The Delayed Albums of 2012 List: Part Two

You may have noticed that the last post stopped at album 11 of my album list of 2012. So, without further ado, let’s pick up where I left off.

10. Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
Opening the top 10 with a record comprising of one man, a guitar and a heck of a lot of soul from folk music was a good choice. Whilst TNLN might not be the best Tallest Man… record, that just shows testament to how good Christopher’s music truly is. Don’t believe me? Listen to the whole thing just below.

9. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Latest estimates reckon that Channel Orange has sold around 40,000 copies on vinyl alone. Considering that this album is yet to be officially pressed onto vinyl that’s an even more impressive feat from “the acceptable one” and hugely talented member of OFWGKTA, Frank Ocean. Even the things in the middle of the epic tracks (namely Fertilizer) standout.
Stream the whole thing here

8. Title Fight – Floral Green
Title Fight’s second album came pretty quickly after their debut, but in no way does that demean it as a record. Floral Green stands up, shouts and demands to be recognised as one that not only signals to Title Fight’s peers of the past, but refuses to accept that their breed of rock can’t still sound fresh and they succeed. Proof you say? Listen to it all below.

7. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
Coming off the back of so much talk, An Awesome Wave was never going to fully live up to the expectation built around it; but that’s not to say that the Leeds/Cambridge band didn’t make a bloody good go of it. Breezeblocks proved to be a standout of the year and in adapting their own music to their own individual tastes, Alt-J made a unique sounding record that challenges their contemporaries, even if it’s not perfect. Listen to it below.

Once you’ve got the Pitchfork Best New Music seal of approval and iconic label Sub-Pop behind you; it’s hard to fail and Canadian rock band METZ did just what they were expected to and delivered a record full of fast paced, agressive music that will drive your neighbours insane but drive the blood through your veins. Feeling like some of that? Listen below.

5. How to Dress Well – Total Loss
The second album from How to Dress Well makes the top 5 simply for being the most beautifully crafted record I heard in 2012. Mixing soulful yet soft vocals with classical sounds and heaving it all to the modern day with some stunning production and beats; Total Loss is sublime. Enter a coma, listen below.

4. The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
I got a lot of stick for putting this album where I did when I played the radio show of the year, but if you remember the beginning of the year, you’ll remember the insane critical acclaim from The Fly, NME, Clash, DIY and the Guardian to name just a few. If anything, I think this album has improved with age as the summer came and went and Given to the Wild became the perfect sunshine nostalgia. Regardless, 4th it is.
Child / Pelican

Side note: Any of the top 3 could have been my number one. It was a difficult decision and one, had I been feeling differently, would have gone another way. In DiS style, they’re all winners.

3. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Japandroids make the kind of rock music you always wanted to from the moment you picked up a guitar and top it with a heck of a lot of courage to form power hit after power hit. Every track on Celebration Rock sounds like a single and so much not like a single at the same time that you end up lost in the record until it finishes. That total immersion is a testament to how good this band really are and how Celebration Rock makes the top 3.
Listen in full below

2. Tall Ships – Everything Touching
I was beginning to think Tall Ships were going to keep releasing EPs for the rest of their careers when Everything Touching was announced. Now I understand that their tireless progress had all led to what is a stunning album of music that, for the most part, they weren’t mature enough to make when they formed. Some re-recordings take on new lives of their own (Books namely) and the new tracks simply take you on the kind of journey that only Tall Ships know how to. From T=0 through to the epic build and party of Murmurations; Everything Touching is unrelentingly enjoyable. Listen in full below

1. Lucy Rose – Like I Used To
The year that Lucy Rose had was lifechanging.Whilst she may still record music in her bedroom and be a naturally shy person, what her music has given both her and her thousands of new fans along the way has been nothing short of a fairytale. Like I Used To feels like every memory you’ve ever had, racing through your head at 2am to the sound of one beautifully soft voice and her guitar. That, to me; is perfection.
Sadly, I can’t find a stream, but here’s my three favourites from the record to try make it up to you.

So there you have it.
Watch out for the next few weeks for my tips for the year as well as a Sound Influx session!

