Friday, 30 November 2012

The Best of 2012? .... Part 1

The final month of the year approaches and it is now unlikely that any masterpiece will be released between now and Christmas.  I say this in full knowledge that one of last year's best albums (The Black Key's "El Camino") was released on 6th December. Lightning is not going to strike twice. Is it?
Anyway, here are my favourite albums of 2012.  These albums were not necessarily released this year (I think two may be from 2011) but the albums came to my attention over the last eleven months and have been pretty much constant companions since
20 - VACATIONER - Gone

Like many acts this year, Vacationer is not a group but one Kenny Vasoli. Having been involved in a couple of indie projects, this was Kenny's attempt to go a little more into the mainstream whilst still appealling to the indie crowd. He pulled it off ... warm, summery, upbeat tunes abound as can be heard on the single "Trip"
19 - GUILLEMOTS - Hello Land!
A band that has always been a better live experience than on record (except perhaps for their debut), this lot announced that this album was to be the first of four releases in 2012. No sighting yet of the other three, but no matter - this is definitely their best album to date. One gets the distinct impression that they have just started to record the music they enjoy, rather thanwhat is expected of them. This track is called "Southern Winds" and could easily have been written by Crosby, Stills & Nash
18 - GOSSIP - A Joyful Noise

The band dropped the "The" from their name and also dropped the raw edges of their previous albums. Nu Disco came of age with this album, a pure pop confection that wouldn't have sounded out of place if released by Madonna.
17 - THE STRANGLERS - Giants
It is a rare treat indeed when a band, 38 years into their career and with 16 previous albums of vastly varying quality, release one of their best ever. The distinctive bass and keyboard sounds are exactly what you expect, but they have managed to use them in some really good songs.
16 - PATRICK WATSON - Adventues In Your Own Backyard

Have to say I am usually very prejudiced against albums sung in a male falsetto, but this album draws you in with its haunting melodies and rich instrumentation. Its an album that keeps on giving, in that you seem to hear more of it, and more of its depth, with every play. This track, "Lighthouse", may just be my favourite of the year

 Stay tuned ... Nos 15 - 11 coming very soon



Thursday, 1 November 2012


Tea : JIM NOIR : From the album Jimmy's Show
Hailing from Manchester, England, Jim Noir is the nom de plume of Alan Roberts. He chose the name as a homage to comedian Vic Reeves. Confused?  Well, Vic's real name is Jim Moir. 
He's had a couple of albums previously, but this collection of  songs, mixing obscure British psych and bedroom pop, spiced with loopy lyrics and sticky sweet melodies, is undoubtedly his best.
Bones : MS MR : From the EP Candy Bar Creep Show
From New York, this mysterious duo (they are known as just Ms and Mr but they are, in fact, Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow) have found a sound somewhere between Lana Del Ray and Florence and The Machine.  Less hystrionic than the latter, and funkier than the former, this EP bodes well for their full-length debut next year
Dirty Paws: OF MONSTERS AND MEN : From the album My Head Is An Animal
This Icelandic band have been called "the new Arcade Fire" by the media but they are better than that. If I was going to compare them to anyone, I'd say they have the same uncomplicated melodies and simple songs favouredby The XX