These aren't in any particular order because even picking 5 was hard enough, ranking them would just be impossible.
K. Phillips American Girls
Dirty River Boys Science of Flight
After listening to two EPs over and over, snatching recordings off YouTube and doing anything I could to get my hand on new DRB material, the wait for Science of Flight was well worth it. I never had any doubt in my mind that it would be amazing, but this album blew me away. I reviewed it fully here and my opinions have only grown stronger as this one has stood the test of time in my rotation in the past several months.
Turnpike Troubadours Goodbye Normal Street
I am not alone in saying this is one of the best albums of the year. It has popped up on nearly every list I have read so far and with good reason. I think this all goes without saying. I have harped on the glories of Turnpike many times before. Each album is better than the the one before, but I can still sit down and listen to every song they've ever released from start to finish and never get bored. They're music speaks for itself, but the lyrics crafted mostly by Evan Felker are a breed of their own. He can make such an ordinary situation into something special that hits home and resonates with every listener.
Six Market Blvd. Shake It Down
One of the things that has made 6MB one of my favorite bands since I discovered them almost four years ago is their diversity. Their first album, Running on Seven is one of my all-time favorites for that very reason. I was nervous that Shake it Down couldn't compete, but I have been proven wrong. It opens with the hard-hitting, bitchy "Say It," then goes to the Jimmy Buffet-esque "White Goose," to the sad, reflective "Getting Older" and then hits every nerve in between. The only thing that makes this album better is seeing the band play it live. This is one of the best bands around and you'd be silly to miss a show. I've seen them several times this year and I still can't get enough.
Shovels and Rope O' Be Joyful
This one is kind of the odd-ball of the group. But give it one listen and you'll understand why I can't put it down. It is pure fun. This duo just makes me want to stomp my feet on the front porch with some moonshine. Look them up on YouTube and watch them play. Yeah, that's two people making all that noise. If I accidentally listen to one of the songs off O' Be Joyful, you can bet I'll be listening to the whole CD on repeat for about a week before I get my fill. This is the only band on this list I haven't seen live yet but I'm thinking a road trip may be in order soon.
Josh Weathers. Even though Big Night in the City was released just a few months back, I can't nail it down to just one album because when I "discovered" him in April at LJT, I was listening to ALL of his music all summer long, making up for lost time I guess.
The Departed - Adventus. This one isn't on the list solely because I haven't listened to it as much as the others. Not because it isn't as good, but because it hasn't been out as long. I'm projecting that I will listen to this one as much in 2013 as I did some of the above albums in 2012.
Pistol Annies. I realize this is weird of me to be so obsessed with a girl band, but seriously... I'm obsessed. I have listened to their debut album as much, if not more, than most of the ones above, but since it technically came out in August of 2011, it doesn't qualify. I can't explain to you why I like this band so much but they speak to my soul. Spunky, twangy, sassy - they tell it like it is and make it believable (all thanks to Angaleena Presley, I do believe.)
The Trishas - High, Wide & Handsome. It took me a long time to jump on the Trishas bandwagon. I honestly think it's because I hated their outfits in the first pictures I saw of them. But with their new popularity, they have gotten significantly cuter so I gave them another shot. (Yes, I am that shallow.) Their music is kind of like the Pistol Annies but with far fewer white trash references. It's still incredibly relatable - Jamie Wilson can put any woman's feelings on paper and set them to a guitar. Combine that with Evan Felker's songwriting ("Little Sweet Cigars") and I'm hooked.