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Apollo's Bounteous Harvest: The Quietus Albums Of The Year 2012
Luke Turner , December 30th, 2012 13:35

Don't let the naysayers drag you down - we are currently living in a great age for music in myriad, fractured forms. Many of them can be found here, in our reductive and subjective list of the Quietus' favourite albums of 2012

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As you read, listen to a Spotify playlist of our albums of the year here.

If the apocalyptic Mayans are proved to be correct, this is the final Quietus albums of the year before we all collectively shuffle off into the void. After this, any future civilisation will have to try and pick up what was going on in the final year of humanity's existence via bits of radio transmissions and perhaps the odd pixel splatted over a flying chunk of rock. If one of those clues happened to be from the Quietus HQ in Seven Sisters, what might they surmise? 

For those of you who have joined our parish in 2012, and missed past Quietus polls (this is our fifth - The Bug's London Zoo was the first 'victor' in 2008), these are profoundly undemocratic affairs, decided by what John Doran, Rory Gibb and myself have been listening to in the office at home, and on our perambulations. I can't speak for the others, but for me my personal albums of the year aren't dictated for by what ought to be in there, or for any consideration of expectation of my peers, but simply on what has excited, moved and thrilled me over the past 12 months. Music is subjective - we just take that to its logical extreme, and an attempt to deliberately engineer a more 'balanced' list would merely make it more bland, give us less room to point you in the way of the music that we love. And much as we love pop, we're not going to shoehorn some in when contemporary chart music is doing a decent impersonation of Orwell's boot smashing into a human face for all eternity. This year, we've decided to expand our list from 50 albums to 75 simply because there was so much that we wanted to include - our nerves are frayed and our systems overloaded enough without the prospect of calamitous infighting as to what ought to be dropped off in favour of what else. Frustratingly, I've just remembered two records (Malka Spigel's Everyday Is Like That First Day and Pegasvs' self-titled debut) that I am kicking myself for not including. There will be more.

2012 has certainly seen us with less shared albums than we've ever had before. This is in part to do with us not being in the same place all that much, what with John's work tutoring his infant son in the ways of righteousness and Rory engaging in medical experiments to see if he can absorb humus by osmosis. But divergent tastes are not all the story. Once again, despite the woe-era and the naysayers, and the tedious reprints of "is guitar music dead?" features, this has been yet another fantastic year for music. Every year when we look at our poll we don't pat ourselves on the back with how clever we've been (that's for the naysayers to do inversely when they post below how we must have made the bands up / call us hipsters) but more raise our arms to Apollo and praise him for another bounteous harvest. 

Back to the Mayans. Theirs was, like many highly religious societies, an eschatological approach to history, seeking to define all with a beginning, middle and end. Much is the same with music, the media, and music criticism, with most outlets continuing to chew over the dry old bone of the 60s to diminishing returns, or looking for artists who'll remind them of those glory days, of those of punk, or hip-hop, or, bizarrely, Britpop. To those complaining that music is in a period of terminal cultural decline I say listen to these records below, and come back next year - if you're still around. Music has already undergone a kind of apocalypse, and this fragmentation means there is no longer a dominant cultural narrative, but so what? 

This is a glorious muddle, where artistry, commitment and following odder paths increasingly win out and demand attention - hence Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti's two entries in our top ten, or Scott Walker's Bish Bosch which arguably should be in a category all of its own.  Carter Tutti Void's Transverse, winner of our Jovian Bow Shock non-Mercury Prize, is a record that for something the participants weren't even sure was being recorded (at Mute's Short Circuit Festival) yet has touched a real nerve, entering many end of year list as well as ours. While on the subject of Mute, they've had a great year with CTV, VCMG, Land Observations and Liars all making this list, and surely more to come in our reissues etc poll next week. But they're the prime example of how to run a label in this climate, by doing what you believe in rather than second guessing what the audience might want. It's riskier, but it brings so much greater reward - while handily stopping us from getting bored. Mute aren't the only ones, of course. I think this year we see the most labels ever represented in the poll, less than a one-handed finger count of which are majors - there might be a few frauds lurking in there  - which shows that it's those people operating on a wing and a prayer who are investing in the most forward-thinking new music. 

Now, last week we were amused to be included in Vice's ever entertaining albums of the year countdown, thus: "36. Album that everyone suddenly seems to be talking about like they've been into it for ages, despite the fact that you've never heard anyone other than the Quietus say a damned word about it, and never will again after 31 December." As comparing albums in an end of year poll is essentially as pointless as comparing surgical saws (see above), fantastical beasts (2011), mammals of old (2010), aircraft silhouettes (2009) or Finnish lighthouses (2008) we hope you see this list for what it is - a chance to chuck as much music as possible as possible in your direction. For remember, no matter what those cheeky folk at Vice might say, an LP is for life, not just to be read about on our site until just after Christmas.

2013 is the Quietus fifth anniversary as a website, and it already seems like this time next year we're going to be just as enthusiastic about what's gone before - who knows, Factory Floor might even have finished their record by then. But for now, if the Mayans are wrong and we are all still living breathing mortal humans on December 31st 2012, think of the present, refute the past, and deny the existence of any Golden Age. As music increasingly breaks apart and moves forward by reconfiguring into new forms, thankfully we can at last grind rose-tinted glasses into the stone under our heels. There is no such thing as a golden age, aside from the one you're living in. Here is the soundtrack to it... which can now be listened to as a Spotify playlist here.

