The Top Ten Records of 2012

Sweet Billy Pilgrim

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

Sweet Billy Pilgrim Crown and Treaty Album cover

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

One of the rejected album covers for “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

Classic Rock Fanpack Geddy Lee

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

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

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

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

Beach House Bloom

Sublime dream-pop from this US duo. Perfect chill-out music and some great songs throughout.

9. Mystery Jets – Radlands

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 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

Categories: Hard Rock, Indie

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

33 replies

  1. Looks like I may have to get that ZZ top disc! I am going to hold off on my list for a few weeks yet, but I will say this: We have one in common this year. (Great minds think alike.)

    Black Keys is one I am very curious about. I’ve never bought anything by them. I didn’t like “Gold on the Celing” but I really liked “Little Black Submarine”.


  2. I’ve got 2 in common – Black Keys & Jack White – don’t know many of the others, like the sound of Cowbell though. I’d have to include Celebration Rock by Japandroids, Sweet Sour by Band Of Skulls, Ill Manors by Plan B and Passive Me, Aggressive You by The Naked & Famous. Love your alternative cover for El Camino 😉


  3. I agree about Jack White; disagree about Black Key. And where is Redd Kross? They had the comeback album of the year! 🙂


  4. You forgot to mention The Shins – Port of Morrow


  5. Oh man, now I gotta do my list…glad to see Tame Impala made your list.


  6. A few I’ve been enjoying in recent months (in no particular order and avoiding repetition):

    Anathema “Weather Systems”
    Dylan “Tempest”
    Magnum “The Thirteenth Day”
    Rival Sons “Head Down”
    Panic Room “Skin”
    The Reasoning “Adventures in Neverland”
    Flying Colors “Flying Colors”
    Steve Thorne “Crimes and Reasons”
    Lynyrd Skynyrd “Last of a Dyin’ Breed”
    Black Country Communion “Afterglow”

    And …still feeling my way into the new Marillion album “Sounds That Can’t Be Made”


  7. Still pondering my ten. Jack White and Tame Impala might make it. I was a bit disappointed with Richard Hawley. I really love Coles Corner from a few years ago. The new album rocks more but just makes him more like others. I think I’ll be putting Wrecking Ball by Bruce first, with Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange up there too. Plus a rather parochial choice – the Staves’ Dead, Born and Grown.


  8. I respect your choices although a bit surprised to see Rush and ZZ Top way up on the list…The Black Keys are growing on me but since it has taken me this long to start listening to them, I think I’ll hold off on making a list until the end of 2013…No mention of “Fun” even as an almost honorable mention?


  9. What about Ian Anderson’s Thick as a Brick 2? Have you heard it? I wasn’t surprised that I like it, especially because Thick as a Brick is one of my all-time favourite albums and this album was a deliberately retro thing (with regard to instruments, recording etc) but with “modern” lyrics.

    I don’t think I have read one bad review of it. Most reviews said something like “I was sceptical, even though I liked the (older) Tuill stuff, but I was surprised that the album is not just good but really good.



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