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The Best Albums of 2012...SoFar

As we plough into the depths of winter battling cold winds and our secret desire to purchase a scoodie, there is no better time to look back on the summer that was and reminisce about those thong-friendly months when Lana Del Rey promised she would “love us to the end of time” and we all wanted to grab Jack White's fingers gently and “slam them in a doorway.”

While Hollywood is busy hyping 2012 as our last year on earth, it is also shaping up to be one of the most exciting years for musical debuts since the last time apocalyptic horsemen were due (circa 2002). So far we’ve been introduced to Quakers, Alabama Shakes, Michael Kiwanuka, Django Django and Grimes, while locals Catcall, Bleeding Knees Club, Iowa, DZ Deathrays and Hunting Grounds have spoilt us with their debut long plays.

With debate already heating up in the FL forums about this year’s best releases we present our Top 20 favourite albums of 2012, so far.

Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

Blues Funeral works because it stepped outside its boundaries and tried something new, all the while still bearing Mark Lanegan’s well-loved craggy fingerprints. This is not a reinvention, or Cornell style bandwagon jumping, but a natural expansion on a strong foundation. We can only hope it’s not another six years before we see where he goes next.

Grimes – Visions

Visions is a fun, intelligent and nuanced album that moves the dialogue of pop music forward a step, and that is no small thing.

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

The theme of redemption and resurrection is a strong one across the album, especially in the context of saving yourself from your own sins. Pierce, as always, heavily populates his lyrics with references to Jesus, God, the ‘light’, shooting up and finding and losing love. Most of the time it works as he marries the grand lyrical gestures with swelling strings, ponderous drums and some wonderful piano playing.

Jack White – Blunderbuss

White never seems out of his depth with the album’s twists and turns, nor does he sound like he is just rehashing the familiar. A record that can both shake your foundations and lull you gently, Blunderbuss is perfect for previous fans of Jack White’s work and those who are just discovering him.

Quakers – Quakers

The debut album from this hip-hop collective – which boasts 35 members and orbits around a core of three producers: Fuzzface (aka Geoff Barrow from Portishead), 7-Stu-7 and Katalyst – is a dark collection of tunes that are as inspired as they are unpredictable. A divider among fans the record is an uneasy listen the first time through but on second spin draws you in to its rough and tumble beats, acerbic lyrics and schizophrenic collage of instrumentation and samples.

Dirty Three – Toward The Low Sun

By the end of You Greet Her Ghost which closes out the album you are left satisfied, emotionally charged or depleted (depending on your ‘glass half full/empty’ approach) and content in knowing that Dirty Three are still Dirty Three – still investing their music with subtle explorations and diversions while retaining the qualities that makes them so unique.

Catcall – The Warmest Place

The Warmest Place gleams with a pristine electro-pop finish (and an icey varnish). It sounds so unquestionably slick, modern and refined that it’s poised to suck in anyone with a penchant for contemporary pop.

Comments

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Andy_1989

Andy_1989 said on the 25th Jun, 2012

alabama shakes and sharon van etten also put out some good albums in the last six months

Andy_1989

Andy_1989 said on the 25th Jun, 2012

that wollen kits album should be on here as well.

ampersand

ampersand said on the 25th Jun, 2012

needs more japandroids.

sarahanne

sarahanne said on the 25th Jun, 2012



It has at least japandroid...

i_have_ADD

i_have_ADD said on the 25th Jun, 2012

My pick of 2012 so far is def Beach House

daz2811

daz2811 said on the 25th Jun, 2012

not a bad list. good to see the inclusion of pulled part by horses' killer follow-up album.
other than that though there is a distinct lack of anything too heavy and its as though hip hop doesn't exist at all.
my real gripe though is the clutching at straws / long bow drawing description of the pond album. this doesn't feel like it has any link to australia in its sound at all, has very little to do with the psychedelic music they are desperate to align themselves with in their bio, and even the name, pond, is ripped off from a far superior band from portland, oregon. oh and its just not any good.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 25th Jun, 2012

Quakers is a hip hop album. A really good hip hop album.

I think the list has a little of everything that the people who frequent FL seem to enjoy.

It looks like a lot of the same if, like some people on the FB page, you divide music into rap, heavy music, hipster music and pop. But if you actually look at that list it really is representing some great albums in all the kinds of genres FasterLouder covers.

grattan

grattan said on the 25th Jun, 2012



Quakers?

What other hip-hop would you put on the list? Comments that complain about a lack of a genre but then offer no examples are fairly pointless.

sarahanne

sarahanne said on the 25th Jun, 2012

Quakers is a hip hop album. A really good hip hop album.

I think the list has a little of everything that the people who frequent FL seem to enjoy.

It looks like a lot of the same if, like some people on the FB page, you divide music into rap, heavy music, hipster music and pop. But if you actually look at that list it really is representing some great albums in all the kinds of genres FasterLouder covers.

I vote BC the official spokesperson of FL ;-)

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 25th Jun, 2012

The list is pretty tight. Good coverage across everything. Concerning hip hop, I now nothing. Maybe Death Grips in if you're looking for more?
It coulda had class. It coulda been a contender. It coulda been somebody, instead of a bum,

daveyac8881

daveyac8881 said on the 26th Jun, 2012

Jonathan Boulet should try paying someone else to name his albums

shazie

shazie said on the 26th Jun, 2012

With him growing a massive beard, he should get The Beards to name his next album "You should consider having sex with Jonathan Boulet".

grattan

grattan said on the 26th Jun, 2012



He was on the short list. Great album.

Ya Maniacal Jester

Ya Maniacal Jester said on the 26th Jun, 2012

agree that beach house should be in there, jack white is a definite winner though...

sarahanne

sarahanne said on the 26th Jun, 2012



It is there on page two :-)
http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/features/32992/The-Best-Albums-of-2012So-Far?page=2

estyaguilar

estyaguilar said on the 26th Jun, 2012

Great selection of albums. Guess i'll have to get listening now.

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 26th Jun, 2012

How much is Ladyhawke paying to be in this list?

The Men, Death Grips, Ceremony. and Chromatics all deserve to be up there.

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 26th Jun, 2012

Good list, great to see Quakers in there.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 26th Jun, 2012

How much is Ladyhawke paying to be in this list?



NZ$10,000.

So.... about $3.50.

Rocky Dennis

Rocky Dennis said on the 28th Jun, 2012

great list, loved about six of these albums so will have to give the rest a run!

eleanorb

eleanorb said on the 1st Jul, 2012

lana del ray and lady hawke... uh huh, sure.

jezz88

jezz88 said on the 1st Jul, 2012

the exclusion of make do and mend's everything you ever loved from this list is a crime against humanity

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 1st Jul, 2012



Nope, I just double checked and I'm certain they are there.

RAMONESelaar

RAMONESelaar said on the 1st Jul, 2012



It came out 5 days (even less for Australia) before the article was published. Not exactly enough time to get a good idea of where it sits in comparison to other albums released this year and hardly a crime against humanity.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 1st Jul, 2012

I distinctly remember Grattan and Sarahanne tossing the record aside onto a pile of blood diamonds and dead child soldiers.

Sound Alliance HQ is in a reeeeally rough part of Surry Hills.

grattan

grattan said on the 2nd Jul, 2012



5 days was plenty of time for this one.

brownbear

brownbear said on the 9th Jul, 2012

yawn, serious lack of hot chip (return to form) and scuba. and who could leave out totally enormous extinct dinosaurs?