|Ataventytwelve - 50 Best LPs|
Enjoy 2013, dudes. Here are the best albums of the year just gone.
Born and Raised
With @johncmayer dead in the water and a serious throat condition preventing any touring or interviews, Mayer had no
distractions stemming from his public to mar his creativity. The end result was an Americana-drenched day-dream, full of steel
guitars, warm keyboards and earthy harmonies. No, John Mayer's not your resident guitar douche anymore. Right now, he's
capable of career-best material.
|49||Every Time I Die|
The Buffalo natives teamed up with producer Joe Baressi (QOTSA, Tomahawk, Melvins) to deliver a ploughing, fervent and
downright pissed-off affair, bouncing from down-tuned furor to southern-fried licks in the blink of an eye - not to mention
without missing a beat. This shit isn't about Facebook fans or the hardcore fashionistas - it's a half-hour of power that guaran-
damn-tees you a good ol' time.
trange Land is the first effort from the Ostriches as a three-piece, and is tellingly a record that brims with new sounds and
ideas. The usual vocal trickery remains, but a driving side of percussion and flourishes of golden horns draw the listener in
further. If you haven't already seen, heard and known, you better keep up.
A Flash Flood of Colour
Explosive guitars lock horns with gut-rattling bass synth; often within the same track. Brave, anthemic and just a little
ridiculous, this is the must-own out of the ES discography thus far.
A brisk shoegaze affair with lush arrangements, the occasional rock rush and a pleasant sway. A noted surprise, but a
particularly pleasant one all the same.
If Brandon Flowers' Flamingo proved anything, it was this: He needs the Killers just as much as they need him. On their best
effort since Sam's Town, the Las Vegans return to small-town hopin', big-city livin' and all-American dreamin'.
Blunderbuss does not sit still for its entire 40-minute runtime. It's either shaking hips, kicking up dirt, slow-dancing with an
estranged lover or stomping into an old saloon with a bone to pick. What's even more exciting is how willing you become to
follow White wherever his imagination may roam. Like the titular gun, Blunderbuss lets out a single yet resounding shot into the
With riffs that tear through the speakers and the kind of shout-alongs that fill entire rooms, Gallows proved beyond a shadow of
a doubt that there is life after Frank.
|42||Deep Sea Arcade|
Outlands created a fun and unique atmosphere for twist-and-shout pop/rock that was often darkly submerged in warped
keyboards or enough fuzz to make the Davies brothers blush. Put succinctly, it was worth the wait.
Four years since Intimacy, fourth album, four members - all symbolism aside, Four was Bloc Party's chance to prove that there
was still life left in what started out as a spearhead of the post-punk revival halfway through the decade prior. For what it's
worth, they succeeded.
While many songs kept up a vitriolic spite and energy - the opening one-two of "Hysteria" and "Citizen" exemplifying this - Zoo
would often take detours into shoegaze, college rock and even slabs of proto-punk freak-outs, a la the first Stooges album. Zoo
is Ceremony's best album to date - don't be too cool to go with it.
Here, everything sounds truly mammoth - Stephen Christian sounds as though he's recorded most of the choruses from atop
Kilimajaro; while drummer Nathan Young might as well have done his takes in the centre of a football field - in the middle of
a grand final. If Anberlin have lost you along the way, it's Vital that will draw you back in to what made them so great to begin
Drinking from the Sun
It might have taken awhile away from music and touring for the Hoods to achieve this sound, but the end result was more than
worth it. The bar in Oz hip-hop has been set once again - and it's your round.
Strangeland comes four years after their last studio album, Perfect Symmetry, but the extended wait is almost instantly paid off
within the first three tracks, which rank among the best the band have ever done. Detractors will find nothing to enjoy about
Strangeland - but, then again, they were never going to.
Little Broken Hearts
Ravi's little girl has always been in possession of a delightful voice, which fills smoky bars as easily as it fills entertainment
centres. The catcher is it's been wasted on what's been described as some of the most boring music of the 21st century. Under
the guidance of Mr. Mouse, however, Jones has found herself a sultry, sizzling dark side that undeniably shines throughout this
collection of heartbreak, woe, betrayal and jealousy. Naturally, it's the one fucking Norah Jones record that nobody bought.
