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

Fireworks: EPs of 2011

You don’t have to make albums or release a single or two to be appreciated in the world of music, so here’s to the EP. Here’s four of my favourites from the year. Feel free to let me know about more, I kind of like them for travel and such.

Alex Turner – Submarine
When front men of bands go solo, it’s usually awful. Take Brandon Flowers’ solo album for an example. Luckily for Alex Turner, he was being commissioned by none other than Richard Ayoade to create a soundtrack for his incredible film Submarine“I’m not the kind of fool who’s gonna sit and sing to you about stars girl” he begins in his velvetine voice that’s been so lacklustre in recent Arctic’s tracks. These serene tracks show that Turner’s lyrical depth isn’t gone, just hiding. Stuck on Puzzle and the version of Piledriver Waltz that features here almost make me want Turner to do this more often.

General Fiasco – Waves
One of the most promising bands to break through in recent memory are General Fiasco. A product of both BBC Introducing, lots of hard work and generally catchy, relatable songs made their name recognisable to any indie/pop-punk crossover fans and with Waves comes the relief that it wasn’t all a flash in the pan. The Age You Start Losing Friends and German Roads suggest these are ‘tour tracks’, but for once, that doesn’t make them any worse.
Stream the whole thing from here 

Stagecoach – Crash My Ride
There’s not a lot that can be said for Stagecoach as words, rather than sentences come to mind. Energetic, ambitious, infectious, fun and loud. How’s that? Rather than me explain, just listen to this EP!
Which of course I can’t find to stream unless you’re a SPOTIFY user. Visit their Soundcloud though.


Young Empires – Unknown Title
Whilst not technically released, Toronto fashionista-electro-indie types Young Empires, in their mystique have been giving cd’s away at their shows. This four track EP features Glory of the Night, Against the Wall, White Doves (below, more downbeat than the others) and Rain of Gold, of which, the third is probably best. It’s simply stunning and with their debut album out next month, a definite one to watch.

In another world, I’d put those EPs that are like two tracks with some remixes, but that;s just not going to happen because they’re just glorified 7”s.

A few normal posts tomorrow I think, then the top 5 begins!
Take care of each other

Fireworks: Albums of 2011 (Part Eight)

So the last of the grouped posts is here with a selection of quintessentially British indie. What else?

Noah and the Whale – Last Night on Earth
For their third record, Natw have had another theme change. Gone are the cutesy ukulele days, gone is the beautiful heartbreak of First Days… and now comes the sheened up radio-friendly model of Charlie Fink and co. Just because you’re radio playable however, doesn’t mean you have to be bad! L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. may have bored you to death should you be a BBC Radio fan, but to me, it’s still got so much beauty behind it, as do Give it All Back and Waiting For My Chance… It’s classic cinema in an album and I love that. STREAM HERE

Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness
There’s been a bit of a theme this year and I’m not sure I’m especially fond. Fantastic bands making albums not as good as their best but still being pretty great. It happened to Frank Turner, Metronomy and Foo Fighters and I fear it’s happened to Los Campesinos!
Hello Sadness is LC!’s most grown up record to date, but it’s lost them some energy. Whilst revitalising their sets with new material, it’s taken something away that I’m not sure will ever come back. That said, the opening trio of tracks could be three of their strongest yet. STREAM HERE

Bombay Bicycle Club- A Different Kind of Fix
After Flaws, Jack Steadman and company must have been eager to pick up guitars again, and thank God for that. What they’ve created is a semi-acoustic group of tracks that each combine to produce a record just as strong as I Had The Blues. Lucy Rose provides co-vocals for eight tracks, which adds yet another beautiful layer to an album that shows that it might not be possible to have too much of a good thing. Lights Out, Words Gone is a perfect example of this, and even without her prominence, Shuffle’s an instand Bombay classic. STREAM HERE

This evening, it’s the best EPs of the year and then the slow stuff starts. I’m actually kind of excited.
Take care of each other

Fireworks: Albums of 2011 (Part Seven)

Two parts of an American invasion and an American drummer make up this evening’s  trio of albums.

Yuck – Yuck
Formed in London out of the ashes of Cajun Dance Party, whilst sounding little like them, Yuck take a grunge sound and make it happy. One of this year’s best feelgood acts, Yuck have put together a selection of tracks that all sound good both together and as standalone tracks, especially as you go from the likes of Georgia to the downbeat sound of Suck, as if going from sun drenched field to moonlit campfires in the space of a few seconds. That festival Monday morning though is album closer Rubber, mud drenched, giving in, yet somehow still happy. STREAM HERE

Foster the People – Torches
Okay, I confess, I jumped the gun. I spent about two months, one either side of this album’s release stating that Torches was the best album of the year. If we lived in a hotter country, it might be, but as soon as Autumn came, this album started to age. We’ve all heard Pumped up Kicks a billion times, but I maintain that it’s still fantastic and the likes of Houdini and Call it What You Want (strangely, one of the most lrycially relevant tracks of the year) still sound fresh if you’re still up for a little dance. It could have been the best, as it is, it’s just top 20. STREAM HERE

Grouplove – Never Trust A Happy Song
This one took a long time coming and by the time it did, no one cared, which is beyond tragic. Simple four chord sun soaked indie rock that even rivals their fantastic eponymous EP. Grouplove seem tragically doomed to live in the shadow of others, yet put them on a stage and they’ll demonstrate why they’re one of the most exciting bands to emerge this year.  You’ll know Colours, now listen to the rest. STREAM HERE

And that’s another six for the day. I dropped two streams, but that couldn’t be helped. I’ve had a pretty good run up to now though right? It all gets serious tomorrow!
Take care of each other