It Was A Very Good Year: Steven’s Favorites Of 2012


It has been estimated that the late great BBC1 DJ John Peel listened to more music than anyone on Earth over his lifetime.  If so, Steven Spoerl must come in at a close second; sure to surpass Peel’s impressive tally any day now.

We’ve loved having Steven write for us over the years, as well as checking out the work he’s done for PopMatters.  What music got stuck in his ears this year?  Read on to find out!


1. Cloud Nothings – “Wasted Days”

2. Amanda Palmer – “The Bed Song”

3. Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

4. Technicolor Teeth – “Station Wagon”

5. Murder By Death – “I Came Around”

6. The Men – “Open Your Heart”

7. Two Gallants – “Winter’s Youth”

8. Young Jesus – “Family & Friends”

9. The Cost of Living – “The Way Things Are Shaping Up”

10. Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”

11. O’Brother – “Lay Down”

12. Now, Now – “Thread”

13. The Henry Clay People – “The Fakers”

14. Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – “Born There”

15. Quakers – “Chucky Balboa”

16. Michael the Blind – “Another Circle of Fifths”

17. Ty Segall Band – “Wave Goodbye”

18. Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”

19. Caspian – “Gone In Bloom and Bough”

20. The Nightmare River Band – “Why Don’t You Love Me?”

21. Swearin’ – “Kenosha”

22. Lee Fields & the Expressions – “Wish You Were Here”

23. Titus Andronicus – “My Eating Disorder”

24. Cheap Girls – “Ruby

25. Frank Ocean – “Bad Religion”



1. Bill Fay – “Jesus, Etc.

2. Shearon Van Ettenwater – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

3. Wilco, Nick Lowe, and Mavis Staples – “The Weight”

4. Divine Fits – “Shivers”

5. Screaming Females – “If It Makes You Happy”

6. The Afghan Whigs – “Lovecrimes”

7. Reggie Watts – “Panama”

8. Antony – “Landslide”

9. Japandroids – “Jack the Ripper”

10. The Avett Brothers – “In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea”



1. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

2. Two Gallants – The Bloom & the Blight

3. Ramona Falls – Prophet

4. Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra – Theatre Is Evil

5. Good Night & Good Morning – Narrowing Type

6. Swans – The Seer

7. Young Jesus – Home

8. Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair (tie)

8. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse (tie)

8. TY Segall – Twins (tie)

9. Bill Fay – Life Is People

10. The Men – Open Your Heart


TOP 10 MUSIC VIDEOS + A Special Mention

0. Sigur Ros – The Valtari Film Experiment Series (using a unique placement due to the unique credentials and the fact that they’re more short-form art films than anything else)

1. Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

2. Henry Clay People – “The Fakers”

3. Tom Waits – “Hell Broke Luce”

4. Cloud Nothings – “Stay Useless”

5. John K. Samson – “Longitudinal Centre”

6. Explosions in the Sky – “Postcards From 1952”

7. Dinosaur Jr. – “Watch the Corners”

8. Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”

9. Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”

10. Now, Now – “Thread”


TOP 10 SHOWS (local)*

1. Icarus Himself/Caroline Smith & the Goodnight Sleeps/Sleeping in the Aviary at High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI)

2. Public By Default/Good Grief (farewell show) at K Bueno (Stevens Point, WI)

3. Public By Default/Holy Shit!/Tenement at Pollack Inn (Wausau, WI)

4. The Sleepwalkers/Haunted Heads/Blueheels at Cranky Pat’s (Neenah, WI)

5. Technicolor Teeth/Big Eyes (x2) at The Hole & The Maritime (Appleton, WI)

6. Chris Gold & the Dirty Rotten So & So’s/Haunted Heads/Self-Evident at Algoma Club (Oshkosh, WI)

7. Pistolbrides/Midnight Reruns at Frank’s Power Plant (Milwaukee, WI)

8. Mark Chmura/The Cost of Living/Silence Dogood at Kristin’s Riverwalk (Stevens Point, WI)

9. Good Grief/Icarus Himself at Guu’s (Stevens Point, WI)

10. The Cost of Living/Mutts at Guu’s (Stevens Point, WI)

*I excluded several shows I was lucky enough to be a part of and thought were incredible on their merits outside of my involvement due to potential bias.


TOP 10 SHOWS (national)

1. The Joy Formidable at Summerfest (Milwaukee, WI)

2. Little Brazil/Desaparecidos at the 400 Bar (Madison, WI)

3. The Hussy/Trin Tran/Thee Oh Sees/Ty Segall at High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI)

4. Matthew E. White/The Mountain Goats at The Pabst Theater (Milwaukee, WI)

5. The Low Anthem/Feist at The Capitol Theater (Madison, WI)

6. The Henry Clay People/The Hold Steady at Live on King St. (Milwaukee, WI)

7. Sat. Nite Duets/The Antlers at High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI)

8. The Mynabirds (Duo)/Conor Oberst at The Cpaitol Theater (Madison, WI)

9. Rachel Hanson/Now, Now at UWSP’s DUC Encore (Stevens Point, WI)

10. The Dig/Sleeper Agent/Ben Kweller at High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI)

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