End of Year Top Tens are for the Brave

And I’m not one of them. Simply put, I can barely state my favourite artists when asked without reeling off a list that shames Santa’s directory of addresses to visit. So just assume that every artist blogged about here made the list and in the mean time, here’s an extremely brief array of sounds that I wish I had more time to chat about (obviously in no particular because that’s just far too much pressure).

The Lumineers

If you’ve been following, you’ll be well aware that folk to definitely the most talked about genre here. So it pains me greatly that I didn’t make time to review one of the most gloriously uplifting folk bands of the year which is strange because they formed due to the loss of Jeremiah Fraites brother, James, through drugs. Ten years passed and a fantastic debut LP was released. ‘Flowers In Your Hair’ is one of the most enchanting openers of 2012. If its jovial, feel-good vibes doesn’t entice you, please ensure you can still see yourself in the mirror.

Cold Specks

The sound is self-described as ‘doom soul’ but you’ll also hear elements of indie-folk and blues. There’s not much to say except that Cold Specks produces one of the most powerful sounds of 2012. It’s a crowded scene but Al Spx manages to stand out effortlessly.

Allo Darlin’

For someone who had an unhealthy love affair with indie pop/rock, I’d be the first to admit that the genre hasn’t quite captured the dizzying heights of the early noughties. But that’s not to say people haven’t tried, you only need to look as far as The Vaccines to see that the genre still has energy. Australia’s Allo Darlin’ have been giving it a fair old crack as well centred around the talented fulcrum that is singer/songwriter Elizabeth Morris. ‘Capricornia’ is twee pop at its finest.

First Aid Kit

I simply couldn’t leave out Swedish sister duo Johanna & Klara Söderberg could I? 2012 saw their second LP exude its woodsy folk with more confidence than ever. Let me put it this way, if you’re sick of record labels stifling creativity and progression *cough* Mumford *cough* then First Aid Kit must just be for you. This little lion roars louder. (I would embed their whole album but I’m currently lacking the effort to find it).

Night Beds

Amatorski

I’m falling in love with Belgium on an exponential scale. Named after the polish word for ‘amateur’, Amatorski are far from recreational having already been compared to Portishead and Sigur Ros. Their lo-fi interpretation of post-rock is enthralling at the very least and ethereal from every angle. You may not understand the lyrics but that just means more of your attention is lavished upon its layers of delicate textures.

Holy Other

I’ll be honest. I let this one slip under the radar until quite recently. Normally, the cliché ‘better late than never’ would spurt out like any other pathetic knee-jerk reaction but not this time. Being an insomniac, the dark, spacious sounds of Holy Other is more than enough to make those endless sleepless nights more bearable. The mysterious, brooding tones is compounded further by his insistence on remaining faceless by never showing it on album covers and performing with a mask (it’s actually more like a rag draped over his head).

Port St. Willow

Yet another producer who has weaved a unerringly assured debut album that twists and turns. The thing I like more about producers compared to bands is that they know exactly catalogue of intriguing sounds are doing. Thus when it comes to putting the album together, it is rarely just a collection of tracks but more like a narrative (Adolescent comes to mind here). As a result, highlights are strategically placed with closers often being the artist’s final display of absolute grandeur. ‘Consumed’ is that final track which lingers long after your synapse have finished buzzing at its splendour.

I could go on but I have to stop somewhere, otherwise the list will start amalgamating with next year’s. It’s a shame because every year a wealth of new artists and albums crop up with every intention of pricking your ears. But unfortunately, I only have two and with limited time mindlessly browsing the web there are bound to be some embarrassing omissions.

Let’s hope 2013 produces some auditory highlights (I’m sure it will) so we can gratify our ears with delightful sounds. Oh and Happy New Year!

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