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  • Tuesday, November 27, 2012
    Year's Best Album Lists from Uncut, Mojo, Paste Include The Black Keys, Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Jonny Greenwood, Punch Brothers

    There's still more than a month to go before 2012 comes to a close, but already the music magazines have begun to weigh in on the year's best music. Uncut, Mojo, and Paste have all published their lists of the Best Albums of the Year, and included among them are a number of Nonesuch releases: the latest from The Black Keys, Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Jonny Greenwood, Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and more.

    ---

    Mojo's list of the year's Best Albums finds The Black Keys' El Camino at No. 6, even though it was released in 2011, after the magazine had already published its best-of-2011 list. Following the album's release, Mojo gave it a perfect five stars, dubbing it an Instant Classic. "In thrall to grand American traditions of cars-and-girls driving music, El Camino makes its own trip from Rubber City to Music City," wrote the magazine, "touching upon great modern pop music but never losing its grimy old-school identity."

    Dr. John's Nonesuch debut album, Locked Down, produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, lands just two slots away at No. 8 on Mojo's Best Albums list. "Dr. John teams up with Dan Auerbach and the gumbo is bubbling once again," said Mojo in its original four-star review of the album. "10 of the funkiest tracks Dr. John’s been involved in since the ‘70s. There are elements of Gris-Gris and Babylon, but this is no revival; the night-tripping grooves are tight, cosmically-inclined, and brewed with a real soulfulness. This is definitely right place, right time."

    Mojo's list of the Best Soundtracks of 2012 includes the soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson's new film The Master, which comprises 11 compositions by Jonny Greenwood along with four recordings from the post–World War II era in which the film is set.

    Also in the Mojo year-end issue is a feature titled "The Best Thing I've Heard All Year," in which artists offer their thoughts on just that. Bonnie Raitt includes both Ry Cooder's new album, Election Special, which he considered a wake-up call for this year's US election, and Randy Newman's similarly politically themed single "I'm Dreaming." Says Raitt: "Ry Cooder's Election Special took on issues few dared to. And there was Randy Newman's 'I'm Dreaming': satire as timely as it was brilliant."

    ---

    Uncut magazine's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2012 places Dr. John's Locked Down, at No. 4, following only such fellow heavy-hitters as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Jack White. The magazine calls the pairing of Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack, and Auerbach as "inspired, with the weird, urgent power of Rebennack's voodoo heyday recaptured, then augmented by some new tricks."

    Upon the release of Locked Down in April, Uncut named the record its Album of the Month, calling it "hugely successful." Reviewer Michael Bonner described Locked Down as "the opposite of that fallback position of the artist in their seventh or eighth decade, the 'Rick Rubin' treatment. Instead, it goes entirely the other way: this isn’t a record that seeks to embrace maturity, but instead wants to invoke the wild spirits of the artist’s misspent youth. Weird, powerful rock ‘n’ roll. Enormously funky."

    Also on Uncut's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2012 is Ry Cooder's Election Special, another record the magazine had named Album of the Month upon its release, in late August. "In a recording career that stretches back more than four decades," wrote Uncut's Bud Scoppa, "Cooder has never before made an album as immediate as Election Special." This is the second year in a row that Cooder has landed on Uncut's year's best list, having done so last year for his previous album, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down. (Cooder is also noted this year for his work in a different medium, making the list of Best Books for his first-ever stand-alone written work, Los Angeles Stories, a collection of loosely linked tales that evoke a bygone era in one of America's most iconic cities.)

    Ry Cooder's Election Special also landed at No. 4 on Uncut's list of the Best Americana Albums of 2012, joined by Carolina Chocolate Drops' latest album, Leaving Eden, which is featured at No. 15.

    Uncut also has a list of the 30 Best Reissues of the year, which includes Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, a three-CD-plus-DVD set comprising the original two volumes of Billy Bragg and Wilco's settings of Woody Guthrie lyrics, a third volume with 17 previously unreleased recordings from those sessions, and the 1999 documentary on the sessions, Man in the Sand. The set was released on Nonesuch in April to mark the centenary of Guthrie's birth.

    Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master, featuring a score by Jonny Greenwood, is included on Uncut's list of the year's Best Films.

    ---

    Paste's picks for the 50 Best Albums of 2012 brings yet another year-end accolade for Dr. John's Locked Down. "Teaming with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who brought atmospherics, buzzy guitars and quicksand grooves that pull you in, this is 21st century mojo essentialized," writes Paste's Holly Gleason. "Indeed, Max Weissenfeldt on drums, Leon Michele on keyboards, Nick Moyshon on electric and upright bass and Brian Olive on guitar bring a creative foment to John’s ripped dispatches from the street."

    Punch Brothers' latest album, Who's Feeling Young Now?, also lands on Paste's list of the year's best. This, their "third and unquestionably finest album," finds the band "crafting off-kilter, classically-tinged pop songs that sound like absolutely no other band on the planet," writes Ryan Reed. "Every track is a small wonder of some sort as Punch Brothers cover a lot of stylistic ground in a short span—their eerily faithful interpretation of Radiohead’s electronic masterpiece 'Kid A' proves their tastes are as eclectic as their fingers. And with the album’s heart-racing opener, 'Movement and Location,' a brief summary can hardly encompass its power. They may have just crafted a masterpiece of their own."

    Paste names another of the band's songs of the album, "This Girl," as one of the 50 Best Songs of 2012. Calling Punch Brothers "one of the finest groups of musicians to play folk instruments since Bill Monroe hired Earl Scruggs," Paste's Josh Jackson says, "it’s much more than string-plucking wizardry at work here with competency, creativity and entertainment all turned up to 11."

    ---

    Read more from the above lists at pastemagazine.com and in the latest issues of Uncut and Mojo, on newsstands now.

    To pick up these "year's best" albums, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CDs and LPs are 34% off SRP as part of the store's fifth anniversary sale and include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout.

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Year's Best Album Lists from Uncut, Mojo, Paste Include The Black Keys, Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Jonny Greenwood, Punch Brothers

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on November 27, 2012 - 11:22am
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 16:00
Excerpt: 

There's still more than a month to go before 2012 comes to a close, but already the music magazines have begun to weigh in on the year's best music. Uncut, Mojo, and Paste have all published their lists of the Best Albums of the Year, and included among them are a number of Nonesuch releases: the latest from The Black Keys, Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Jonny Greenwood, Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and much more.

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There's still more than a month to go before 2012 comes to a close, but already the music magazines have begun to weigh in on the year's best music. Uncut, Mojo, and Paste have all published their lists of the Best Albums of the Year, and included among them are a number of Nonesuch releases: the latest from The Black Keys, Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Jonny Greenwood, Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and more.

---

Mojo's list of the year's Best Albums finds The Black Keys' El Camino at No. 6, even though it was released in 2011, after the magazine had already published its best-of-2011 list. Following the album's release, Mojo gave it a perfect five stars, dubbing it an Instant Classic. "In thrall to grand American traditions of cars-and-girls driving music, El Camino makes its own trip from Rubber City to Music City," wrote the magazine, "touching upon great modern pop music but never losing its grimy old-school identity."

Dr. John's Nonesuch debut album, Locked Down, produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, lands just two slots away at No. 8 on Mojo's Best Albums list. "Dr. John teams up with Dan Auerbach and the gumbo is bubbling once again," said Mojo in its original four-star review of the album. "10 of the funkiest tracks Dr. John’s been involved in since the ‘70s. There are elements of Gris-Gris and Babylon, but this is no revival; the night-tripping grooves are tight, cosmically-inclined, and brewed with a real soulfulness. This is definitely right place, right time."

Mojo's list of the Best Soundtracks of 2012 includes the soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson's new film The Master, which comprises 11 compositions by Jonny Greenwood along with four recordings from the post–World War II era in which the film is set.

