I make no apologies for how late this is. Life has taken over since finishing uni as I’m back working in the shop I used to and attempting to house hunt. It is one of my resolutions to write more often, but that never happens …
10. Marina & The Diamonds – Electra Heart
I wasn’t a fan of Family Jewels, so the adoration I have for this gem is pretty special. Here Marina doesn’t shy away from pure unadulterated pop but wholeheartedly embraces the nature of the beast like no other this year. The right mix of bubblegum pop and slower makes something instantly listenable and reveals Marina as a pop force to be reckoned with.
9. The Walkmen – Heaven
It feels weird to sing the praises of a band that I know my mother loves (though between my parents my entire musical background has been shaped), but that does seem a rather petty reason to leave out a fantastic album. From ridiculously catchy numbers like Heartbreaker to the downright sublime The Witch, the music itself may sound simplistic but The Walkmen have a habit of giving the lyrics just the support they need to make something pretty magical.
8. The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull
Similarly to Chi-Town, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull was a turning point for The Cribs. It retained the ramshackle charm of their earlier output, shed the overly produced sound of their most recent efforts, but also contained a subtle undertones of a maturer sound wanting to escape that suits their age (2013 sees them hit the milestone of 10 years). It was an album that presented us with a brand new Cribs anthem in the form of Come On And Be A No One and reminded us what a sorry state the British independent music scene would be without them.
7. Mystery Jets – Radlands
Mystery Jets are a band that its too easy to forget how brilliant they are, and it just takes one listen to remind you of that excellence all over again. 2012 may have seen the departure of bassist Kai Fish, but its not all doom and gloom due the excellence of Radlands. A progression from their previous efforts, its an ethereally wonderful piece as a whole, heavily indebted to the albums birthplace Texas. Tell me that you don’t listen to Greatest Hits and shed a little tear (oh just me then)
6. Toy – Toy
A piece of Psychedelic infused beauty from the long lost brothers of The Horrors. Easily one of the best British debut albums this year (and one of only 3 on this little list of mine). It’s an album that is wonderfully cohesive, and the perfect soundtrack to the miserable dark days we are currently facing. Tracks like Drifting Deeper and Colours Running Out are the standouts, but the whole thing is outstanding (and another reason to celebrate the demise of the Jing Jang Jong, harsh but fair).
5. The Futureheads – Rant
This was an album full of risk that has ultimately paid off in my eyes anyway. Transforming some of their best-loved tracks into a cappella versions has taken the band into interesting territory. They sound like a band revitalised and the sheer power of the vocals has made this collection of traditional shanties, cover versions and previous material work together incredibly. A novel idea, and as an added bonus they’ve managed to make the Black Eyed Peas sound excellent with their Meet Me Half Way cover.
4. Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge
Another psychedelic infused beauty from the Godfather of Sheffield music a man who has shown that there’s still musical life left in him yet. Robbed of yet another Mercury victory, Hawley really has stepped it up on Standing At The Sky’s Edge, leaving the strings behind and cracking out the guitar pedals. Just look at lead single Leave Your Body Behind You, one of the most interesting and exciting tracks of the year. People of Sheffield, God walks among you.
3. Tame Impala – Lonerism
You can tell I’ve been pretty excited by a certain sound this year. Lonersim flows like a dream, and is an album that is not just reliant on hooks to draw a listener in but also carefully crafted musicianship to create some of the most memorable sounds of 2012. It’s an album that lets the listener find their own way in it’s sense of continual motion, and one that’s not steeped in musical heritage rather something groundbreaking, innovative and unforgettable.
2. Spector – Enjoy It While It Lasts
Edged to the number two slot only slightly, Spector have won the affections of the masses by writing excellent songs whilst also not taking themselves too seriously. Instant indie disco classics, with choice lyrics including “Heard he was your rock/Does that make me your hard place?” and “Friday night, I don’t want wake up alive”. Think the witty observational style of Jarvis Cocker had he been raised on a musical diet of The Strokes and Roxy Music.
1. This Many Boyfriends – This Many Boyfriends
This Many Boyfriends have produced the album of the year in my opinion and quite possibly the best debut album in the past 2 or 3 year. Indie pop delights that deserve to be sung daily, it is an album that sums up everything that life is about (and contains a song named after Tina Weymouth). Refreshingly focusing on the music rather than the music, this sits as a collection of delightfully happy songs with titles like That’s What Diaries Are Made For, Young Lovers Go Pop and I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels). Repeat after me “We all got bullied at school, some of us just took it better”.