Getintothis Top 100 Albums of 2012: A Year In Review


End of year 2012 albums best of Liverpool music Getintothis.jpg
Getintothis casts a reflective eye over 2012 and the albums that have shaped the last 12 months before counting down our definitive top 100.

This is the fifth year I’ve been compiling the wondrous music I’ve discovered while writing Getintothis.
And I have to say the process is not only becoming much more exhaustive with each passing year, but also much more satisfying.
Though there’s been the usual raft of end of year album lists churned out, each with very different results, there seems to have been a misguided sense that the last 12 months were somewhat underwhelming – or in some quarters a poor year – for the humble album.
This is, quite frankly, nonsense. Sure there’s been peaks and plateaus throughout 2012, however, one quick scan of the 100 albums listed below marks the last year, as with almost any, a triumph for those with even a passing interest in all things recorded music.
The distinct, and continuing trend though, is that the sheer volume of music available to the listener makes life somewhat more difficult for the casual listener and nigh on impossible to the one-record-a-month brigade. And it falls to those with a keen ear that are compelled/insistent/forced into diving ear lugs first into the bottomless abyss in search of mining those aural treasures.
Of course, this is nothing new. And is surely a trend that is not only likely to continue but increase. However, it has been interesting listening to peers, critics and friends note that 2012 has verged on the lack lustre.
Perhaps may we suggest that those with appetites for mass consumption often leads to many delights being half digested?
Whatever the case, those seeking instant gratification would have struggled early doors this year as weighty releases from the likes of The Shins, Of Montreal, Andrew Bird, The Mars Volta and Sleigh Bells released middling affairs at best, or in the case of The Big Pink a potential career ender.
Instead the early part of the year was dominated by two women – both of whom became ubiquitous in 2012 – Lana Del Rey and Emeli Sandé. For obvious reasons, the industry was intent on ramming both of these women down your ear holes and even when LDR seemingly dropped off the radar nine months in, she resurfaced marketing high street knitwear. Sandé, on the other hand, reigned supreme appearing at the Olympics more times than any athlete, scooping more awards than Titanic (check our MOBO coverage for starters) and if there was a prime time singing spot to fill you could guarantee her bath duck yellow barnet was plastered all over your TV.
And yet once again there was a veritable feast of leading ladies showing how it’s meant to be done; Julia Holter stamped an indelible mark on textured ambient pop, Jessie Ware nailed UK sassy soul, Eleanor Friedberger was the summery whimsy yin to Cat Power‘s ragged frug blues yang, while Laurel Halo and Grimes became the poster girls for alt-dance making music which was as deliciously delirious as it was darkly disorientating. Then there was New Jersey’s Sharon Van Etten delivering Tramp – many people’s album of the year – fizzing with strident rock and roll.
Meanwhile, two superstars in waiting emerged in the Brooklyn-based pop bands Friends and Chairlift. The former’s Samantha Urbani strutted both on and off record with all the salacious charisma of a young Madonna while the latter’s Caroline Polachek displayed a crisp, glass-cutting vocal which enriched their second album Something.
Back in Liverpool, we had our very own leading lasses – three of them, as Becky, Emily and Lucy transformed from bookish, elven folkies to an altogether different beast as Stealing Sheep‘s stunning stylistic-straddling debut Into The Diamond Sun propelled them into the UK’s consciousness.
Like Outfit before them, this led to a whole new wave of Liverpool bands gaining notable column inches as doom heavyweights Conan claimed plaudits both sides of the Atlantic while underrated veterans Clinic and Mugstar earned more stripes than an Adidas factory with superlative albums to add to their expanding canons.
There was a raft of Scouse debuts which sneaked into choice press too; with Bang On adding considerable punch to his lyrical power play while Baltic Fleet and By The Sea dropped long-players capturing special moments in time. With Forest Swords, Outfit, Evian Christ, Loved Ones and more all expected to deliver albums next year, Liverpool’s bright future is forging ahead in some style.
