Some of the albums I like that were released at some point over the 365 days of 2012

December 28, 2012

In our never-ending quest to categorise everything into genres, labels and pigeonholes, the end-of-the-year list is a powerful vehicle. It sorts the wheat from the chaff from a 365-day harvest – all that is picked up by the wind and carried away is left to the annals of time, all that falls to the floor will be later sorted into an end-of-the-decade list, then later into an end-of-the-century list and so on until the apocalypse greets us and we are left pondering a very small list of which of the four horsemen released the best post-electronica concept album. And with that in mind, here I add to the inane ramblings of many a list picker vying for a percentage split of the list-hungry wheat sorters. Or something. Before this list/wheat metaphor runs for thousands of words, accidentally turning into some sort of listless Crime and Punishment, I present to you some music records of this present year – 2012 – which I thought were quite good and stuff. They pleased my ears, let them please yours.

Tall Ships – Everything Touching

Tall Ships’ debut album seemed to be coming for years. And once it finally arrived, it did not disappoint. Full of infectious instrumentals, catchy hooks and snips of soft, indie vocals, Everything Touching is where guitar music should be, but never bothered to go. Inventive yet traditional, I want to call it post-indie but I’m worried somebody will find me and punch me if I do.

Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

It’s dark, brooding and menacing. The Twilight Sad, who apparently fall into the shoegazer genre, have refined their sound from a wall of kick-you-in-the-face noise to a simpler construction with a much more electronic foundation.

Bad Books – II

I’m getting bored of my own list – never a good sign – so read what I wrote about this Manchester Orchestra/Kevin Devine hybrid here.

Plan B – Ill Manors

Aggressive, vitriolic and politicised. Plan B’s Ill Manors, released to accompany his film of the same name, is a zeitgeist collection of distrust and disgust. I never thought it would be my cup of tea but it’s hard not to be sucked in by the underworld Ben Drew creates with his tales of drugs, sex and death in “Broken Britain”. It’s by no means the slickest album – but if it was, it wouldn’t work half as well as it does as a modern-day protest album.

The xx – Coexist

It was almost written to feature on end-of-year lists. Simple, shy and ever-so sexy, Coexist is even more stripped back than the xx’s debut album, yet twice as alluring. Coexist sees Jamie Smith’s influence on the production increase with more of the sort of two-step percussion he’s fond of and the subtle anti drops that litter his remix work, whereas the vocals and simple reverb riffs remain the same. Perhaps the trio have done all they can with their sound and using Smith’s production values is a sort of get out of jail free card – but Coexist still makes for a brilliant album.

Right Away, Great Captain! – The Church of the Good Thief

The beautiful conclusion to Andy Hull’s side project – a trilogy charting the pain and anguish of a man who found his brother in bed with his wife, ran (swam. In a boat.) to sea, then returned and murdered his brother. Yikes. The Church of the Good Thief is songwriting at its best.

mewithoutYou – Ten Stories

I wrote a review of this on my own blog here so enjoy. It’s a cracking concept album centered on the derailing of a circus train and the subsequent adventures of its animals, including a bear and a fox who become friends, so much so that the bear throws himself of a cliff so that the fox might have something to eat. *sobs*

And some more…

The Unwinding Hours – Afterlives

Scottish music rocks.

Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

I don’t really think I could say anything new about this record. But suffice to say, I enjoy it.

Deftones – Koi No Yokan

Deftones are one of a dying breed: bands founded in the alternative rock and heavy metal heyday who have retained their identity and managed to consistently put out solid music without abandoning the sound which made them. Immerse yourself.

Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

Brilliantly boring. Or boringly brilliant. Either way, it’s brilliant. And a little bit boring.


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