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|Flashback: Part 2|
The end of the year is drawing near again, so it's album of the year time! 2012 was again a magnificent year for music in general, with lots of established bands meeting expectations and even more newcomers giving way to great surprises. Below you'll find the albums, EPs and compilations that had the most impact on me - and it must be emphasized: VERY loosely ranked.
Put Your Back N 2 It
I could have put so many other amazing albums on this spot, but I had to choose way or another. The roll of the die came out on Perfume Genius, who's Put Your Back N 2 it is definitely deserving of a spot on my year-end list. Mike Hadreas delivers his seconds small masterpiece in a row, as this is still one of the few artists that can really get a hold on my emotional state of mind. Heartbreakingly beautiful record.
No, it doesn't reach the same level of Finest Hour, but just get it anyway: it's still miles ahead of the rest.
Liars continue to be a band that's impossible to get a grip on. Album number six, and again they completely abandon their previous style for a new experimental sound. As you may have guessed, it's also again damn-near essential.
Apparently, he's just making 20-30 minute jams, from which Hyperdub chief Kode9 just picks out the best parts. Whatever, if it keeps resulting in this kind of amazing stuff, that's all fine and dandy with me.
A dark, dense, in a way ugly, but at the same time gorgious album. Clear Moon is very good as well, but this gets the definite edge.
I didn't think he had it in him. This definitely defied my expectations, but it just works so wonderfully well. I think this may be my favorite no-nonsense dance album since Oi Oi Oi.
I've said it and I'll say it again: the best straight-up punk record of the year!
Yay, Belgium! Anyways, this folk pop collective is getting better and better with every release. Perfect for when the weather outside is getting frightful.
|22||Minus The Bear|
Fuck the haters, this album rules face.
A very chill and relaxed take on acid house and techno, but with sublime results. A headphone record if I ever heard one. Seriously mindblowing stuff.
Certainly one the strangest records I've heard this year, but man is it enthralling. Wacko, psychedelic voodoo rock, how can that not be a good thing?
Untitled (Sheworks 004)
You know that when you combine the massive talents of one Pariah and one Blawan, you get fireworks. Their second debut under the Karenn monniker is very sinister stuff, but it goes hard and it hits even harder. A good sound system is obligatory.
This is just beyond amazing stuff. It's very hard to describe why though. This is music that needs to be felt, not be outlined to you. Golden tip for jazzy trip-hop lovers.
Super catchy, but at the same time raw and lofi garage rock, with a nasty lyrical bite. I saw them open for Japandroids a few months back, and was immediately sold. With their debut they meet every expectation I had, and even go beyond them. If you're a fan of this kind of stuff, make sure to check this out.
Until The Quiet Comes
FlyLo's fascination with jazz, funk and soul reaches its high point on Until The Quiet Comes. Is it better than Los Angeles? No. Better than Cosmo? Yes. Better than everything else on the instrumental hiphop and beats market? Yes again. Get this, if you haven't already.
|15||The Gaslight Anthem|
Not their best record, but Handwritten still contains some of the finest rock songs penned to paper and played for chock full arenas in 2012. Basically, Brian Fallon can do no wrong.
Keepers Of The Light
This South-London collective may be the rightful successors to the dark and mysterious Skull Disco sound. Spanning two discs, these fellas unleash some of the best produced and most original dubstep tunes in a long time to the outside world. Try to capture these tunes and confine them in the smallest, darkest basement you can find for best effects.
Invisible Ink For Sketching Ghosts
A very nice discovery, thanks to mister staffer Conrad Tao. This guys' blend of electronics, post-rock and obscure movie quote make for one very intruiging but also very rewarding listen.
|12||How To Dress Well|
Upping the R&B and pop factor quite a few nods, but balancing that more "commercial" musical approach with even more heartbreaking stories and revelations. Utterly beautiful.
Just look at the album title and you know which purpose this record serves: providing us with lots of loud and fast fucking guitar jams.
