Friday, 28 December 2012

My Top Twenty Albums Of 2012 (20 - 11)

Rules are made to be broken! As is traditional, my year end countdown couldn't be limited to JUST ten records...

20. Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur

Perhaps it does lack the edge of some of her earlier releases, but it's still full of wonderful songs... and that gorgeous, gorgeous voice.

Recommended tracks: Change The Sheets, Chameleon / Comedian.

19. The King Blues - Long Live The Struggle

Very sad to hear The King Blues calling it a day with the release of this, their fourth album. At least lead singer Johnny 'Itch' Fox is continuing as a solo act.You can download his first EP free from his website.

Recommended tracks: Modern Life Has Let Me Down, Booted Out Of Hell.

18. Heartless Bastards - Arrow

A Texan band that has been around almost 10 years now, though I only discovered them very recently. The haunting Marathon is a song I've not been able to stop listening to since I first heard it.

Recommended tracks: Marathon, Only For You.

17. Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge

After years crooning heartbreak like Roy Orbison reborn in Sheffield, Hawley went heavy. This album continues to grow on me - particularly the title track which has a foreboding menace I've not heard on record since Jim Morrison took his last bath.

Recommended tracks: Standing At The Sky's Edge, Down In The Woods.

16. Mull Historical Society - City Awakenings

Eight years after the last album released under the MHS name, Colin MacIntyre (who'd been recording under his own name in the meantime) dusted it off to produce possibly the band's finest moment. A record of shimmering beauty.

Recommended tracks: The Lights, Must You Get Low

15. Amanda Palmer - Theatre Is Evil

A new record from AFP is always something to celebrate. Especially as the lovely Ms. P continues to allow her fans to decide how much they want to pay to download her music. Neil must be proud.

Recommended tracks: Do It With A Rockstar, The Killing Type. Careful with those videos though: they contain generous lashings of sex, violence and unshaven armpits.

14. The Wedding Present - Valentina

Doesn't sound vastly different to the records David Gedge was making 25 years ago. Nobody writes first person kitchen sink relationship drama pop songs that verge on agony aunt confessionals in quite the same way.
I’ve been using you
All this time
And it’s not that I don’t adore you
Because I do
But I’ve realized
That I don’t think I
Am ever gonna leave my girlfriend
For you
Recommended tracks: Back At Bit... Stop, The Girl From The DDR.

13. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar

All the way from Sweden, a pair of country-folky sisters in thrall to Emmylou, Gram, Johnny and June. Really quite lovely.

Recommended tracks: Emmylou, The Lion's Roar.

12. Sweet, Sweet Lies - The Hare, The Hound & The Tortoise

Sounding like a butcher Divine Comedy (that is, a Divine Comedy that's more butch... not one that carves meat for a living) or Mumford & Sons with all the twee bits filed off by Shane MacGowan, Sweet, Sweet Lies were one of my most joyous accidental discoveries this year. I'm still waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.
She'll sing in key and play guitar
Like Johnny Cash and Johnny Marr
And she'll know the capital of Iceland...
Recommended tracks: Capital of Iceland, The Day I Change.

11. Cosmo Jarvis - Think Bigger 

Look, if you've not embraced the utter wonderfulosity of Cosmo Jarvis yet, I can only feel bad for you. So at least pretend you're a fan and keep me happy. 

Recommended tracks: The Girl From My Village, Sunshine.


OK, hold your horses, we'll get to the Top Ten tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy these. Your ears will thank you.


  1. If it wasn't for you throwing these band names around I wouldn't ever be able to feign nodding knowingly during conversations with my younger peers.

  2. Believe me, Steve, I seriously doubt the kids dig any of this stuff.

  3. Seeing how mainstream your list is so far, I'm predicting Taylor Swift, One Direction and Rihanna for the top ten (and Bruce Springsteen, of course). Honestly, Rol, couldn't you at least try and include a few acts I've never heard of? (In case you can't tell, I am being sarcastic - apart from the bit about Bruce Springsteen. I always enjoy reading best of the year lists, and rely on them to keep me at least a little bit up to date, as I pay bugger all attention to music mags and sites - apart from this one - the rest of the year.)

    1. You're obviously right to predict Bruce, though it may surprise some people just where he appears.

      And, as I said to Steve, I wouldn't count on this list keeping you up to date as I'm rarely in agreement with the cognoscenti and taste-setters of the music mags or blogosphere.


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