Finally, another year is seeking towards the end. This is the time for all the music magazines and other people who pretend to have knowledge in music, to make their annual best album list.
And since I am also pretending to have the ultimate taste in music, I found myself in the desperate situation to make my own end of the year list. Therefore I’ve been waiting until 2012 is almost over and I could compile a list with the 35 albums I liked most this year. (As I mentioned that I waited as long as possible to create this list, I’d like to notice that most of the magazines probably finished their lists by the end of september, or why could they elsewise publish them in mid-november)
Ultimately, I have to confirm that all the recordings in this list are really good. Or better said, not a single one is crap.
And by the way, my list isn’t ultimate. Not at all. For instance, didn’t San Cisco recently release their debut LP? I haven’t had a listen yet, maybe this album should have been considered into my selection too. You’ll never know if you missed a masterpiece.
Here follows my personal and exclusive choice of the 35 best albums of the year 2012:
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
Outstanding debut by these American old-shool-rockers. It’s throughout a solid fusion of soul, rockabilly, garage rock and lo-fi elements. Thus they’ve been shortlisted for the Grammy’s, amongst others as Best New Artist. I’m looking forward to hear more from the Alabama Shakes.
Best Bits: Hold On, I Found You
Mando Diao – Infruset
Completely unexpected came Mando Diao’s release of their sixth studio album Infruset. But nevertheless the band reached number one in their native Sweden for the first time. A reason for this achievement could be that the entire album is sung in swedish. Mando Diao went away from garage rock and made a musical version of some of swedish poet Gustav Frödlng’s poems.
Best Bits: En Sangersaga, Titania
Citizens! – Here We Are
The Citizens made a good album. And I’m talking about almost extremely good. I think I should have rated Here We Are higher than number 33. Yeah, I definitely should have.
Best Bits: True Romance, (I’m In Love With Your) Girlfriend
Sigur Ros – Valtari
To be honest, I never got truly into Sigur Ros. Maybe that’s due to the fact that I never had the time to take enough time for listening to them. Now Valtari is a Sigur Ros album. And I don’t have to explain that the Icelanders don’t make “usual” music. As in the past, their newest creation is comprehends their typical musical style. And I liked it, but in the end I think it would haven been worth it to rehear Valtari for several times, because Sigur Ros’ art is maturing with time. These are just my thoughts.
Best Bits: It’s Sigur Ros. They don’t compose single songs.
Soko – I Thought I Was An Alien
French singer-songwriter and actress Stéphanie Sokolinski a.k.a. Soko released her first LP in February. Some may know her for the staggering beautiful song I’ll Kill Her which she recorded five years ago. With I Thought I Was An Alien, Soko made a nice album containing a remarkable 15 tracks. But the diversity is missing. It’s undeniable a terrific problem if the money only lasts for one acoustic guitar. At least the emotionalism is guaranteed.
Best Bits: Happy Hippie Birthday, First Love Never Die
2:54 – 2:54
I don’t like eponymous albums. But this group around sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow deserves to take part in this list. 2:54 by 2:54 illustrates bland rock. Bland in a positive way of meaning.
Unagitated but intense rock.
Best Bits: You’re Early, Easy Undercover
The View – Cheeky For A Reason
Scotland Bonus. The View’s fourth LP is heading more to the direction of pop-rock than their earlier work. The band is from Aberdeen, that makes them talk this awesome language. In addition to this enormous advantage, Cheeky For A Reason is a great power-rock piece imply sufficient diversity.
Best Bits: How Long, Tacky Tattoo and the last part of Sour Little Sweetie
Howler – America Give Up
A solid album by those american lads. I like music that sounds like sea, or beach. In America Give Up you’ll find something Wikipedia described as surf rock. Despite the voice of Jordan Gatesmith which I don’t like that much actually the music is definitely fine. As I said, for a debut it’s outstanding.
Best Bits: Back Of Your Neck, Wailing (Making Out)
Lucy Rose – Like I Used To
Wonderful. Amazing. Stunning. Moving. Beautiful. Sad. Happy. Miraculous. Unique. Pulchritudinous.
