SPILLERS STAFF TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2012
We all found it an excruciating process to reduce our favourite albums of the year to a mere 10, testament to what a thoroughly brilliant year it’s been. We hope you enjoy our selections and would like to invite you to send us your end of year lists which we are displaying in store for all to enjoy. Send your top 10 to email@example.com
ASHLI’S TOP 10 (in order)CIAN CIARAN - Outside In
SFAs keys and buttons man Cian almost knocked me sideways with the opening line of this wonderful album ... “Whatever happened to all the people who gave a f***”. Like all great things, so simple but delivered with the utmost conviction.
ISLET – Illuminated People
This is certainly an album that takes some time to seep in to the brain as there’s so much going on, so many complex threads and layers but heck, once it’s in you’re hooked! Those kinds of albums are always the most enduring and over the course of nearly a year since its release my enjoyment of this album has multiplied again and again.
TINDERSTICKS - Something Rain
I’m surprised to have an album by this band in my top ten having always ‘liked’ but never loved them. Album opener is a challenging start to a tender and shimmering album. I don’t think I’ve heard a track quite so moving as Shiver all year. Released in February, it’s an album I’ve returned to many a time and it just gets stronger.
CARTER TUTTI VOID - Transverse
Not coming from a background fully versed in the works of Throbbing Gristle or Factory Floor this album was approached with fresh ears and no preconceptions (though I do check out most releases on the Mute label). This is a live album which pulsates and chugs to almost threatening and foreboding hypnotic realms and hence is why it’s probably my ‘most played after-hours-in-the-shop’ album this year! Only for the brave.
PIL - This Is PIL
The monosyllabic delivery and space within these tracks are signature PIL. As their first album in 20 years I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this comeback. The band backing Lydon are flipping marvelous with special mention to Lu Edmonds whose guitar work makes this album top ten material. Utterly compelling and also responsible for one of my most memorable gigs of the year (Bristol, 02).
SHARON VAN ETTEN – Tramp
Though musically not the same, SVE’s presence reminds me PJ Harvey, all earnest and intense in the same kind of way. Musically, this album is emotion laid bare and the frankness of her song writing is startling stuff.
ANYWHERE - Anywhere
It’s not often that a collaborative album can surpass the love you have for the constitute bands but Anywhere are a welcome exception to the rule. Consisting of bits of Sleepy Sun, At the Drive In and Minutemen, this is s sprawling psych-rock delight which occupies the same territory the likes of Islet & Goat have been praised for.
MAMA ROSIN – Bye Bye Bayou
Coming from Switzerland with an appreciation of Cajun roots and punk delivery this Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion) produced album is a kick-ass injection of fun and energy. Seeing them support Bellowhead this year was another gig highlight!
JOHN TALABOT - Fin
Ah, beautiful, minimal and exquisitely executed electronic music. Yet another album that you’ll only ‘get’ properly on repeated FULL album listens (in your face one track downloader losers, you’re missing out!).
BOBBY WOMACK - The Bravest Man in The Universe
Produced by Richard Russell, this album has a similar story and feels like the Gil Scott Heron he produced a couple of years ago. With the lifestyle Womack has lived, there’s a remorseful undercurrent to the lyrics which are at times really powerful and moving.
Tracks of note / Class tunes from the year.
Spoek Mathambo – Let Them Talk
Friends – I’m his girl
Flaming Lips / Jim James of My Morning Jacket – That Ain’t My Trip
Cousins - Palpable Depression (Euros Childs + Meilyr Jones Racehorses)
Leonard Cohen – Different Sides
Tom Jones – Evil
BEN’S TOP 10 (alphabetical)BEACHWOOD SPARKS – TARNISHED GOLD
Back with a bang from a ten year hiatus, this heavily 70’s influenced band return in style. Creating a blissful, hippy, country infused album.
BEAK> - >>
Super group Beak> return for album number two. Geoff Barrow(Portishead) Matt Williams (Team Brick) & Billy Fuller (Massive Attack) create a psychedelic, kraut-rock masterpiece. Neu! & Can would be proud!
