Mature ThemesTrying to define indie rock or indie pop or indie anything is getting harder and harder to do every day. When Beyoncé's sister has a dude from Grizzly Bear on speed dial and Yeasayer songs are sung by kiddie choirs at school concerts, the meaning of indie tends to be fuzzy at best, irrelevant at worst. Befitting the ubiquitous nature of indie, our list of favorite albums is broken into two easy-to-digest parts that attempt to span the wide range of sounds and styles that fall under the indie umbrella. The M-Z segment of our list of favorites gathers up some ripping noise (the fuzzy doo wop punk of Royal Headache, the Men's intense guitar blast) and some very precise new wave-inspired art (Prinzhorn Dance School and the xx), while chilling near the dancefloor with Poolside and Shintaro Sakamoto. Throw in two albums produced by Tame Impala's studio whiz Kevin Parker (his own and the exquisite Melody's Echo Chamber), very young-sounding records by old dudes (Redd Kross and OFF!), and the impossible-to-describe Ariel Pink, and it's another mess definition-wise, but it does make for a year's worth of pretty amazing music, no matter what you end up calling it.Trembling Bells/Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Marble DownsMelody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
The Men - Open Your Heart
Naomi Punk - The Feeling
Niki and the Dove - Instinct
OFF! - OFF!
Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
Poolside - Pacific Standard Time
Prinzhorn Dance School - Clay Class
Redd Kross - Researching the Blues
Frankie Rose - Interstellar
Royal Headache - Royal Headache
Shintaro Sakamoto - How to Live with a Phantom
Ty Segall - Twins
Swans - The Seer
Taken by Trees - Other Worlds
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Woods - Bend Beyond
The xx - Coexist

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Indie Pop and Rock albums of 2012 in this playlist: