As 2012 draws to a close, I feel obliged to draw a line under my consideration of albums from this year although, as ever, I’m still listening to new stuff, some of which will undoubtedly be critical omissions from this list several weeks hence. But enough.
As happened last year, I’ve stretched beyond my intention to go from 10-20. But if last year that was because a lot of LPs from about 17-25 felt of a similar quality, this year it feels that this selection is stronger than the equivalent records from last year. In fact I don’t think that there’s a lot to choose between some of these records and some that will be featured in the Top 10 tomorrow.
With comparative strength in depth tehrefore, I don’t think ordering these 11-25 will make any sense at all in future (I suspect that any day will generate a radically different order) so, in alphabetical order here are the 15 LPs that would fill positions 11-25 were I to be hierarchically minded.
Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory (review)
Discovered through their support slot with Bob Mould, it turns out they’ve more of a profile than I realised. Strays a little towards cartoon punk at times for me but half of the LP is ferocious, intelligent rock which I like a lot.
Julian Cope – Psychedelic Revolution (not reviewed)
I’ve got out of the habit of buying Cope LPs when they come out but always enjoy them when I catch up. There wasn’t a lot new on here but, if it doesn’t aim for the pop territory of, say, ‘Interpreter’ it’s an LP which still focusses on songwriting and melody for a significant proportion of its running length.
Disappears – Pre Language (review)
Crunching drums (courtesy of one S Shelley), heavy riffs and a Mark E Smith type vocal delivery make this an interesting American rock record. Interesting droney dynamics too although perhaps these lead to a feeling of samey-ness by the end of the album.
godspeed you! black emperor Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (not reviewed)
My first exposure to this lot (for some reason) but I think I get it. Epic instrumental pieces which work perfectly for the side of me which loves arty, experimental rock. Works well in some moods, less well in others!
Jesca Hoop – The House That Jack Built (review)
The only LP to make it into this year’s list that was discovered courtesy of that one time stand-by – the Uncut compilations, THTJB is a quirky inventive pop record that covers quite a lot of bases. Good songwriting too.
Human Don’t Be Angry – Human Don’t Be Angry (review)
At times a significant and successful departure from the trademark Middleton sound of old, occasionally it wasn’t so easy to see the difference. And one or two tracks weren’t that great. But overall a hit with some great songs.
Last Harbour – Your Heart, It Carries The Sound (not reviewed)
Another late addition to the list this is still working its way into my head. The first two thirds seem excellent, but it maybe runs out of steam a little towards the back end. Ideal for anyone looking for the new Cathal Coughlan.
Cate Le Bon – Cyrk (review)
Introduced to CLB through FOUND’s cover of ‘Eyes So Bright’ from her first LP, ‘Cyrk’ is a collection of dark, mysterious psychedelic pop tunes, courtesy of Cate’s almost gothic delivery. A treat to be savoured over time.
Miaoux Miaoux – Light of the North (review)
An odd mix, around 60% of ‘Light of the North’ is good enough for a top 5 place this year- the rest I don’t care for much at all. So, today, it’s perched precariously just outside the top 10 but there’s some really great stuff including ‘Better For Now’ and the last 3 songs in particular.
PAWS – Cokefloat! (review)
Another record that wows me for large stretches thanks to big crunching guitars married to pop tunes, it loses me in others when it heads in the direction of the meat and spuds rock of the Libertines when they weren’t very good. Maybe it would have helped if I’d seen them live.
Karine Polwart – Traces (review)
A gorgeous folk record dripping with melody and emotion ‘Traces’ grabbed me in a way that predecessor ‘This Earthly Spell’ didn’t. I’ve always enjoyed Karine’s contributions to the Burns Unit and ‘Traces’ is on a par with the best of these.
Dan Stuart – The Deliverance of Marlower Billings (not reviewed)
Another late entry for consideration (courtesty of being a birthday present), ‘Deliverance…’ probably leas just too much to being very trad Americana for my tastes but there’s no denying that the former Green On Red man is still a consumate songwriter.
TOY – TOY (not reviewed)
This was arguably not making it into the Top 20 a few weeks ago but it’s snuck up on me over the last couple of plays. Sometimes I find shoegazey stuff a bit nebulous but ‘TOY’ finds a groove particularly when the kraut-rock rhythms kick in.
The Unwinding Hours – Afterlives (not reviewed)
The last addition to the list, I resisted look into this for long enough after being disappointed by the debut but then I didn’t love everything Aereogramme did either. A bit lighter and more polished than the debut but with better songs. IMHO.
Whigs & Rakes – Acclimatize (review)
A bit of a cheat since it was definitely released in 2011 but it was released so late in the year that it wasn’t going to make anyone’s list. But it’s such a fine alt.rock LP, it deserves a little time in the spotlight. A great live band too.
Coming up tomorrow – my 10 favourite LPs of the year.