Also in the Mojo year-end issue is a feature titled "The Best Thing I've Heard All Year," in which artists offer their thoughts on just that. Bonnie Raitt includes both Ry Cooder's new album, Election Special, which he considered a wake-up call for this year's US election, and Randy Newman's similarly politically themed single "I'm Dreaming." Says Raitt: "Ry Cooder's Election Special took on issues few dared to. And there was Randy Newman's 'I'm Dreaming': satire as timely as it was brilliant."

---

Uncut magazine's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2012 places Dr. John's Locked Down, at No. 4, following only such fellow heavy-hitters as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Jack White. The magazine calls the pairing of Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack, and Auerbach as "inspired, with the weird, urgent power of Rebennack's voodoo heyday recaptured, then augmented by some new tricks."

Upon the release of Locked Down in April, Uncut named the record its Album of the Month, calling it "hugely successful." Reviewer Michael Bonner described Locked Down as "the opposite of that fallback position of the artist in their seventh or eighth decade, the 'Rick Rubin' treatment. Instead, it goes entirely the other way: this isn’t a record that seeks to embrace maturity, but instead wants to invoke the wild spirits of the artist’s misspent youth. Weird, powerful rock ‘n’ roll. Enormously funky."

Also on Uncut's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2012 is Ry Cooder's Election Special, another record the magazine had named Album of the Month upon its release, in late August. "In a recording career that stretches back more than four decades," wrote Uncut's Bud Scoppa, "Cooder has never before made an album as immediate as Election Special." This is the second year in a row that Cooder has landed on Uncut's year's best list, having done so last year for his previous album, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down. (Cooder is also noted this year for his work in a different medium, making the list of Best Books for his first-ever stand-alone written work, Los Angeles Stories, a collection of loosely linked tales that evoke a bygone era in one of America's most iconic cities.)

Ry Cooder's Election Special also landed at No. 4 on Uncut's list of the Best Americana Albums of 2012, joined by Carolina Chocolate Drops' latest album, Leaving Eden, which is featured at No. 15.

Uncut also has a list of the 30 Best Reissues of the year, which includes Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, a three-CD-plus-DVD set comprising the original two volumes of Billy Bragg and Wilco's settings of Woody Guthrie lyrics, a third volume with 17 previously unreleased recordings from those sessions, and the 1999 documentary on the sessions, Man in the Sand. The set was released on Nonesuch in April to mark the centenary of Guthrie's birth.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master, featuring a score by Jonny Greenwood, is included on Uncut's list of the year's Best Films.

---

Paste's picks for the 50 Best Albums of 2012 brings yet another year-end accolade for Dr. John's Locked Down. "Teaming with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who brought atmospherics, buzzy guitars and quicksand grooves that pull you in, this is 21st century mojo essentialized," writes Paste's Holly Gleason. "Indeed, Max Weissenfeldt on drums, Leon Michele on keyboards, Nick Moyshon on electric and upright bass and Brian Olive on guitar bring a creative foment to John’s ripped dispatches from the street."

Punch Brothers' latest album, Who's Feeling Young Now?, also lands on Paste's list of the year's best. This, their "third and unquestionably finest album," finds the band "crafting off-kilter, classically-tinged pop songs that sound like absolutely no other band on the planet," writes Ryan Reed. "Every track is a small wonder of some sort as Punch Brothers cover a lot of stylistic ground in a short span—their eerily faithful interpretation of Radiohead’s electronic masterpiece 'Kid A' proves their tastes are as eclectic as their fingers. And with the album’s heart-racing opener, 'Movement and Location,' a brief summary can hardly encompass its power. They may have just crafted a masterpiece of their own."

Paste names another of the band's songs of the album, "This Girl," as one of the 50 Best Songs of 2012. Calling Punch Brothers "one of the finest groups of musicians to play folk instruments since Bill Monroe hired Earl Scruggs," Paste's Josh Jackson says, "it’s much more than string-plucking wizardry at work here with competency, creativity and entertainment all turned up to 11."

---

Read more from the above lists at pastemagazine.com and in the latest issues of Uncut and Mojo, on newsstands now.

To pick up these "year's best" albums, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CDs and LPs are 34% off SRP as part of the store's fifth anniversary sale and include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout.

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2012 Best: Mojo, Uncut, Paste

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