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The Top Albums of 2012

December 11, 2012
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It hasn’t been the year of the album on A Thousand Guitars. The honest reason is that I’ve been writing album reviews for over 5 years now and every time I sit down to try and describe a record track-by-track, I vomit a little bit in my mouth. But it’s also because, as I once said to you, I think there’s a lot more joy to be found in appreciating the complete work of an artist instead of just one slice of it.

But, that being said, there were still a fair few records we geeked out on this year and here they are:

10. The Wallflowers – Glad All Over

This record was a bit disappointing to some members of my devotedly Dylan family, but I gave it a fair few spins and ended up welcoming the dulcet tones of Jakob’s greatness into 2012. And hey, if he doesn’t yet growl on an album like dad that’s also a plus!

9. Ben Gibbard – Former Lives

I pretty much dismissed Death Cab as depressing after I heard a second song of theirs, so wrote off this album at first glance, but was smitten by the time it had finished it’s trundling, cutesy run.

8. Kyler England – The Spare Key Sessions

You know those things in life that you can’t really explain but keep going back to because they’re so freaking beautiful? The ones that, in a world that is often so crap, make your heart all warm with splendour?

Yeah, this is the audio version of all those things.

7. Man As Machine – Nothing But A Thing

A record like this is, in short, incredibly impressive. Man As Machine just raised the musical stakes. I’ll be interested to see whether the rest of the local scene can see their bet.

6. Jon Sandler – Late Night Champ

Sandler has taken his time to craft an album that feels like every note was on purpose and every beat is where he means it to be – all killer, no filler.

In spite of the electro sound, or maybe even occasionally because of it, I’m oh-so-glad Sandler is back at the top of my playlist.

5. The Rescues – Blah Blah Love And War

Where Let Loose The Horses, their last record, evoked folky feelings of wide-open American plains and intimate emotional moments as subtle as the acoustic guitar sound they were sung to, Blah Blah… is more experimental musicianship, moving away from an acoustic sound to strings, pianos and a more modern electric sound.

4. Soundgarden – King Animal

Well, it’s goddamn Soundgarden, and they’ve been away for 15 years. You didn’t think they’d not be on this list, did you?

3. PT Walkley – Thriller

So you like some Abbey Road-era borderline-psychedelia in your music. As we all do. But you’re a modern hipster who wants new chromatic musical vibes. I get that too, and I have the answer for you.

PT Walkley’s new album, Thriller.

The adroit New York singer-songwriter’s fourth solo album is a musical gem that’s as powerful in its subtlety as if it were blaring from 5 foot high speakers.

“The Way That You Are” by PT Walkley from Jade Harris on Vimeo.

2. Ron Pope – Atlanta

On Atlanta, Pope was evidently more conscious of incorporating his Americana roots into this album (he hails from Georgia) than we heard on his last album. Where I was worried he was heading towards a polished pop product that belied his Southern roots then, he’s loosened up the twang in his voice, flexed his fingerpicking, and embarks on the genuinely compelling musical storytelling we’ve come to love him for.

Ron Pope – Atlanta

1. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

I read and wrote and thought a lot of things about this much-anticipated record, but my favourite quote comes from NPR and said “If there were a psychotropic drug that could make you feel like James Dean, Handwritten would render it useless.”

Only like 100%.

The Gaslight Anthem – 45

And maybe one year, we’ll have a top 10 list that doesn’t consist of PT Walkley, Ron Pope and The Gaslight Anthem………

but probably not.

Monica Davies

Monica Davies

Four years ago, Monica needed a new hobby, so she started this blog. Right now, she can't believe people are still reading it. If you are, she loves you for it.

She believes John Lennon's Imagine is a blueprint for a perfect world and that a house should never not have wine in it. She is currently failing at going vegan.

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