2012 has been a pretty stellar year for music and a wealth of new bands have broken through. With streaming on Spotify (among others) blossoming, there has never been an easier way to uncover great, new music.
Here’s my pick of the best albums from 2012:
- M.Ward – ‘A Wasteland Companion’
- Lana Del Rey – ‘Born To Die’
- Jake Bugg – ‘Jake Bugg’
- Frank Ocean – ‘Channel Orange’
- Ellie Goulding – ‘Halcyon’
- Of Monsters And Men – ‘My Head Is An Animal’
- Niki And The Dove – ‘Instinct’
- Ladyhawke – ‘Anxiety’
- Citizens! – ‘Here We Are’
- Gaggle – ‘From The Mouth Of The Cave’
I don’t think I could pick one favourite if I’m honest. M.Ward ‘A Wasteland Companion’ is a truly superb piece of work. Of Monsters And Men delivered a great set of tracks with an album that grabs you immediately.
‘Channel Orange‘, for me, is the best R&B album in years – this was one of the albums that soundtracked my summer in 2012. For something totally fresh and out of leftfield give the Gaggle album a spin. I saw them live earlier in the year and it was a great gig. The album does it’s best to convey that ‘live’ vibe and it’s a cool bunch of tracks.
Many have said it’s over-produced but I loved the Lana Del Rey album, it’s pure pop and very well written. Jake Bugg is a stunning talent and still so young. He is getting the recognition he deserves and his album is one you should definitely check out.
Albums that didn’t make the top ten but deserve an honorable mention would be Django Django‘s ‘Django Django’ (wonderful Hot Chip-esque pop), The Maccabees ‘Given To The Wild’, Cast Of Cheers ‘Family’, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs ‘Trouble’ (worth checking out even if you don’t like electronic stuff), 2:54 ‘2:54’, ‘Give You Ghost’ Policia, Theme Park ‘Theme Park’ (I dare you to listen to this and not wish it was summer!), Two Door Cinema Club ‘Beacon’, Soundgarden ‘Been Away Too Long’ (a real return to form in my opinion) and Kindness ‘Kindness’ (barring a poor cover choice of ‘Anyone Can Fall In Love’ this is great).
It would be remiss of me, given the gaming content on this blog, not to mention a couple of outstanding game scores from 2012. I would highly recommend checking out Health‘s ‘Max Payne 3’ score (here) and also the awesome ‘Drive’-inspired ‘Hotline Miami‘ soundtrack (here). High quality stuff.
Once again I’ve collated my favourite tracks into a Spotify playlist which can be found here if you’re interested:
My tracks of 2012 (in no order) are as follows:
- ‘Family’ – Cast Of Cheers
- ‘National Anthem’ – Lana Del Rey
- ‘Black, White and Blue’ – Ladyhawke
- ‘True Romance’ – Citizens!
- ‘To Be The Best’ – Tenacious D
- ‘Lightning Bolt’ – Jake Bugg
- ‘Me and My Shadow’ – M.Ward
- ‘Little Talks’ – Of Monsters and Men
- ‘Somebody’ – Niki And The Dove
- ‘American Dream Pt II’ – Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
- ‘Boy’ (Hostage Remix) – Nina Nesbitt
- ‘Default’ – Django Django
- ‘Dark Star’ – Policia
- ‘Super Rich Kids’ – Frank Ocean
- ‘Jamaica’ – Theme Park
- ‘Lovers Of The Light’ – Mumford And Sons
- ‘Sleep Alone’ – Two Door Cinema Club
- ‘Figure 8’ – Ellie Goulding
- ‘House Of Balloons’ – Weeknd
- ‘212’ – Azealia Banks
- ‘Pickup Truck’ – Willy Mason
It’s even more difficult to pick your favourite track than it is album but the one that has bought me the most joy this year is definitely ‘Me and My Shadow‘ by M.Ward. It’s just such a great song – nice structure and the introduction of the female vocal in the chorus is a great touch.
I saw some really good gigs this year. I already mentioned Gaggle above and I was lucky enough to see Nina Nesbitt at Dingwall’s in Camden, I suspect she’ll have a big year ahead in 2013.
Some of my other favourites were Of Monsters And Men at Scala, which was brilliantly intimate and M.Ward who had a great, tight band with him and put on a great show at Koko.
I enjoyed Michael Kiwanuka at Sheperd’s Bush Empire but that night was stolen by support act Jake Bugg, who was the best artist I saw live in 2012. The sheer effortlessness of Bugg’s performance was insane as he rocketed his way the set. Amazing stuff.
So there we go – check out the playlist (link here again) and let me know what you think – and what you’ve been listening to/loving in 2012 – in the comments below.