2012 has been another amazing year for music. So much variety. So many bands pushing things forward and taking music in new directions.

My music taste is pretty diverse as many readers will know. From hardcore, punk and alternative rock to electronic music, experimental indie, singer/songwriters, extreme metal and even the occasional pop record. Something for every mood.

Below are just some of my favourite albums from this year. In the best order of preference I could come up with. You may find something you like you’d never heard of before. You will almost certainly disagree strongly with some of the choices. You may wonder why certain albums are missing. Unlike apparently everyone else on the planet, I never really got into the Frank Ocean album.

Many of these bands I’ve been lucky enough to photograph this year too. It’s not a bad job this!

Special mention needs to go to the Ben Howard & James Vincent McMorrow albums. I listened to both tons this year. Partly cos my kids also love Ben. They never made the list as they were released in 2011.

I’d love to hear what your favourite albums of the year were. Let me know in the comments section :)

Here’s to an amazing year for music in 2014….

1. Deftones – Koi Yo Nokan

Pure quality pouring from every song. Nobody sounds like Deftones except Deftones. This album has pretty much been on repeat since it was released a couple of months ago.

2. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur

The first amazing album of 2012, Kathleen, with a little help from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, took her sound to a new level on this album. I caught her live 5 times this year and my portraits of her made it onto magazine covers and tour ads.

3. Alt-J ∆ – An Awesome Wave

Deserved winners of this year’s Mercury Prize, Alt-J produced an album which took music in a completely unique direction, pushing boundaries and making a collection of beautifully crafted tunes which get better with repeated listening. Awesome, indeed.

4. The Chariot – One Wing

Easily one of the most exciting, artistic, dangerous, daring and life-affirming bands on the planet. One Wing is as messed up, chaotic and just plain weird as it is absolute genius.

5. Silversun Pickups – Neck Of The Woods

A band who continue to fly under the radar in the UK despite putting out yet another superb album. One for fans of The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth etc.

6. Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

One of my favourite bands released yet another brilliant set of in-your-face anthems. Like being asked to dance and then thrown against the wall… in a good way.

7. Bear Colony – Soft Eyes

I almost missed this amazing album. Recommended by Corey from Norma Jean, this is an expansive but also quite beautiful record which I’m still discovering.

8. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

The best metal band on the planet. Simple as that. Progressive, intelligent, experimental, technical and truly immense. On top of that they’re astonishingly good live.

9. School Of Seven Bells – Ghostory

Hauntingly beautiful and hypnotic, Ghostory is an album which I’ve played so much in 2012, often whilst driving. The track Scavengers is one of my tunes of the year.

10. Hot Water Music – Exister

Just when I thought I knew what to expect from Hot Water Music, they totally raise their game and release one of their best albums ever!

11. Jessie Ware – Devotion

Another album which almost passed me by. Best experienced late at night with the lights dimmed, there are some brilliantly layered songs here and Jessie’s voice is sublime.

12. While She Sleeps – This Is The Six

Uplifting and positive without losing any of its ferocity, While She Sleeps are leading the new breed of great British rock bands. Surpassing everyone’s expectations.

13. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

While this may not be their best album, Handwritten is still classic Gaslight with enough soaring, uplifting songs to make it a fine addition to their catalogue.

14. The Maccabees – Given To The Wild

It would have been so easy for The Maccabees to have played the safe card and ended up being just another indie band but they went their own path and, especially with this album, became a truly amazing and important band.

15. Parkway Drive – Atlas

Australia’s angriest surfer dudes. Parkway Drive expand their sound even further and continue their path to becoming the world’s first arena-filling metalcore band.

16. Glen Hansard – Rhythm & Repose

The Oscar-winning singer from The Frames finally gets around to releasing a solo album. Saw him opening for Eddie Vedder in July and these songs sounded so so good live.

17. Soundgarden – King Animal

Their comeback could easily have been a total let down. It was anything but. Still weird and experimental enough to stand apart from your average band of multi-million selling rock gods.

18. Hildamay – Miles Away

I knew this album would be worth checking out but it was so much better than I even expected. Gritty, sweaty and passionate rock n roll.

19. Cold Specks – I Predict A Graceful Expulsion

I do have a fondness for Canadian girls living in the UK 😉 She’s been compared to Adele, amongst others, but this is something quite unique. Such a stunning voice!

20. Upon A Burning Body – Red. White. Green.

It doesn’t get much more ferocious than this. Brutal stuff yet still intricate and with melody where it’s needed. Not an album for dinner parties.

21. Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living

22. Obey The Brave – Young Blood

23. Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

24. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

25. Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock

26. Billy Talent – Dead Silence

27. Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives

28. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again

29. Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania

30. Dave Matthews Band – Away From The World

So… what were your favourite albums of this year?????
Did I miss anything?
Leave a comment….

6 responses to “My Albums Of 2012”

  1. Bear Colony says:

    Thanks for including us in such an amazing list! We are very honored. Take care.

  2. Looks like you have been having some good fun.

  3. Nikki says:

    Soundgarden quite far down the list! I agree with Silversun pickups…Not quite sure why they haven’t broken the UK really… but kinda glad too.

    I have no idea what my albums would be. Shamefully dont listen to anywhere near as much music as I would like. But I do like the Slash album… know you are shaking your head from there… :-)

  4. Simon says:

    Thanks Steve, a few there I need to investigate. My album of the year (and in my top three gigs of the year) is Turbonegro, they capture that dirty, men in bad make-up, dancable sleaze of 80s LA in a new and slightly uncomfortable new Nordic way with Sexual Harassment. (And it sounds even better whilst wearing a sailor hat).

  5. Gareth says:

    Cool list, some new stuff to check out for me. But where are Alabama Shakes? Fantastic band.

  6. Deffo agree with Deftones at number one, still playing in on repeat myself and can’t wait to see them again in Feb. Soundgarden would have been higher in my list but I don’t I could make a list as I just don’t make enough effort to listen to new bands these days, if I did new year’s resolutions that would be one!

    I will have a listen to a few of these though and will let you know if any grab me for further listening!

    keep up the good work

    JC

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