Elsewhere the UK music scene was as muddled and as murkier as ever. While there was simply no stopping Adele and One Direction‘s worldwide domination on the pop charts, the independent scene was distinctly ‘eh?‘ Summed up perfectly by this year’s Mercury Prize, which was as indistinct and as unimaginative as it has ever been.
Alt-J‘s promising, if hardly world-beating, An Awesome Wave victory spoke more for how the industry is desperate for the likes of Django Django, The Maccabees, The Vaccines and their ilk to bring UK indie guitar music back to the big time. We don’t see it happening, just yet. Ironically, what with few UK bands able to step up to the plate, many in the UK music press suggested Aussie’s Tame Impala‘s decent, if cliché-ridden Lonerism, became the bench mark. Which was again, simply laughable. They should take a trip to the Zanzibar most weekends for music of a similar pedigree.
Meanwhile several of our favourites lingered in the fringes; Breton, Beak>, The Invisible and Yeti Lane were four Brits ploughing lone furrows far more deserving of a Mercury nod.
There was of course, a deluge of good guitar-orientated killers in 2012: proto-prog spacerockers Diagonal and White Hills, the Volta/Minutemen/Stooges collective Anywhere, Fang Island and Japandroids reprised their good time heroics, Ty Segall made it look easy with three feedback squalling thrillers, while Six Organs Of Admittance and Cloud Nothing brought primal six-string riffs back to the big time. If you were listening.
But the two that consistently did the business were newcomers DIIV and Goat; the former played it relatively straight with their ever so slightly shoegaze-driven stereo friendly melodies which was wall to wall killer and zero filler while the latter simply threw everything into the mix in some kind of gumbo mystical mania that defied categorisation. And all the better for it – a truly staggering record.
2012 was also a stunning year for dance crossovers. With the likes of Caribou, Four Tet, Burial et al making sizeable impressions with casual listeners over the last few years, it led to a renaissance in alternative beats breaking through.
As always your big independent labels like Warp (Flying Lotus) and Ninja Tune delivered on queue but smaller indies which have been quietly plugging away for several years (Tri Angle, Planet Mu, Hyperdub, Night Slugs) made serious inroads in 2012.
Few could ignore the love for ITAL, Laurel Halo, Holy Other and John Talabot while veterans Vince Clarke and Martin Gore stormed back into collaborative action with the tech-heavy VCMG.
Speaking of comebacks, there was mixed returns for several of our favourite bands: The Flaming Lips, Ariel Pink and Yeasayer were all over the shop on their respective albums, Liars were characteristically devilish on their electro dazzler WIXIW, malevolent intent underscored The Walkmen‘s Heaven while Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective produced good records which couldn’t quite match their previous greats. Meanwhile Moon Duo, The xx and Hot Chip delivered almost exactly what you’d expect. Job done.
Two post-rock behemoths, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Swans, thundered back into view with records which, had they been more colossal in scale and sonic magnitude we’d have done ourselves serious damage. This was borne out in acute detail at Manchester’s Sound Control as listeners rushed to the bar in search of ear plugs, while two people were physically carried out due to the wall of noise.
In the end though, our attention was gripped by two comparatively new stars; Kendrick Lemar and Frank Ocean – narrators of two of the finest hip hop records in years. Both relaying similar stories but set to sonically different landscapes.
Kendrick’s Compton spoke of the daily hell, juggling home life, expectation, thug life and small town dejection. Through the use of poignant lyrical detail, submerged eerie beats, spiritual overtones and the constant reminder of family and obligation you can’t help feel drawn into Kendrick’s hell yet ultimately know you’re thankfully existing in a world away.
Contrastingly, grandiose themes concerning Ancient Egyptians clashed with LA strippers and profoundly raw emotional love letters (of the male and female variety) on Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange.
And it was not just the lyrical themes which had your head in a spin as Ocean pushed the rich musical tapestry in every direction with a sprawling yet controlled set of tracks which recalled old school R&B, funk and jazz while the dizzying array of beats always sounded one step ahead.
