Monday, December 24, 2012

Albums Of The Year 2012: Honourable Mentions

As always, I find picking even a top 100 a near impossible task. Every year, I devise increasingly absurd conditions by which to rule out a handful of the year's finest releases from my list, which is drawn from increasingly larger spreadsheets. Can I really sustain this for much longer??

This year I decided to render ineligible any albums where I had a personal vested interest. These include three albums on Basho Records where I have helped out with the PR:

 Trish Clowes - and in the night-time she is there
 Christoph Stiefel - Live!
The Golden Age of Steam - Welcome To Bat Country

 These are highly accomplished albums that have been a major part of my life this year. I recommend them highly and with complete honesty. Trish's writing has grown considerably between the release of Tangent and this second album, particularly in terms of her arranging for strings. The music is beautifully subtle, and characterised by warm, affecting melodies and a lyrical quality. Christoph Stiefel's live album is a brilliant example of piano trio interaction and rhythmic creativity. The Golden Age of Steam album has sadly been a little neglected in my view - it's a brilliant, kaleidescopic torrent of wild ideas and inspired improvising, with a quirky sense of humour and a psychedelic range.

 I should also mention Gwilym Simcock, who is managed by Basho and released the very fine Lighthouse album on ACT with Tim Garland and Asaf Sirkis. Some other albums that didn't quite make it through, but which I've really enjoyed. This should also serve as a note for myself to return to some of these, as some of them I just haven't quite managed to spend enough time with. Perhaps on a different day, some of these would have made the list.

Daphni - Jiaolong, Gareth Lockrane's Grooveyard - The Strut, Dave Douglas - Be Still, Damon Albarn - Dr. Dee, Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe, John Abercrombie - Within A Song, Robert Ellis - Photographs, Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky, Carter Tutti Void - Transverse, Orbital - Wonky, Hot Chip - In Our Heads, The 2 Bears - Be Strong, Animal Collective - Centipede Hz, Susanna - Wild Dog, Lightships - Electric Cables, Micachu and the Shapes - Never, Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury - DROKK, Jack White - Blunderbuss, Grimes - Visions, Liars - WIXIW, Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament - The Violence, Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful, Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It, Wishmountain - TESCO, Singing Adams - Moves, Dirty Three - Toward the low Sun, Laura Jurd - Landing Ground, Rick Simpson - Semi Wogan, Lambchop - Mr M, Mount Eerie - Clear Moon, Eric Chenaux - Voice and Guitar, Nedry - In A Dim Light, The Bryan Ferry Orchestra - The Jazz Age, Death Grips - The Money Store, Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, Angel Olsen - Half Way Home, Patti Smith - Banga, Fennesz - Aun, Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues, Alexander Tucker - Third Mouth, Spain - The Soul Of Spain, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Trembling Bells - The Marble Downs, Dan Deacon - America, Mark Lanegan - Blues Funeral, Peaking Lights - Lucifer, Alex Hutton Trio - Legentis, Avishai Cohen with Nitai Hershkovits - Duende

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