This year has seen releases from some big names (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Deftones, Every Time I Die et al) and also from some of my favourite artists (Cursive, Latitudes), but for me it has also been a year for discovering great new music so there was so much to choose from it became a really difficult task to pick favourites. In the end though, after much deliberation, I did actually manage to whittle it down to this top ten album list.
Cursive – I Am Gemini
A new Cursive record is always going to be a big release for me and this album really delivered – again (how do they keep doing it). It’s an ambitious concept record carried by nicely meaty riffage, spectacular tunes and some of the band’s most complex song constructions to date. Tim Kasher’s lyrics are fantastic as always and here he focuses again on preoccupations with spirituality and good & evil which have often been an undercurrent in his writing. Just brilliant.
Everyone Everywhere – 2012
Everyone Everywhere’s second self-titled album is a grower, not as instant as their debut but, as I’ve discovered, with repeated listens you’ll find it delivers as much on melody and hooks as the former. read more
Annabel – Youth In Youth
Annabel deal in the kind of tunes that make your heart soar; uplifting sing-along melodies, gang vocals, intense and rich guitar sounds and marching drum beats that make you want to move. They walk the line somewhere between indie and emo, a kind of jangly, emotional rock base with some nicely anthemic song structures and the odd twiddly guitar part thrown in for good measure. read more
Goodtime Boys – What’s Left To Let Go
This isn’t just a straightforward, in your face scream fest, Goodtime Boys hook you in with strong lyrical content, layered and atmospheric slow burns and technical proficiency, giving you plenty past the initial rush to keep you coming back to the album. read more
Neon Piss – Neon Piss
This one came out of the blue – a really interesting punk-rock record, injecting some great tunes into a scuzzy backing, pretty full on but has you singing along after only a couple of listens. This one got some great coverage from Maximum Rocknroll this year too which piqued my interest in the first place but it far outlived all my expectations when I got my hands on it – thoroughly addictive. Check out their bandcamp for more.
Slices – Still Cruising
Read about this album in MRR too and really liked the sound of it. I spent a couple of weeks listening to the album stream on their label’s Bandcamp before thinking sod it and ordering the vinyl. It’s H/C with a Fucked Up type sound and oh so listenable.
Blacklisters – BLKLSTRS
Blacklisters are superbly nasty; jagged riffs and intense untamed vocals, all underlined by the most compulsively danceable, distorted and rumbling bass lines and heavy hitting drums, OK perhaps not danceable but twitchable at the very least, this is a record that commands your attention from the opening bars and relentlessly batters you but it’s never just a wall of noise there is such a lot more going on underneath that scuzzy, hard exterior. read more
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Not sure if this really nedds too much of a write up as its Deftones but I think this one deserves a mention in the top ten list. In my opinion this album is more well rounded than their last – a good mix of heavy and dreamy and it feels, finally, that they’re getting their groove back. Since Che’s been out of action there’s been a kind of desperate melancholic tone to their records but this one feels more relaxed and organic than they have in a while.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
A new Godspeed record was something I didn’t actually think would happen but here it is and it’s superb. A really epic sound and some great little snatches of melody – powerful and emotive. A great return.
Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
Cleveland based Cloud Nothings new Wichita released album (produced by Steve Albini) is a tuneful ride of jangly noise and melody with beautifully raw vocals; moments of post-rock, post-punk along with surf, garage and indie amongst others all feature (if we must label) – whatever, when it’s this engaging, who cares what you call it, all you really need to know is that it’s charming and memorable and addictive. read more