Album: M B VArtist: My Bloody Valentine
Monday Miscellanies have been on a bit of a holiday over the last few weeks as other miscellaneous items have taken unwarranted precedence. But it’s back and
marginally worse than beforebetter than ever! This week we’ve got a few tracks from some of the big releases of the past few months including Ducktails, The Joy Formidable and Veronica Falls.
Album: Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The ClassicsArtist: Yo La Tengo
Album: FadeArtist: Yo La Tengo
Album: Light Up GoldArtist: Parquet Courts
30 is the new 20….. so for the thirtieth edition of the miscellanies we’ve got a fine array of new tracks…. including a new personal favourite by Teleman (Django Django & Alt-J fans will want to watch out for these guys.
Album: Life Is PeopleArtist: Bill Fay
Self-proclaimed hindi-rock from Elephant Stone and some new sounds from notorious Berlin-based prog-rock-sunset-lover Sridhar bookend this week’s miscellanies to give it a distinctly Indian theme. But also in there you have Jens Lekman’s tale of fans helping him out during Hurricane Sandy and a new James Murphy-produced Pulp recording.
Album: Summer TeethArtist: Wilco
Album: World MusicArtist: Goat
Ok ok… just one more thing before we officially put last year to bed.
The ‘Best Of’ list is always a hard one… difficult decisions, the likes of which the world can never truly understand, have to be made and some much loved works fade into non-list-bearing ignominy. But they don’t deserve that, no one does.
So, here’s to the almost-rans of 2012, an illustrious list that features (in no particular order) Cloud Nothings, The Tallest Man On Earth, Electric Guest, Frankie Rose, Sinkane, Lotus Plaza, Jens Lekman, Purity Ring, Frank Ocean, Maps & Atlases, Fenster, I Like Trains, Lord Huron, Bob Dylan, Diiv, The Walkmen, Moon Duo, AC Newman, Holograms, Beach House, La Sera, Liars, Shearwater, The Magnetic Fields, Twin Shadow, Parquet Courts, Woods, Darren Hayman And The Long Parliament, Chromatics, Ty Segall (ok, so he had three albums in 2012, one of which made the top 25), John Maus, School of Seven Bells, Hospitality, Conveyor, Milagres, Ariel Pink, Flying Lotus, Crocodiles, Chris Cohen, Alabama Shakes, Radiation City, Melody’s Echo Chamber, David Byrne & St. Vincent and quite probably MANY, MANY more.
And here it is in another lovely SoundCloud playlist:
The first miscellanies of 2013 is also the first from HSM’s brand new SoundCloud account (go get following). Other than that, it’s back to business with a great new track from Eels, sneak previews from the Phosphorescent and Local Natives album and a jazzy little track from UK-beatmaker Vanilla.
So here we are again folks…. list time. A little later than planned (I did want to do it on January 1st - there’s the whole month of December out there listmakers!) but here we are.
And what a list. It was hard enough getting it down to a top twenty five let alone a top ten, five, three or number one. But unlike DiS, who somewhat took the easy way out by claiming five equally placed top records, it’s been whittled down to the list you see here. If you’re a reader of this blog you know what I like and you know what you like and hopefully there’s some crossover, particularly within this list.
As for themes within this list, apart the lowest ever reviews-to-records ratio that this blog has endured in its short and tumultuous time, there are few. Simply amazing songs, songwriting and production from across the genres of indie rock, pop, blues, folk, goth rave, soul, punk, psychedelia, house, garage rock and the like. Perhaps the one overarching theme is of an uplifting yet wry take on the world. One that carriers the spirit of 2012 and HSM quite nicely indeed.
So, are you ready? Good, then let’s get started:
25. Spiritualized - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
24. Crystal Castles - III
23. Jack White - Blunderbuss
22. Actress - R.I.P.
21. Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky’s Edge
20. John Talabot - Fin
19. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
18. Mac Demarco - 2
17. Cat Power - Sun
16. Chairlift - Something
15. Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair
14. Dan Deacon - America
13. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
12. Foxygen - Take The Kids Off Broadway
11. Gashcat - Reunion
The painful and proud realisations of one of music’s elder statesmen.