Attack On Memory
This was released in the second week of the year, but to this day few other 2012 albums can match it. Cloud Nothings underwent a total metamorphosis on this album, courtesy to Steve Albini, and the result is very very impressive. Raw, energetic indie / punk rock, combined with thought out and thoughtful lyrics, Attack On Memory is a very impressive breakthrough album from a band I could never have predicted reaching this level of awesomeness.
The final enstalment of Clubroot's atmospheric dubstep trilogy is also the best. Enhancing every quality of his past work, while cutting out the defects, III-MMXII sees the man finally discovering the full potential of his sound. And my god, it's magnificent.
An Awesome Wave
The biggest surprise for me this year. An Awesome Wave is indeed very awesome, but very hard to categorize. Then again, just listen to 'Tesselate', 'Breezeblocks' or 'Taro' and see your categorising concerns vanish into thin air, while enjoying this engenious, excentric debut from a band from which we will surely hear plenty more.
Open Your Heart
The Men pulled a total 180 from the awesom 'Leave Home', but what they released here may just be their best album yet. From the blistering opener 'Turn It Around' to the visceral 'Ex-Dreams', Open Your Heart certainly stands as one the year's best noise / punk rock albums. If anything, 'Oscillation' is my song of the year, no competition.
Robert Henke is the man. This cold and abstract IDM masterpiece and second installment in his soon to be finished album trilogy can stand toe to toe with Autechre's biggest mindfuck moment, Confield. And that's saying a lot.
So yeah, this one was kind of obligatory. Some of you really like it, some of you despise this to no end. I for one was instantly amazed by the sheer magnitude of this piece of work, but it's its foul and nasty qualities that keep drawing me in. It may or may not be Swan's best work (I'll refrain from rank their discog), but in my eyes, The Seer is certainly their most elegant work to date.
Minutes In Ice
Yes, this may be "just a compilation", but if you're looking for the best techno music 2012 has to offer, then look no further. Frozen Border is a relatively young label, but the quality they offer is practically unrivalled nowadays. Cold, dark, industrial, minimal and German: the bangers on here are the perfect example of claustrophobic techno done right. Start with Blawan's entry and make sure your jaws drop gently.
Mala In Cuba
2012 was a busy year for Mala, but his output was incredible. His debut full-lenght is an instant classic in the genre, with its subtle fusion of London bass weight and very sensual Cuban rhythms, topped with wonderful piano flourishes, vocal samples and a dark dark brass section. As if that wasn't enough, his latest addition to the DMZ catalog, the release of the legendary Stand Against War track, is again an instant classic. Two classics from the guy that practically invented the arguably most relevant electronic genre nowadays, what more do we need, really?
We're almost half a year later since I got this, and I'm still discovering new stuff every week in here. Tobin's monster box set is an absolute goldmine. From the total clusterfuck that is the VIP version of 'Sunhammer', over the very creepy 'Taxidermia' soundtrack, the rarities from his dusty attic archive, and his collaborations with the cream of the crop of the current IDM community, to the stunningly beautiful orchestral scores by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, this box set is a must for every Amon Tobin fan, and by extension every electronic music lover on the planet.
By far the best thing I've heard all year. Local Business sees the band downscaling after the magnum opus that was The Monitor, but Titus Andronicus continue to be my absolute favorite band at the moment. It's clear to see why, when considering terrific punked-up bar rock anthems such as 'Upon Watching Oregon's Landscape...', 'My Eating Disorder' or 'Still Live With Hot Deuce...'. I really love the more direct approach on this one, and the more personal lyrics are a firm step in the right direction. And of course, playing this at maximum volume has provided me with my much needed adrenaline-filled and hook-laden rock fix, this year. For the third time in a row, Titus Andronicus have put out an absolutely essential record and surely the best material this year has seen. Get it.
