2012 will probably be looked back upon as a year of great music ups and downs, with comebacks from the masters of indie rock Bloc Party and electro pop goddess Marina and the Diamonds and also countless new talent bursting onto the scene such as Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge, Theme Park, to name a few. All that was of course tinged by the large number or great and influential artists and musicians that we lost this year among them of course Whitney Houston, Adam Yauch, Donna Summer and Etta James, they may be gone but they’ve left a vast musical legacy behind them.
So as it’s that time of year where we take a quick look back and celebrate the great and good, here’s our top ten albums of 2012.
10. Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart
After what seemed like an eternity, Marina and her Diamonds finally hit us with a follow up to the brilliant 2010 debut ‘The Family Jewels’. High energy pop which was heavyly influenced by Marina’s love of everything American. Perfectly crafted to be enjoyed on the dancefloor and in the car. Notable tracks include ‘Primadonna’, ‘Radioactive’ and ‘Lies’.
9. Active Child – You Are All I See
Bursting would probably be too much of high energy noun to use to describe Active Child, which would probably be better suited to Cascading or Flowing. So when I say Active Child burst into our consciousness early in the year with his powerfully dark and brooding electro art pop sound I should really say Cascading but it doesn’t really seem to sum up how I felt about Active Child when I first heard him. Notable tracks include ‘Hanging On’, ‘Playing House’ and ‘Way Too Fast’
8. Polica – Give You The Ghost
I first heard Polica’s ‘Lay Your Cards Out’ on the radio while driving in my car at sunrise, and was totally blown away by what I heard. It fitted the moment perfectly and infact it now seems that this album is so beautiful it could fit any moment prefectly. Dark and brooding while skillfully dancing between hard indie rock edge and a sythny electro sound. Notable tracks include ‘Dark Star’, Lay Your Cards Out’ and ‘Violent Games’.
7. Kindness – World, You Need a Change
Seemlying coming out of nowhere and going back to wince he came Kindness aka Adam Bainbridge hit us around the faces with a slab of funky pop back in March. Skillfully mixing in electro pop with a funky chilled out sound and throwing Anita Dobson into the mix effortlessly too. Notable tracks include ‘Anyone Can Fall in Love’, ‘Gee Up’ and ‘Cyan’
6. Beat Connection – The Palace Garden
The album starts with sparkly upbeat synths and pop melodies which then gives way to a dark and more art pop sound, which almost gives you the feeling of descending down the rabbit hole. With echos of French Horn Rebellion and Adam Kesher, or what I mean to say is these guys would be at home in the Paris electro pop scene. Notable tracks include ‘Palace Garden at 4am’, ‘Invisible Cities’ and ‘Further Out’.
5. Friends – Manifest!
Possibly the most over looked album of 2012 has to go to Brooklyn’s Friends. ‘Manifest!’ is a powerful pop record which toys with many other genres such as punk (Friend Crush), DnB (A Light) and folk (A Thing Like This). Notable tracks include ‘Va’Fan Gor Du’, ‘Friend Crush’ and ‘A Thing Like This’.
4. Grimes – Visions
Touted by some as the new Bjork or an anti-gaga, Grimes was what all the cool kids were listening to back in April/May. Dark gothic pop, that ricocheted between beautiful synths, melodies and dark ‘grimy’ DnB sound. Notable tracks include ‘Oblivion’, ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Eight’.
3. Purity Ring – Shrines
Another duo that just seemed to appear from no where, with their powerful dark electro pop and amazing live show. A mash of strained synths and beautifully sweet and delicate vocals from Megan James which helped to disguise Purity Rings rather dark and almost gothic lyrics “Get a little closer let it fold, Cut open my sternum and pull My little ribs around you”. Notable tracks include ‘Fineshrine’, ‘Amenamy’ and ‘Obedear’.
2. Jessie Ware – Devotion
Ok yes I know there has been far too much hype surrounding Miss Ware, but lets face it she deserves it. Silky smooth vocals that are framed by effortless cool pop melodies. It’s been a big year for Jessie Ware, first coming to prominence after Disclosure remixed her track ‘Running’ which set the blog-o-sphere alight. Notable tracks include ‘Night Light’, ‘Sweet Talk’ and ‘Wildest Moments’.
1. Alt J – An Awesome Wave
Another break through group that have set the 2012 music scene on fire, starting the year as a little known folky art pop four-piece from Cambridge and ending the year musical hot property. With sell out gigs and lots and lots of radio air play. Notable tracks include ‘Matilda’, ‘Breezeblocks’ and ‘Bloodflood’