BEST OF 2012

Ah, 2012. What a year it was. Full of months and days and that. And tunes. Oh, the tunes. Well, every year I say something about how if you can’t find something new and decent then you’re really not trying very hard and the same applies once again. Each album in my top 30 list receives its own write up and, by clicking on the artwork with each post, you can load the album for a wee listen as you read. Please do comment wherever you see fit or come and criticise me for not liking the same things as you via the @justplayed Twitter account.

As with last year, there will be a splendid pile of prizes available to one lucky reader once all of this counting down has been concluded. In order to get yourself in the draw for a copy of the album of the year, along with signed goodies from Martin Rossiter and various other splendid stuff, including several of the titles in the rest of the thirty. All you need to do is post your end of year list in the comments section below this post. You have until 11:59pm GMT on January 1st 2013.

In addition to all of this, click the album cover montage below for my 2012 Spotify mixtape and the entire countdown can be found underneath that. Enjoy!

Best of 2012

30. Scott Walker – Bish Bosch

29. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again

28. The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

27. Tom Williams & The Boat – Teenage Blood

26. Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber

25. Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge

24. Goat – World Music

23. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe

22. Graham Coxon – A+E

21. Tame Impala – Lonerism

20. Mac DeMarco – 2

19. A Whisper In The Noise – To Forget

18. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

17. Django Django – Django Django

16. Grimes – Visions

15. Nils Frahm – Screws

14. Saint Etienne – Words and Music by Saint Etienne

13. Jessica Pratt – Jessica Pratt

12. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

11. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

10. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

9. Hannah Cohen – Child Bride

8. Tindersticks – The Something Rain

7. Beth Orton – Sugaring Season

6. Lone Wolf – The Lovers

5. David Byrne & St Vincent – Love This Giant

4. Field Music – Plumb

3. Cian Ciaran – Outside In

2. Hot Chip – In Our Heads

1. Martin Rossiter – The Defenestration Of St Martin

24 thoughts on “BEST OF 2012

  1. Top 5 Albums 2012 :

    1.) Father John Misty – Fear Fun

    2.) Lee Hazelwood- LHI Years (Reissue)

    3.) Fiona Apple- The Idler Wheel

    4.) Dereck Higgins – Dereck 2

    5.) Bobby Womack- The Bravest Man…

    Merry Xmas !

  2. A tricky one this year. There’ve been loads of really good albums but only a handful of truly excellent albums.

    I justified my number one here: – it’s the Django Django album.

    Others high in contention were First Aid Kit’s excellent The Lion’s Roar, Malcolm Middleton’s electro effort Human Don’t Be Angry, Field Music’s Plumb, the Alt-J album, and Japandroids’ Celebration Rock. Pretty hard to put them in an order.

  3. My top ten:

    1-Simone Felice ‘Simone Felice’
    2- Dexys ‘One Day I Am Going To Soar’
    3-Mark Eitzel ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’
    4- Lambchop ‘Mr M’
    5- Laura Gibson ‘La Grande’
    6- Tindersticks ‘The Something Rain’
    7- Karen Peris ‘Violet’
    8- The Mountain Goats ‘Transcendental Youth’
    9- John Murry ‘The Graceless Age’
    10-M Ward ‘A Wasteland Companion’

  4. I’ve never been much of a list maker, but here’s a top 10 in no order:

    Shearwater – Animal Joy
    Efterklang – Piramida
    Andrew Bird – Break it Yourself
    Grizzly Bear – Shields
    Field Music – Plumb
    Beach House – Loom
    Django Django – Django Django
    Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
    Foreign Fields – Anywhere But Where I Am (I think you’d like this, if you haven’t heard it)
    School of Seven Bells – Ghostory

    Lots for me to check out on your list though, I’m very behind.

  5. My top 5:

    1. Death Grips – No Love Deep Web
    2. The Men – Open Your Heart
    3. Menomena – Moms
    4. Django Django
    5. Woodpecker Wooliams – The Bird School of Being Human

  6. I’ll ‘limit’ myself to a top 20, but even that is missing out lots of stuff I love. So many great albums released this year. I haven’t gotten around to listening to Mr Rossiter, but shall attempt to do so in the New Year.

