bestalbums2012

Tom Carter who, with ex-wife and musical partner Christina, makes up one half of Charalambides had more opportunity than most for self reflection this year but not in the happiest of circumstances.

During a UK tour he was struck down with severe pneumonia and spent long periods in isolation as part of his treatment. Due to the absurd health system, this also meant he faced huge medical bills.

Thankfully, if his prolific contributions to Twitter are anything to go by, he now seems to be on the road to recovery. One of his Tweets was to the effect that, this year, instead of making lists of the best new albums, we should go back to past years and check if those records we raved about have stood the test of time.

While I understand where he’s coming from, for me, one of the key appeals of contemporary music is that it fuels an insatiable desire for something truly radical and fresh. Needless to say, 2012 passed with plenty of good new sounds to enjoy but nothing that could be described as life changing.

Hipsters try to impress by choosing obscure titles but even if I took the trouble to listen to all these, I doubt I’d be blown away. For example, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange and Tame Impala’s Lonerism are two albums that garnered more than their fair share of of plaudits but, although they are decent enough, I failed to hear what all the fuss was about.

Equally I don’t make any claims that the ten albums I enjoyed most during 2012 are any more earth shattering but here they are with tweet style summaries of why I like them.

1. GOAT  World Music
This psyched-out brain feeding disc from Sweden of all places was the record that made me sit up and take notice the most.

2. BEACH HOUSE Bloom
Blissed out shoegaze that left me with a warm glow every time I heard it.

3. PELT – Effigy
Jack Rose is dead but his spirit live on in these epic new weird drones.

4. GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR  – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
A welcome return that proved once again that instrumental music can sound politically committed.

5. SWANS – The Seer
Swans are back, but in truth they never really went away. So fired up and radical that it sounds as if they were just starting out.

6. JOSEPHINE FOSTER – Blood Rushing
A voice you love or hate. I love it and Ms Foster can do no wrong in my book. One of her best albums.

7. ISLES OF WONDER Soundtrack to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony brought a lump to the throat of even hardened cynics like me. The music, from Underworld in particular, was key to its success.

8. SIGUR ROS – Valtari
Chilled ambience from Iceland’s finest that confirmed them as world beaters.

9. LANA DEL REY – Born To Die
To some,the Paris Hilton of pop but while she may be a spolt rich girl I was charmed by her songs and Lynchian sense of style.

10. ALT-J An Awesome Wave
A fine debut of shiny pop songs with an dark subtext but it remains to be seen if this arty foursome are more than just a one album wonder.

Advertisements