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Albums of the Year 2012

After the usual careful deliberation, here are our Albums of the Year.

Album of the Year 2012

Windy & Carl - 'We Will Always Be'

Windy & Carl - 'We Will Always Be'

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Nathan Fake
Steam Days

I recall us Normaners being bang into 'Drowning In A Sea Of Love' several years back, it fitted beautifully into that post IDM glut of hugely melodic, astoundingly layered yet deceptively simple and atmospheric 4am music such as Julian Fane a...view item »

Death And Vanilla
Death And Vanilla

The year was 2012 when we first got offered copies of this, the first album from Death and Vanilla. It was a Normans favourite but like all good things disappeared very quickly. Fire Records have since helped take the band to new levels of popularity by unleashing the band's second album 'Where the Wild Things Are' and now that they are playing ...view item »

The Chromatics
Kill for Love

Chromatics' Kill for Love is the latest record by the label Italians Do It Better and this album does not disappoint. Following the 2007 album Night Drive, Chromatics continue their domination of music with this album. Sounds like a slow dance at a disco with the most a...view item »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

It was a genuine surprise to all of us earlier this week when the mighty Godspeed You! Black Emperor announced the near-instantaneous release of this new album after a full decade’s studio silence, and I’ve emotionally blackmai...view item »


As Pitchfork and the blogosphere go crazy over this lady, is it another case of us mere mortals being  left wondering what all the fuss is really about? Opener 'Infinite Without Fulfilment' sounds EXACTLY like an R&B hit of recent vintage that I just can't place and is a really i...view item »


“I'm just an instrument”, Darren Cunningham has stated recently. If so, he's surely constructed entirely from wires, circuits, buttons, plastic casing and keys so he must look bloody weird when he's stood in Tesco express ...view item »


Liars are such an interesting band. You never quite know what you are going to get but every time its always different and never less than impressive. This album starts off in excellent style with opener ‘The Exac...view item »

Stealing Sheep
Into The Diamond Sun

The opening track on this debut album ‘The Garden’ is immediately impressive and recalls a Warpaint raised solely on The Slits and The Raincoats. Production wise it’s soft, subtle and supple but the song structures are complex with chanted vocals, swift...view item »

Mac DeMarco
Rock And Roll Night Club

Firstly get the boy some make up lessons. What a state he's got himself in on the sleeve of his debut 12”. Titles like 'Rock and Roll Night Club' and 'Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans' suggest some kind of '70s denim nightmare but this is really good. He sounds like the re-incarnation o...view item »

Guided By Voices
Class Clown Spots A UFO

Class Clown Spots A UFO is the 2nd album in to be released in 2012 and 18th studio album in all by the prolific indie pop maestros Guided By Voices. The band have also released 17 EPs and 39 singles. Class Clown Spots A UFO has been likened to their '90s classics Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes i...view item »

Laurel Halo

Once again Hyperdub prove they're leading the charge against mediocrity both in contemporary club music and the softer, more introspective sounds of the underground. The rippling calm and strange spacious aural cosmos this talented Brooklyn songstress evokes is nothing less that breathtak...view item »

Deepchord Presents Echospace
Silent World (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Here’s the first new Deepchord album since the ace Liumin album which Modern Love chucked at us two years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago...time proper flies these days. Slig...view item »

Chaudelande Volume 1

Everyone loves Gnod right? These Manchester lads have got the balance between freeform improvised, Krautrock groove and cosmic Space Rock down to a fine art with tons of sweet self-released Tapes/CD'S and a couple of LP's (including a split with White Hills) to prove it. Prior to their ...view item »

Foreign Body

Listening to this in the noisy office yesterday I was a little underwhelmed as it just blended into ambient background noise under the sound of tape guns and people shouting...I was a little at a loss as to what I was going to write about it. ...view item »

Y Niwl
Y Niwl

Ahhhhh, this is the business. Brian and I have both been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this LP so it's lovely to finally have a copy spinning on the decks - there was a minor office controversy earlier in the week when it was discovered that Phil hadn't quite ordered enough to cover all ...view item »

Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury
'Drokk' Music Inspired By Mega-City One

After meeting at a football team for old men, Portishead dude Geoff Barrow and soundtracky chap Ben Salisbury teamed up to work on a soundtrack for a film that didn't end up getting made. They decided that they wanted to make a sou...view item »