    1. Efterklang – Piramada
    2. Boy – Mutual Friends
    3. Sleep Party People – We Were Drifting On A Sad Song
    4. Hjaltalin – Enter 4
    5. Get Well Soon – Scarlet Beast O’Seven Heads
    6. Den Svenska Björnstammen – Ett Fel Närmare Rätt
    7. Gemma Hayes – Let It Break
    8. Grand Salvo – Slay Me In My Sleep
    9. Pascal Pinon – Twosomeness
    10. Shearwater – Animal Joy
    11. Sons Of Noel And Adrian – Knots
    12. Sigur Ros – Valtari
    13. The Holy Roman Army – One Atom That Was You
    14. Princeton – Remembrance Of Things To Come
    15. Soap&Skin – Narrow
    16. Ramona Falls – Prophet
    17. Meursault – Something For The Weakened
    18. Grasscut – Unearth
    19. Laura Gibson – La Grande
    20. We Show Up On Radar – Sadness Defeated

  7. Thanks for the annual countdown again this year. It’s always interesting to see which ones made your final list and, even when I disagree about the merits of a particular album, it’s always well written and with an enthusiasm that’s infectious. There are also plenty of records for me to seek out as they passed me by in 2012. My top 5 would be, at the time of writing at least:

    5. The xx – ‘Coexist’
    Not a huge leap forwards from the debut album but still different to so much other stuff that’s going on. Still don’t understand how they can have such a minimal sound when there’s also so much going on at the same time. Does that make sense? Anyway, I enjoyed the album and the first 5 or 6 songs at The Coal Exchange in Cardiff were hypnotic and beautiful.

    4. Nils Frahm – ‘Screws’
    Life can get pretty stressful. This was soothing.

    3. Cate Le Bon – ‘Cyrk’
    It’s been a good year for Welsh music with the Welsh Music Prize boasting a greater variety than the Mercury Prize. Enjoyed Euros Childs’ summer pop with ‘Good Feeling’ being one of my favourite songs of the year. Still, the confidence of ‘Cyrk’ made me feel excited about what she might come up with next and with a scene that is producing great music even if no one else is paying much attention to it.

    2. Islet – ‘Illuminated People’
    Again, someone doing their own thing. And it sounds great even if it doesn’t capture the wildness of their live shows.

    1. Saint Etienne – ‘Words and Music’
    It seems that Britain was gripped by the Olympics in 2012. I skipped it for the sunshine of France and the soundtrack to that holiday was this. That a band can produce such great work with such joyous music so many years after their first release is a wonder in itself. Seeing them on their tour was also wonderful. Guaranteed to put a smile on my face and to want to listen rather than just have it in the background. Lovely, vibrant pop at its best.

  8. In no particular order except the Richard James album which I absolutely adore. They are all Welsh because I discovered the Adam Walton radio show this year.
    Richard James -Pictures in the Morning
    Cate le Bon – Cyrk
    Cian Ciaran – Outside In
    Race Horses -Furniture
    Euros Childs- Summer Special

  9. My limited exposure to new albums this year has meant I’ve stuck to the golden nuggets, so I can agree with you on Richard Hawley, Goat, Grimes, First Aid Kit and David Byrne and St Vincent. However, you are definitely unfairly overlooking the brilliance of Dr John, School Of Seven Bells, Father John Misty and Jens Lekman.

    I’m finding it harder and harder each year to put an order to a number of albums that are exceptional in ways that make them almost incomparable. Love This Giant is entirely different to Jens Lekman, but they both have hovered over my Album of the Year spot. Jens’ effort is the best, most beautiful thing he’s ever made but is too sad for many repeat listens and remains an occasional indulgence. Love This Giant is manic, funky, fun and almost flawless, but for all its pomp it fails to grip. While it may have some of the best songs of the year (I Am An Ape, Outside of Space and Time), they don’t quite hold their grip as much as my number one.

    I’d urge anyone to listen to all the albums mentioned in this comment, but the one record I’ve been the most amazed by, the one I’ve played the most, the one that has never failed to be less than astonishing every time I return to it is First Aid Kit’s The Lion’s Roar. Didn’t care for their first album at all, despite the hype around it when it was released. But something about this album just wraps itself around your heart and mind and refuses to let go.

    1. I think I mean “never failed to be *anything* less than astonishing” there. I’ve looked at the stupid double-negative filled sentence too long to know any more. I mean it’s good. Not bad. Oh dear.

  10. In no particular order, the following have most surprised me this year and most importantly, got the most plays:

    Chromatics – Kill For Love
    Twin Shadow – Confess
    Purity Ring – Shrines
    Halls – Ark
    Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
    Lone Wolf – The Lovers
    Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship
    Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
    Efterklang – Piramida
    Grizzly Bear – Shields

  11. 1. Gravenhurst – The Ghost in the Daylight
    2. First Aid Kit – Lions Roar
    3. Allo Darlin – Europe
    4. Allah Las – Allah Las
    5. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Is
    6. Karlie Bruce – Paperback Lover
    7. Dead Can Dance – Anastasis
    8. Dr John – Locked Down
    9. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
    10. Tim Maia – World Psychedelic Classics….

