Sunday, 23 December 2012

Best Albums Of 2012 - 10 - 1

Time to complete the Scottish Fiction 'Best Albums of 2012' countdown.  With numbers 20 to 11 being unveiled earlier in the week, it's down to the business end of the chart.  Rumour has it Scottish musicians have been crouched at their laptops in anticipation, as they vie amongst themselves for the coveted title of Scottish Fiction's Best Album of 2012.

Then again maybe not...

Some facts and figures about this years list.  Seminal label Chemikal Underground account for a fifth of the albums on the list.  There's two self released records (to the best of my knowledge).  There's only two ladies (although some bands include the fairer sex) in the form of Jo Mango and Rachel Sermanni.  Half of the list is début albums, including three albums which come from 'solo projects' or 'side projects' and there's two self titled efforts.  There's one Englishman on the list (the horror!) and four, yes FOUR, albums released on the same day; 17th September.

So without further ado, here is numbers 10 to 1 in our countdown.  Go forth and enjoy!

10. The Yawns - The Yawns

Released on Bandcamp at the end of October, and with a physical released on vinyl and tape lined up for January (see the next Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs, Peenko gig for more details on this!) this self titled album from The Yawns may turn out to be 2012's Happy Particles.  Released with almost no fanfare, it's won it's way into the hearts of bloggers and muso commentaries alike with it's breezy, indie-twee appeal.  Fans of Camera Obscura, Teenage Fanclub, et al. will thoroughly enjoy.

(Buy the album here)

9. Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts In Snow

When album preview track 'Beetle In The Box' first surfaced back in January, then followed by lead single 'The Paper Trench' in April I was champing at the bit to hear the album.  At the time I though it was slightly suffering from second album syndrome, but nearly six months later it's a solid offering from one of Scotland's best indie-folk bands.  Tracks such as 'Guest Of The Government', 'Old Fools', 'Isn't This World Enough' and the above mentioned singles, cement 'Tree Bursts In Snow' as a worthy inclusion in this end of year list.

(Buy the album here)

8. Errors - Have Some Faith In Magic

Back with their third album, three piece electronic rockers Errors made more strides in just how bloody good they sound.  Again released via Mogwai's Rock Action Records label, 'Have Some Faith In Magic' dropped on 30th January and has been a mainstay in the Scottish Fiction record player ever since.  There all sorts of electronic wizardry at work as Errors impress with shimmering shoegaze, blazing electro-pop, and exploring synths.  2012 was a great year for the band as they also released to much acclaim EP (or album I'm not sure!) 'New Relics'.

(Buy the album here)

7. Miaoux Miaoux - Light Of The North

Cue gasps.  The scandal!  Yes Miaoux Miaoux, a.k.a Julian Corrie comes from Nottingham, however since having relocated to Glasgow in 2010, having spent time in the city earlier for a BBC placement, he's become a kind of sacred figure within the Glasgow music 'scene'.  Energetic live shows across the city's venues (Corrie has the energy of a Energiser Bunny on speed, switching from guitar to synth to vocals whilst fiddling a gazillion buttons and switches in between), self released singles and a release with Gerry Loves Records, a host of remixes, all culminated with 'Light Of The North' being released via Chemikal Underground.  This album is an absolute joy to listen to, there's so much creativity packed into these ten songs, the promise of more to come means Miaoux Miaoux is a name to watch out for.

(Buy the album here)

6. The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know

Three albums in and the boys from Kilsyth change tact, dropping the 'wall of sound' for synths.  No one can deny that The Twilight Sad require a little effort.  They are not, and much to their credit, a band who tag along with the latest fad.  For established fans, 'No One Can Ever Know' gives a slight tweak on their sound revelaing a new facet of a rough piece of coal to examine.  For new listeners, well you've stumbled across their finest work to date.  'Another Bed', 'Sick', 'Kill It In The Morning', 'Dead City', all are glorious examples of how to make music.

(Buy the album here)

5. Rachel Sermanni - Under Mountains

That magic date 17th September again.  I will never tire of saying how I became captivated by Rachel Sermanni the first time I heard her on stage in Edinburgh in support of Admiral Fallow.  I will never tire of watching her gain in stature and confidence as a performer.  I will never tire of proclaim the beauty of her voice and the subtle wit of her lyrics.  And I will never tire of listening to her long awaited (but well worth the wait) début album 'Under Mountains'.

(Buy the album here)

4. Stanley Odd - Reject

In 'Reject' Stanley Odd have an album which rivals the beats, rhymes and hooks of anyone operating in the genre of hip-hop right now.  And further to that they are not afraid to mix in other genres too, and hold up a truthful mirror in many respects.  This album contains many moments of brilliance for those willing to listen, including my favourite lyric of 2012, "putting an x in the box says you're watching back'.  A wonderful introduction to the Scottish hip-hop community.

(Buy the album here)

3.RM Hubbert - Thirteen Lost & Found

For those not already acquainted with RM Hubbert, his second album 'Thirteen Lost & Found' offers an excellent opportunity to ease yourself into his work.  Début LP 'First & Last' won't be for everyone, but the very heart of this LP is still the raw beauty and emotion that is conveyed by Hubbert's music.  Given that all this stems from Hubbert using music to deal with issues that have affected his life, it reinforces the power of music to communicate.  It also features one of my favourite tracks of 2012, 'Car Song'.

(Buy the album here)

2. Django Django - Django Django

I said at the time when I reviewed the album on the blog, that it would be hard to top.  And so it's proved, as Django Django and their Mercury nominated self titled début album takes the title of 'best of the rest'.  Number two on our list for a behemoth of an album.  Quirky, inventive, fun, jerky, influences from electronica, pop, Afro-beat, reggae, surf rock, and barrels more. 

(Buy the album here)

1. PAWS - Cokefloat!

In the end it was a tough choice, but I've plumped for the stunning début from PAWS, which was released via Fat Cat Records on 8th October.  There's so much to love about 'Cokefloat!'.  From it's acid inspired album art (taken from a comic strip 'Cokefloat!' by Jess Penfold), to it's punk and garage rock influenced sound, to the real and raw emotion conveyed in almost every track.  It's an album that packs a punch, as lead singer Philip doesn't hold back from taking about his mother's death, feelings of anger, abandonment, and loss.  Musically it draws from a rich vein of punk and garage rock, delivering a frenzied stramash of guitars, distortion and drums.  Wonderful stuff! 

(Buy the album here)

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