75. Man Forever – Pansophical Cataract

"‘Ur Eternity’ features a nastier scratch of electronic noise hovering above the endless roll, like a Biblical plague where stampeding buffalo accompany a swarm of locusts toward your apocalypse. This is not listening for the faint eared: when, at 18:45 it ends with a click of stick on drum rim, the silence of The Void comes as blessed relief." Luke Turner

Read our review of Pansophical Cataract here

74. Six Organs Of Admittance - Ascent

"I think the key energy was just getting back together with a group of friends that hadn't all played music together in quite some time. The fact that we were all in Comets On Fire is sort of secondary to the fact that we have all played music for a long time and toured hard and knew each other pretty well sonically." Ben Chasny

Read our interview with Ben Chasny here

73. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

"His music is mercurial and personal, dancing away from genre and classicism. You can be a cult artist and have a million adherents to whom you are personal, elemental. This is what Leonard Cohen always was." Luke Turner

Read our review of Old Ideas here

72. Carlton Melton - Photos Of Photos

"Think Bardo Pond and the legendary jams they'd hold in a sealed garage with a block of hash cooking on the hibachi, think Funkadelic at their haziest and laziest - a steam bath of noise begging for your immersion." Stevie Chick

Read our review of Photos Of Photos here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

71. Guardian Alien - See The World Given To A One Love Entity

"Guardian Alien is concerned with opening the heart, healing, forgiveness, and visualizing and manifesting a new global compassion ... a single composition with a strong, singular vision." Guardian Alien

70. Goat – World Music

"The very fact that Goat have managed to reference the most readily identifiable audio outposts of 70s counterculture in one record without sounding camp, trite or silly is highly impressive ... The overall effect is seedy, funky, simply life affirming: and if it plays this vital on a drizzly Sunday night, lord knows what it'll sound like outdoors with a belly full of Guinness and shrooms." Harry Sword

Read our review of World Music here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

69. Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken – The Death Defying Unicorn

"'Through The Veil', taken from the first disc of this gargantuan double concept album, makes a bold grab for attention: finding Trondheim's Motorpsycho working with a series of classical and jazz musicians, including Supersilent's Ståle Storløkken, it chugs outwards through a majestic, mood-altering sixteen minutes of groove-driven psych rock. Elsewhere things get stranger still, passing through orchestral folk forms, brooding ambience, doomy riff-work and some truly preposterous prog-rock meltdowns. Great album title, too."

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

68. Devilman - Devilman

"How awesome would it be if all the kiddies with brostep slopping out of their car speakers replaced it with Devilman, and watched in amazement as their Volkswagens transformed into giant war mechs bristling with mind-pulping sonic weaponry?" Mat Colegate

Read our review of Devilman here

67. Mark Lanegan – Blues Funeral

"Though Lanegan baulks at the suggestion, he's always been a soul singer in the widest definition of the phrase. His is a voice that tells the tales of horrors and things that should not have been seen, much less done, and has lived to come out of the other side wizened, if not entirely unscarred." Julian Marzsalek

Read our review of Blues Funeral here

66. John Talabot – fIN

"Throughout, Talabot manages to audibly reference his dancefloor roots while avoiding sticking to a clubby music framework. Instead he takes a more impressionistic approach to his experiences as DJ and dancer, detaching melodies from the rhythm section, slowing them and allowing them to blur, seasick, into one another." Rory Gibb

Read our review of fIN here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

65. Bo Ningen – Line The Wall

"What's immediately apparent with this, their second album, is that Bo Ningen have built on the explosive calling card that was their eponymous debut with an almost indecent ease. This isn't to denigrate their efforts; this is a band with a sharp focus and a fertile imagination and one that is able to expand its sonic palette thanks to a greater mastery of their craft." Julian Marszalek

Read our review of Line The Wall here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

64. Sir Richard Bishop – Intermezzo

"On Intermezzo, Bishop leaves behind the Egyptian guitar lines of its Omar Khorshid-inspired predecessor [The Freak Of Araby] for warm six-string explorations in open tunings, folk, sun scorched raga, a bit of backwards tape experimentalism and plenty more besides." Richie Troughton

Read our interview with Sir Richard Bishop here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

63. Tim Burgess - Oh No I Love You

"Where Oh No I Love You is at, in a nutshell, is Lambchop circa their masterpiece, Nixon, but with that record's Mayfield soul stylings and Southern country twang transplanted, for the most part, to a small town English bedroom where a young man dreams of making records imbued with compassion, substance and romance." Wyndham Wallace

Read our review of Oh No I Love You here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

62. Rolo Tomassi – Astraea

"Rolo Tomassi are miles ahead of the game not just because they are constantly trying to break new ground but also because they have entered a nuclear arms race of progressiveness with their own back catalogue." John Doran

Read our review of Astraea here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

61. Angel Haze - Reservation

"On the chorus of 'New York', Angel Haze's signature cut from her recent EP Reservation, she intones "I run New York" over sparse loops and a skeletal beat. Unshakeable boastfulness may be a rapper's stock in trade, but the conviction with which the 21 year-old MC spits the line is borderline vitriolic, and she convinces." Laurie Tuffrey

Read our interview with Angel Haze here

60. New War - New War

"[Melissa Lock's] is the only guitar in the otherwise all-male four-piece, bred on punk and carried along a rhythm section that oscillates somewhere between the lowlife contortions of the Birthday Party and the jackhammer force of Erase Errata." Steph Kretowicz

Read our review of New War here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

59. Killing Joke – MMXII

"This record should silence any remaining doubters. It is as if a giant magnifying glass has been held shakily over the key elements of the band's time honoured sound, teasing them out of the delicious murk." Mick Middles

Read our review of MMXII here

58. Turbonegro - Sexual Harassment

"On 2007's Retox the band bore the distinct air of a party at around 7am, when only the heavyweights and the plain foolhardy are going the distance. Sexual Harassment has hammered back the clock ten hours chez Turbonegro, and the chink of ringpulls is heavy in the air." Jimmy Martin

Read our review of Sexual Harassment here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

57. Beak - >>

"'Yatton' sounds closer to Barrow's vision for the album of "trying to write some groove music". If that sounds like a naff 60s anachronism, don't worry – you'd be quite happy if the propulsive Neu!-isms worked up here were to go on for hours. The motorik rhythms continue on 'Spinning Top', adorned by Barrow's disembodied vocals, before it all dissolves in a satisfying blast of distorted guitars." Joe Clay