  12. In no particular order:

    Jack White – Blunderbuss
    Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
    Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge
    Beach House – Bloom
    M Ward – A Wasteland Companion
    Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
    The Magnetic Fields – Love At The Bottom Of The Sea
    Yann Tiersen – Skyline
    Melody Gardot – The Absence

  13. the ones i forgot , no reflection on the CD’s just my appalling memory ,sorry :
    Golden Fable – Star Map (one of my 2012 highlights was Golden Fables cover of Motorcycle Emptiness at Warwick Arts Centre)
    Rodriguez – Searching for Sugarman (Cerys Matthews alerted me to this one)
    Cerys Matthews- Baby it’s Cold Outside (a decent Christmas CD at last . )
    Sam Airey – A Marker and a Map
    Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists reissue(not sure if re issues count )

  14. Finally!!! A top 13 of 2012! (Not necessarily in order). Although, Dr John is my favourite of 2012!

    1. Dr John – Locked Down
    2.Neil Cowley Trio – …Mount Molehill
    3.Bill Fay – Life is People
    4.Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
    5.Goat – World Music
    6.Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet
    7.Tindersticks – The Something Rain
    8.Dirty Three – Towards the Lower Sun
    9.Calexico – Algiers
    10.Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
    11.Beth Orton – Sugaring Season
    12.Paul Weller – Sonic Kicks
    13.Phantom Limb – The Pines

    Reissue of 2012

    Can – The Lost Tapes



  15. 1. First Aid Kit – Lion’s Roar
    2. Jesca Hoop – The House That Jack Built
    3. Django Django – Django Django
    4. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
    5. Lana Del Ray – Born To Die
    6. Sigur Ros – Valtari
    7. Beak> – >>
    8. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe
    9. Scissor Sisters – Magic Hour (mostly for Let’s Have A Kiki!)
    10. Sharon van Etten – Tramp

    Some other albums may have made the list had I bought them (been a bit poor this year).

  16. top 5.
    1) canines – shrag
    2) words and music – saint etienne
    3) the girl with the replaceable head
    4) 1612 underture – ERC
    5) Vicism- vic godard

  17. I’ve only got a top 5 –

    1. Mid Air by Paul Buchanan (that voice…)
    2. The Defenestration of St Martin by Martin Rossiter (jaw droppingly good)
    3. Blues Funeral by Mark Lanagan 9such a grower. Didn’t see this coming).
    4. Sweet Heart Sweet Light by Spiritualized (not their best, but it still makes you stop, think, and realise that life is worth living..)
    5. The Lions Roar by First Aid Kit (the harmonies are a thing of beauty).

    I’m lost without music, and I think that these 5 have become firm friends.

  18. 1) Martin Rossiter – The Defenestration of St Martin

    2) John Murry – The Graceless Age

    3) Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge

    4) James Levy and The Blood Red Rose – Pray To Be Free

    5) Crybaby – Crybaby

    6) Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks

    7) Bill Fay – Life Is People

    8) Quiet Loner – Greedy Magicians

    9) Tim Burgess – Oh No, I Love You

    10) Mark Lanegan – Blues Funeral

    11) Soulsavers – The Light The Dead See

    12) Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

    13) Last Harbour – Your Heart, It Carries The Sound

    14) The Long Insiders – The Sound of Cat Gut & Engine Oil

    15) Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times and the Tides

    16) Gallon Drunk – The Road Gets Darker From Here

    17) Two Wounded Birds – Two Wounded Birds

    18) Allah-Las – Allah Las

    19) Beth Orton – Sugaring Season

    20) Bob Dylan – Tempest

    21) Redd Kross – Researching The Blues

    22) John DeRosa – A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothing

    23) The See See – Fountayne Mountain

    24) Explorers Club – Grand Hotel

    25) Pet Shop Boys – Elysium

    26) Boz Boorer – Sum of the Parts

    27) Ian Webber – Blanket Covered Morning

    28) Tame Impala – Lonerism

    29) The Sunchymes – Let Your Free Flag Fly
    30) Alpha 9: Gone To Ground
    31) The Moons – Fables of History
    32) Ian Skelly – Cut From A Star
    33) Dr John – Locked Down
    34) The Sand Band – Love Will Save Us, I Hope
    35) Father John Misty – Fear Fun
    36) Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
    37) Damon Albarn – Dr Dee
    38) The Red Inspectors – Are We The Red Inspectors?
    39) Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be A Stranger
    40) Dr Robert – Flutes and Bones

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s