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.

7

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, 'Here'

Does sandal-wearing late-Sixties revivalism seem a little hokey in 2012? Well, that's exactly what makes the 10-member troupe of L.A. neo-hippies' second LP such an achievement. They're not just convincing, they're musically on fire, spooling out tuneful hymns like they're passing out free joints in the parking lot at a Dead show. Frontman Alex Ebert sings earnestly about love and spirituality, letting his mind wander pleasantly over the band's homespun harmonies and easy-going folk-psych instrumentation. There's gospel country, spaced-out chorales and back-to-the-land jamming; it's a cosmic campfire singalong, broadcasting live from a magical place where the Age of Aquarius never ended and every Jesus beard in the house is completely unironic.

 

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