This year, I decided to ignore other blogs, mags and friends and make an utterly subjective list. The purpose of this list is to provide you with the albums that touched me, instead of giving an objective bibliography. That’s why some great records of 2012 are not on my list. For instance, as good as the songs are, I see no point in buying Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange that everybody’s ranting about simply because , I cannot stand his voice. On the other hand, there are names like Lindstrom, Halls or Porcelain Raft, which I cannot stop listening to and haven’t seen anywhere else yet. I also probably overlooked quite a few amazing albums and by some time next year I’ll say, “why haven’t I heard this before?” So, feel free to disagree. And of course, enjoy…
(The image is taken from http://www.cafemaroon.com so the album covers do not necessarily match my list.)
1 The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
I got hold of this record in February. By the end of March, I knew no matter who did what, this would be the best album of the year for me. No other record has touched me the way Given to the Wild did. The song writing is superb, the production immaculately reflects the band’s dark mood and as a plus, they are amazing live. Yet, it is the sincere pain in Orlando Week’s voice that makes this such a special affair.
Fave track: Unknow
2 Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
Despite my dislike for its members (the arrogant interviews anyone?), I couldn’t stop listening to An Awesome Wave this year. It’s a smart, sassy, genre-defying debut. And it’s very, very sexy.
3 Breton – Other People’s Problems
It’s the album that made me go “Whoa, what’s that?!?” ten seconds into their opening track Pacemaker. And what followed right after made my jaw drop even more. It’s a brainy, sonically progressive record with an amazing mash of symphonic noise/electro, laid over hip-hop beats in a edgy hue. I also saw them live three times and they are just as mind-blowing on stage as they are on the album. Cannot find fault.
4 DIIV – Oshin
With their impeccable mix of dream-pop, shoegaze and indie-rock, DIIV blew me away this year. Their dark and gloomy debut Oshin got me immersed in my depression and the “Nirvana look” added more to their appeal. Viva killer guitar riffs in fuzzy reverb!
5 Poliça – Give You The Ghost
I loved Gayngs, I’m loving Poliça even more. Ryan Olson is a production genius, the songs are incredibly tense, and Channy Leaneagh’s auto-tuned vocals are otherworldly.
FT: Violent Games
6 Porcelain Raft – Strange Weekend
Italian producer Mauro Remiddi’s project Porcelain Raft makes you feel like you’re floating in space, or an alternate universe that you never ever want to leave. It’s captivating, beautifully atmospheric and quite emotional, at times sounding like a more fragile M83. It’s an absolute breathtaker. Oh dear…
FT: Strange Weekend
7 Halls – Ark
My love affair with this band, well, the solo project of Londoner Sam Howard actually, started with a purely coincidental encounter at Rough Trade East. After watching Halls perform and listening to their debut, I became an instant fan (and wrote this: https://indieuk.com/2012/10/27/halls). It’s amazing how a 21-year old can produce something so moving, so beautiful and so tense all on his own. Ark has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2012 for me.
8 Purity Ring – Shrines
The reason I like this band so much while some others can only take them in small doses, is because they are just “my type.” Shrines is a perfect mix of electro-pop, r&b, dubstep and goth.
9 Django Django – Dx Dx
Here are the masters at making songs that immediately and sometimes annoyingly get stuck! God knows how I roamed the streets of London going “got to get to know, got to get to know, got to get to know, got to get to know, know you, know you, know you, know you, know you…” or worse, “de de de de de de de default…de de de de de default!” Addictive psychedelic pop dripped in electro…
FT: Life’s a Beach
10 Wild Nothing – Nocturne
Gorgeous dream-pop outing from American musician Jack Tatum.
FT: Through the Grass
11 Lindstrom – Smallhans
I can hear some of you go, “really?!” Yes, really! It’s the best disco record of 2012. It may not be groundbreaking but its biggest strength lies in its coherence and consistency. Smallhans does not take a step down from start to finish and there is not one song here that makes you want to move on to the next track. Collaborating with another Nordic household dj Todd Terje, this is Lindstrom at his best. Dance, dance, dance…
12 Orbital – Wonky
Wonky is a techno lover’s dream come true with soaring disco/techno/house tracks that get you instantly hooked. And jumping!
