2012 Albums of the Year: Part One #15 – #11

12 Dec

2012 Albums of the Year 15 to 11

After counting down our favourite tracks and favourite EPs of 2012, it’s high time we started our look at the albums that we fell in love with over the last 12 months.

Last year we listed 50 albums over two days, which was frankly bonkers, so this year we are aiming for something much more manageable. Having looked at 20 tracks and 10 EPs, we thought we’d split the difference and go with 15 albums. We will countdown five albums each day over the next three days and reveal our choice for number one on Friday, when we will also list out a few albums that didn’t quite make the final 15, just for fun.

As with the tracks and EPs, this is a list of favourites and reflects our somewhat eclectic tastes. Trust us when we say, you are unlikely to find a list like this anywhere else. It’s one reason we love music as much as we do, everyone has a different opinion and we can introduce each other to new sounds all the time.

Here are numbers 15 to 11 on our albums of the year list.

15. Professor Penguin – Planes

Professor Penguin

Melody is King of this soundscape and the horns, strings, keys, drums, vocals etc merely subjects sworn to its allegiance. The 10 tracks swim effortlessly along and each arrangement is as soft and dreamy as the last. It is no wonder the guys have been attracting the attention of 6Music and Brian Eno. With each listen more and more of the depth and beauty is revealed, the subtly and emotion of the lyrics unfold before you, drawing you still deeper into its warm and inviting embrace. Take your time with this, listen properly and without distraction and you will be rewarded.

Buy it from: Professor Penguin

14. Save The Clocktower – Through The Glass

Save The Clocktower - Through The Glass

We love good pop music, our tracks and EP lists show that much, so it pretty much goes without saying we love Through The Glass which is dripping in psychedelic pop dancibility. Save The Clocktower have created rich and bold sounds that holding their head high, big smiles beaming on their faces. “Better Than Ever”, for example, which features guest vocals from Company Of Thieves’ Genevieve Schatz, has a sweet hook and a chorus that borders on anthemic. It embraces the best of pop, from across the genres. At every turn there are wafts of half remembered melodies or beats from the past. This element of familiarity no doubt helps the record get under the skin of the listener but it is the never ending mobius-groove running throughout that will get you. Even on slower jams like “It Happens” there is still enough to have you swaying from side to side, if not singing along loudly and joyously.

Buy it from: Save The Clocktower

13. Jack Robert Hardman – Jack Robert Hardman

'Jack Robert Hardman' Artwork

Our very own letter ‘H’, Jack is currently gathering a great deal of attention from the music world for his track, “Plymouth”, and with good reason. Its feather-soft, ethereal feeling washes over you and soothes your soul. Before “Plymouth” though, came the eponymous debut album from which it is taken and quite the superb piece of song-smithing it is. Building on the classic 3minute pop song mantra and using his musical magpie tendencies to pluck elements from the world around him and craft them into something entirely new. Stylistically he is able to jump around without ever jarring or leaving the listener confused. Be it “Famous”, a Simon & Garfunkel-esque ballad of cracked beauty, or “Lights of London”, a light near-dance track that is full of bounce, or even the playful and utterly charming “Conveyor Belt Of Love”, Jack takes us gently with him leading us along his musical mosaic.

Buy it from: iTunes

12. The Penelopes – Never Live Another Yesterday

The Penelopes Never Live Another Yesterday

Never Live Another Yesterday is an album crammed with futuristic jams built on retro foundations. Full of energy and effervescence, our French heroes have taken their 80s electro influences and blitzed them with a soupcon of Gallic flair and vibrant pop hooks. “Sally In The Galaxy” and “Now Now Now”, in particular, are fantastically catchy and danceable, the kind of tracks that you can’t get enough of on a summers day, driving in the car with the windows down and not a care in the world. The male/female harmonies are rich and infectious, with lead singer Axel’s quiet gruffness complemented perfectly by the sweetness of Laura Kidd’s backing. In a year of many great pop records, The Penelopes have produced a cracker that stands up there with the best of them and which deserves multiple and repeated plays.

Buy it from: Amazon

11. Adrian Younge – Something About April

Somthing About April

Recorded as if it was the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist, Something About April is modern soul at its very best. It’s crammed with reference points that ring out across the generations of what would now be called urban music. Crooning 50’s vocals, 60’s Motown, deep and fuzzy beats, 70’s funk, hip-hop and dance, all are bursting from within this multifaceted and deeply wonderful album. We also love picking out some of the melodious homages within the tracks ( The Godfather theme and The Beatles are our favourites). Originally released last year in the US and beyond, it earns its place on our list by virtue of its summer 2012 release here in the UK. We may have got to it later than everyone else but that just makes us appreciate its soulful grooviness even more.

Buy it from: Amazon

So that was part one, come back tomorrow for part two where we will reveal who made it to numbers 10 – 6.

4 Responses to “2012 Albums of the Year: Part One #15 – #11”

  1. name not supplied December 29, 2012 at 20:35 #

    I saw the Penelopes, and I really liked their music, glad that made your list


  1. 2012 Albums of the Year: Part Two #10 – #6 « Alphabet Bands - December 14, 2012

    […] Here we are again, on an album countdown extravaganza. It’s part two of our three-part look at our 15 favourite albums of the year. Today we will be revealing who took the number 10 – 6 spots (numbers 15 – 11 are here). […]

  2. 2012 Albums of the Year: Part Three #5 – #1 « Alphabet Bands - December 15, 2012

    […] Numbers 15 – 11 15. Professor Penguin – Planes 14. Save The Clocktower – Through The Glass 13. Jack Robert Hardman – Jack Robert Hardman 12. The Penelopes – Never Live Another Yesterday 11. Adrian Younge – Something About April […]

  3. 2012 Review – The Lists « Alphabet Bands - December 17, 2012

    […] Numbers 15 – 11 15. Professor Penguin – Planes 14. Save The Clocktower – Through The Glass 13. Jack Robert Hardman – Jack Robert Hardman 12. The Penelopes – Never Live Another Yesterday 11. Adrian Younge – Something About April […]

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