Underscoring it all was Frank’s soulful, Yoda-like calm which remained poised, restrained and heartfelt. Indeed, in a genre which repeatedly feels overcooked and overstated, Ocean channelled an inner zen, a cool-as-fuck swagger. ‘The best song wasn’t the single,’ rang out chart smash Sweet Life – kinda said it all.
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Frank Ocean: Channel Orange
Hip hop is often defined by excess. Indeed Getintothis‘ album of 2010 was perhaps the most excessive of them all. Yet Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange managed to straddle sonic boundaries, expansive lyrical wizardry and deft masterful production while sounding cute, poised and restrained.
Underpinning it all was a voice dripping in soulful, often spiritual, expression which couldn’t help but move the listener repeatedly. A triumph on so many levels.
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Goat: World Music
Rocket Recordings
Coming on like Maggot Brain‘s ferocious bastard offspring, Sweden psych specialists Goat have concocted a voodoo freak out rock extravaganza which lives up to it’s name by straddling the stylistic globe. Afro tribal rhythms collide with mesmeric disco funk, Eastern acid folk and oodles of searing guitar fuzz. Imagine Can jamming with George Clinton, Fela Kuti and Black Sabbath and you’re not far away. Getintothis is keeping everything crossed that next year we’ll hear towering, tabla-infused standout Det Som Aldrig Förändras/Diarabi blasted across Liverpool Psych Fest.
Getintothis reviews the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
Getintothis picture gallery of Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia at Camp & Furnace
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Swans: The Seer
Young God
A mind-melting monolith of a double album which when transformed into the live arena by Michael Gira and his aural disciples of the apocalypse saw people dropping like flies such is it’s propulsive intensity. A religious experience.
Getintothis reviews Swans at Manchester’s Sound Control
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Kendrick Lemar: good kid, m.A.A.d city
Consistently daring, sometimes daft and but always downright dazzling autobiographical account of battling Compton’s daily nightmares by hip-hop’s best new talent.
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AU: Both Lights
The Leaf Label
Forever teetering on the brink of madness, multi-instrumentalist Luke Wyland and drummer Dana Valatka produced one of the most sonically challenging records of 2012 successfully melding pop ambience, found sound collages, magical ethereal balladry, jazz-rock fusion and on opener Epic a track which covered every base in between. Awesome.
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Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Going back rarely seems like a good idea, and in the case of Godspeed! it felt completely unnecessary. So when Allelujah! dropped out of the blue we took a deep breath in expectant disappointment. How wrong we were. Allelujah! not only matches their best work (Lift Your Skinny Fists…) but in the shape of Mladic betters it – a 20-minute Genghis Khan warlord anthem for these times. As intense and as vital as ever.
Getintothis talks to Godspeed’s Efrim Menuck.
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DIIV: Oshin
Captured Tracks
Brooklyn’s Cole Smith devised the catchiest motorik guitar record of the year melding shoegaze trickery with infectious hooks – none better than centrepiece How Long Have You Known?
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ITAL: Hive Mind
Planet Mu
Washington DC’s Daniel Martin-McCormick was responsible for one of the smartest and downright sassiest dance records in some time. Fusing Planet Mu‘s propensity for low end dark rumbles with pitch-shifting grooves and cheeky Gaga/Whitney samples.
Getintothis reviews ITAL and Forest Swords live in Liverpool
Getintothis reviews Daniel Martin-McCormick’s Mi Ami in Liverpool’s Static Gallery.
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Diagonal: The Second Mechanism
Rise Above
Losing their main man didn’t prevent Brighton’s Diagonal from blasting back with an assault of visionary instrumental jams mixing brass, woodwind, mellotron, mind-bending guitar textures and the odd kitchen sink.
Getintothis reviews Diagonal live in Liverpool with The Laze
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Majeure: Solar Maximum
Temporary Residence
Futuristic sci-fi synth marathons imbued with the spirit of John Carpenter filled the gap while Fuck Buttons prep their third offering. Scintillating and spine-chilling all in one hit.
Getintothis on Majeure and Solar Maximum
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John Talabot: Fin
Permanent Vacation
This year’s Swim, Talabot etched the sound of the summer deeply into this record which can already be hailed as a dance classic.
