Mark’s Top 10 of 2012

FrontSorry to take my time 🙂 but I wanted to give them all a good listen before I made my mind up…Been a good year for music and 2013 will be a cracker I think!

10. Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks

Why is Sonic spelt with a K???? I just don’t know about this album…could easily be #1 or not on the list at all. I love Weller and I love the way he keeps moving but sometimes I’m not sure if I get it. Hated this album at first but played it quite a bit lately and its slowly worked its way into my bloodstream. Favourite Track: By The Waters

9. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe

Damon Albarn can’t do a lot wrong in my books (except Dr Dee…what was that all about for a debut solo album) and his production work on this album is tops. Great mix of tracks on this album and Womack’s vocals on this album are superb! Love the electro sounds coming together with soul influence. Favourite Track: Deep River

8. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

Bruce back to his swaggering best in my books. Fitting album for the times. Would loved to have seen the tour of this album but not to be. Favourite Track: We Take Care Of Our Own.

7. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls

One of my favourite new bands of 2012. Seen them on Jools Holland and the energy in their performance was that of a band who are playing songs they feel and have really felt the blues. Favourite Track: Hold On.

6. Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts

Wow where did this one come from? Never been a fan of Norah Jones or all the celebrity name dropping but I really liked this album. Someone obviously really pissed her off cos the album is real dark and venomous. Produced by Dangermouse, there is definitely a femme fatale feel to it. Favourite Track: Out On The Road.

5. Dr John – Locked Down

Awesome blues record…Don’t think I need to say much else! Favourite Track: Getaway.

4. Mystery Jets – Radlands

This was released quite early on in 2012 and continued to get played a lot throughout the year. Got a real summer vibe to it so have been enjoying it a lot lately. Favourite Track: Radlands.

3. Jack White – Blunderbuss

Another blues album…But I think Jack White does blues really well in his own unique sound that he’s developed over the years. Another one I would to have liked to have caught live last year…I really like the idea of having two live bands for the one show, an all female band for the tender songs and an all male group for the heavier material. Favourite Track: Love Interruption.

1. Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge

I just couldn’t decided between my top two albums so I’ve made them equal first like a kids sports day. Probably a good reflection of the type of music I’ve been listening to – The dark / psychedelic Hawley and the poppy / indie of the Vaccines.

This album came out of nowhere for me…hadn’t really been into his music since Cole’s Corner. Hawley said the album was wrote on the back of the Torres getting into power in the UK and his resentment to their policies…works for me!! Favourite Track: She Brings The Sunlight.

1. Vaccines – Come Of Age

Another cracking album from the Vaccines and I think this would have been number 1 in its own right if Richard Hawley’s album hadn’t been soooo good. I listened to this a lot while running…probably replaced Whatever People Say I Am as a motivational album. Favourite Track: No Hope.

Just Missed Out: Muse, Lawrence Arabia, Gaz Coombes, First Aid Kit, Cloud Nothings, Graham Coxon, Band of Horses.

Most Disappointing Album: Tim Burgess

Favourite Gig: Gomez @ The Opera House

Most Anticipated 2013 Albums: Johnny Marr, Courteeners, Eels, BRMC.

New Bands to Lookout For: The Strypes and Palma Violets.

Manuel’s Top Ten of 2012

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I didn’t invest a lot of time towards music these past twelve months like I have the previous 40+ years. A shame, really. I’m sure there’s been a lot of original stuff that I’d go crazy for had I made the effort to look for it. If I don’t turn it around this year, I’ll soon become that middle-aged dude that thinks the music kids hear today is crap.

Don’t let me become that dude.

10. Muse “The 2nd Law” (2012)

Not their best, not by a long shot. But I did enjoy it. Nothing wrong with bands stretching themselves, especially with the talent these three have.

9. Metric “Synthetica” (2012)

This album firmly establishes Metric as the premier Synth Pop band of the planet. At least, out of the three Synth Pop bands I heard this year…I have to admit that considering my lack of listening this year I should not subject anybody to baseless hyperbole.