There's no deeper layer of meaning here. News flash: There doesn't have to be. Stop over-thinking rock & roll, people. Take it
for what it is, and sing along if you know the words.
A is for Alpine
On their all-important first album, the sextet breathe life into older tracks ("Villages," "Too Safe"), lay down tried-and-tested live
favourites ("Hands," "Seeing Red") and make inroads into all-new territory ("All for One," "Multiplication"). So much to do, such
little time. Absorb A is for Alpine whole, and let your mind do the rest of the work.
|33||Ben Folds Five|
The Sound of the Life of the Mind
Although it's never quite the "punk rock for sissies" from their early work, it's still delivered with their wry humour and sharp
dynamics. At times, it honestly feels like they never left. The Sound... just feels right.
|32||Macklemore and Ryan Lewis|
The breakthrough hip-hop album of the year was released completely independently, glorified paying as little as possible for
clothing and spoke out against homophobia. The Heist was the year's coolest hip-hop record almost in spite of itself.
The conversation is now all about Frank Ocean - just who he is, what he's doing and what he's capable of doing next.
OFF! has classic punk rock literally bred into it - vocalist Keith Morris has been fuelling angst since before you were born, from
Black Flag to Circle Jerks and beyond. Here, he's maintaining the rage with an all-star cast, barely pausing for breath as he
takes down any and all challengers. It's pretty simple, really: Don't fuck with OFF!
Featuring their biggest pop tracks as well as their most dank and dirty material to date, Pacifica expanded in all directions and
struck gold across the board. Overlooked and under-appreciated.
Now Here Nowhere
If Royal Headache were the "sound of the underground," so to speak, as far as Sydney was concerned in 2011; then it's safe to
say that the 2012 title belonged to this band and this record.
All the Little Lights
Passenger - aka Mike Rosenberg - is the little ex-pat folkie that could. Here, he leads us down the roads less travelled as he
spins stories and weaves characters - both first and third-person - between gorgeous acoustic picking, creaking double bass
and fluttering brushstrokes. Excuse the horrific pun, but Passenger has undoubtedly arrived at his destination.
Spring and Fall
For fans, a new Paul Kelly record feels like coming home - and, with a five-year interval, this homecoming couldn't have come
Boys & Girls
Rolling through tight grooves, fiery licks and some serious vocal chops from 2012's first lady of rock, Brittany Howard, Boys &
Girls, had heads turning across the globe; not to mention festival tents packed on the off-chance of hearing these sumbitches
live. Turn it loose and shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Submerged in ambience and lingering on heartbreak, Coexist runs through deeper bloodlines and emotional centres. Its morose
overtones means that there is no "Islands"-esque moment of pop clarity, but this does not serve as a deterrent. Rather, it
makes Coexist feel whole.
The club bangers and rnb jams are crystallised perfection, while even the ballads and Hallmark-card rap verses have grown less
grating. Deny Believe its credit all you want, but it won't be long before you're the last one against the wall.
|22||David Byrne & St. Vincent|
Love This Giant
On probably the funkiest record Byrne has put his name to in years, he battles pretentious parties and the rapidly-devolving
human species with Annie Clark cooing, shredding and occasionally screeching alongside him. A suitably and delightfully odd
affair from what can only be described as 2012's most successful experiment.
The Only Place
If your twenties suck, have sucked for a period or did suck, then perhaps you'll find some respite in The Only Place.
The "indie record" that Tay's jilted lover clings to in "We Are Never Ever..." may indeed be "cooler" than hers, but if Red proves
anything, in no way does that make it better.
The Money Store
A dizzying, aggressive opus from the dark alleyways of hip-hop, ferocious MC Ride spat venom, vile and vitriol across clattering
beats and quivering, quaking synth buzz. Not for the faint-hearted.
