To be honest, 2012 wasn’t really a year of music discovery for me, I’ve listened to plenty of stuff with Spotify, but for some reason I just didn’t notice that much new music, and stuck mostly with a handful of albums that I really liked this year. Regardless I’d like to share my favourite albums of 2012. And because music is totally subjective and dependent on your mood, here’s a list of the 5 albums I have the most to say about right now, in no particular order.
Here We Go Magic - A Different Ship
After coincidentally seeing them live at a tiny festival in Rotterdam a couple of years back, I’ve steadily been becoming a bigger fan of these guys. I’ve noticed I’ve become quite the fan of music that has some Krautrock influence in it, and that combined with the overall warm sound and dense layers makes me a very happy listener. When I heard that that Nigel Godrich had produced their new album, I got even more excited. I love this album.
Some random words of excitement™: dat BASS, sonic climaxes, warm, drums
Purity Ring - Shrines
Even though the songs might sound kind of similar, I’ve really been digging this album. A lot of this love is from a sonic perspective; I haven’t really heard anything like it before, not to mention that the album sounds amazing (especially on good speakers / headphones). The lyrics are interesting, the live show is unique, production is great. I liked it.
RWOE: shiny, interesting, grandma the water is rising
Efterklang - Piramida
I learned of Efterklang through colleagues at some point last year, but except for one or two songs I never really listened to them. Piramida, however, got my attention fairly quickly after a couple of listens. It’s a calm record, but it has a warm sound as well. I got a bit of a Peter Gabriel-ish vibe with some songs.
RWOE: calm, uplifting, interesting sounds, falsettos
Coincidentally, while working on SoundCloud’s new jobs page, testing the audio testimonies on there, and listening to the song “Dreams Today”, it all sounded pretty much like a future Apple commercial. I had a good laugh when Apple presented the new Macbook Pro ad and it actually featured this song.
Chairlift - Something
I completely missed out on their first album. To me, Chairlift was still this band from that little song “Bruises”. I don’t recall how I discovered their latest album, but it’s been a pleasant surprise. It’s full of catchy songs with some of the most interesting/weird synth sounds I’ve heard. Most of the excitement here has settled already, but I still think it’s worth a place on this list.
RWOE: “holy vocal range, batman!”, interesting sounds, poppy
Ultraísta - Ultraísta
I can’t deny that I probably discovered this band through my appreciation for Nigel Godrich as a producer, but I don’t really see it as his band. The song Smalltalk caught me a bit off guard in it’s catchiness, but I was hooked pretty quickly. Similarly to Purity Ring, Ultraísta has a (probably deliberately) limited sonic palette, but it’s a palette that I really like. Again, sonically it sounds awesome. The synths sound big, yet not cheesy, the drum patterns are complicated, yet subtle, vocal style is interesting. I was fortunate enough to talk to the band after their Berlin gig, which was a first for me.
RWOE: that synths!, nice drums, layers!
So what do we take from this? I like well produced things, I guess. Another thing is that music for me has been kinda lacking in guitars this year.
So what’s up for next year? I don’t think that trend will stop, I’ll probably be listening to a lot of electronic music in 2013 again. I’m curious to hear more from Atoms For Peace and CHVRCHES in the beginning of the year. Hopefully there will be some more guitar-driven music as well, electronic or not. See you next year.