The D-Side is an opinion column which allows the writers and fans of Modern Vinyl to give their thoughts on various vinyl-related events. If you have a passionate opinion that you’d like to share with others, either leave it in the comments or send us what you’d like to write about, at new@modern-vinyl.com.

My how 6 months has flown by. Throughout the first half 0f 2012, Modern Vinyl has undergone a makeover, experienced some admirable growth and has picked up some excellent fans along the way. So before going into what’s been the highlights of the first six months, I’d be remiss if I didn’t first express my gratitude. Without those who’ve decided to frequent our site on a daily basis, none of this would be possible. So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and hopefully, we can continue to improve upon our main goal: giving you the most complete vinyl-based experience on the web. And now to the good stuff. Here is the best from the first half of 2012 (in my opinion, of course):

The Best of 2012 (So Far)

Top Albums (judging music only, vinyl links provided)

10. The Shins — Port Of Morrow (buy)
Despite replacing a large portion of the band, James Mercer was able to provide another indie-pop gem, incorporating more classic rock influences than ever into the material. They even have a few arena-ready anthems in the band’s first album in several years.

9. TS & The Past Haunts — Gone & Goner (buy)
“Gone & Goner,” despite its intricate pilgrim feast of a cover, is a simple rock and roll album that strongly benefits both from the live recording aspect of the record and the classic rock influence, which Travis Shettel (Piebald) seemed to obtain from several eras of rock music.

8. The All American Rejects — Kids In The Street (buy)
The year’s biggest surprise thus far. “Kids In The Street” was an album I didn’t expect to love (or even like for that matter), but it’s simply irresistible. Definitely more “Move Along” than “When The World Comes Down.”

7. The Menzingers — On The Impossible Past (buy)
Instead of just becoming another Gaslight Anthem copycat, The Menzingers were able to write a working man’s record about lower-class America that actually separated them from the punk rock field.

6. Now, Now — Threads (buy)
It took a live performance for me to truly become enamored with what Now, Now had crafted with their brand new full length album. But since that performance, I’ve begun to appreciate the atmospheric, yet poppy tunes the relatively young band has managed to create.

5. Right Away, Great Captain! — The Church Of The Good Thief (sold out on vinyl)
The third and final chapter of Andy Hull’s epic trilogy, “The Church Of The Good Thief” is actually the weakest of the Right Away, Great Captain! albums. Third on that list, though, is still pretty damn good.

4. The Forecast — Everybody Left (buy)
Another solid album from an excellent band. The dual vocals are what you notice first, but the supreme songwriting, both lyrically and musically, is what should keep you coming back for more.

3. Vacationer — Gone (buy)
The perfect complement to the blazing hot temperatures, “Gone” is strong from top to bottom, mixing an island atmosphere with the always strong vocals from Kenny Vasoli.

2. Fun. — Some Nights (buy)
I don’t care how many times I hear Fun. on the radio or on television commercials, they still crafted the best pure pop album I’ve heard in years.

1. Conveyor — Conveyor (buy)
Now I know Conveyor’s self titled album hasn’t officially come out yet (July 17th), but I couldn’t help myself from giving it some extra press. It’s the best album I’ve listened to this year and it’s currently available for streaming.

Most anticipated for the last half of 2012

5. The American Scene — Safe For Now (buy)

4. The Gaslight Anthem — Handwritten (buy)

3. Circa Survive — Violent Waves (buy)

2. Yellowcard — Southern Weather (buy)

1. The Early November — In Currents (buy)

Best (and most interesting) vinyl packaging

5. Harvard — The Inevitable and I’s excellent packaging and DVD (buy)
Enjoy The Ride Records

4. Anthony Raneri — New Cathedrals’ Coffee variant (sold out, clear still available)
Paper + Plastick Records

3. Jack White — Freedom At 21’s flexi-discs attached to helium balloons (lost in the woods somewhere)
Third Man Records

2. Jack White — Sixteen Saltines’ liquid filled variant (going on eBay for ridiculous amounts)
Third Man Records

1. Athletics — Why Aren’t I Home’s touch sensitive cover (buy)
Intheclouds Records

Bands I’ve discovered in 2012 (that I should have listened to before)

3. The Heavy Guilt

2. Conveyor

1. Dad Rocks!

My bold prediction for the remainder of 2012

1. The infamous “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” pressing from Mightier Than Sword will somehow come out and see the light of day. It has to….right?

Quick hits

  • This strange trend of putting people’s blood in records has to stop. Where will we draw the line people? After one bodily fluid is approved by the public, others are sure to follow…..
  • The standard price of a single LP continues to boggle the mind. Should it be more like $15….or more like $20? Expect the price to rise as popularity rises.
  • What other repressings or reissues will we see this year? I was holding out hope for The Format’s “Dog Problems,” but that seems to be a ways away. Perhaps some more records from The Starting Line? It seems like their camp is getting ready to unleash something, so that’s always a good sign. I think it’s only a matter of time before Fueled By Ramen and Drive-Thru Records realize the goldmines they’re sitting on in terms of vinyl. Maybe they’ll eventually take action.

So, what caught your eye in 2012 (so far)?