Read our review of >> here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

56. Forward Strategy Group - Labour Division

"As is so often the case with the finest British techno, there is a clam–fisted immediacy at play here, a palpable glee that permeates Labour Division." Harry Sword

Read our review of Labour Division here

55. The Pre New – Music For People Who Hate Themselves

"I feel sorry for people who are 30 something now. They had their whole Blur and Oasis thing in the mid 90s and now they've grown up and they're a bit lost really. These 30 somethings will never own houses, they'll never pay off their student loans and they'll never even have the magical musical moments in the same way as the rest of us." Jim Fry

Read our interview with Jim Fry here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

54. Black Breath – Sentenced To Life

"Do you know what? There just aren't enough bands like Black Breath. There aren't enough bands that make albums that are so full of crusty-as-fuck riffage that their sole purpose seems to be to make you want to crack open a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and headbang like a hillbilly in seizures from necking poisoned moonshine – and this is supposed to be their 'difficult second album'!" Toby Cook

Read Toby Cook's Columnus Metallicus here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

53. Burial - Kindred

"Why, when Kindred's opening title track flickers to life and those tiny slivers of human life immediately start to bob and weave in and out of frame, do Burial's productions still elicit such a powerful emotional response, despite operating within such an ostensibly familiar idiom?" Rory Gibb

Read our Kindred review here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

52. Hirsute Pursuit - Tighten That Muscle Ring

"No matter how many double "R"s R&B might like to add to dirty, Hirsute Pursuit's Tighten That Muscle Ring is hands down (stop sniggering at the back there) the most sexy and perverted album of 2012." Luke Turner

Read our review of Tighten That Muscle Ring here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

51. Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber

"Melody's Echo Chamber is a glorious album. Its success lies in the balance between Prochet's ability to break out of the (supposed) shackles of her structured classical composition education, while still delivering a suite of songs that are coherent, eminently listenable and blend lightness with dark foreboding." John Freeman

Read our review of Melody's Echo Chamber here

50. Robert Hood - Motor: Nighttime World 3

"The psychogeographical background to Robert Hood's new album is decline and regeneration in Detroit - and musically he rises to such grandiose themes. Motor: Nighttime World 3 is the most fully realised LP of his career, a truly epic journey that flows with beautiful poise. Track titles like 'The Exodos', 'Slow Motion Katrina', 'Drive (The Age Of Automation)' and 'Assembly' speak for themselves. Hood has put together here a triumphant and moving piece of motor city techno soul, boasting otherworldly production values that will have you shaking your head with wonder at its beautifully rendered intricacies." Harry Sword

Read our review of Motor: Nighttime World 3 here

49. Bee Mask - When We Were Eating Unripe Pears

"Of all the neo-kosmische/post-noise explorers whose balmy currents have lapped at our shores over the past few years, Chris Madak is among the few who seem hellbent on mapping out genuinely new territory. Like contemporaries on labels like PAN and Broken20, there's a rhythmic axis that beats - often near imperceptibly - beneath the vast floodplains and wandering paths of his music, ensuring that Bee Mask tracks tend to throb and seethe rather than aimlessly drifting. That kinetic energy also percolates upwards and bubbles out at the music's surface, where everything is in state of harried and erratic motion, like a still body of water shaken by a heavy shower of rain." Rory Gibb

Read our review of When We Were Eating Unripe Pears here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

48. John Foxx & The Maths - The Shape Of Things

"Foxx continues to deliver the best vocal form of his life, sounding like some kind of android with human lungs. Often, they sound like incantations or digital plainsong. The musician as cyborg was of course a popular trope of the synthpop era, but thirty years on Foxx is arguably one of the few artists to pull it off without sounding dated. No retro tour knackers yard for this beast. This vocal style is perfect for his thematic union of the personal and universal, giving a sense of both detachment and experience of unasked for pain." Luke Turner

Read our review of The Shape Of Things here

47. UFOmammut – ORO: Opus Primum/Alter

"There's a classic episode of The Simpsons in which Homer, after having lambasted every single entry in Springfield's annual chili cook-off, samples several of Chief Wiggum's 'Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango' and, as a result, proceeds to embark upon the most densely cosmic and hallucinatory journey imaginable. After encountering a giant snake, a psychedelic butterfly and accidentally breaking the sun, Homer's trip culminates in a deeply spiritual encounter with a space coyote who leads him to question the very foundations of his own existence. Now, in your minds, if you can replace the image of a space coyote with that of three imposing stoners with long hair and massive beards, you should be left with the visual equivalent to an ungodly slab of psychedelic doom metal that goes by the name of Opus Primum." Jack Pudwell

Read our review of ORO: Opus Primum here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

46. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

"Even on a surface level, good kid, m.A.A.d city comes across as an ambitious beast: a massively hyped major label album whose tracks frequently exceed the five-minute mark, pockmarked by answering machine messages from Lamar's parents, and whose beats wheel in tone from brash and swaggering to expressive and downright romantic. Indeed, it doesn't simply encourage careful listening - it necessitates it, thanks to the shifting layers of identity and narrative, both personal and societal, that weave their way through his lyrics. There's plenty to appreciate on an immediate level - the flat sub-bass thwacks of 'Backseat Freestyle' make it near-absurdly catchy and compulsively danceable - but each successive listen reveals new idiosyncrasies and flashes of lyrical and compositional intrigue."

