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Intelligence

Our Albums of 2012

Greetings,

Here in the Feast Of Friends boudoir, we’re not just music makers, but avid music consumers, so, as is now tradition, we thought we’d look back at some of the fabulous albums that have rocked our world in 2012. There is no particular order of preference, we think everything on this list is worth your attention…


Concrete Knives - You Can’t Blame Youth

We don’t think we’ve heard anything as joyous and full of youthful exuberance as Concrete Knives debut EP. These French indie-poppets were brought to our attention by Steve Lamaq’s 6Music show, and this EP has never been far from our play lists all year. It reminds us of the first Arcade Fire album, and at a time where indie music is in the dole-drums, this release stands out like a beacon of brilliance. Looking forward to their debut album next year.

Top Track: Time Of Disco - “Shake your arms and clap, you‘re into disco.”


Van Halen - Different Kind Of Truth

For old-school Van Halen fans like us, this is the album we never thought would happen, let alone think it would be this good. It picks up where 1984 left off, as if the last 28 years never happened. Diamond Dave sounds better than ever, every line full of charisma and fun, and Eddie’s guitar playing is just, well, unbelievable. His fluidity and technique are terrifying. Brother Alex and son Wolfgang provide a solid base to every track, and to be honest, Michael Anthony isn’t really missed. Good -time rock’n’roll, the American way!

Top Track: Tattoo - Only Dave could conjure up the line “Mouse-wife to Mom-shell”.


Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory

We were drawn to this Steve Albini produced album from Cloud Nothings, a band we hadn’t heard of before, by the cover alone; it just looked interesting. To then find it contained such awesome music was an added bonus. Combining the sounds of the best US independent guitar bands of the last 30 years (Pixies, Nirvana, Interpol, The National) with full-on punk angst and slacker lyrics. The album has a very live sound and some of the best rock drumming this side of Dave Grohl’s QOTSA work. A worthy addition to your collection.

Top Track: Our Plans - “We won‘t last long.”


Heretics - Wealth = Success

We discovered both Heretics albums this year. The first, released in 2010, features some fantastic synth-pop in the vein of early Human League, Ultravox and Depeche Mode. This album is much darker and heavier, some Death Metal acts fail to reach the heaviness of this record. A soundtrack to the credit crisis and dark times of recent years. It is also beautifully produced. Once upon a time, this type of music would be in the UK top 20, now we just get mindless pop/pap. We want to live in a world where we can hear Heretics on national radio.

Top Track: Epitaph - “This will be a beautiful end, to a wonderful life.”


Ancestors - In Dreams And Time

Ancestors’ Invisible White EP made our “best of 2011” list and we had high hopes for this release. It doesn’t disappoint. Pretty much an aural masterpiece, Ancestors are the true heirs to Pink Floyd’s crown. They have the same timeless quality about them, though with the power ramped up to 11. An album that works just as well in the car on the motorway as it does as a late night chill-out soundtrack. This epic and ethereal classic should be on your must-buy list.

Top Track: On The Wind - keyboard power!


Metric - Synthetica

More great adult pop music from Metric to get your hips swaying. Emily Haines seductive voice draws you in on every track and the band provide a lush, crisp backing. There are at least half-a-dozen cracking pop singles on this, plus some more thoughtful album tracks. Even the inclusion of Lou Reed doesn’t fuck it up!

Top Track: Youth Without Youth - “Double-dutch with the hand grenade”


Brad - United We Stand

Oh, Shawn Smith, we do love your voice. Rich and powerful one minute, soulful and fragile the next, and this latest album from Brad shows it off in style. We’ve got tickets for next year’s debut UK tour and we couldn’t be more excited as we’ve followed Brad from day-one. This album is more focussed than 2010’s Best Friends? and, to our ears, as fine a record as they have ever released.

Top Track: Through The Day - “Should I just swim to the sun?”


Jessie Ware - Devotion

It’s sure been a good year for pop music with depth and substance, and there has not been a finer release than this debut album by Jessie Ware. As elegant and graceful as the lady herself, the tracks on Devotion contain layers of sounds that are almost Aphex Twin-ian (though maybe Rephlex stable-mate Leila is a better example). Ms Ware’s voice sends shivers down your spine; pure and rich conveying heartache and sensuality in equal measure. How this wasn’t the Mercury Music album of the year, we’ll never know. Cheryl Cole would die to make an album this fantastic. We doubt she ever will.

Top Track: Night Light - “You’re the shadow behind me”


Bob Mould - Silver Age

We’ve loved Bob’s solo work, but Sugar were our favourite band of the 90’s, and this album is pretty much the long-delayed fourth Sugar album. It’s Bob on full-volume, rocking as hard and angry as someone half his age. A focussed, muscular album full of lyrics full of rage, not a note is wasted. Can’t wait to hear these tracks live.

Top Track: Star Machine - “But you had to be a silly bird”


Soul Asylum - Delayed Reaction

Dave Pirner is one of rock’s great songwriters and this album shows off the craft to it’s full extent. It’s on par with their classic Grave Dancer’s Union album, one of the albums of the 90’s. Like Fountains Of Wayne, Soul Asylum make music so effortlessly you wonder if there is a secret US song writing school where all these guys go to learn their craft. If there is, they graduated with a first!

Top Track: Let’s All Kill Each Other - “Everybody‘s better off dead.”


James Iha - Look To The Sky:

Been about 15 years since James’ last solo outing, Let It Come Down so we were thinking that a follow up was unlikely until this beauty turned up a few months ago. More upbeat, and maybe a little more psychedelic, than his debut. James’ voice has been criticised in some quarters, but not by us, its delicacy is a perfect accompaniment to these  60’s tinged gems. So, we’ll expect the follow up in around 2027 then…

Top Track: Look To The Sky - “Slip away to oblivion”


Notable Mentions:

Kiss: Monster - great fun, Kiss sounding just like you‘d want them to, though not quite as good as Sonic Boom in our opinion.
Ginger Wildheart: 100% - fan-funded album that impressed us greatly. Time is one of the tracks of the year.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - we enjoyed this, but maybe not as much as previous releases.
Astra: The Black Chord - a good choice for the prog-rock fans out there.

 

 

Well that's our list. If you agree, disagree or have any suggestions of other great albums from 2012 we may have missed, let us know!

 

Peace & Love

Feast Of Friends

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