Top 10 Albums of 2012 So Far

As we’ve hit the quarter of the year gone mark, we thought it appropriate to check back and do a top 10 albums of the first quarter, so here goes!

10. Best of the Rest

It was proving too difficult to single out just one album for this final spot, so we’ve made this into a honourable mentions section. We’ll start with Cursive (‘I Am Gemini’), it was difficult to predict how this album was going to sound – they have ventured into prog-rock whilst still retaining their trademark dissonance. It’s no Ugly Organ, but it’s a real grower. Shearwater (‘Animal Joy’) is an album which seems to be making a lot of these lists, and rightly so, it’s equal parts indie-rock and weird pop, imagine if The Antlers suddenly got a bit upbeat. Narrows return with ‘Painted’, more hardcore from Botch singy guy, obviously good, obviously worth listening to, good stuff! Other honourable mentions go to Lambchop (‘Mr M.), Sleigh Bells (‘Reign of Terror) and Earth (‘Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II’).

9. Xiu Xiu – Always

Hipster bullshit. Essentially, what I always thought about Xiu Xiu, and in some ways I was right. But, sometimes, you know, the hipsters can be right too. Half of this album is brutal, not in terms of music but lyrically – “If you’re wasting your life say hi, if you’re alone tonight say hi”. Those are the first two lines of the album, and it rarely strays from that bleak outlook. Musically it’s a synth driven but with elements of shoegaze, and even some piano led balladry. It is in equal portions completely accessible and somewhat difficult. Its still music for hipsters, but its also rather excellent.

JB

8. The Saddest Landscape – After The Lights

“After The Lights” is the follow up to “You Will Not Survive” and in many ways sounds incredibly similar to that record. I see it as a sequel and it works amazingly well. Not quite as strong as “YWNS” but still an incredibly passionate, emotional and heartfelt 7 songs of pure screamo gold.

See my review of it here: http://www.goldflakepaint.co.uk/?p=6837

PN

7. Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It

Whilst I am certainly not innocent myself, it does seem rather lazy when reviewing an album to compare it to other artists. With this Perfume Genius album though, the comparisons are intended as a compliment and as an explanation to why I love this album. Imagine, for a second, Sufjan Stevens without all the silly bits – just a piano, in fact. Now imagine him covering Elliott Smith tracks. Sound good? You’ll like this album. Put Your Back N 2 It has the same emotional resonance as Smith’s XO. This kind of passion cannot be faked; it is dripping from every single note. Hadreas has left everything in this album, every minute it seems he is about to burst into tears, and you feel that. You cannot help but be drawn in. His songwriting capabilities are top-notch. Hadreas is destined for Stevens level of fandom.

JB

6. The Men – Open Your Heart

This automatically wins the award for dirtiest album of the year so far. Every single note is fuzzed up dirtiness, and that’s what makes Open Your Heart so awesome. That and the fact it reads like a history of modern music. Look, let’s get this straight, The Men wear their influences on their sleeves, I could list hundreds of bands that it sounds like. But it makes it no less enjoyable, part of this album is balls out rock n roll, some is almost post-rock-ish, there are elements of noise rock. All of it is fuzzy as hell. You will not hear a more honest album this year.

JB

5. Crocus – Our Memories Dress Me In A Dead Lust

This is the first full length from Crocus who have been on my radar for years because of their abrasive screamo stylings. At times this record is all over the place, but give it time and treat it nicely and it will find a place in your head, it’s not an easy listen at first but that will soon change and you will love the bonkers nature of this fast, screamy delight.

See my review of it here: http://www.goldflakepaint.co.uk/?p=6048

PN

4. The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

The first 2 albums from The Twilight Sad were absolute stonkers, so it was unlikely that I was going to dislike this, and dislike I certainly didn’t. Although it doesn’t hit the heights of the previous records this is still an incredible album. There is a slight change in direction on show here, a more synthy sound prevails, but this is by no means a bad thing. This will certainly appear in many people’s end of year lists and it finds a spot in our first 3 month list!

PN

3. Errors – Have Some Faith in Magic

Now, when we come to do this list at the end of the year, I will be very, very surprised if Errors isn’t in it. This is an absolutely stunning piece of work from a band that is now starting to fulfil their early promise. Don’t get me wrong, their early work is brilliant, but this is a whole new level. It’s complex yet utterly captivating – there is so much to explore, new melodies to be found on each and every listen. This is an album to rival Mogwai at their very best. That is not something I say lightly, in fact, forget that first line. This will be in the end of year lists. It’s that good.

JB

2. Loma Prieta – I.V.

Ahhhhh we meet again Loma Prieta. Sort of ran out of good words to say about this release, it’s half screamo, half metal, it’s brutal in places, it’s melodic at times, it’s has nice little guitar riffs hiding in the background, it’s fast, it’s fucking good, really fucking good. If you like any sort of heavy/angry music and haven’t heard Loma yet, you should rectify that right now!

See my review of it here: http://www.goldflakepaint.co.uk/?p=6249

PN

1. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

This one came out of left field for me. I don’t really listen to lots of stuff like this but thought I’d give it a chance. I did, and then proceeded to listen to it for about a month non-stop. This is so good and fresh and youthful, it’s a fantastic record and I don’t want to bleat on about it again, so read the review and listen to it to see what the fuss is about!

See my review of it here: https://sparksandnerves.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/cloud-nothings-attack-on-memory/

PN

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