Wearing the supergroup tag pretty well, The Divine Fits is a slick and solid album.
Nothing more or less than you’d expect from the boys from Brooklyn: shimmering, epic and beautiful sounding pop music.
Throwing off the morose and abashed side of his persona, Josh Tillman’s Father John Misty is hilarious and heartfelt.
6. Django Django - Django Django
Ever complex and inventive, Django Django’s debut record is a sparse but funky affair.
Simple the sound of rock music done right. Very right.
Translating the Dirty Projectors’ baroque sound into something more accessible proved to be a stunning success.
An ethereal, sensual release, Visions fulfils the promise of Grimes’ previous releases.
2. Tame Impala - Lonerism
Making a psychedelic rock record sound fresh and exciting in 2012 is no mean feat and Tame Impala do it with such verve and aplomb
And finally, introducing HotSpotMusic’s favourite album of 2012:
Kishi Bashi’s debut release, 151a, wins this year’s prize (there is no actual award nor cash prize) as HotSpotMusic’s best album of 2012. And it wins for the simple fact that, amongst very tough competition, it was the one record I kept coming back to over and over again. It’s only nine tracks and thirty four minutes but within that short time it manages to transport you to another world, a world that is a complete melange of chaos and creativity but one where the end result is one of pure beauty and joy. It’s not been featured on many end of year lists and that’s a shame because, in this humble writer’s opinion, it’s an epic, orchestral masterpiece.
So there you have it: 2012’s best releases in a nutshell. And now here they are in a lovely playlist:
Here’s to 2013.
It’s still Monday somewhere in the world, so to welcome your writer back from holiday and take HotSpotMusic into 2013, here’s a little playlist to light up your New Years Day.
[On reviewing and preparing the Best Albums 2012 list, I oddly noticed that I never actually pressed Publish on the original 2011 post. So here it is, in full, the best albums from well over a year ago, still standing the test of (internet) time.]
As always, there’s a billion other lists out there and a billion other opinions. What we all really care about is the countdown anyway…. you’re going to read a diversity of thoughts on this year’s music and discover a lot from all over the place this month.
As for the quality this year, the top ten is brilliant. There are some groundbreaking, heartbreaking and sound-barrier-breaking records in there from across the musical spectrum. And beyond that there was a constant tsunami of great releases.
So, without further ado, here’s the HotSpotMusic list for 2011:
25. I Break Horses - Hearts
24. Braids - Native Speaker
23. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
22. Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls
21. Summer Camp - Welcome To Condale
20. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now
19. Pepper Rabbit - Red Velvet Snow Ball
18. TV On The Radio - Nine Types Of Light
17. Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation
16. Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
15. Wild Beasts - Smother
14. Other Lives - Tamer Animals
13. The Antlers - Burst Apart
12. J Mascis - Several Shades of Grey
11. Destroyer - Kaputt
A stunning album of spacious and potent music
A complex, layered, innovative, compelling, varied, exciting and abrasive album
8. Yuck - Yuck
A brilliant record of fuzzy, lo-fi production enriching some great pop songs
Colin Meloy seems to have struck on a golden formula through simplicity.
A universally epic sound & gradually swelling songs in a rare-double length LP
A triumphantly cacophonous concept album of uplifting sounds.
A contemplative masterpiece, it’s a beautiful, slow soundtrack to a sad life.
Easily Wilco’s best album since YHF and in places touches those great heights.
Just simply a very, very good album. Rich in production and rich in songwriting.
And finally, introducing HotSpotMusic’s favourite album of 2011:
A culmination of several years of touring and writing albums has finally got Annie Clark to the apex. Strange Mercy is a beautifully complex, fragile and beautiful record that is undeniably brilliant.