8. Shearwater “Animal Joy” (2012)

I had never heard of this band prior to this year. Great stuff. I will be watching out for their future releases.

7. Band of Skulls “Sweet Sour” (2012)

Not a bad representation of the bluesy indie rock being released these days. I listened. And I liked.

6. Django Django “Django Django” (2012)

I listened to a lot of Talking Heads this year. This band reminded me of them, as well as The Beta Band and Gomez. Looking forward to hearing where this band goes in the future.

5. The War on Drugs “Slave Ambient” (2011)

Universally thought of as one of the most unique sounding albums released in 2011, I glommed onto it during the first half of 2012. I agree. It’s like Dylan singing Wilco over a sound board mixed by Phil Spector. Getting to attend a local, private show with the band also contributed to its overall appeal. Highly recommended.

4. Longpigs “The Sun is Often Out” (1995)

I like to consider myself a Britpop sophisticate. But I never heard of this band. I now suspect that since the internet didn’t really take off until the late 90’s, there are a lot of bands I missed out on. Big ups to Stu for showing me the light, ’cause I’ve enjoyed the f#ck out of this album since the first day I heard it.

3. Eight And a Half “Eight And a Half” (2012)

Let me get this straight: two thirds of the band members from Eight And a Half are from The Stills? Sign me up! My iTunes play count doesn’t lie. I listened to this album a lot. But in all honesty. by the middle of this year it had worn its welcome. I do still consider the first half quite excellent, however.

2. Hot Chip “In Our Heads” (2012)

In 1982, I got my first Walkman (oh dear god I’m old!). One of the first albums I ever listened to was “A Flock of Seagulls.” That low hum of sound at the beginning of “I Ran (So Far Away)” was an instant eargasm for me. Oh sure, Kraftwerk were the true pioneers of electronic music. But there was real warmth in the sound and lyrics that Mike Score & Co. produced. It was then that my journey into Electronica began in earnest. Hot Chip has continued the lineage for me. Their latest hits my earbone in much the same way as those New Wave bands of yesteryear. I couldn’t stop listening. Keep the tunes coming, you dorky geniuses!

1. Noel Gallagher “High Flying Birds” (2011)

I came late to this party, but I am the last to leave. I don’t have much to write about this one, other than to say it’s excellent. Noel’s signature sound has been around so long in my life that it hits my comfort zone the second I hear his voice.

Hot on Everyone’s Heels…

  • Magnet “Ferrofluid” (2012) — Even brilliant Even Johansen can’t hit a home run every time he steps up to the plate. Was that too esoteric an American colloquialism for y’all?
  • Patrick Watson “Adventures In Your Own Backyard” (2012)
  • JBM “Not Even in July” (2010)
  • Richard Hawley “Standing at the Sky’s Edge” (2012) — This barely missed the cut. Great album.

Keith’s Top 10 albums of 2012

1-2012 coversWow! Well I can actually do a top 10 this year fairly easily rather than the measly 5 I did last year. Not an amazing year I’d say but some great albums thrown in there. Some pretty established names and some new ones for me.

I’ve tried to only include albums that were released in 2012. But if it was released in 2011 and I got it in 2012 then it sneaks in too! So here goes …

10. Muse – The 2nd Law (UK)

It certainly grabbed my attention when it came out. A wonderfully silly Olympics song that only really made sense as part of the album. Good to get back in to Muse a bit.

9. Mystery Jets – Radlands (UK)

Catchy catchy songs. I hit ‘repeat’ quite a few times this year.

8. Hurray for the Riff Raff – Look out Mama (US)

Heard about this one from NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast. It’s basically one lass (Alynda Lee Segarra) from New Orleans. Kinda country / folky / great.

7. Django Django (UK)

Beta Band inspired catchiness.

6. Jack White – Blunderbuss (US)

Really got into this one. He’s America’s Damon Albarn. Sorta….

5. Cults (US)

More catchy, poppy songs. With a female lead singer. Must’ve been what I was into this year.