|Damn, so fucking close with album art!|
|Oh crap, forgot about Shackleton! Imagine him being at around the number 10 spot.|
|Can't say I approve this list but whatever floats your boat lol|
|Yeah thought so. Anyways, if you didn't check out Goat already, give it a listen. You'll probably enjoy it. :]|
|Nice, man. Didn't expect to see Titus so high|
|Thanks! It was kind of inevidable though, everything with several great nods to Springsteen and The Clash always gets a definitive edge with me.|
|Yeah I did check out Goat|
it was pretty fun but not nearly good enough to end up in my top 50 or so of 2012
|I am disappoint :[|
|Yeah I've listened to it a few times and really enjoyed it. Will have to give it some more spins though. Anyways, the competition was very tough this year.|
|best list yet|
|Things I disagree with:|
"Better than everything else on the instrumental hiphop and beats market? Yes again."
"but if you're looking for the best techno music 2012 has to offer, then look no further. "
Things I agree with:
everything else, also namedropping Skull Disco (forgetting Shackleton, pfft!)
Kinda don't understand the comparison between Ghosts and Confield though, they're kinda worlds apart
|Good to see 10 here. It's my AOTY actually|
Yeah Dev, I don't know how on earth I forgot about him. But now I'm afraid to fuck up my list if I edit it...
Really don't see why you don't like new FlyLo. And what's your techno album of the year? Always in for some extra bangers.
About Ghosts, I think the atmosphere both these albums breathe out is kinda similar.
Thanks Throne. Definitely catch them live if they come by. They were incredible.
|Techno album and aoty are the same thing: Terrence Dixon - From The Far Future - Part 2|
|Oh that one. Tought it was good, but not as mindblowing as I expected it to be. Still have to let it dig in some more though ;]|
|will have to listen to that|
|Is the background thingie on Andrea Satorno & OL-47's Minutes In Ice track sampled from Mala's Dafne E.P.? It sounds 100% like something that would be on Dafne.|
|What background thingie? Anyways, not that I know of. Hope you're enjoying it :]|
|After comparing them for 2 minutes now, I think it's not a sample!|
Minutes In Ice is good. Terrence Dixon is also kinda cool but definitely not AOTY material for me.
|You making a list one of these days? You made me curious about your picks.|
|Lots of stuff I like, lots of stuff still to check out. Nice list.|
Try Recondite if you haven't.
|I will, thanks|
|Still need to give 6 a proper listen.|
|I'll release my list in the first week of january. Want to make it as complete as possible.|
|It's fantastic (obviously), Wolfhorde. Thanks for reading!|
Yeah I get you. I could've done the same thing, but I couldn't be arsed to rank 50 to 70 albums and add comments to each one. Give me a shout when it's finished though! (@ilovetree)
|Oh, talking about Belgian music: did you already hear the new Goose and SX?|
|will do mate|
|@ Typhoner: yeah, but I never was a big fan of SX (or "dream pop" in general), and Goose just sucks nowadays. I'm longing for the days of Bring It On, Check and British Mode.|
|Oh, also how is the progression from Nightwalks to Archipelago? I've only been able to listen to some tracks as of now.|
|@Clercqie: Well, I'm not that much into SX either, but I really enjoy the EBM-influence on Control Control Control.
@Wolfhorde: haven't you read the review? ;-) They dropped the vocals, the instrumentation is more varied and it just sounds "fresher", idk how to put it otherwise. The tracks are all a bit more distinguishable. Quality-wise, they're on par, though.|
|Pretty much what Typhoner said. The record "breathes" more than Nightwalks as well, in my opinion.|
|Other Belgian music to check out from this year includes Kapitan Korsavov, Raketkanon, Believo! (basically everything on Zealrecords, Balthazar, and dEUS.|
|Wait, there's a review? By the sixth arm of Shiva damn me before having my morning coffee. Gonna read now. Seems like I should really get that album.|
|Balthazar was pretty good, yes. I only heard the first single from the dEUS album, which was cool.|
|Following Sea is really good, just not on the same level of Keep You Close, from last year. I wrote a review for it. Balthazar keeps getting better and better. Such a refreshing sound they have.|