Saturday, 29 December 2012

Favourite Albums of 2012 Compilation.

Well I guess it's that time of year when the web succumbs to list mania again, when we all 'fess up' about the stuff we've been  listening too and raving about all year. I may as well add my 2p worth, and whilst it is by no means complete list of aural 'diggage', the accompanying MP3 compilation gives you a rough idea what's been rocking  my world for much of the  last year.

Of course, after compiling a shortish 20 song tracklist I realised there were quite a few notable records I'd forgot to include, so there ay yet be a part two, but for now, I hope you enjoy my little Soundtrack annual.

Track list goes a something like this... (The video's below don't necessarily represent tracks on the compilation')

1. The Pre New - I Believe In Jackie (From the CD 'Music For People Who Hate Themselves')

Rising from the ashes of Earl Brutus and World of Twist, The Pre New glitter stomped their way into my heart with a wonderful album encompassing influences as diverse as D.A.F.and Ivor Cutler through to Italian disco and Punk and all points in between. Lyrics laced with a dark and frankly ridiculous reference points from popular culture to pop art. Deserved to be huge, but sadly seem to have been universally overlooked.

2. G R - Bradenhend (From the vinyl  LP 'A Reverse Age')

Great in your face album in a similar vein to many early to mid 80's Blast First noise acts like Big Black, Sonic Youth, Big Stick etc... Sadly only got a limited vinyl release. This one really floated my boat.

3. Pop.1280 - Bodies In The Dunes (From the Sacred Bones LP 'The Horror')

Another great ensemble taking their grimey cues from the darkest recesses of post punk, Pop.1280 ( their named after a Hunter S Thompson novel) mesh dark garage guitar with stark electronics,  deep bass and pounding drums to brew up a heady stew of claustrophobia and paranoia fresh to your own front door. Can't wait for the next record, I'm sure its gonna be a keeper. Much of this album has similar dynamics and sound the last album 'The Human Jukebox' by Antipodean wonders The Scientists which trust me, is a GOOD THING.

4. The KVB - Until I'm Cold (From the digital only release 'Always Then')

 This duo take all the best bits of 70's/80's post punk (Joy Division, Mary Chain, Cure et al) along with the odd dose of Suicide and Spacemen 3 to boot and mold it all into something new and fresh. This album seems to only be available as a digital download, here's hoping it gets a 'proper' release in the not to distnt future.

5. Woven Hand - Closer (Taken from the album 'The Laughing Stalk')

Great album by one time singer with 16 Horsepower. All the usual themes are on show, religion, redemption and Old Nick, but fleshed out with a meatier sound than the early Woven Hand releases.

6. Tarwater - Radio War (Taken from the album 'Inside The Ships')

I've been a fan of Tarwater since the LP 'Animals, Suns and Atoms' from the mid  90's. and have closely followed there on/off career ever since. Can't say the new album holds any surprises sonically. Lush soundscapes, mid tempo beats and hushed vocals is the order of the day with a nice mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Plus there's is a great cover of the D.A.F song 'Sato Sato' which is appreciably different enough to the original to be interesting but similar enough that you recognise what song it is.

7. Clinic - Seesaw (Taken from the LP 'Free Reign')

Rockier album than were used to from Clinic. All the usual ingredients are there, melodion, organ, guitar and drums, and dare I say a less melancholic air than those early albums, but everything I love about them is still intact.

8. Peaking Lights - Cosmic Tides (Taken form the album 'Lucifer')

This is a great step forward from last years '936', The band seem more self assured and aredefinately channeling King Tubby in there somewhere.Hell they even released an 'In Dub' version of Lucifer too which is ever bit as essential. Would luuurve to catch these babies live, bet they'd be a blast.

9. Death Grips - System Blower (Taken from the CD 'The Money Store')

Lets get it straight, Hip Hop ain't my thing, but something about Death Grips really got under my skin. Could be that they operate as a real band, guitar, keyboards, drums etc, and have an appreciably harder sound more akin to punk than the usual MTV kak were used to being served up. Can't say the subject matter strays much form the rap mores were used too, but those abrasive sounds are really what caught my attention.

