50 Best Albums of 2012

Frank Ocean reimagined R&B; Dylan drenched us in blood; pop-punk vets, disco orchestras and Scottish oddballs made an election year bearable.

21

Cloud Nothings, 'Attack on Memory'

"I thought I would be more than this!" snarls Cleveland's Dylan Baldi on "Wasted Days," before diving into a five-minute psych-punk-dub jam that builds into the year's most stunning crescendo of self-loathing. Sounding like a scrawnier Kurt Cobain (with help from soundman Steve Albini), Baldi ups his game from scrappy post-hardcore twerp to indie-rock force of nature over 33 minutes that never let up: Drums pummel, guitars chew scenery, and Baldi's scream makes old-school aggro-depression feel like new-school joy.

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