45. Vindicatrix – Mengamuk

"Like Scott Walker, David Aird seems inhabited by his music, conveying a visceral physicality that also draws comparisons with the likes of Antony Hegarty and Marc Almond. He shares little of their romanticism however, instead proposing a bleak and unsettling vision, like something out of Tarkovsky's Stalker." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of Mengamuk here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

44. Traxman – Da Mind Of Traxman

"Sumptuous, grand, straight up soulful? This is footwork, Jim, but not as we know it." John Calvert

Read our review of Da Mind Of Traxman here

43. Toy – Toy

""Psychedelic" is too obvious, too restrictive a shorthand to describe Toy. But the term - widely deployed by journalists to date in attempting to sum up the band - is accurate as far as it goes. Almost every track on this debut LP is underpinned by a churning, disorienting fog of processed guitars, buried organ work and echo that testifies to their commitment to sensual derangement, visual as well as aural." Ben Graham

Read our review of Toy here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

42. Hexvessel - No Holier Temple

"I was brought up a Catholic, so I know about organised religion. I've always been interested in the occult and magick. I don't know how much you can say about practising magick, because I think it's something that's very personal and very subjective and I think this album is about that. It's about "When does magick become objective? When does religion become an objective thing? What does it mean to be holy?" It's all connected with nature and how we see ourselves in relation to the world around us." Matthew McNerny

Read our interview with Mat McNerney here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

41. Chromatics - Kill For Love

"'Kill For Love' is about those little pieces of you that die when somebody you love isn't around anymore for whatever reason - death, distance or breaking up. Part of me that they held or that we shared is gone. I kind of keep that away from everybody and then slowly over time you build these walls and become detached. It's kind of like killing yourself. People don't understand that that's what the song is about. It's totally unhealthy and it's not the correct way to be but it's the way a lot of people react. In its own way it's a romantic notion for respect. They're not just catchy hipster lyrics! There's a lot of thought. Kill is a strong word." Johnny Jewel

Read our interview with Johnny Jewel here

40. Oren Ambarchi - Sagittarian Domain

"Using just guitars, a 70s analog synth for bass, and drums (Ambarchi's first instrument), he has forged an exquisitely balanced and powerful sound whose apparent simplicity belies a multi-layered exercise in displacement and resolution." Russell Cuzner

Read our review of Sagittarian Domain here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

39. Dope Body – Natural History

"On paper, the way that they have mangled several seemingly incompatible strains of music together should have consigned Dope Body to the big bin of bad ideas. Now on their fourth album Natural History, they have admittedly toned down their appreciation of frat rock like Red Hot Chili Peppers and RATM, but they still are the only people on the face of the planet combining the unlikely sounds of Killdozer, The Clash, early Mercury Rev, Killing Joke, Green Day, early Butthole Surfers and Jesus Lizard. More importantly, however, it seems like they have pulled off an exquisite balancing act, with the ugly, serrated, angular noise and the arena sized melodic sensibility actually complementing each other harmoniously." John Doran

Read our interview with Dope Body here

38. Daphni – Jiaolong

"Dan Snaith's forays into house music are astute, incisive and not remotely dilettantish - in fact, he seems to understand the skewed mechanics of groove, the beautiful paradox at the heart of the phrase "machine funk", far better than many of his more purist contemporaries. But where Kieran Hebden's recent Pink exploited structures that unfolded glacially, sculpting poised loops and quietly disjointed percussive patterns into a long-form, low-impact epic, Snaith clearly has instant gratification in mind. And as a result, where Hebden's sonic objects can be picked over, luxuriated in, meditated upon as they drift implacably in and out of focus, Snaith's rear up out of the murk like unchained beasts. Pink was danceable, yes, but in a subdued sort of way; Jialong is a full-on, sweat-dripping-off-the-ceiling basement banger of an album." Angus Finlayson

Read our review of Jiaolong here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

37. Richard Skelton - Verse Of Birds

"For this release, the West coast of Ireland has supplied inspiration. Yet aside from a spray wash of cymbal in 'Vearsa Ean', he chooses to lead the mind and imagination rather than proscribe. Although Skelton explores the natural world with his music, he never falls into twee, pastoral evocation. Instead, this is a grapple with the sublime. So the high treble of 'Promontory' brings to mind slopes of scree and sharp rocks, around which a wild sea thrashes itself into foam. 'A Kill' has the feel of a swell rolling in from the Atlantic, still powerful days after the storm." Luke Turner

Read our review of Verse Of Birds here

36. JK Flesh – Posthuman

"Justin Broadrick's vision for Posthuman is a Britain of 'alleys and shadows and cut-throats', and the horror of this is exacerbated by the way that rock's offer of hedonistic release keeps getting rescinded... Ultimately, this is a work possessed of 'windows', but none of them reveal anything uplifting. Such bleakness is Posthuman's triumph." Joe Kennedy

Read our review of Posthuman here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

35. Killer Mike – RAP Music

"Killer Mike has spent the last decade not getting the praise he deserves as an MC, though few would have predicted that his jump into the critical limelight would come via collaboration with El-P. But then, Mike's style and content has never been a snug fit for the big label system, and El-P too has found his career rejuvenated by association with some new faces outside of the Def Jux stable. Before this record's release, the coming together of these two was mooted as an unlikely collaboration, but for a record which can basically be viewed as a love letter to rap music, I’d struggle to think of a more logical pairing." Kyle Ellison

Read our review of RAP Music here

34. Shackleton - Music For The Quiet Hour/Drawbar Organ EPs

"Pockmarked with chimes and the striking of various instruments meant to aid meditation - calls to secular prayer and contemplation - these recordings ripple through the body via sub-bass, forcing physical submission and locking body rhythms directly to the surrounding earth and air. Far from the toxic lure of the church organ, this subtle, very British mysticism feels instead part of a far deeper and longer push to reclaim notions of spirituality back from organised religion, and ground them in earthly, bodily, biological reality." Rory Gibb

Read our review of Music For The Quiet Hour/Drawbar Organ EPs here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