Theatre is Evil
Whether it"s the reckless abandon of "Do It with a Rockstar," the playful dark-pop of "Melody Dean" or the anguished balladry of
"The Bed Song," Palmer provided fans old and new with a varied, masterful record. None do it quite like her.
|17||The Smith Street Band|
Sunshine and Technology
It's hard to decide on which is more exciting: The fact that the Smithies hold the
future of Australian rock in their hands; or the fact that, for all of Sunshine's
excellence, the best is still to come.
Neck of the Woods
Meticulously crafted and sharply, inventively delivered, there's a lot to take in with Neck of the Woods. Still, it means there's
even more to get out of it.
|15||Something for Kate|
Leave Your Soul to Science
At once warmly intimate and confessional as well as outward and expansive, few bands in 2012 provided as interesting and
enlightening a listening experience as these returning giants. Wonderful.
We Keep the Beat...
Throwing everything and anything at the album, from pan-pipes to monk chants, this reckless pop abandon liked its drums with
miltary precision and tribal rhythms; as well as its vocals doubled, tripled and even octupled. A wild adventure in sound, from
one of the smartest young men doing it.
Every modern Dylan album is an event, but Tempest may be his best in decades.
King of the Sun
Its a record that makes you feel just a little closer to the man behind the music once it's all done and dusted. Is "national
treasure" too strong a term?
Whether they're tearing apart your "2 deep 4 u" Tumblr nemesis or toying with girlfriends - both kidnapped and imagined - VP
bring substantial pop/rock chops along with their Jonathan Coulton-meets-John Linnell lyricism and imagery. It's not all fun and
games - but most of it is, and that's what makes Forever Jung such a fucking ripper.
Three years after their debut, they still create a divisive and wholly creative path in their music - perhaps unlike any other
contemporary act. Plug in, unwind and just leave the rest to them.
|9||The Gaslight Anthem|
The quest for the great American rock album is as arduous and oft-attempted as the great American novel. With Handwritten,
The Gaslight Anthem have come closer than anyone else in at least the past five years.
Choir here! Autotune solo here! Where are the horns? More guitars! For all the acts that cracked mainstream attention in 2012,
Some Nights put the most soul into it. The new pop demographic has arrived.
Everything here feels momentous, vital and emotionally invested. It's a complete package, resulting in an LP that critics
probably never saw coming and long-time fans always knew she had in her.
Attack on Memory
Attack on Memory came charging out of the gates, tearing through speakers and cementing itself as one of the year's essential
indie rock records less than a month into the fucking thing.
One Wing refuses to let the loss of long-time bassist Jon Kindler reduce the band to a three-legged dog: instead, the band
move into territory both traditionally chaotic ("Not," "in") and surprisingly left-of-centre (see the spaghetti western progression
of "First" or the shaken piano balladry of highlight "Speak"). They show a hunger for creativity, longing beyond the binary-code
riffs that have sunken their contemporaries. With it, they've created one of the most rewarding albums of 2012. A new chapter
This LP may be the first instance of the Tame Impala project sounding like its own band, rather than just a sturdy tribute to the
acid-washed prog-rock of yore. When Parker asks near the end of "Apocalypse Dreams" a trilogy of questions - "Am I getting
closer?/Will I ever get there?/Does it even matter?" - we can now safely answer him: Yes, yes and yes.
|3||Lincoln le Fevre|
We've all been inspired by muso mates ("Get Drunk, See Bands"), wondered about the larger-than-life characters down at the
pub ("Hope and Crown") and even bitched about our hometown to anyone who would listen ("Dilettantes," "The Mainland"). It's
in the way that LLF takes this subject manner and spins it in such a wholly personal and remarkably creative way that makes
Resonation so utterly fascinating. Pull up a stool and shoot the shit with your new mate Lincoln.
good kid, m.A.A.d city
Every year sees a hip-hop star rise - and, yet, the way we're talking about good kid already makes it feel like we're discussing
something bigger than a passing fad. It might not be very long before we're speaking of this record as a hip-hop classic. As they
say: Watch the throne.
The Idler Wheel...
Her world is crumbling as the piano descends to its bottom end, clinking percussion hovers above and the cacophony builds -
and there she is, in the very centre of it all, wryly smiling at you from a distance. The idler wheel is wiser. It makes for instant