Broken Water

Jesus, this album often resembles Bardo Pond getting the Swirlies trashed in a squat, like proper primal, druggy and possessed indie rock but with this untamed demented tremelo'd pop sensibility driving through its veins. The ...view item »

Formerly Extinct

I saw these guys a coupla years ago and they were ace. I’d completely forgotten I’d seen them until I held this CD in my fat wet hand and then it all came back to me, just like that. Now you might think they can’t have been that ace as I’d have remembered but these...view item »

John Maus
A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material

It’s pleasing to see that in the same week R. Stevie Moore’s career gets its much needed day in the sunshine (thanks to a compilation on O Genesis)...view item »

Advaitic Songs

Fuck. I love Om! I saw them play live at Supersonic a while back with our Ant and they blew both of our faces right off. They were totally the highlight of the festival and even though we were picking up face scrapings for the rest of the night I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Pilgr...view item »

Oren Ambarchi
Sagittarian Domain

Not got too familiar with this laddie yet. He’s a pretty eclectic and prolific one yet I’ve only heard a couple of bits, but both Mike and I pricked up our ears when ‘Sagittarian Domain’ kicked off and even the ever-distracted Phil rushed in for an eager sniff when it h...view item »

Flying Lotus
Until The Quiet Comes

You know  - so many things go on these days that I somehow missed Flying Lotus’s last opus ‘Cosmogramma’. Just never got round to it. Shocking isn’t it? A man of my regard within the community. Anyway I will make up for lost time by boldly proclaiming this new on...view item »

Monotonprodukt 07

We wanted to give this album of the week when we first got it but they sold out too quickly so here we are again! Here's Brian's review for the black vinyl but we now have white vinyl left! This sounded utterly brilliant when I read about it a while ago and still sounds like nothing el...view item »

The Lost Tapes

Here's Phil's review for the original 3CD version in the box which is now gone. It’s a well known fact that Can are the best band that have ever existed. They’re a band that I’ve spent more time with than pretty much any other and over the last 20 or ...view item »

Mount Eerie
Ocean Roar

Phil Elverum has been a busy lad lately. His most recent album ‘Clear Moon’ was a critical triumph and as far as I’m aware it sold pretty well too, and this week he has not one but FOUR new records landing in our office! You’d think he&rsqu...view item »

JJ Doom
Key To The Kuffs

I had high, high hopes for this album, Doom having blown me away with projects such as Madvillain, Operation Doomsday & Mmm Food as well as Viktor Vaughn. I'd also enjoyed Jneiro Jarels work on Kindred Spirits ...view item »

Cliff Martinez / Various
Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The film Drive was one of the big success stories of 2011 but it was the soundtrack that really interested me. I’ve heard it played out a little recently and was super pleased when I heard Geoff Barrow’s Invada lab...view item »

Divorce (Album)

Glasgow mentalists Divorce have been doing the rounds for a bit now, teasing us with all manner of juicy singles full of scratchy, unhinged psychopunk clatterings, but only now have they finally got round to dropping a full album of their anarchic disc-sander-to-the-face rantings. It’s f...view item »

Breakup Song

The first thing you notice about the mighty Deerhoof’s latest long-player is the drum sound. A booming, thunderous, disjointed skronk big beat shithouse that propels us through the majority of the album, where the now-legendary quartet rom...view item »

Chris Cohen
Overgrown Path

Cohen is, according to the press release, “the child of a former music business executive and a former Broadway actress”. Nice genes if you can get ‘em. ‘Overgrown Path’ reaches into my ears with slimy exploratory tendrils ...view item »

Andy Stott
Luxury Problems

When I heard the Stottster was featuring guest vocals by his ex-piano teacher on his latest big record I gawped at the press release and re-read it about three times in disbelief. Had he lost his marbles or was he talking the piss? Well, neither it seems. Alison Skidmore has indeed got a lovely voice. Wheth...view item »

The xx

Well well well. I knew I was right about these being something special like, but I never expected their post-modern take on the sensitive indie-soul of Everything But The Girl to be quite the world-beater it has been. Then again the vocalistic dynamic between the girl Romy and ...view item »

Pye Corner Audio
Sleep Games

Here is a much-needed vinyl re-press of Pye Corner Audio's 2012 era opus on Ghost Box. This is a supremely eerie batch of warming nostalgia-synth from the self styled Head Technician. Influenced by John Carpenter and Italo horror films, this is a dreamy odyssey of analogue synths with fragments of underground te...view item »