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Ferocious dungeon disco from veterans Vince Clarke and Martin Gore. It’s a world away from Oh L’Amour.
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Peaking Lights: Lucifer
Weird World
More Augustus Pablo swamp stoner brilliance, as LA duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis managed to better their debut 936. The spin off Lucifer In Dub was a tasty unexpected addition.
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Sharon Van Etten: Tramp
Bewitching droney odes which carry the power of Patti Smith boxed up by Bon Iver – a tender, raw treasure.
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The Invisible: Rispah
Ninja Tune
Bold brooding introspection reflecting on life, death and everything in between.
Getintothis chats to The Invisible
Getintothis reviews The Invisible live at Studio 2, Parr Street
Getintothis gallery of The Invisible live at Studio 2, Parr Street
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Woods: Bend Beyond
Timeless Americana which ol Shakey would be proud of. Nuff said.
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Liars: WIXIW
Liars reasserted their crown as the leading players in monstrously mutating rock jams this time turning their attention to fried electronic beat beasts. Scary shit.
Getintothis talks to Liars on the making of WIXIW
Getintothis reviews Liars live in Manchester
Getintothis picture gallery of Liars live at the Ruby Lounge
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Grimes: Visions
Claire Boucher served up a hypnotic set of wondrous weirdo pop which was as darkly unsettling as it was naively childlike. A cornucopia of delights quite unlike anything else.
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White Hills: Frying On This Rock
Thrill Jockey
The psych wizards cast their greatest spell yet with this expansive monolithic slab of electrifying spacerock.
Getintothis reviews White Hills live at the Kazimier
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Baltic Fleet: Towers
Blow Up Records
Paul Fleming‘s kraut-imbued industrial pop married hooks with inventive musicianship resulting in one of the finest records from Liverpool in years.
Getintothis on Baltic Fleet’s Engage
Getintothis reviews Baltic Fleet live at FestEVOL at the Kazimier
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The Men: Open Your Heart
Sacred Bones Records
Searing post-hardcore from Brooklyn. What more do you want?
Getintothis reviews The Men live at the Kazimier
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John Heckle: The Second Son
Groove Distribution
Ok, we’re cheating, this was released right at the back of 2011. However, Heckle’s record is much too good to leave out, his fusion of massive Chicago beats with galactic grooves made this a staple throughout the last 12 months.
Getintothis talks to John Heckle about his debut, DJ-ing across Europe and his music influences
John Heckle exclusive mixtape for Getintothis
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How To Dress Well: Total Loss
Weird World
An ode to being out the game, or completely fucked. Tom Krell struggled to match his remarkable debut Love Remains, however, there’s much to love here, particularly the Forest Swords co-penned Cold Nites.
Getintothis on How To Dress Well and Cold Nites.
Getintothis reviews Forest Swords live at Liverpool Sound City
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Porcelain Raft: Strange Weekend
Secretly Canadian
Italian New York-based Mauro Remiddi brings the sex to shoegazing; a positively gushing set full of restless rhythms and sensual melodies.
Getintothis reviews Porcelain Raft live at the Shipping Forecast
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Kindness: World You Need A Change Of Mind
Female Energy
A delicious cocktail of sensual grooves, tasty synth grinds and a heavy dose of saxophone. To these ears, Adam Bainbridge‘s debut recalls a certain Prince Rogers Nelson – no bad thing.
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Ty Segall: Slaughterhouse
In The Red
In a parallel universe Ty Segall would headline the Pyramid Stage and his squalling axe work would cause stars to burst upon. Slaughterhouse is the pinnacle of three superb records release in 2012 – it’s simply stunning.
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Stealing Sheep: Into The Diamond Sun
Rebecca, Emily and Lucy nailed their debut offering adding rich musical diversity to their already honed vocals; tribal rhythms, psych guitar and the Kazimier‘s Sam Crombie‘s production made this a real treat worth revisiting time and again.
Getintothis on Into The Diamond Sun
Getintothis profile on GIT Award nominees Stealing Sheep.