10. METZ - Negative Space (Taken from the the LP 'Metz')

This is a fantastic slice of raucous guitar and drums, fueled by teen angst and vinegar and piss.

11. VCMG - Spock (Taken from the Mute LP 'Ssss')

I have been a massive electronic music fan for most of my life. Something about the tones, frequencies and textures synthesizers evoke has always really interested me musically, and for many years after the 80's I guess it was dance music that did it for me. At the time (late 80's early 90's) it seemed to be pushing new and interesting boundaries, but slowly over time it got samey and repetitive and I lost interest. It seemed to stagnate with four to the floor beats and ridiculous wailing divas, not those pure and interesting noises it started out with. But, something about VCMG got under my skin. I wasn't too bothered on first hearing the album Ssss. Nothing new is really brought to the table in terms of pushing boundaries, but the combination of rich and pure analogue tones really does it for me. If  I'm honest, it's basically Vince Clarke and Martin Gore ripping off mid period Nitzer Ebb, but in a goood way.

12. Cate Le Bon - Greta (From the LP 'CYRK')

Cyrk is a great quirky album, full of fragile voices and deranged fuzz excess, not quite up there with the debut album 'Me Oh My', but interesting enough that it had me coming back for more. Cate is basically channeling Trish Keenan on 'Greta', and I could have done without the drastic trumpet parping at the end, but it's still has something about it that makes me put the needle back to the beginning of the track every time.

13. Julian Cope - As The Beer Flows Over Me (From the double CD 'Psychedelic Revolution')

Copes best album in a good while (tough still not as good as Christophe F's 'Heathen Frontiers In Sound'). If I'm honest, I couldn't stand this album when I first got hold of it. I thought it a little twee and light weigt, but coming home from a particularly arduous hike, it turned up on the walkman and seems to be just the right thing for the drive home. There are some great catchy sing alongs on here, not something I ever thought I'd associate with Cope, but his melodic strengths really shine through on this album. Some of the lyrical sentiments are a little embarrassing to say the least, real 6th form bedroom rantings, but you know his heart is in the right place. I just wish he'd stop the 2 CD thang though, the album is barely 80 minutes long. For professed 'eco' warrior, he's bloody wasteful.

14. P.I.L. - The Room I Am In (Taken from the album 'This Is')

I was pleasantly surprised how good the latest offering fro P.I.L. is. Seems to meld the best of the later stuff, with some of the nouce of those seminal early records. High points for me were the tracks 'One Drop', Lollipop Opera' and the Magazine like ambiance of' The Room I Am In' (Which owes ore than a nod and a wink to Magazine track 'The Book')

15. Rites Wild - Thieves (Taken from the Not Not Fun release 'Ways Of Being')

If I'm honest,  I don't know a whole lot about the artist behind the tour de force that is Rites Wild. I've read that the LP is basically three super limited cassette releases and a few new tracks bundled together to make an LP. Channeling the same sonic reverberations as 'Stella On Source', Rites Wild is a delicious mix of reverb, delay and strung out drones, held together with gossamer beats,micro melodies and a hushed/buried vocal. 

16. Peaking Lights - Cosmic Dub (Taken from the rather wonderful 'Lucifer In Dub' LP)

17. Moon Duo - Seer [Psychic Ills Remix] ( Taken from the limited Moon Duo - Mazes Remixed LP)

Seems to be a bit of a thing about 'remix' albums this year. Luckily most seem to be worth a listen. There are some drastically different (in a good way) versions on the 'Mazes Remixed' album. Well worth picking up.

18. Eternal Tapestry - Alone Against Tomorrow - (Taken from the Thrill Jockey LP 'A World Out of Time')

Don't know a whole lot about Eternal Tapestry other than they make a righteous guitar driven psych rock, and remind me of the seminal and sublime Michael Yonkers Band. Looking  forward to more from these guys in the coming year

19. Mugstar - Axis Modulator - (From the LP 'Axis')

Mugstar make space rock into an art form. Gota say Axis is my fav' so far.

20. The Horrors - I Can See Through You [Blank Mass Remix] (From the forthcoming box set 'Higher')

Another remix album (this one is available for download from the Horrors website) prior to the release of a 4 12"/CD/DVD box set due out next year.

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