The year got off to a good start with The Maccabees’ brilliant album, Given to the Wild. Their expanded ambitions and soaring sounds catapulted their album into the charts and was an immediate contender for end-of-year lists. Chairlift’s Something was also released, containing one of my favourite songs of the year so far.
February saw the release of two mesmerising albums from contrasting solo females, namely Grimes’ Visions and Sharon Van Etten’s Tramp. While worlds apart, both brought critical acclaim and attention to talented individuals released their fourth and third albums respectively.
In April, Jack White’s first solo record since The White Stripes (just kidding Meg) dropped, and it was his best in years. While I was a big fan of The Dead Weather’s first album, it’s great to have Jack back where he belongs, front and centre, axe in hand. His mix of blues, rock and country was a joy from start to finish, and I’m excited to say I’m seeing it live next Friday (22 June).
May saw dreamy soundscapes courtesy of Beach House, Poliça and Sigur Rós to delight and soothe. It also saw a new record from Richard Hawley, who brought a distinctly heavier sound than on his previous solo albums. His distorted psychedelia was unexpected but brilliant none the less.
And while Best Coast’s The Only Place, also released in May, drew some lukewarm reviews, it’s a superbly simple slice of breezy surf pop. Its lack of complexity is intended, and shouldn’t be used as a negative.
Even this week alone has seen exciting new albums released by Friends and Crocodiles, and new songs debuted live by Bat for Lashes.
And that’s just the albums, there have many dozens of brilliant songs from new bands yet to release albums, most of which you can find on my Jams.
With new releases from The xx, Bat for Lashes and hopefully a return to form from Bloc Party to look forward to in coming months, 2012 seems like a pretty good year for music to me.
2012 albums to check out
- Beach House – Bloom
- Best Coast – The Only Place
- Chairlift – Something
- Crocodiles – Endless Flowers
- Friends – Manifest!
- Grimes – Visions
- Jack White – Blunderbuss
- Poliça – Give You the Ghost
- Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge
- Santigold - Master of My Make Believe
- Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
- The Shins – Port of Morrow
- Tanlines – Mixed Emotions