Getintothis on Stealing Sheep’s Rearrange
Getintothis on Stealing Sheep: Shut Eye session in Kazimier Garden.
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Plan B: Ill Manors
One of UK pop’s most ambitious players returns with a storming set of politically abrasive yet hook-laden tracks. His brutal accompanying film is also worth a watch.
Getintothis reviews Plan B reviewed live at Liverpool University
Getintothis on the MOBOs featuring Plan B
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Cat Power: Sun
A heady mix of swaggering yet bruised soul blues by one of music’s most fascinating characters. Let’s hope she returns blazing after her recent struggles.
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Django Django: Django Django
Quintessentially English oddball rock and roll channelling the spirit of The Beta Band.
Getintothis reviews Django Django at the Shipping Forecast
Getintothis reviews Django Django at Liverpool Sound City.
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By The Sea: By The Sea
Sometimes an album comes along which captures a special moment in a band’s formation – this debut offering from By The Sea seemed almost too good to be true; effortless and dream-like, it wafts away in little time at all, leaving nothing but peaceful calm.
Getintothis reviews By The Sea’s debut record track by track
Getintothis on By The Sea’s Dream Waters
Getintothis on By The Sea live at the Bluecoat
Getintothis on By The Sea’s single launch at Leaf
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Anywhere: Anywhere
Old school progressive rock with some of the finest rhythmic displays on show this year.
Getintothis on Anywhere and Record Store Day
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Eleanor Friedberger: Last Summer
Breathy, breezy and bursting with sunshine. What more do you need?
Getintothis reviews Eleanor Friedberger at Mello Mello
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Oren Ambarchi: Audience Of One
Oren Ambarchi is the master manipulator of making you physically feel music. The 33 minute Knots is a low end aural driller which burrows into your very being while the remaining three suites act almost as angelic stabilizers.
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Fang Island: Major
Sargent House
Trying to replicate the best party of a lifetime, as soundtracked on their debut, is never going to happen. Fang Island tried manfully, and on several occasions almost achieved it. Make Me was this year’s Sideswiper – hell, yeah.
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Japandroids: Celebration Rock
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Laurel Halo: Quarantine
Dangerously claustrophobic, dangerously beautiful. Like the stunning artwork you were suckered in for the kill. Compulsive, if unsettling listening.
Getintothis chats to Laurel Halo ahead of her Liverpool gig.
Getintothis reviews Laurel Halo live at the Kazimier
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Breton: Other People’s Problems
One of the most beguiling British debut’s in recent times; mixing Foals‘ frenetic interplay with divisive atmospherics this record was a delightful mix of oddball confusion and gnarly industrial melodica. What’s next is anybody’s guess.
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Mugstar: Axis
Mugstar continue their voyage into the outer realms of sonic possibilities. There’s simply no taming them.
Getintothis interview and profile with GIT Award nominated Mugstar
Getintothis on Mugstar’s Axis album launch gig review at Mello Mello
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Jessie Ware: Devotion
Jessie Ware is one classy lady and Devotion positively oozes diamond-cut polish. Big up The Invisible‘s Dave Okumu who’s production hallmarks are all over this while 110% is pop gold.
Getintothis talks to Mercury-nominated Jessie Ware about Devotion.
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Six Organs Of Admittance: Ascent
Drag City
Ben Chasny finally put down the acoustic guitar and let rip Comets On Fire style with a roaring set. As it says in the liner notes – play loudly.
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Chairlift: Something
Young Turks
The break up of Aaron Pfenning and Caroline Polachek is played out in an ironically more settled and focused follow up to their patchy debut. Pfenning may have departed but he’s left Chairlift sounding better than ever, as I Belong in Your Arms is the finest track Fleetwood Mac never wrote.
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The Time And Space Machine: Taste The Lazer
Reminiscent of Amorphous Androgynous, in that Richard Norris imbues his dance background onto a kraut, psych and rock & roll template. The results are furiously funky.