CATE LE BON – CYRK
Heavier, spookier & louder (at times) than previous album. Cate’s made a triumphant effort, which improves on her signature folky psych-rock sound.
CLOUD NOTHINGS – ATTACK ON MEMORY
Completely departing from their old sound of lo-fi garage punk, Attack On Memory see’s the band come back with proper production and a more grungy sound. The two opening tracks are so different you wouldnt even recognize this as the same band, and with track two being nearly nine minutes long, its a hell of a listen! (Oh yeah and to make it even better, it was produced by the man Steve Albini!)
DOPE BODY – NATURAL HISTORY
I was obsessed with this album when it came out. Its such a mental, mind bending, genre breaking effort full of twisted hooks. Trying to describe it is hard, but it kind of sounds like a mix of The Melvins, early Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and a shed load of other bands all mixed into one.
EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZERO’S – HERE
This is definitely my favourite album of the year. I found out about them after watching the stunning documentary Big Easy Express, which see’s these guys, Old Crow Medicine show & Mumford & Sons touring southern America on a train. This 11-piece band create down-home, freak folk, bright hippy psychedelic colors and farmhouse harmonies. It will guarantee to put you in a good mood!
KING CREOSOTE & JON HOPKINS – DIAMOND MIND (JUBILEE EDITION)
Diamond Mine is a seven-track collection of previously unrecorded King Creosote originals that have been doused in Brian Eno-inspired sounds-capes by ambient producer Jon Hopkins. Littered with rural field recordings and studded with occasional flourishes of accordions and strings, its one of the most beautiful albums i’ve ever heard.
MAMA ROSIN – BYE BYE BAYOU
This cajun three piece are my new favorite band. Consisting of Accordian, Guitar and drums, they also swap around to Banjo & Wash-board to create a knee’s up, cajun punk infused screamer. To make it even better the recording is amazing! Produced & recorded by John Spencer (from the blue’s explosion)
METZ – METZ
Metz recall the early days of the Seattle grunge scene, when grunge was thunderous and menacing, so its only appropriate that they were signed to Sub Pop. This Canadian group’s debut is extra heavy and full of what you want.
TY SEGAL & WHITE FENCE -- HAIR
After releasing three albums last year, and this being the fourth of this year, the busy Ty Segall teams up with White Fence to create an awesome garage rock classic!
GRAF’S ALPHABETICAL TOP 10 2012ALLO DARLIN’ - Europe
Second album from indie-pop, ahem, darlin’s. Full of energy and enthusiasm bursting with jangling guitars and ukeleles and tales of long lost friends, travel, hand scribbled letters, Silver Jews cassettes and other such delights. "A record isn’t just a record / records can hold memories" is probably the best line of the year for me.
BEAK> - Beak>>
Second album of b(l)eak post apocalyptic electronic drones and squwaks from this Bristol "supergroup". Similar to the development between the two Fuck Buttons records this one gains even more menace and a new found sense of purpose. (Recommended further reading: Drokk, Knife Liibrary, Fairhorns, etc.)
CLINIC - Free Reign
Apparently this is their seventh album (not including "3EPs") but they’re still finding distinctive new forms and sounds whilst retaining their identity. Some of the soothing psychedelic elements from Bubblegum remain whilst bring forth free jazzish saxophone and electronic elements, underpinned by their distinctive rock solid Kraut inspired rhythm section.
GRAHAM COXON - A+E
In this year of boxsets, great new material and massive Hyde Park gigs it’s easy to forget that Graham has more solo albums than Blur albums under his belt. This return to the noisy lo-fi slacker sensibilities of "The Sky Is Too High" and "The Golden D" is a welcome one (possibly a reaction to having to play "Country House" again!).
THE JUST JOANS - Buckfast Bottles In The Rain
Pure unadulterated indie pop. From Scotland, obviously. Mythologising those heady days of leaving school (side one) and heading to university (side two) in the late 90s / early 2000s (you probably have to be about 31 to fully enjoy this album). Taking cues, references and in some cases entire choruses from their heroes (y’know, the usual - Beach Boys, Sleeper, Menswe@r, The Wonderstuff etc.) interwoven with their own wry observations and delightfully unique accents this record always leaves me a little bit teary.
