlight of a critic's year. Now that it's June, Jim and Greg get a jump on the winnowing down process with the Best Albums of 2012…So Far. Here are their mid-year best picks:

reviewAmericana (Deluxe Edition)Americana available on iTunes

Neil Young and Crazy Horse Americana

Despite rumors that the perennial collaborators would never work together again, Neil Young and Crazy Horse are back with a new album. The combination that produced Rust Never Sleeps, Zuma, and Greendale just released Americana, which takes its inspiration from the American folk vernacular. Think "Jesus' Chariot" sounds familiar? You might know it better as "She‘ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain." So what can we expect when Neil Young and Crazy Horse take on the elementary school songbook? According to Jim, Crazy Horse is the vehicle Neil Young was meant to drive. It might be a cliché, but they could do a musical version of the phone book and kill. They give new life to these songs by unearthing original verses too dark to have made it to the school recital. Though the tempos are a bit slow, these tracks have a groove, and Young rides it masterfully. Jim says Buy It. Greg thinks of Neil Young as music's answer to Howard Zinn. Both are alternative American historians. Just like Neil Young classics "Cortez the Killer" and "Pocahontas," these new songs are about the price paid for the conquest of this country. The album works, Greg says, because of the hunger the band brings to songs we take for granted. It's a Buy it for him too.

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“Cry of the Wild Goose”Frankie Laine,Frankie Laine,Frankie Laine

Sociologists talk about the concept of a“gateway drug.”For his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox, Jim turns to the singer who was his gateway drug to music. When a six-year-old Jim popped his dad's old Frankie Laine LP on the record player, he knew music was a mysterious force he couldn't live without. An Italian-American from Chicago, Frankie Laine remade himself into an icon of the American West. Songs like "High Noon" and "Rawhide" are undeniable cheese, but between Laine's rich baritone and those horns, you have to buy whatever he's selling. (And who could forget that scene from The Blues Brothers where the band gets on the good side of a raucous country crowd by playing "Rawhide"?) Jim's song pick, however, is "Cry of the Wild Goose" - the epitome of Frankie Laine insanity.

Featured Songs

  1. Dr. John, Getaway, Locked Down, Nonesuch, 2012
  2. Alabama Shakes, Hold On, Boys & Girls, ATO, 2012
  3. Japandroids, The House That Heaven Built, Celebration Rock, Polyvinyl, 2012
  4. The dB's, Before We Were Born, Falling Off the Sky, Bar/None, 2012
  5. Beach House, The Hours, Bloom, Sub Pop, 2012
  6. Kelly Hogan, We Can't Have Nice Things, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, ANTI-, 2012
  7. Kelly Hogan, Golden, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, ANTI-, 2012
  8. El-P, For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mums the Word), Cancer4Cure, Fat Possum, 2012
  9. Killer Mike, Reagan, R.A.P. Music, Williams Street, 2012
  10. Spiritualized, Headin' for the Top Now, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, Double Six, 2012
  11. Neil Young, Oh Susannah, Americana, Reprise, 2012
  12. Neil Young, Jesus Chariot (She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain, Americana, Reprise, 2012
  13. Frankie Laine, Cry of the Wild Goose, Frankie Laine, Columbia, 1952
  14. Kraftwerk, The Telephone Call, Electric Cafe, Warner Bros., 1987
  15. Paul Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy, Faster Kill Pussycat, A Lively Mind, Maverick, 2006
  16. Raymond Scott, Lullaby, Soothing Sounds for Baby Volume 1, 1 to 6 months, Basta Audio-Visuals, 1964

Footnotes

neilyoung.com Neil Young allmusic.com Crazy Horse frankielaine.com Frankie Laine