The Ten Best records of 2012?
Growing up in the eighties, you didn’t hear much about end of year best-of lists, but now, like reality TV shows featuring people I have never heard of, they appear to be everywhere.
It almost seems rude not to nail my colours to the mast and tell you what has really been spinning on the Every Record turntable in 2012, so here goes:
The Every Record Tells A Story Records of 2012:
1. Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Crown and Treaty
I called this the album of 2012 back in July, and I have heard nothing else since to make me change my mind. Crown and Treaty is the runaway winner of my Record of the Year. Thoughtful, intelligent and moving in equal measure, Crown and Treaty’s blend of Radiohead, Elbow and Americana is an artistic triumph. When listing C&T in their records of the year, Mojo magazine were spot on when they said “It’s a mad world that nominates SBP’s Twice Born Men for awards yet shuns their masterpiece”. Sadly unavailable in vinyl (hint hint).
2. The Black Keys: El Camino
Technically a 2011 album, but it came out in December after all the end-of-year lists had been made. A band that keeps evolving and improving, this builds on the momentum created by Brothers and has propelled the Akron, Ohio duo into the big league. With the Stairway-esque Little Black Submarine and the mad dancing video of Lonely Boy this was a great record from start to finish.
3. Rush – Clockwork Angels
A huge return to form from the Canadian threesome. A steampunk concept acts as a theme, but it is the songs that are what is really interesting about the album. This record gets better every time I hear it.
4. Jack White: Blunderbuss
This was a grower for me – it lacked the bite and bludgeon of The White Stripes, and it took a while to shrug this off. But once you get over the fact that this isn’t the White Stripes, what we have is a great record by one of the greatest music makers of this millennium.
5. Cowbell – Beat Stampede
An assured debut from this London two-piece garage band with a sixties vibe. Jack Sandham and Wednesday Lyle have released an album with ten great pop tunes, many under three minutes long and all irrepressible. Reminds you what rock n roll is all about.
6. Tame Impala – Lonerism
A psychedelic masterpiece. Solo project of Aussie Kevin Parker and mixed by Mercury Rev‘s Dave Fridmann. The record sounds like a distant cousin of a Mercury Rev / Flaming Lips record – and in my book that’s always a good thing. The best Australian album since…. er, Cold Chisel’s debut?
7. Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge
Another psychedelic tinged LP – and a harder edged album from Hawley than his previous record. Standing… deservedly won a Mercury nomination and mixed space rock guitars and effortless balladry.
8. Beach House – Bloom
Sublime dream-pop from this US duo. Perfect chill-out music and some great songs throughout.
9. Mystery Jets – Radlands
The second concept album on this list. This record has wit, is full of good tunes and has a classic vibe. They’re great live, too.
10. ZZ Top – La Futura
ZZ Top’s 2012 record mixed a rap cover (Gotsta Get Paid), a Tush-like boogie (Chartreuse) and low down blues in their first record for eight years. Billy Gibbons remains incomparable. What I would do to be able to play guitar like him. Except practice, of course…
So that’s 2012. Some honourable mentions go to Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Paul Weller and Soundgarden all of whom were in contention.
If you feel so inclined why not tell me what your favourites are in the comments section. I’ll play one of yours if you play one of mine…
Record #125 : Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Kracklite