33. Holly Herndon – Movement

"Movement is one of those lovely surprises that makes you think, "Of course that's how music should sound right now". It's a curious one: a trip through intimate electronica, acid-y techno and pure vocal composition, with a duration and musical arc somewhere between an EP and an LP (an MP?). But while Herndon is obviously literate in these forms, her configurations and tones are unique. Above all, you can hear how old distinctions – between the dancefloor and academia, physical and virtual life, public and private space – have deliquesced in recent years. Movement slips between situations without friction." Lee Arizuno

Read our review of Movement here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

32. Raime - Quarter Turns Over A Living Line

"Quarter Turns Over A Living Line is an album imbued with a sickly urgency, a slow journey inwards. Imagine awakening after fitful slumber at the last Tube stop, only to find yourself in a long abandoned station, the fetid winds of the hardcore continuum passing you by, leaving only palpable threat and lonely unease. Raime are past masters of sombre carnage, and this here is their moment." Harry Sword

Read our review of Quarter Turns Over A Living Line here

31. Thomas Köner - Novaya Zemlya

"Where Köner really excels here is in his imbuing of an ostensibly detached sound palette - consisting of field recordings, electronic interference and soft drones heard as if over great distance - with great emotional resonance, without resorting to tired cliche or obvious melodic manipulation. In this case, given the violence wreaked upon it, it's enough for him to simply describe the landscape and its inhabitants in the meticulous manner of a geographer or surveyor. There's nothing paranormal or psychogeographical about the sensations Novaya Zemlya stirs up: simply by placing the listener in the landscape it offers a searing critique of our species' casual disregard for the wellbeing of ourselves and our planet, and a reminder that when the damage is already this extensive, melodrama and hyperbole pale in comparison to harsh reality." Rory Gibb

Read our review of Novaya Zemlya here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

30. Fairhorns - Doki Doki Run

"When my cousin was babysitting me, he put on Metallica, and at the age of six I'd never heard anything quite like that. I just thought, fuck me, this is amazing! I didn't even know music could sound like this. I was so excited by this feeling of… this what the fuck feeling, but also this big joy that I felt in it, that I just thought, well I know I like music anyway, but I've got to seek more of this stuff out. And I've been doing that ever since." Matt Loveridge

Read our interview with Fairhorns' Matt Loveridge here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

29. Alexander Tucker – Third Mouth

"Third Mouth is an inward journey. It's not, as some have suggested, a folk album; it belongs to no tradition, and the lyrical references to place and nature are mostly imaginary and symbolic. The only landscape the songs reflect is that of the mind - a mind - and the only community a community of one. If it evokes a sense of mythology, then it's strictly personal, rooted in Tucker's own memories, associations and dreams." Ben Graham

Read our review of Third Mouth here

28. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems

"Now, the sluggish sludge of [its predecessors] has been housed within a newfound cleansed and gleaming superstructure. Luxury Problems' sustained plods and delayed pulses are all the more reined in and restrained, its underwater asphyxiation colder, and calculated to a higher decimal place. Though it's still a used Benz, sonically speaking - ornament nicked, in need of a lick of paint, incapable of being properly scrubbed down - it's nonetheless resplendent, and growling meaner than hell." Ryan Alexander Diduck

Read our interview with Andy Stott here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

27. High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis

"As well as boasting even crustier production courtesy of Kurt Ballou, there's a slightly chaotic urgency that hasn't been there before, and if the likes of 'Fertile Green', 'Madness Of An Architect' and the brutally compelling 'Romulus And Remus' don't move you, then fuck off home with a copy of Billy Joel's 'Innocent Man' because you're not as metal as you think you are. This is easily the best metal album of the year... so far!" Toby Cook

Read our review of De Vermis Mysteriis here

26. Emptyset – Medium

"Emptyset relocated to Woodchester Mansion, an unfinished Victorian Gothic building in the Cotswolds, and set up a soundsystem and microphone arrays throughout the house. As they pushed frequencies through the body of the house, the final recording captured an imprint of the building itself as it responded to the sound and shaped it. The mansion is a looming presence: sub-bass shudders through the walls and rumbles along dark corridors, and higher frequencies rattle staircases and ping-pong from surface to surface. Minimalist to the point of near-silence at times, it's a richly textured and subtle counterpart to the jarring assault of Collapsed, and a record that demands to be listened to closely and at high volume - either on headphones or speakers, the better to shake the foundations of your own environment." Rory Gibb

Read our interview with Emptyset here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

25. Necessary – Galgeberg/Gimle

"I think the genres covered are basically everything that we're interested in, which would include hip-hop, dub, goth, world music, drum & bass, ambient techno and industrial. I guess I should invent a catch-all term like Post-Dictatorial Troll-Hop, but I hope to still be making music in a year." Tony Wilson

Read our interview with Tony Wilson here

To download a free copy of Galgeberg/Gimle click here

24. Eccentronic Research Council ft. Maxine Peake – 1612 Underture

"Witches, with their cunning ways, were often thought capable of transforming their appearance to disguise their true nature themselves, so perhaps it's apt that this album is not at all what it seems. On first glance, the cover art of 1612 Underture, the preponderance of vintage synths – patched to sound as if they're being played by men in white lab coats - and the subject matter (the Pendle Witch Trials) all point towards one thing: hauntology. But this excellent record on Manchester's Bird label isn't some generic late adopter's attempt to take on the Moon Wiring Club, rather a genuinely unhinged, unique and deliciously weird pop album. (The name of the band kind of gives the game away really. Eccentronic? Oh do behave.)" John Doran

Read our review of 1612 Underture here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

23. Gravenhurst – The Ghost In Daylight

"We really should be thankful that we have people like Talbot still plugging away, honing their peculiar craft with artistic and moral compass still intact. Even if this may at times make them feel like one of the musicians on the deck of the Titanic solemnly performing 'Nearer My God To Thee', knee deep in icy water." John Doran

Read our review of The Ghost In Daylight here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

