My top ten albums of 2012 has already appeared on the Alter the Press website, but I thought I would publish it again very briefly here, with a few words of explanation as to why I chose what I did.
With no further ado, then, my albums of the year:
10. Misser – Everyday I Tell Myself I’m Going to be a Better Person
Take the sense of melody and soft-centredness that makes Transit good, but ultimately forgettable, and add some muscle, and you have the debut Misser album. Insanely catchy and surprisingly consistent for what is ultimately a side-project, I hope these guys pursue this avenue more in future.
9. The American Scene – Safe for Now
Pure Noise records can do no wrong at the moment. Another group clearly influenced by Transit‘s recent success, Safe for Now is a meeting of indie and pop-punk, with a dash of Brand New thrown in for good measure. Acoustic track Untitled is worth the price alone.
8. The xx – Coexist
Understated, intimate, considered, and beautiful. Whilst it may not be too much of a departure from their S/T debut album, Coexist simply improves on everything they got right the first time around.
7. Forever Came Calling – Contender
Unbelievably, the only pop-punk album on the list. Infectious, direct and frenetic, the whole album is done in less than half an hour. For a genre that disappointed in 2012, Contender retained the energy and hooks that many lacked. Fuck your secrets.
6. Every Time I Die – Ex-Lives
The most aggressive ETID album to date, Ex-Lives is the first true collection of everything they’re amazing at. Still the kings of the riff, Keith Buckley’s lyrics are as impressive as you’d expect, and his voice has never sounded better. The Big Dirty Gutter Phenomenon.
5. Basement – Colourmeinkindness
Reviving the spirit of mid-90’s emo and grunge, Basement produced a remarkably mature record. Sadly, it’s to be their last – the promise shown here and the positive reaction it received hinted at future success. Control is one of the most stunning songs that came out last year.
4. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
The most uplifting album about past regret that I’ve ever heard. Paints a vivid picture of a bygone Americana, a romantic gin-soaked vision of an innocence lost – and it’s amazing. I imagine this was the cause of many a sore throat last year.
3. Title Fight – Floral Green
2012 was the year that Title Fight established themselves as leaders of the pack. Floral Green is as raucous and coarse as you might expect, but with age comes maturity. This is a more experimental effort than 2011’s Shed, heartfelt and with moments of reflection in amongst the noise.
2. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Still the masters of the windows-rolled-down radio anthem, Handwritten is the most personal Gaslight album to date. The characters and metaphors of the past are all but gone, as Fallon and his bandmates bare their rock’n’roll souls to the world. If they weren’t destined for big things before, they are now.
1. Make Do and Mend – Everything You Ever Loved
Lyrically the best album released last year by some distance, this claims no.1 for the sheer, stunning variety on offer. From the punkier tones of Count and Stay in the Sun to the poignancy of St. Anne and Desert Lily, MD&M created a consistently impressive record which defies pigeonholing. James Carroll’s voice, their musicianship and sense of melody all combine to make this fantastic.