Getintothis reviews Time & Space Machine at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
Time and Space Machine featured in Liverpool Psych Fest picture gallery
Getintothis talks to Will Sergeant on the origins of Psychedelia
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Conan: Monnos
Burning World
It’s a long time since Liverpool’s embedded itself on the international metal map – Conan took the imprint of their doom forefathers – Sabbath, Sleep, Sunn O))) – and welded a warhammer shock wave right through it’s core. Punishing.
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Passion Pit: Gossamer
The sheer bombast took us a while to acclimatise to on Michael Angelakos outfit’s second outing, but once we persevered those candy-coated belters addled with troubled themes struck a real chord. Pop to truly pummel the senses.
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Peter Broderick:
Bella Union
The title may be clumsy on the eyes but Broderick’s melodies are stunning on the ear – one of the most meticulously arranged and gorgeously produced albums of the year. Beautiful.
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Beak>: Beak>>
Contemporary krautrock can have a tendency to be infused with cliche and tired musicianship, Geoff Barrow‘s boys prove their masters of their craft with minimal arrangements, steely production and fizzing infectiousness.
Getintothis talks to Geoff Barrow ahead of Beak> show at the Kazimier
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Twin Shadow: Confess
Contains two absolute stone cold classics in the shape of Five Seconds and Run My Heart, but there was a sense that George Lewis Jr was stuck in third gear. Fingers crossed next time round he twists it up another notch.
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Julia Holter: Ekstasis
Psychedelia in it’s truest form – Holter’s music not only immerses you but you feel completely lost within it, often rendering you unable to know what quite went down. Or something.
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Flying Lotus: Until The Quiet Comes
Almost an about face compared to the brain busting Cosmogramma, here the edges were softer and the music toned down. There was still a wee bit too much electrical fluff, yet compared to most he’s light years ahead.
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Wild Nothing: Nocturne
Bella Union
Jack Tatum‘s shimmering soundtrack of dreamy abandon recalls Real Estate at their sophisticated best.
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Daphni: Jiaolong
Jialong Records
The clubland alter ego of Caribou‘s Dan Snaith produced a harder, faster, quite possibly sexier beast than his day job. However, this doesn’t quite match the high standard of Swim.
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Clinic: Free Reign
Domino Recording Co
With Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) manning the decks, Clinic produced their characteristic fucked up boogie while adding inner spaciousness to proceedings. Rhythmic insanity abounds.
Getintothis reviews Clinic at Static Gallery
Getintothis picture gallery featuring Clinic’s unique cassette installation
Clinic talk to Getintothis about their new whacked out sounds.
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The Walkmen: Heaven
Bella Union
Their strongest set since Bows + Arrows; taut, swaggering, snarling and epic.
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Calexico: Algiers
City Slang
The criminally under-rated New Orleans outfit boxed off another gem oozing full of unclassifiable dirt-pop winners.
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Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan
Domino Recording Co
Dave Longstreth reduced his audio algorithms yet there were still many dexterous delights to digest. Another winner for the Dirty P’s canon.
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Friends: Manifest
Lucky Number
Perhaps the most ‘fun’ debut album of the year yet like their predecessors, CSS, addled with wild inconsistencies. A great live show and in Samantha Urbani one of indie music’s finest performers.
Getintothis chats to Friends ahead of UK tour
Getintothis reviews Friends live at the Kazimier
Getintothis picture gallery of Friends and Wet Mouth live at the Kazimier, Liverpool.
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Purity Ring: Shrines
Candy-coated yelps deep from within a Fever Ray-like beat box storm.
Getintothis reviews Purity Ring live at the Kazimier
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Flaming Lips: The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends
Bella Union
Come Dine With Me Flaming Lips-style. Results: deliriously messy.
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Errors: Have Some Faith In Magic
Rock Action
The Scots produced a more restrained second outing after Come Down With Me but there’s much to pour over in this synthesis of primal electronica and melodic noise.
Getintothis reviews Errors live at the Kazimier
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Lindstrøm: Smalhans
Smalltown Supersound
Lindstrøm’s second, and best album of 2012, returns to his comfort zone of spacious epic grooves.