22. Silent Servant - Negative Fascination

"Above all, Mendez paints in a deformed urban palette, with the noises of industry and reiterative motion, electrical hum, jackhammers and pile-drivers and vehicles backing up, flirting with mechanical tones and temporalities: i.e. the beat stops when the train's gone past, or when construction is done; it doesn't really give a damn whether or not you work in the morning." Ryan Alexander Diduck

Read our review of Negative Fascination here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

21. White Hills – Frying On This Rock

"Where most bands struggle to come to terms with living in the real world following an intense bout of touring, White Hills simply head back into the studio to harness the power they've been generating over a concentrated period of time. Of course, there's a danger to such a tactic. A dearth of ideas could simply lead to noise for the sake of it, or the worst kind of noodly jamming that would undoubtedly create a black hole as they disappeared up their own arseholes. Rest easy, heads – planets may be destroyed in White Hills' sonic wake, but it won't be down to them sucking." Julian Marszalek

Read our review of Frying On This Rock here

20. Darren Hayman & The Long Parliament - The Violence

"The whole album is a lament, a tragedy taking place in 'impossible times', and to Hayman there are no real winners - excellent liner notes are included giving each song historical context, the last thing they note is that 'nobody went to heaven, or hell. They just died.' It's heartbreaking stuff, but Hayman's touch is astonishingly light - these are wonderful pop songs, each a compacted treasure of melody and heart." Marc Burrows

Read our review of The Violence here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

19. Actress – R.I.P

"If Splazsh and 2008 debut Hazyville were macro-level explorations of Detroit electro and techno and UK-rooted dance music, R.I.P. is more like electron microscopy. Here he's delved so deep between the beats that they're often difficult to discern clearly." Rory Gibb

Read our review of R.I.P here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

18. Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras & The Congos - Icon Give Thank

"Well, their [Sun Araw and M. Gedes Gengras] style is a kind of new style but I love it. It's creative. But the Congos are adaptive. We can adapt to any kind of rhythm, you know? The rhythms on them Sun songs and the sonic environment they create… it sounds very interesting!" Ashanti Roy

"Well, to be honest, their music is a new experience and a new vibe for me but music is still the one way. It is universal. If someone introduces you to something new and it's not going to hurt you, go along with it and see how far you can go." Cedric Myton

Read our interview with The Congos here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

17. Lee Gamble - Dutch Tvashar Plumes

"The tracks on Dutch Tvashar Plumes are strange and skeletal things that continually drift in and out of conscious awareness. They latch strongly onto particular rhythms and motifs for a while at a time - sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes mere bars - before the eyes roll into the skull and they dissolve back into a state of pure sensation, blissfully unaware of the physical activity they're still ostensibly engaged in. (We've all been there at least once, let's be honest.) Not for nothing is one of the album's highlights - a skittery rhythm accompanied by paper thin slivers of human voice-alike synth - titled 'Coma Skank'." Rory Gibb

Read our review of Dutch Tvashar Plumes here

16. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – Cherry Thing

"In a weird sort of way the project that ended up happening with The Thing ended up feeling like my ultimate comfort zone. But what's amazing about this project is that it had to be a collaboration to work. They're such power house musicians, we didn't really know what was going to happen when we got together, so it basically just took off." Neneh Cherry

Read our interview with Neneh Cherry here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

15. Liars – WIXIW

"[A] leap of faith and new range of instrumentation and writing techniques has created an album where vocal washes sit on top of skittish electronic beats, such as on opening track 'The Exact Colour Of Doubt'. The resulting sound invites comparisons with Radiohead, with whom the band toured and who similarly attempt to constantly push themselves forward. Yet for whatever reason Radiohead have become so insufferably dour and pompous that, aside from the increasingly anaemic wheedle of Thom Yorke's vocal, they sound joylessly inhuman. Liars, however, can never help but allow that rambunctious humanity shine through." Luke Turner

Read our review of WIXIW here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

14. Jam City - Classical Curves

"Classical Curves. The name puts me in mind of some Ballardian auto-erotic daydream, of polished chrome surfaces and spoilers streamlined for minimal resistance, of human design striving to mimic the efficiency and fluidity of nature, of bodies sliding smoothly across warm leatherette. But where Crash's protagonist was fixated on messy and organic unpredictabilities, Jack Latham's debut album as Jam City deals in hard physics, mathematics and fixed angles." Rory Gibb

Read our review of Classical Curves here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

13. Land Observations - Roman Roads IV - XI

"Kraftwerk's mighty Autobahn looms unavoidably over Roman Roads, but Brooks is comfortable, happy even, in its shadow. Recorded in Berlin, the eight tracks here pay easy homage to their European forebears, but are unmistakably British in their overall sound and feel, nodding melodically to the traditional folk music of these isles, and existing at a slower pace, on a smaller scale, than the cross-continental constructions of Kraftwerk and company." Ben Graham

Read our review of Roman Roads IV - XI here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

12. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful

"Blunt and Copeland's work is like hearing rival stereos from adjacent apartments, thumping cars and treble-heavy earbuds, while finding our way within the labyrinthine metropolitan maze. Its erratic rhythmic and harmonic arrangements are akin to the upheaving asphalt that city folk walk on, through diversely inhabited neighbourhoods, over cobblestone streets, between graffitied walls of concrete and brick, around crumbling cloverleaf overpasses and into dead ends, above crooked rooftops, down diagonal fire escapes and spiral staircases, piloting the cleaved strata of competing and contested histories." Ryan Alexander Diduck

Read our review of Black Is Beautiful here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

11. Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup - MM/KM

"The overall impression here is of two producers unafraid to toy with their listeners, especially those used to house music whose beats land with near-metronomic precision. Wendel and Mix Mup are clearly highly skilled at taming the unpredictabilities and more turbulent tendencies of their equipment - much as the prevailing wisdom states that the use of analogue gear makes it easy to get a looser and more 'human' sound, it takes a dab hand to make tracks this abrasive so infectiously groovy." Rory Gibb

