Emerging from my exam-induced slumber, to get back into the swing of things I’m going to list my favourite albums so far in 2012. Coincidentally, today is the winter solstice and a good time to look back on what we’ve heard this year.
DZ Deathrays – Bloodstreams
My favourite album for the year so far, which showed that DZ Deathrays could live up to the hype. Currently on tour in the US and Canada, Bloodstreams has taken them through Europe and will return back home for Splendour in the Grass in a few weeks. One of Australia’s most exciting bands to watch.
Best Track: Dollar Chills
Pond – Beards, Wives, Denim
Another exciting Australian act, the Tame Impala side-project have taken a massive stride to come out from the shadows. Psychedelic rock can be a difficult genre to attack, but Pond make it seem effortless.
Best Track: Fantastic Explosion of Time
Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
If you haven’t heard Cloud Nothings this year, you haven’t been living. Although Attack on Memory is their third studio album, it is the first that showcases their song-writing ability to such an amazing extent. Wasted Days is one of the best songs of the year.
Best Track: Wasted Days
Shearwater – Animal Joy
A side project from the blokes at Okkervil River, this is one of my favourite indie rock albums from the year.
Best Track: Animal Life
Sigur Ros – Valtari
Long been an underground favourite, Sigur Ros returns with another brilliant album. I always find Post Rock to be somewhat difficult to analyse, but the textures and sounds throughout Valtari are immense.
Best Track: Ekki Múkk
The Walkmen – Heaven
The New York group just keep plugging away. A career that has spawned three brilliant albums, a guest spot on The OC, and the greatest hit that never was culminated in their most professional album to date. How they haven’t found more commercial success is beyond me.
Best Track: No One Sleeps
Jack White – Blunderbuss
There were always going to be questions about how Jack White would go releasing a solo album. The result was quite unexpected. Combining a blend of classic blues rock and the more modern garage rock that White is renowned for, Blunderbuss shows that White has some talent left in him yet.
Best Track: I’m Shakin’
Howler – America Give Up
Minnesota-natives Howler have come on leaps and bounds this year. America Give Up is the perfect testament of surf punk, full of songs about girls and beaches.
Best Track: Beach Sluts
The Shins – Port of Morrow
After five years in the music wilderness, The Shins have returned with a brilliant fourth album. James Mercer returns with a completely new band, but with the same musical mastermind behind the tracks, it is a classic Shins album.
Best Track: Bait And Switch
Grimes – Visions
I’m a bit against the popularity this album has gained through the likes of Pitchfork, but after much deliberation I actually quite enjoyed the songwriting. Grimes is effortlessly cute, just watch the clip for Oblivion below.
Best Track: Oblivion