Best Bits: Bikes, Lines
David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
I’m delighted about Love This Giant. This collaboration between St. Vincent and ex Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is a succesful combination of rock and brass music. The use of saxophone, trumpet, trombone & Co. makes the album bit funky, I like that. Remark the awesome tuba at Weekend In The Dust and the slide trombone.
Best Bits: Weekend In The Dust, I Am An Ape
Cat Power – Sun
Chan Marshall made a great job and with Sun she released a good album this year. But after all, I think for the entire album there’s not enough diversity presented. It’s still worth a listen.
Best Bits: Cherokee, 3,6,9
Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks
The Modfather released Sonik Kicks in 2012. And reached number one in the UK, beating David Guetta’s Nothing But the Beat to the spot by just 250 copies. This is a sufficient reason to like Paul Weller’s newest rock piece.
Best Bits: The Attic, Kling I Klang
The Crookes – Hold Fast
Bands from Sheffield are great. And The Crookes made really a high-quality indie-pop album.
Oh-Uh-Oh-Oh-Choruses, powerful strophes and lo-fi songs create a nice range of variety.
Best Bits: Afterglow, The I Love You Bridge
Sophie Hunger – The Danger Of Light
Swiss musician Sophie Hunger’s third album continues with the same musical style as her two previous LP’s. Sung in English, German and Swiss German this jazzy piece submits feelings. Or not.
Best Bits: Holy Hells, Das Neue
Blood Red Shoes – In Time To Voices
I love Blood Red Shoes. And their music is officially great, the song Cold featured his presence in Zane Lowe’s 100 Hottest Records of 2012 list. Laura-Mary Carter on vocals and guitar plus Steven Ansell on vocals and drums are the only band members, but nevertheless they are able to play incredible and ingenious rock. Never mind, they’re true punks in their attitudes.
Best Bits: In Time To Voices, Cold
Grizzly Bear – Shields
How could this list exist without Grizzly Bear?
Best Bits (if anyone’s interested): Yet Again, Sleeping Ute
Jolly & The Flytrap – Linger On Mazurka
Jolly & The Flytrap are the most independent band I know. That’s maybe one of the reason why they waited eight years until releasing with Linger On Mazurka a new LP. I reviewed it before.
Best Bits: Electric Polka, Linger On
The XX – Coexist
I think there’s no further need to introduce The XX. But I don’t like them that much like everybody else and I neither consider The XX as the most influential band in this age, as others do.
Listen To: Angels, Sunset
The Hives – Lex Hives
The Hives are back. And garage rock goes along with them. Whatever you expect from the swedish uniform-wearers, they’ll satisfy you. Punk’s not dead?
Best Bits: Come On!, Patrolling Days
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
“I drink to remember, I smoke to forget. Somethings to be proud of, some stuff to regret.”
Jake Bugg is bloody indie. He topped X-Factor from number one in the UK-Charts and he’s young.
By the way his eponymous debut is equipped with good music. But probably not a new Dylan.
Best Bits: Seen It All, Two Fingers
Breton – Other People’s Problems
As I went to see Franz Ferdinand in this summer they had a supporting act I never heard a word of. Then they played and the guy who sang mostly, hardly ever changed chords on his guitar and then he fell over. It was weird, but one song of them reminded of Two Door Cinema Club. I don’t know why, because this band was Breton.
Best Bits: Pacemaker, Ghost Note
Future Of The Left – The Plot Against Common Sense
The Plot Against Common Sense isn’t a ususal rock album. It’s more … peculiar. But it’s a fine collection with an accumulation of good sound. Music is that simple in principle.
Best Bits: City Of Exploded Children, Sorry Dad, I Was Late For The Riots
Hot Panda – Go Outside
Have you seen the album cover? Canadian Hot Panda, consisting of two men and women respectively, came up with a wonderful indie-rock album. Go Outside convinced me with its musical style and with the lyrics. Sometimes similar to Vampire Weekend or even Tame Impala, but mostly undefinable.
Best Bits: Future Markets, Go Outside
Poliça – Give You The Ghost
I don’t remember the exact circumstances which lead to the classification of Give You The Ghost at this position in my list. The only thing I can remember about this electro album when I listened to it for the first and until now last time, is that I thought that it’s very inspiring.