Read our review of KM/MM here

10. KTL - V

"V cements KTL as more than just a side-project of two of modern underground music's most celebrated figures, crystallising their vision and expanding it beyond everything that they - and other drone artists operating in the same field - have done before. It retains their sinister stamp, but takes the fear into new realms, like demons breaking out of the ground into muted sunlight." Joseph Burnett

Read our review of V here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

9. Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas

"Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! RIP MY FUCKING HEAD OFF AND USE IT AS A FUCKING KICK BALL, THEN STICK IT IN A FUCKING CANNON AND SHOOT IT INTO FUCKING OUTER FUCKING SPACE!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! MY HEAD WILL HIT AN ASTEROID AND REDIRECT IT TO THE EARTH!!!! RRRRRRRRRRRRR AAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FACE AND BRAINS AND FUCKING HAIR WILL MOLD AND MELT INTO THE FUCKING ASTEROID THAT IS NOW SPEEDING TOWARDS THE FUCKING MISERABLE PLANET FAIL FUCKING EARTH AND RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!!Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! SEND THIS FUCKING CD TO ME WITH A WARHEAD ATTACHED TO IT!!! FUCKING DIE!!! Anaal Nathrakh!!! FUCKING RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anonymous Anaal Nathrakh fan ordering Vanitas over the internet

Read our review of Vanitas here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

8. Laurel Halo – Quarantine

"Mood is determined by topography: when the terrain is rough and craggy, as in many places during the album's second half, her voice responds in kind, varying in confidence or slipping into the background. Its smoother moments - pulsating opener 'Airsick', the hypnagogic vortex of 'Holoday' - have a Music For Airports vibe, evoking fast motion, polished surfaces and transit (appropriate - she's spoken about aeroplanes and recycled air in public spaces as reference points around the album)." Rory Gibb

Read our review of Quarantine here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

7. Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker

"Our message is the feeling in the music: a lot of isolation, a lot of misery, a lot of depression, a lot of anger. A general overtone of negativity. It stems from our personal experiences while writing music, and as a collective when we came together. We're all on the same wavelength, and we put out a release that is conceptually communicating a message of misery, depression, isolation and negativity." Dragged Into Sunlight statement

Read our interview with Dragged Into Sunlight here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

6. Vatican Shadow - Ghosts Of Chechnya

"In the guise of Vatican Shadow Fernow seeks to reunite the listener with the satanic realities of millennial western warfare; to make real the zoetrope of military images and fatality stats rendered unreal over the years; to plot an oozing beeline between our taxes and the bombs that kill children in desert nations." John Calvert

Read The Calvert Report on Vatican Shadow here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

5. VCMG - SSSS

"A reminder, if one were needed, that there is there no more gruesome a combination of three words in the language than 'funky uplifting house,' SSSS is both joyous and gothic – a Black Celebration, if you will. Nope, couldn't quite resist that." David Peschek

Read our review of SSSS here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

4. X-TG - Desertshore/The Final Report

"Desertshore is a monument to Peter Christopherson and Nico alike. In a way, the fact that this isn't coming out under the Throbbing Gristle moniker makes this even more pure. TG were an idea, not a mere band or group. By fulfilling their dear friend's wishes, on Desertshore Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti have paid him a glorious, beautiful tribute that, like Nico's original album, celebrates the glowing eddies of sex and life and death." Luke Turner

Read our review of Desertshore here

3. Carter Tutti Void - Transverse

"The four ten minute long pieces that were performed at the small space at the Roundhouse Theatre – known simply as 'V1' – 'V4' – were written and practiced at Carter and Tutti’s converted schoolhouse home/studio in Norfolk and then performed live on the night with all three members using electronics and Tutti and Void playing guitars. (Void also provided vocals that she manipulated with effects.) The way the trio faced the audience under minimal, unchanging white lights, heads down over tables of equipment was not combative but at the same time it didn’t even pay lip service to notions of showmanship or stagecraft. Yet had this tiny space been stage managed by Industrial Light & Magic the intensity of the performance could not have been any greater. (In fact, more to the point, the intensity would probably have been lessened.)" John Doran

Read our review of Transverse here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

2. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

"Walker's achievement since Climate of Hunter has been less to do with a wholesale rejection of the past in favour of establishing a late style than with using music to locate, and arguably produce, increasingly complex forms of affect. Like its immediate predecessors, Bish Bosch retains a focus on feeling, even if the sensations it sketches aren't processed enough to resemble anything on the conventional palette of emotions. Although the songs are highly-wrought and palpably inorganic – these hints of disciplined conception and manufacture are a good thing, by the way – there's nothing distant or technocratic about the album. In fact, Walker's immersion in the turmoil of what he makes is powerful enough to make this a record which asserts a claim over the complete attention of the listener. It's a claim made so frequently as to sound banal, but in this instance there really is no chance of using the music as background listening. Bish Bosch demands, and rewards, time and deliberation." Joe Kennedy

Read our review of Bish Bosch here

1. Swans - The Seer

"Unlike countless of their younger noisenik peers, Swans know how to carve their jams into fluid, delicate birdseye shapes, so that even the most free-form moments on The Seer have a sense of context and place that rules out accusations of amorphousness. (Amongst other things, this is unified concept album of the highest order – though what that concept is remains shrouded in ambient smoke). Even better, the variety of registers on the album creates the powerful impression that this is a collective of people having delirious, exuberant fun as they hammer out their eclectic gothic experiments, hopping across genres and tones with drone acting as a suturing lingua franca." Alex Niven

