Since we didn't publish our Best of 2012 list until February of 2013, I'm pleased as punch to get a jump on this post prior to July 31st -- it's our list of our best albums of the first half of the year...
Many thanks to @WeirScrewed for contributing this list which I (Steve - @thebarnpresents) will embellish with the following note (I've also included some additional picks below):
First, I couldn't agree more with most of these selections, they are the very same albums that have been burning up my playlists since winter (though I've added a handful of my own selections in the "also check out" section below. Second, I speak for both of us in expressing gratitude to @neddyo at Hidden Track for his weekly new music column which was first exposure to several of these - a very valuable resource!
Also check out (@thebarnpresents picks)...
Tauk – Homunculus - Refreshing modern spin on the jamband - they probably hate being called a jamband
Superhuman Happiness – Hands - There's a lot going on here rhythmically, so let it sink in
Kingsley Flood – Battles - Infectious Americana-based rock, kept coming back to these tunes
Dawes – Stories Don't End - Not quite instant classic status of their prior albums, but essential listening if you're like me and love their sound
The Greyboy Allstars – Inland Emperor - Crazy that a sporadic funk band can turn out something so engaging
The Shouting Matches – Grownass Man - Didn't expect to like this, but rises above some of its indie peers
Jake Bugg – Spotify Sessions - Yep, he's a bit of a phenom, but these songs are worth a listen. Can't wait to see what's next.
Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God - This un-MMJ like effort from the band's leader was worth the detour
Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up! - I hope this album gave a good shot of the blues to folks who needed it the most
Chicago Farmer – Backenforth, Il - A genuinely great album that popped out of the Chicago scene - singer/songwriter of the "new folk"
The Black Crowes – Wiser for the Time - Cultivated from their last tour just in time to complement their huge 2013 swing
Phish – Phish: Ventura - Absolute monster of a set. Bowie > Cities > Bowie. *Gulp*
Various Artists – Love For Levon - A fine concert for an incredible legacy. Worth a few plays.