Take care of each otheer


The Year That Was: 2012, A Delayed Album list (Part One)

wiggoFor those of you who listened, you’ll be aware that my album list of the year does exist and was broadcast on Mixlr before the new year. The writeup for this never existed due to a mix of procrastination, university and going to work; but for those of you still interested, today is your lucky day. If you’d like to listen to the audible version, please click the image to the right and if you’d like to listen to an overarching “tracks of the year” show that features a heck of a lot of awesome tracks that may not neccessarily be on fantastic records, click HERE. I promise it’s not boring and it’ll take your afternoon into the most recent-nostalgia possible.


20. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
As someone who can only listen to the music of FlyLo when in a certain moodset, this record was never going to be an absolute highlight of the year for me. It is nonetheless, a record full of swirling sounds that are strong without ever being in your face and relaxing without forcing you to sleep. This balance then, is commendable and one that warrants Stephen Ellison’s moniker a place opening the list.
Watch a gorgeous short film for the record here.


19. Calvin Harris – 18Months
To put it simply, Calvin Harris continues to appeal to me in a club setting that tends not to. From We Found Love featuring Rihanna through to Sweet Nothing with Florence Welch, 18 Months is impressive and away from the collaborations, it’s the devotion he’s put into the likes of School and summer 2011 hit Feel So Close that really draw me in. Harris just knows how to get you going whilst not being David Guetta or Deadmau5 and for that, he earns a place in the list.

18. Bloc Party – Four
Think anything about the past, say what you like about Kele Okereke and company’s break and expect what ever from Bloc Party; they don’t mind. Post-hiatus, Four is unapologetically what Bloc Party wanted to do and regardless of discussion, was always going to be. From Octopus’ release through to what could be a defining moment for Bloc next month at Earl’s Court, Four is a record that whilst, at times lacks definition has its own honesty and makes sure that the act still stand out of their own accord.

17. Passion Pit – Gossamer
If you’ve written one of the standout records of the last decade and said album was your debut, the follow up is always going to be difficult, but what Passion Pit achieved in following up Manners with Gossamer was at times difficult to appreciate. The “hits” lack, but what you have in their place is, in my opinion a record built on a more solid structure. Take a Walk and I’ll Be Alright (below) lead onto a record that has a narrative and creates a full live show that takes you on a journey. In that respect, job done.

16. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe
The Womack has had a recent resurgence in popularity thanks in some part to Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. In The Bravest Man however, he proves that he never needed it. At 68, Womack’s career has spanned 6 decades and continues to grow with his time. Take his booming voice in this record and add a production value that’s second to almost none and you’ve got an album that may well prove timeless.

15. Mr Fogg – Eleven
I’ll be honest; I know very little about Mr.Fogg. His music, up until this album has eluded me and my negligence to gain more knowledge since its release is a bit foolish. That said, this record has been the soundtrack to every night bus I’ve needed to take in London all year. It’s got the quiet buzz that calms whilst pulsing with a sound that keeps you awake. It’s the perfect accompaniment to so much of the night from start to finish and for that, it makes this list.

14. Jessie Ware – Devotion
I first encountered Jessie Ware at my time at Toast Press earlier in the year and instantly fell for her sound. It’s capacity to be remixed, toyed with and adapted is seemingly endless whilst as a standalone record it’s soulful and transcendant. Ware has achieved Mercury nominations and plaudits across the board and has been part of what was, in my opinion, the best mix of the year from Julio Bashmore and Annie Mac (below). Kudos Jessie.

13.  Crystal Castles – III
Alice Glass and Ethan Kath are insane. This is a generally accepted fact and yet, within that insanity they’ve managed to create three records that hit the boundaries of their genres and have made them one of the most successful “dance” acts of the last years. In III, they did some serious growing up, toned down on the agrression and cemented their place in the hearts of 21st century youth.

12. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
Cloud Nothings started this year in relative obscurity and ended it at the forefront of modern rock. This was in no small part due to the expansive sound of  their third record, Attack on Memory. From the catchy power of Stay Useless (below) through to the elongated 9minutes of Wasted Days, it’s huge and from a group of relative nerds, that’s fantastic.

11. Purity Ring – Shrines
Electronic music is taking step after step these days and in Purity Ring’s debut album, those steps appear to be in the right direction to encapsulate music. The comments on standout track, Fineshrine mostly scream “hipster” and “mainstream”, but what does that matter and since when has YouTube not brought out the worst in human nature? Screw it, the 1.2million views seem to think that both could live in harmony some day and Shrines will be one of those records that can say “they were there”.