Getintothis reviews Lindstrom live at the Kazimier
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Moon Duo: Circles
Souterrain Transmissions
Moon Duo continue were they left off; churning sozzled cyclical guitar jams. Time for a change next time round, maybes.
Getintothis reviews Moon Duo at the Kazimier
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Neil Halstead: Palindrome Hunches
Sonic Cathedral
Like a big audio hug channelling the spirit of Nick Drake. Just lovely.
Getintothis reviews Neil Halstead live at Liverpool Philharmonic
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The xx: Coexist
On first listen, it seemed a lack lustre return after that sensational debut, however repeat listens revealed hidden depths lurking beneath an further stripped back dub collection.
Getintothis on The xx live at the Kazimier
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Delicate Steve: Positive Force
Luaka Bop
Steve Marion makes toy town progressive pop chopped into bitesize chunks – and the results are very tasty indeed.
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Marconi Union: Different Colours
Just Music
Weightless Eno expansiveness dripping with languid slow grooves. Pure ice-cream melt marvellousness.
Getintothis on Marconi Union.
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Sleigh Bells: Reign of Terror
They may have toned down the volume, but this was still a storming set of obnoxious noise. Great cover artwork too.
Getintothis reviews Sleigh Bells live at MOJO.
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NZCA/Lines: NZCA/Lines
Tight, smart electro funk jams with a cerebral centre. Catchy as hell.
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Beach House: Bloom
Bella Union
Like Teen Dream with added oomph.
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Yeasayer: Fragrant World
The very definition of difficult third album; Yeasayer muddied their raft of ideas and lost their pop touch. Of course, there’s enough textured craft (like the corking Henrietta) to stick with this very special of bands.
Getintothis interview with Yeasayer ahead of their UK tour.
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Felix: Oh Holy Molar
Elegiac, minimalist piano-led ghostly refrains on one of Getintothis‘ favourite imprints.
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The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet
Warner Bros
To some extent this was The Volta’s straightest offering; jams largely dispensed with, replaced by spiky electronic stabs. Still prog, like.
Getintothis on The Mars Volta’s new jams.
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Yeti Lane: The Echo Show
Sonic Cathedral
While Doves take some time out, sit back and enjoy their cousins Yeti Lane who mix kraut, ambient electro and meld it into a semblance of melody and confusion.
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Paul Weller: Sonik Kicks
Weller’s most consistent, and genuinely inventive, set in years. Yep, inventive, honestly.
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Animal Collective: Centipede HZ
Domino Recording Co
AnCo dispense with the immediacy of My Girls, Brother Sport et al and go heavy on acid fried layered mania. It works, in parts.
Getintothis reviews Animal Collective at the Warehouse Project
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The 2 Bears: Be Strong
Southern Fried
Cuddly and lacking in subtlety as their name suggests, this knowing nod to club classics couldn’t help but feel like a joyous celebratory listen.
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Bang On: [sic]
Ninja Tune
Lyrically, few can match Bang On but his debut suffered when measured up to early singles Got It and Hands High.
GIT Award profile and interview with Bang On.
Getintothis on Got It by Bang On.
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Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes
Raunchy and rather all over the place, Ariel’s penchant for the perverse resulted in a wild explosion of ideas – some of which should have been confined to the cutting room floor.
Getintothis reviews Ariel Pink at the Kazimier
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Bear In Heaven: I Love You It’s Cool
Dead Oceans
Devilish metallic pop unsafe for late night listening.
Getintothis reviews Bear In Heaven at Leaf during Sound City
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The Very Best: MTMTMK
Moshi Moshi
Slamming tribal dancefloor monsters which could literally frazzle your body and mind.
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Tan Lines: Mixed Emotions
True Panther
An infectious bundle of synth and emotive heart string pullers from the ever reliable True Panther stable.
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Dan Deacon: America
Domino Recording Co
Another ambitious opus from Deacon which for the most part works – especially on the sprawling USA suite.
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Alt-J: An Awesome Wave
Considered, catchy yet clinical in the extreme. A fine debut, let’s hope the buzz doesn’t brake em.
