Not sure if I’m splitting hairs here, or creating a category for things that don’t quite fit in elsewhere, but here’s a look back at the best mini-LPs of 2012.

You may ask – what’s a mini-LP? For me it’s a combination of number of tracks and length if time. So they’re longer than EPs but not as long as full albums and they probably (but not always)have at least 6 songs but no more than 9.

1. Valley of Silence III – Sam Barber

Honestly the epitome of the perfect mini-LP. Every second contributes to the record whilst displaying the sort of range that you’d normally find on a full length album. VOS III may be part of a larger whole but it’s the perfect introduction to Sam Barber’s universe and his remarkable flair with a melody.

2. Pinkly Things – Catlow

The return of Catlow after 6 years was cause for celebration in itself but the fact that ‘Pinkly Things’ was so good put the icing on the cake. Leaning more heavily towards pop than indie guitar, ‘Pinkly Things’ was only 2 or 3 songs short of a proper LP – which means that the second Catlow LP proper is something to look forward to with great anticipation.

3. Live Secretly – Thula Borah

‘Live Secretly’ has only 5 tracks but its running time of more than 35 minutes atkes it out of the EP category for me. A step forward from their debut LP ‘Mind River Matter’, ‘Live Secretly’ not only has their best song to date ‘Skye Falling’, but all in all just sounds fucking massive.

4. To The Good Old Days – Digital Bear

Raindeer reckons that this isn’t good enough to pay for, so you can get it free from Bandcamp. But he’s definitely underselling most of this record which all in all is pretty excellent. I’ve said this before but if this is really just a primer for the much better Behold, The Old Bear LP, then that’s going to be brilliant!

5. Live on Land E.P. – Martin John Henry

Apparently almost an opportunistic release, Live on Land captures much of the magic of the MJH solo shows this year. The tracks recorded in Zurich are particularly good in a well chosen selection which includes a couple of excellent covers (Kate Bush and Desert Hearts).

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