Take care of each other

IF Music’s 2010: Top 15 Albums #2

Words by Braden Fletcher, images copyright
Apologies for the lack of continuous countdown, I’ll make up for it, promise. Today’s #2!

Foals – Total Life Forever

Hype band of the year and yet another band with a fantastic second album this year (see Vampire Weekend, Kids in Glass Houses) the Oxford group returned in 2010 with a different sound which their fans stuck on repeat for most of the last 6 months. Foals’ base sound of intricate guitars and huge buildups is definitely still there, you can hear it from the start in Blue Blood, but also present is this most mesmerising ambience which welcomes anyone to listen in. With every piece of instrumentation timed and weighted to precision the likes of Spanish Sahara simply blow my mind. Foals have really gained something somewhere in the last year or so and it’s inspired this crossover sound that brings in elements of post-rock as well as their “mathletics” sound of old.

Total Life Forever isn’t just a new Foals casting off their youth, more a refinement of a sound which adds calm to the storm they create in Antidotes. Shut your eyes for too long and you’ll find yourself in a dream-world, open them for too long and you lose something. If you’re not in the right mood, from about half way in it gets boring, but even when you are, the first 6 tracks are still incredible. Mood allowing, it’s not far from a perfect record, but IF can’t help but think Foals could have done so much more exciting had they wanted.
Listen To: Total Life Forever, Spanish Sahara, After Glow.

IF Music’s 2010: Top 15 Albums #3

Into the top 3 and it’s serious stuff now. After rummaging past everyone in post-christmas/apocalyptic sales, I’ve only had a few albums on the iPod to save me, this is one such album.
Words by Braden Fletcher, images copyright of their owner

General Fiasco – Buildings

Suprise! It’s my favourite new band filling the number three slot. In a world in which so much soft-indie and crappy-pop-punk castoff bands are shamelessly thrown at us, one band that have slowly drifted into the radar are so much better than both afformentioned genre’s. The young Northern-Irish group have seemingly taken influence from their peers in each from the likes of Paramore to the fresh sound that Razorlight once had. It’s hard to cite something without making them sound worse than they are, especially when most critics nowadays wouldn’t put this album in a top 50.

I can’t help but fall in love with the catchy lines and lost use feel of the likes of Ever So Shy and Buildings. It’s not angsty, nor at the other end is it free. It’s real. You’ve not got a bunch of layabouts crying about their last 3 or 4 years in a band closing their teenage years with lost romance and pretending to be part of the skins generation, but at the same time you’ve not got an Inbetweeners feel of pretending you’re cool. You get a sense that the trio know who they are, they know what they sound like and they’re sticking to it, even if not everyone will understand.

Having been lucky enough to see this band in three really very different scenarios this year: Sonisphere, Leeds Festival and their headline show in London in November, it’s clear to see that this band matter to themselves as much as they do to everyone that goes to their shows and I’m just happy to have been a part of these great guy’s year and like Buildings as much as I do.

Listen to: Ever So Shy, Sinking Ships, Rebel Get By

IF Music’s 2010: Top 15 Albums #4

I guessed you’d be a bit busy to read about my choice albums of the year over the last two days, so now, a bit heavier and with a slightly weaker liver, I’ll resume the countdown.
Words by Braden Fletcher, image copyrighted.

Everything Everything – Man Alive

As the countdown so far suggests, it’s been a good year for new artists. With Maximum Baloon, Crywank, Jonsi and BoB already, it’s time for a new band. Manchester’s Everything Everything are that band.

2010 has brought a few things. First of all, it’s brought a huge lack of the big brit-pop bands of the nineties. With Oasis’ split and Damon Albarn returning to Gorillaz after Blur’s summer in the sun in 2009, the scene’s lay untouched through most of the year. Secondly, the recycling of everything 1980s brought back to life in the form of fresher faces. Everything Everything bridge this gap. Mixing synth-pop with indie style guitars, the Manchester group have travelled the country all year. From tiny venues to an upcoming Academy tour, they’ve deserved the audience gained.
Jonathan Everything’s unique voice and lyrics fit in superbly with each intricate layer of the band’s music.

All of this together has really worked for the group. Right time, right place, right sound, they seem to have everything we need in new music right now. Everything Everything are this year’s #4.

Listen To: My Kz Yr Bf, Schoolin, Suffragette, Suffragette.