Getintothis on Alt J winning the Mercury Prize 2013 – What have we learnt?
Getintothis reviews Alt-J live at the Kazimier
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Maps and Atlases: Beware And Be Grateful
Fat Cat
Bracing rhythmic anthems sung with an effortless verve. And in Fever, contains one of the most criminally overlooked tracks of 2012.
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Light Asylum: Light Asylum
A leather-studded disco ball loaded with ferocious power. Imagine Grace Jones assaulting you in the most indecent manner possible.
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Ronin: Fenice
Marrying sludge, Morricone drawls, hefty guitar theatrics and textured ambience, this Italian collective were a complete surprise package.
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Tamaryn: Tender New Signs
Co-operative Music
More superlative shoegaze meanderings from the washed out American generation.
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Cloud Nothing: Attack On Memory
Wichita Recordings
Stand out Wasted Days is a furious assault, pity then some of this felt distinctly underwhelming by comparison.
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Hot Chip: In Our Heads
Domino Recording Co
It seems churlish knocking Hot Chip for delivering just another very good Hot Chip record – but that’s what this felt like. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Great Medical Disaster: Die, You Bitch, Cried Architect
Pronoia Records
In many respects this lot have a chance of being the next Oceansize: Mancunian post-rock, heavyweight tendencies with hilarious song titles. All’s they need now is a bit of consistency.
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Neneh Cherry and The Thing: The Cherry Thing
Smalltown Supersound
Fusing improv jazz with Buffalo Stances‘ really shouldn’t work. It did. Especially on a quite incredible cover of Suicide.
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Fresh and Onlys: Long Slow Dance
Souterrain Transmissions
Straight up, honest rock and roll with an old school big hearty charm.
Getintothis reviews Fresh & Onlys at the Kazimier
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Tame Impala: Lonerism
Indebted to John Lennon, psych and all things retro, Lonerism wasn’t as good as some people would have you believe. But it was good – and even better when taken to the stage.
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Egyptian Hip Hop: Good Don’t Sleep
At last the Mancunians drop their debut proper. Jerky, dreamy clatter abounds. Was it worth the wait? Kinda.
Getintothis on Egyptian Hip Hop live in Liverpool.
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Crocodiles: Endless Flowers
Souterrain Transmissions
Pastiche at times but a powerful performance from this super-fun San Diego outfit.
Getintothis reviews Crocodiles at Liverpool Sound City.
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Grizzly Bear: Shields
Colossal in scale with a hit and miss conclusion yet contains some of their best work yet.
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Jonquil: Point Of Go
Tricksy guitar motifs wrapped in a pop parcel. Fun, if lightweight.
Getintothis reviews Jonquil live at Sound City
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Pelican: Ataraxia/Taraxis
Southern Lord
An 18 minute mini epic displaying what Pelican do best – soaring guitars and scintillating atmospherics.
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Lindstrøm: Six Cups Of Rebel
Smalltown Supersound
The Norwegian producer turns his hand to big beat, prog and chaotic pop on this scatter-gun take on dance with wildly differing results. The title track is stunning, uniquely so.
Getintothis reviews Lindstrom live at the Kazimier
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Chilly Gonzales: Solo Piano II
Gentle Threat
Beautifully introspective controlled mania from Montreal’s one-man melodica.
Getintothis reviews Chilly Gonzales live.
Getintothis‘ Top 50 Records of 2012: 10-1
Getintothis‘ Top 50 Records of 2012: 20-11
Getintothis‘ Top 50 Records of 2012: 30-21
Getintothis‘ Top 50 Records of 2012: 50-31
Getintothis‘ Top 50 Albums that didn’t make it into Getintothis’ Top 50 albums of 2012.
Getintothis‘ Top 100 Albums of 2011
Getintothis‘ Top 50 Albums that didn’t make it into Getintothis’ Top 50 albums of 2011
Getintothis Top 50 Albums of 2010.
Getintothis Top 50 Albums of 2009.
Getintothis Top Albums 100 of 2008.
Getintothis Top Albums 50 of 2007.