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.

35

Grizzly Bear, 'Shields'

The Brooklyn avant-pop crew's fourth album is its most muscular to date, driven more than ever by drummer Christopher Bear's innate swing. Yet, from the electric-vs.-acoustic-guitar schizophrenia of "Sleeping Ute" to the Gil Evans jazziness of "Sun in Your Eyes," Grizzly Bear still flash some gorgeously intricate arranging. Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen have grown into one of indie rock's most sophisticated songwriting teams, melding idiosyncratic approaches to texture and tune into a subtly mind-blowing whole. And those vocal harmonies still kill.

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