3 Dec 2012

The Active Listener's Top Albums (& E.Ps) of 2012 Part 1 of 4



It's been a great year for new music and with my first full year of blogging behind me I've discovered more than my fair share of great new stuff that I would otherwise not have heard of.
I've chosen my forty favorite albums of the year here, listed alphabetically.
Here's the first ten. I've included links to full reviews if they were originally reviewed here on the Active Listener.

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AIRBAG - ALL RIGHTS REMOVED
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

There's no shortage of bands out there that evoke vintage Floyd, but Airbag are a little different in that they perfectly capture the claustrophobic feel of the Animals album - not an easy task. There's a touch of Porcupine Tree to the vocals, but it's the soaring Gilmouresque guitar leads and memorable choruses that really grab the listener's attention.

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ALFA 9 - GONE TO GROUND
Available as Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : A masterclass of jangle pop which takes in west coast psychedelia, the Stone Roses, Teenage Fanclub and a whole lot of the Byrds circa the Gene Clark era. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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ALLAH-LAS
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : After only a few listens it's become clear that this is an album of hidden depth -  a tuneful, easy playing summer record, with a moody, dark undercurrent of windswept melancholy that begs for repeat plays. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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APACHE DROPOUT - BUBBLEGUM GRAVEYARD
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

The cover gives you a prefect idea of exactly what this sounds like. Fun bubblegum punk of a ghoulish bent. Excellent.

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ASTRA - THE BLACK CHORD
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : It's refreshing in this day and age to hear a contemporary prog band who aren't reliant on crossing over into metal territory to gather fans. Instead Astra's idols seem to be the holy triumvirate of King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd, and they do an admirable job of evoking the masters without ever sounding derivative. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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BELBURY POLY - THE BELBURY TALES
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : A new Belbury Poly album is always a cause for celebration, and this may well be Reverend Jim's best work yet. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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BEAULIEU PORCH
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : Beaulieu Porch's debut full length is quite possibly the most purely enjoyable psych-pop release I've heard this year so far. It's undeniably psychedelic, often openly borrowing from the spirit of the sixties, but is unmistakably contemporary in it's execution. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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THE BUFFALO KILLERS - DIG.SOW.LOVE.GROW.
Available as CD / Vinyl / Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : They've honed their sound to the point where they're releasing albums which are more consistently solid than those of their primary influences. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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PETER DALTREY & THE ASTEROID #4 - THE JOURNEY
Available as CD / Digital

What I Said In My Original Review : Daltrey and the Asteroid #4 boys are ideal foils for each other, leaving me hungry for more of these cross generational collaborations. (FULL REVIEW HERE)

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DEATH AND VANILLA
Available as Vinyl / Digital

Finally, a suitable substitute for the much missed Broadcast. Stunning space pop with lashings of reverb, psychedelia and library music. Brilliant.

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Part Two coming soon!

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