Best Bits: Dark Star, Amongster
Spector – Enjoy It While It Lasts
Related situation as in the case of Give You The Ghost. But Spector’s debut is another great indie-rock album. It’s not a usual nearly boring indie-rock album, it differs with diversity from fast, loud, heavy to quiet, lonely, conscious.
Best Bits: Twenty Nothing, Celestine
The Vaccines – Come Of Age
I had my problems with The Vaccines. After the release of their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? I was doubtless into them. But with my mind matured and I started to dislike them. This status caused that my denial of their second LP till I figured out this list. I overpowered myself and gave Come Of Age a chance, fortunately. Come Of Age beats the pants off What Did You Expect…
Best Bits: No Hope, Teenage Icon
Of Monsters And Men – My Head Is An Animal
One of the worlds biggest enigmas is how such a small country as Iceland can create such a huge amount of outstanding good music. With Of Monsters And Men is there another wonderful nordic band. With their song Little Talks the band received huge airplay all around the world and they gained massive mainstream success. And their debut My Head Is An Animal is a marvelous collection of songs about nature, mythical creatures and love, by the way.
Best Bits: Little Talks, Dirty Paws
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Unnecessary to mention the godlike musical abilities of Jack White, but besides The Raconteurs and The Dead Wheather and after The White Stripes he was into a solo album. Blunderbuss is simply extraordinary. Once again the best possible way to fuse blues and garage rock. He’s a genius.
Best Bits: Sixteen Saltines, Freedom At 21
Metz – Metz
Metz are loud and good. Their debut album is kind of power punk, but not in a Green Day way.
The Canadian trio is said to be more a live band than studio workers. Nevertheless they worked out an enormous album which I just can describe with heavy, fast, booming, loud and good.
Best Bits: Wet Blanket, Headache
Alvin Zealot – Flux
In my opinion Flux is Lonerism’s little brother. Swiss band Alvin Zealot made a wonderful rock album peppered with feelings. I like how this creation takes beautiful guitars, a gorgeous voice and perfect rhythms together to conclude in an almost sacrosanct arrangement. And throughout the whole album, I can’t stop thinking about which drugs may have influenced the development of this LP.
Flux is simply a pleasure for the ears of every music enthusiast.
Best Bits: Flux, Mention Dimension
Muse – The 2nd Law
I can’t describe how excited I was about the release of The 2nd Law. But my expectations weren’t fulfilled completely. Muse’s sixth studio album isn’t a masterpiece, but still an unique piece of rock music. And Muse didn’t turn into Coldplay, fortunately. The 2nd Law provides not just one musical direction, listen to the discrepancy between Panic Station, Animals, Supremacy, Follow Me and Madness. For a band which gained such a reputation, Muse is still doing great work.
Best Bits: Panic Station, The 2nd Law: Isolated System
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Lonerism is the best example of psychedelic rock. incredible sound, reminds John Lennon somehow.
Great music about solitude. And with the song called Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control, Tame Impala follows the steps of Pink Floyd’s Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict as longest songtitel ever.
Best Bits: Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, Elephant
Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
Sure, it’s nearly impossible to top Tourist History, Two Door Cinema Club’s debut album. Nonetheless the band from Northern Ireland worked out a dignified second LP. But similar to their debut is, that on Beacon also not a single song is which is really bad. A very regulated album.
Best Bits: Next Year, Sun
Tribes – Baby
Indie rules my list. And with Tribes there’s another great new indie-rock band. Baby gathers composition of songs that are just fun listening to. For myself this collection of heavy guitar riffs and quiet, slow hymns is such a pleasure, this album is a single relief.
Best Bits: Corner Of An English Field, Nightdriving
Django Django – Django Django
Definitively my Album of the year. Amazing electronic indie-rock, or something like that. Scottish music is particularly good, but what Django Django from Edinburgh formed is outstanding. Uplifting rock songs are mixed with instrumental electronic pieces. Django Django is nothing less than brilliant.
Best Bits: Hail Bop, Firewater
Here’s my Spotify-list with the two best songs from the best albums of 2012: