Twenty Twelve: Music

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I cannot lie. I am out well of touch with modern popular music. I watched the Christmas Top of The Pops on Christmas Day and found much of it either underwhelming or actually irritating. Of the artists who’d evidently had hits this year, I obviously recognised the big-name artists – Coldplay, Florence, Robbie Williams, Girls Aloud – and I’d seen Emeli Sandé on the Olympics, plus I did well with the middle-aged musicians on the Christmas number one for the Hillsborough families, but a lot of the newer artists were just seemingly interchangeable young men and women singing in the same, Autotuned, post-X-Factor style.

I speak as a middle-aged man. I don’t lose sleep over my disconnect with what’s in the charts. Since Top Of The Pops was taken off-air, I’ve had no connection with the charts anyway – I assume Rihanna is having a hit at any given time, but have little idea of who’s placing where in the Top 40. (I could recite the Top 30 from any week in 1977 of course, thanks to the endangered TOTP re-runs, but that speaks volumes.) As such, having worked up a very good Top 11 albums, and a healthy list of 17 tracks I loved this year, I find that I seem to exist in a parallel universe.

There are one or two big names – Lana Del Ray, Dexys, The Wonder Stuff – but most of the artists below I’ve discovered through being sent their records by the pluggers who service 6 Music and kindly keep me on their lists, even though I don’t have a regular show. So thanks to those dedicated individuals really. Hip hop has passed me by this year, not least because so much of it has been swallowed up by R&B, which I cannot connect with in any meaningful way. (I tried the much-admired Frank Ocean album: nothing.) I’m certain I’ve missed a number of albums that I might love, but that’s the case every December when I compile these lists.

These are very pure inventories, in that they are not influenced by fashion, or success, or even backstory (with many of the bands I don’t even know where they come from or what they look like). This really is just music I have listened to a lot this year. I have supplied label names with the LPs, but not the tracks, as names of labels don’t really have much bearing on downloads, right? It’s interesting, and organic, that three out of my Top 11 albums are on Fat Cat. Well done, Fat Cat!

ALBUMS 2012

1 LANA DEL RAY Born To Die | Interscope
2 THE TWILIGHT SAD No One Can Ever Know | Fat Cat
3 PETE WILLIAMS See |Basehart
4 BRETON Other People’s Problems | Fat Cat
5 MILK MAID Mostly No | Fat Cat
6 THE HEARTBREAKS Funtimes | Banquet
7 JACK ADAPTOR I Saw A Ghost | Supple Pipe
8 RUSTY BEAR Source To The Sea |Mollusc
9 ADMIRAL FALLOW Tree Bursts In Snow | Nettwerk
10 DEXYS One Day I’m Going To Soar | BMG
11 BALTIC FLEET Towers | Blow Up

TRACKS 2012

THE WONDER STUFF Far, Far Away
THIS MANY BOYFRIENDS Tina Weymouth (from album This Many Boyfriends)
FLATS Country
THE WINTER OLYMPICS I Prefer The Early Stuff
SHIMMERING STARS Into The Sea (this may well have come out in 2011, but I listened to it a lot this year)
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Onwards To The Wall (Onwards To The Wall EP)
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Sweater Weather
MEURSAULT Dull Spark
FUNERAL SUITS All Those Friendly People
FOXES Youth
FOREST FIRE Future Shadows
ESCAPISTS Burial (Burial EP)
CITIZENS! Reptile
CEREMONY Hysteria
LITTLE BOOTS Every Night I Say A Prayer
KIMBRA Warrior
RACE HORSES My Year Abroad
BINARY Prisoner (I know for a fact that this came out in November 2011, but I didn’t hear it until this year, and I’m still listening to it now – I have literally no idea who Binary are!)

Naturally, if you want to recommend something – especially hip hop – I’m all ears. Here’s to 6 Music giving me some more work in 2013 so my drip to modern music isn’t completely cut off. (I so miss my old 6 Music show with Josie Long. I think after a full year of not being asked back, we must always think of it in the past tense.)

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12 thoughts on “Twenty Twelve: Music

  1. Here are my favourites of the year Andrew
    1612 Overture – The Eccentronic Research Council
    Diversions Vol 2 – The Unthanks
    Quarantine – Laurel Halo
    Themes From An Imaginary Film – Symmetry
    The Lions Roar – First Aid Kit
    Top Ten Hits of The End of the World – Prince Rama
    Bish Bosch – Scott Walker
    A World of Colin Wilson – Anthony Reynolds
    Life is People – Bill Fay
    Fear Fun – Father John Misty
    These are all worth a spin, and reading the Xmas Radio Times they seem to think TOTP will continue into 2013 with the 1978 editions, let’s hope so.

    Have a very Happy New Year.

  2. I’m checking out the stuff I don’t already know from this list, and found some interesting things. Highlight so far – The Baltic Fleet album. Lowlight – The Wonder Stuff’s lame cover of Far, Far Away (I so love Slade in Flame). A lot more to checkout yet…

  3. interesting selection Mr C I shall be listening to the few in there that are as yet unknown to me.
    I can heartily recommend that you give a listen to Father John Misty’s Fear Fun which was album (and Gig ,at the Thekla, Bristol) of the year for me.

    As for Hip Hop, Im afraid this 50yr old fart has tried, liked some bits but loathed most and has finally had to admit that he just does not get it.

    Look forward to a return to ^music in some capacity in 2013….?In the meantime Happy New year and thanks for your always interesting Blog

  4. We are delighted to see our 2nd album by Rusty Bear in your list! Trying to be objective, we also miss the Andrew & Josie show. It seemed like a natural natter between two friends that weren’t bothered about the presenting side of things too much. It was really good.

  5. A very interesting list – I’m keen to check out some of your choices as I have some itunes vouchers that I got for christmas burning a hole in my virtual pocket!

    As someone who has loved Hip Hop for many years now I must admit that nothing has really grabbed me this year either. However, one thing I can recommend which I only became aware of from recent twitter chatter is the ‘Captain Murphy’ mix-tape ‘Duality’ (can a mix-tape be classed as an album? Let’s say yes for now!). Captain Murphy was recently unmasked as being the alter-ego of electronic artist Flying Lotus, someone who’s wonky beats I’ve been a long time fan of – anyway it turns out he can rap rather well too; his ‘flow’ is very reminiscent of Tyler the Creator from Odd Future, yet Murphy/Lotus tweaks his vocals, speeding them up and slowing them down and generally playing about. Plus the beats are great – old school yet at the same time future facing (that’s duality in action I guess!)

    The mix-tape is a free download from here http://www.captainmurphy.xxx/ it’s well worth checking out.

  6. There are some very good things on Frank Ocean’s album, in my view, but there’s too much of it. At a guess – and I have absolutely no way of knowing whether I’m correct – I would suggest that the astute way in which he’s managed his career to date probably means that he’s had unfettered creative control over ‘Channel Orange’. Recording artists like this, because they want everything they’ve made to get straight to The Fans without a record company telling them what to do. In fact, as David Hepworth would no doubt tell us, what most of them need is a firm hand on the tiller and a battle-hardened A&R man to tell them what works and what doesn’t. (And, as Hepworth has pointed out, in a few years the vast majority of artists probably won’t have anything as old-fashioned as a “record company” to blame for anything.)

    On the hip-hop/R&B side of things, Kendrick Lamar and Miguel might be worth trying.

  7. I can’t believe you and Josie haven’t been asked back!!! Thought one of you were too busy! Definitely the best ‘replacement’ for Adam and Joe that has filled that Saturday morning slot. Unfortunately, some odd management decisions being made at 6 that may kill the station yet-God forbid!

  8. Interesting list, some stuff I’ll need to check out! In regards to hip hop, I’ll second the Kendrick Lamar recommendation above. You should definitely check out Killer Mike’s ‘R.A.P. Music’, which is probably my hip-hop album of the year. Also El-P’s ‘Cancer for Cure’, Aesop Rock’s ‘Skelethon’, Big Boi’s recent album and basically any track by Angel Haze.

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