13 Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Unlike some of their fans that prefer the earlier stuff, this is the record that got me hooked. I prefer the punchier Night and Day to Ready for the Floor and some of the tracks here, like These Chains, are indeed very good songs without any relevance to their genre.
FT: These Chains
14 How to Dress Well – Total Loss
Do not listen to this album in a foul mood. Otherwise, the soulful voice of Tom Krell can serve as an invisible hand slapping you in the face. A breathtaking follow-up to Love Remains…
FT: World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You
15 2:54 – 2:54
I hear so much passion in this dark, smoky debut from the London-based Thurlow sisters. Their songs start to sound alike after a while but I will not object to variations of a good thing. Not here.
16 John Talabot – fIN
Who knew such a gem could come out of Barcelona?! fIN is a brilliant and hearty house/disco/electronica debut from the Spanish producer.
FT: Last Land
17 Trust – TRST
I saw photos of Robert Alfons prior to hearing his band, therefore, I was probably conditioned to like TRST before playing a track. After giving them a listen, I wrote: “Weird. Very weird. An attempt at electro-goth, taking a cue from their natives Crystal Castles? Synth-pop? Darkwave? A reincarnation of Capella and 2 Unlimited? However you describe it, somehow, Canadian electro-duo Trust’s music is still very attractive.” Just like the people who made it.
18 Fairmont – Automaton
This is the album that made me edit my list after it was recommended by Mabbas in one of his random “Electronic Music for Loners” posts. What’s with these Canadians really?!? Automaton is the second LP released by Toronto-born, Berlin based dj/producer Jake Fairley under the name Fairmont. Killer disco/electro/techno blend that suffocate you in dark, dark synth waves. Get drown in it.
FT: Tiny Diamonds
19 Chromatics – Kill for Love
Signature Chromatics. Translates as very good electro.
20 Grizzly Bear – Shields
Sometimes, it takes a live show for you to get into a band. After seeing them at Pitchfork and being transfixed without knowing a single song, I stopped resisting this band. And Thank God I did. One of this year’s best, to state the obvious.
FT: Sun In Your Eyes
21 Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Lovely dream-pop from Melody Prochet, produced by her boyfriend Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala). Lucky girl.
FT: I Follow You
22 Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral
This album hit me like a truck. Certainly not what I was expecting from Mr Lanegan and I mean it in the nicest way possible. Come to daddy!
FT: Ode to Sad Disco
23 The Ghosts – The End
The inexplicably underrated album of 2012. Too bad, it’s beautiful.
FT: Forgetting What We Know
24 Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Trouble
Solid electro/dance record from the male Kate Moss. Loving the head gear.
FT: Household Goods
25 NZCA/Lines – NZCA/Lines
Minimal electro/r&b from Londoner Michael Lovett, who lays his falsetto over his songs beautifully.
FT: Moonlit Car Chase
26 Grimes – Visions
She was horrid at Primavera and she kinda confessed to it. Thankfully, her album is not.
27 Daphni – Jiaolong
Main theme of this list: Canadians know how to make music. If Daniel Victor Snaith makes it, I can only like it. While I moan about doing an MA at King’s, it’s crazy that this guy has a PhD in maths from Imperial College London. Talk about competent!
28 Tame Impala – Lonerism
29 Cat Power – Sun
If I could trade my voice with one single lady, it would probably be Chan Marshall. Her deep, emotive vocals are spellbinding. Sun is an impressive and essentially a more produced record compared to her previous work. I loved it, along with thousands of others. I hope she never stops making music and gets healthy soon.
30 Chet Faker – Thinking in Textures
Australian musician with the brilliant name. The first track I heard was his No Diggity cover but there’s so much more to this album.
FT: Cigarettes and Chocolate
The list continues here: https://indieuk.com/2012/11/28/best-albums-of-2012-so-far-part-ii/