2012 featured a lot of high-quality releases, although nothing that's a candidate for my all-time list. Honestly, these five records could have just as easily landed in the top five, but if you're going to rank them, you have to make some tough decisions.
10. Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal
An Icelandic band in the top ten? And it's not Sigur Rós? That's right. This indie-pop outfit, co-fronted by the male/female duo Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson, is one of six artists making their top ten debut this year.
9. Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
These indie-rock veterans who somehow combine VU-like minimalism with space-rocky soundscapes are one of three English bands in this year's top ten, with two more to come in the top five.
8. Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky
Since most of this band's best work pre-dates my year-end list making, it's only kind of surprising this is their first top ten entry. I should point out that, while I already called this the best of their three post-comeback albums, it's final standing just kept improving every time I listened to it.
7. Tame Impala - Lonerism
I don't know if there's ever been a year where American artists have barely made up 50% of my list. This year's breakdown: U.S. - 17, Canada - 5, England - 4, Sweden - 2, Iceland - 1, Australia - 1. Tame Impala makes it six different countries represented on this year's list.
6. Passion Pit - Gossamer
I'm pretty sure it's quite unprecedented there are two Massachusetts bands in the top ten. (Obviously, Dinosaur Jr. is the other.) Following Manners' #10 ranking in 2009, Passion Pit is the only two-time top ten finisher featured in this post.
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