Dean Blunt And Inga Copeland
Black Is Beautiful

Looks like it's my responsibility to come up with some insights into the current output from Dean Blunt And Inga Copeland a.k.a Hype Williams. Kinda curious as to why they're not using their proper name anymore. It'd be sad if...view item »

Bend Beyond

Wasn't sure about this latest album from this influential NY bunch on first listen but after around six or seven plays it is knocking the stuffing out of my mind with its laconic psychedelic beauty and freewheeling charm. It's possibly their finest work since 2010's 'At Echo Lake' to these ears ...view item »

Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras & The Congos
FRKWYS Vol. 9 : Meet The Congos

Yeaaaaah boiii!! I'm a fan of this FRKWYS series that RVNG have been doing (for the uninitiated, this is a series of records which pairs up modern day artists with the pi...view item »


Quakers are a hip hop collective boasting 35 members and produced by Portishead's Geoff Barrow. The collective includes some big names who rap over some great beats, I think the 50 something track album, as with many hip hop albums, really shines from a rhythm perspective more than lyrically where it can occasionally feel a little limp. G...view item »

Cold Pumas
Persistent Malaise

Cold Pumas are one of a huge great crop of exceptional youthful DIY bands appearing in the UK lately with variously weighted mixes of ‘90s lo-fi indie, kraut-psych and noise-pop for what’s turning into quite a defined hypnofuzz aesthetic...Saun...view item »


Geoff “Portishead” Barrow of Portishead fame has been a busy lad lately, what with his massive hip-hop Quakers thing and his synthy Dredd-fest...view item »

Tame Impala

I’ve got a massive soft spot for these lads. I was a bit late getting to the first album and I only heard it about a year or so after it came out. I saw loads of folks were going nuts for it and I had to check it out (I am occasionally a bit sheepy). I liked it! So I&rsq...view item »


Much needed re-issue of the debut LP from these Austin based electronic wizards, two of whom went on to compose the soundtrack to 'Stranger Things'. Back in 2012 though they were combining vintage and modern synthesisers to concoct their original brand of atmospheric soundtrack influenced compositions. Very influential record this one. ...view item »

The Skies

Oh wow. Where the hell did these guys come from? The sleeve art for this album is sexy as all hell, with a die-cut front cover which you can mix and match with the four different sides of the inner sleeves. Desire have teamed up with French label Clapping Music for this vinyl edition whic...view item »

Ty Segall

How can a band be so damn prolific but also responsible for so many consistently great records? Segall is kinda like The Stones to fellow travellers Thee Oh Sees’ Beatles, to carv...view item »

Neneh Cherry & The Thing
The Cherry Thing

A collaboration between someone who has actually had a hit and a Scandinavian free jazz trio? Surely not… But then Neneh Cherry has never been a straightforward pop star. And said jazzsters The Thing were inspired to form by Cherry’s father, Don Cherry, so actually there is sen...view item »

Motorpsycho and Stale Storlokken
The Death Defying Unicorn

Aaaaaaaaaargh!!! Whoooo!! Holy shit am I glad to have this baby in the office finally. The weeks since I found out it was dropping have been sheer the point where I actually caved and ordered a copy to be shipped over from Germany, where it was released a little earlier. If yo...view item »

The Intelligence
Everybody's Got It Easy But Me

Fucking yes! I love these guys and it’s always a treat for me when they drop something new. I was actually starting to fear they’d split up because it’s been like two years since they last released something. Not something I’d normally worry about but they’d put o...view item »

Peaking Lights

Well our Ant wrote a bleedin' thesis on their last excursion. I'm not gonna attempt anything like that for 936's successor especially when this laptop I'm using/cursing is being such an utter spiteful bastard. I saw them in the alternately tattooed and slinky flesh the other d...view item »

World Music

The debut record by insane Swedish rockers Goat, highly recommended for everybody who loves squealing guitars, screaming ladies, and catchy afrobeat grooves. Combining psychedelic rock with lots of ethnic rhythms, World Music scored highly in many of 2012’s end-of-the-year lists. Great volumes of tribal distortion...view item »

The Seer

As the current incarnation of Swans draws to a close, here’s the second studio album by that version of the band, from 2012. Michael Gira assembled a lineup of veterans like Norman Westberg and new blood including Thor Harris, guest spots from the likes of Karen O...view item »