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Robin Hilton's Top 10 Albums Of 2012

Cat Power (Chan Marshall) put out the best record of her career in 2012, with the triumphant Sun. (Austin Conroy)

I'm always amazed by the bottomless well of human creativity. Every year around this time I reflect on all the phenomenal music that came out, and wonder how on earth there could possibly be any more to hear. Surely we've exhausted all of our ideas. And yet, January rolls around, and new albums by new artists start pouring in, filled with new sounds and voices. We'll never run out of music.

Most of the stuff I fell in love with in 2012 was big and loud. Even the normally quiet Sharon Van Etten and Cat Power got relatively noisy on their latest records. I'm not sure what was going on in my life that drew me to the hard and heavy more often this year. I did take up cage fighting and I joined a 12-step group for people with latent rage issues. Regardless, it was an amazing and endlessly rewarding year for anyone who wanted to rock.

That said, I did include a few quieter, more introspective albums on this list to mix it up ... with apologies to Metz, JEFF The Brotherhood, Dum Dum Girls, The Bleeding Knees Club, Deafheaven, Mind Spiders, Dinosaur Jr and too many more to mention.

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