Sunday, January 6, 2013

Best albums of 2012: 10 to 6

10 Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Mannered, manufactured(?), but soaring, glorious pop melodies. I don't read enough about music anymore to know where Lana came from or how this album came into existence. I watched Video Games on YouTube and as I went to buy it as a single thought I should have a listen to the album just in case there was anything else even close to its sublime, irresistible pure pop hit. Of course the whole album isn't quite that good, but there are another three or four tracks that are close and the rest is pretty wonderful too. Perfectly modern but beautifully timeless, this is the sort of album that burrows deep into your brain with melodies that are all but impossible to dislodge.

9 Human Don't Be Angry – Human Don't Be Angry

Malcolm Middleton's side project may not have the emotional impact of his usual work, but it sounds like he is having a lot of fun here. And if anyone deserves a bit of fun you would hope that Malcolm would be near the top of the list. The last track, Getting Better (At Feeling Like Shit), is the only clue that this record is from the man whose attempt at a Christmas number one was called We're All Going to Die. Highlighting his hitherto unknown love of 80s pop, synthesisers and drum machines it is a wonderful showcase of another side of his amazing talents. 

8 Ghost Society – The Back of His Hands, Then the Palms

If you were going to put together a band designed to cater purely for my tastes you would probably come up with something pretty close to Ghost Society – dreamy female/male vocals, distorted My Bloody Valentine-esque washes of guitar, left field melodies from Scandinavia. The shoegaze inspirations can be picked out if you are looking hard, but the sublime vocals are more Cocteau Twins than Ride. Sparkling and shimmering this is a beautiful collection of songs to lose yourself in.

7 Mystery Jets – Radlands

Earnest indie-boys and their guitars make up surprisingly little of my current listening, but I have made an exception for Radlands. There are one or two cheesy moments, try Greatest Hits for a prime example, but overall this is a good selection of well-written, intelligent and mostly jangly songs that stand up to repeated listening. There is a bit of variety, with the rather lovely ballad Take Me Where the Roses Grow and the lo-fi Luminescence rounding things out and providing a counterpoint to the simpler pleasures.

6 Best Coast – The Only Place
Low slung guitars, songs three minutes or less. Like an Elastica for 2012, only better.

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