BEN KWELLER - Go Fly A Kite
Career defining album from "you know, that guy that was in Radish". 15 years on and at the grand old age of 30 Ben makes music that sounds like the work of a man twice his age but with the verve of perpetual youth. Power pop given an indie rock scuzz or indie rock given a power pop shine, hard to tell which but both work!
THE LOVELY EGGS - Wildlife
"This is our band. We do exactly what we want. That’s how it goes when you have your own band. Some of our songs are ten seconds long. Some are four minutes long. We don’t care. Because it doesn’t matter. We have a lot of different songs. Welcome to our world." So says the front page of thelovelyeggs.co.uk and I don’t think there is anything else to add.
RACE HORSES - Furniture
Quite the leap forward from 2010’s amazing "Goodbye Falkenburg". Embracing much more of a sleek disco sound but after the intial shock wears off your realise that underneath they’ve kept much of what makes them such a unique prospect. Ditching most of the psychedelic whimsy in favour of a Big Pop Sound whilst keeping their delicately spun lyrics and catchy tunes and choruses.
ANDREW PAUL REGAN - The Signal And The Noise
Pagan Wanderer Lu comes clean about his shady anagramatic past. Infectious electronic melodies and intriguing stories (all wrapped up in one of Croatoan Design’s best sleeves). Features guest vocals from Liz Hunt (The School) on early highlight "Mistakes Our Parents Made". Tales of families, robots, spies and babies intertwine to create a fascinating listen from start to finish.
THE WAVE PICTURES - Long Black Cars
Yes, yes, Knopfler, blah, blah, Dire Straits, blah... I DON’T CARE! This is the most instantly satisfying Wave Pictures album so far. Pretty much every track on this album could (and should!) be a single. It feels like pretty much everytime we play this in the shop someone walks out with a copy before we’re even halfway through. Great stuff!
STEVE’S TOP 10 (in order)WINDY & CARL - We Will Always Be - (Kranky)
Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren come from Michigan,USA, and head off into outer space.
JOHANN JOHANNSSON - Copenhagen Dreams
Soundtrack to a documentary film by this Icelandic composer.
OLAFUR ARNALDS - Another Happy Day - (Erased Tapes)
Beautiful soundtrack to the film Another Happy Day by Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds.
LOSCIL - Sketches From New Brighton - (Kranky)
Canadian artist Scott Morgan returns with an album of ambient sounds inspired by an oceanside park in Vancouver.
PETER BRODERICK - These Walls Of Mine - (Erased Tapes) Excellent new album of incredibly personal songs by this American singer / songwriter.
DREAMSCAPE - La-Di-Da Recordings - (Kranky)
Reissue on the excellent Kranky label from this 1990’s Shoegaze band from Bristol.
EAT LIGHTS BECOME LIGHTS - Heavy Electrics - (Rocket Girl)
Eat Lights Become Lights mix Krautrock rhythms and celestial drones to heavenly effect. An album with a great track record for selling off the shop stereo!
KREIDLER - Den - (Bureau B)
Great new album from German band Kreidler and their modern take on Krautrock.
FUXA - Electric Sounds Of Summer - (Rocket Girl)
Randall Neiman returns for a new album of warm analogue drone / pop.
NILS FRAHM - Screws - (Erased Tapes)
Post-classical wunderkind Nils Frahm returns with his beautiful new album on the excellent Erased Tapes label.
Title Another Happy Day (OST)
Label Erased Tapes
Title These Walls Of Mine
Label Erased Tapes
Title Outside In
Label Dell'orso Records
Title Heavy Electrics
Label Rocket Girl
Title Illuminated People
Title Bye Bye Bayou
Label Moi J'connais
Label Stolen Records
Title The Signal And The Noise
Label Rough Trade
Label Permenant Vacation
Title Something Rain / San Sebastian 2012 (2CD)
Label City Slang
Title Long Black Cars
Label Moshi Moshi
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