4. Regina Spektor – What we saw from the cheap seats (US)

And more of the same from Regina. Probably her strongest overall album yet I reckon.

3. Dawes – Nothing is Wrong (US)

Got thrashed earlier on this year. Good ol’ middle of the road alt country (sounds terrible, I know) with classic songs.

2. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar (Sweden)

Like Stu, I loved this immediately. Such a sweet album.

1. Black Keys – El Camino (US)

And yeah – gig of the year too. They were amazingly good live and this just rocks!

Bubbling under

  • Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
  • Rodriguez – Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack
  • Cat Power – Sun
  • Calexico – Algiers and The Guard soundtrack
  • Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
  • Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
  • Pajama Club – Pajama Club
  • Metric – Synthetica
  • Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

Older albums I’ve listened to lots, probably more than the 2012 lot

  • Black Sabbath – their first 3 albums
  • Beastie Boys – Sounds of Science mainly
  • Beirut – The Rip Tide
  • Dan Auerbach – Keep it hid
  • Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  • Robert Plant – Band of Joy

To listen to in 2013

  • Japandroids
  • Beach House
  • Fiona Apple
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Tribes
  • Sharon Van Etten

Stu’s Top 10 Albums of 2012

Happy New Year Gents! I hope you all had a good one and are suitably refreshed for the musical onslaught of 2013.

I thought I’d get the ball rolling with our Top 10 lists. So here we go:

10. PAUL WELLER – Sonik Kicks (England)
PW is the man! I’m a massive fan and although the first couple of listens didn’t win me over immediately I persevered and now get it. This is far from one man and a guitar with its highly produced sound but its a new, fresh sound from The Modfather.

9. DR. JOHN – Locked Down (U.S.A.)
As per my album of the month review last month this is on heavy rotation. Great blues!

8. FIRST AID KIT – The Lion’s Roar (Sweden)
I immediately liked this album. A pleasant wee album that has been on regular rotation throughout the year. Still gutted I didn’t go see them play in Wellington earlier this year.

7. JAPANDROIDS – Celebration Rock (Canada)
I’ve been meaning to upload this album. Wow…….If visceral Garage Rock is your thing, you should listen to this. It certainly blows those cobwebs away! I’d love to see these guys live.

6. SHEARWATER – Animal Joy (U.S.A)
I reviewed this earlier in the year and it is a real grower. Just great music. There are no anthems here, just solid, honest Alt-Rock.

5. THE BLACK KEYS – El Camino (U.S.A)
This was obviously released in 2011 but I didn’t have time to thrash it enough last December so it makes it into this year’s Top 10. I don’t really need to say anything do I. Blues Rock….hell yeah!

4. MARK LANEGAN BAND – Blues Funeral (U.S.A)
As soon as I heard the opening track (The Gravedigger’s Song) I knew this was going to be an album for me. It’s brooding and somber but just sounds soooo good. If you haven’t heard it yet, do yourselves a favour and listen now.

3. RICHARD HAWLEY – Standing At The Sky’s Edge (England)
Mork uploaded this earlier in the year and it’s been a regular listen. There’s not a lot more that can be said other than it’s a solid offering from a talented musician who knows how to write great tunes.

2. BILL WELLS & AIDAN MOFFAT – Everything’s Getting Older (Scotland)
This is another late 2011 release but had to be mentioned here. Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap fame teams up with the Jazz musician Bill Wells to deliver a gem of an album that can only be described as an experience. A mumbling, miserable, darkly humoured album for the Trainspotting generation. The Cooper Top and Glasgow Jubilee are just classics. I frickin love this album.

1. CALEXICO – Algiers (U.S.A)
I’m a big fan of Calexico and although this isn’t typical Calexico its still a fantastic album. Kathryn loves it, Isla bops up and down to the trumpet and I think it just sounds great from start to finish. A beautiful sounding album and seems to please everyone I have played it to.

The albums below were all on my shortlist but didn’t quite make the cut:

Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Muse – The 2nd Law
Of Monsters and Men – My Head Is An Animal
Elbow – Dead In The Boot

OK lads……over to you!