Read our review of The Seer here

Click here to listen to and buy this album on eMusic

  1. Swans - The Seer

  2. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

  3. Carter Tutti Void – Transverse

  4. XTG - Desertshore/The Final Report

  5. VCMG – SSSS

  6. Vatican Shadow - Ghosts Of Chechynya

  7. Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker

  8. Laurel Halo – Quarantine

  9. Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas

  10. KTL - V

  11. Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup - MM/KM

  12. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful

  13. Land Observations - Roman Roads

  14. Jam City - Classical Curves

  15. Liars – WIXIW

  16. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – Cherry Thing

  17. Lee Gamble - Dutch Tvashar Plumes

  18. Sun Araw & The Congos - Icon Give Thank

  19. Actress – RIP

  20. Darren Hayman & The Long Parliament - The Violence

  21. White Hills – Frying On This Rock

  22. Silent Servant - Negative Fascination

  23. Gravenhurst – The Ghost In Daylight

  24. Eccentronic Research Council ft Maxine Peake – 1612 Underture

  25. Necessary – Galgeberg/Gimle

  26. Emptyset – Medium

  27. High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis

  28. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems

  29. Alex Tucker – Third Mouth

  30. Fairhorns - Doki Doki Run

  31. Thomas Koner - Novaya Zemlya

  32. Raime - Quarter Turns Over A Living Line

  33. Holly Herndon – Movement

  34. Shackleton - Music For The Quiet Hour/Drawbar Organ EPs

  35. Killer Mike – RAP Music

  36. JK Flesh – Post Human

  37. Richard Skelton - Verse Of Birds

  38. Daphni – Jiaolong

  39. Dope Body – Natural History

  40. Oren Ambarchi - Sagittarian Domain

  41. Chromatics - Kill For Love

  42. Hexvessel - No Holier Vessel

  43. Toy – Toy

  44. Traxman – Da Mind Of Traxman

  45. Vindicatrix – Mengamuk

  46. Kendrick Lamaar – good kid m.A.A.d city

  47. UFOmammut – ORO Opus Primum/Alter

  48. John Foxx & The Maths - The Shape Of Things To Come

  49. Bee Mask - When We Were Eating Unripe Pears

  50. Robert Hood - Motor City: Nighttime World 3

  51. Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber

  52. Hirsute Pursuit - Tighten That Muscle Ring

  53. Burial - Kindred

  54. Black Breath – Sentenced To Life

  55. The Pre New – Music For People Who Hate Themselves

  56. Forward Strategy Group - Labour Division

  57. Beak - >>

  58. Turbonegro - Sexual Harassment

  59. Killing Joke – MMXII

  60. New War - New War

  61. Angel Haze - Reservation

  62. Rolo Tomassi – Astraea

  63. Tim Burgess - Oh No I Love You

  64. Sir Richard Bishop – Intermezzo

  65. Bo Ningen – Line The Wall

  66. John Talabot – fIN

  67. Mark Lannegan – Blues Funeral

  68. Devilman - Devilman

  69. Motorpsycho And Ståle Storløkken – The Death Defying Unicorn

  70. Goat – World Music

  71. Guardian Alien - See The World Given To A One Love Entity

  72. Carlton Melton - Photos Of Photos

  73. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

  74. Six Organs Of Admittance - Ascent

  75. Man Forever – Pansophical Cataract

J M
Dec 11, 2012 12:41pm

Lovely to see inclusions of Six Organs of Admittance, John Talabot, Bo Ningen, Angel Haze and Kendrick Lamar. Also lovely to see Darren Hayman and Dragged Into Sunlight so highly placed. A couple of Omissions... I'd have Simian Mobile Disco, Perfume Genius and The Walkmen in there, but otherwise as brilliantly diverse as always. I very much look forward to delving in to what I haven't heard.

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Cat Vincent
Dec 11, 2012 1:28pm

The few of those I heard are superb & I'll do my damndest to hear the rest.

My top album of the year - Crippled Black Phoenix, Mankind (The Crafty Ape)

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Charlie F
Dec 11, 2012 1:41pm

What? No Japandroids? No Beach House? What you done with Grizzly Bear? Not a mention of Frank Ocean.

Only joking - great to see a list that diverges quite significantly from all the others, and the top 2 albums are reason enough for 2012 to be remembered as the year of the dark sweeping epic. Nice one!

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Dead Sound
Dec 11, 2012 1:46pm

Great write up at the start and too right! Loving that FSG are in and thanks for all your support with the DSVH project on Perc Trax...keep up the good work..digging deep!

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Renrag S
Dec 11, 2012 1:46pm

What no Meshuggah?!

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Renrag S
Dec 11, 2012 1:55pm

In reply to Renrag S:

Only joking

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Carpathian
Dec 11, 2012 2:10pm

Some cracking choices (obvious and otherwise) this year. Anybody trawling through the list is going to have some top ear-pleasure to come. Only thing I'd do is maybe move the Shackleton release way up the list into the top 10. Actually, I'd move the Holly Herndon & Oren Ambarchi higher, bring in the Nedry album and........and........

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Da5e
Dec 11, 2012 2:18pm

Blut aus Nord? Cosmosophy was the perfect end to the 777 trilogy, and a stunning piece of blackened shoegaze that makes Alcest sound like the tiny children they are.

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plishplosh
Dec 11, 2012 2:36pm

Props to you for having a diverse and rather original list and for including some albums that most others have overlooked, but still I can't take any list that has Scott Walker's latest crap seriously, especially at #2. This album is the epitome of "hey look at me, look at how experimental and crazy I am". If it was at least actually unsettling and crazy... Instead it's just bland and boring. But hey I guess farts are egdy.

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Dan John
Dec 11, 2012 2:48pm

1. Swans - The Seer
2. X-TG - Desertshore / The FInal Report
3. Laurel Halo - Quarantine
4. Actress - R.I.P
5. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

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norefugee
Dec 11, 2012 3:17pm

The Maya never said any such thing. Apocalypse is a Christian concept introduced to the Maya by the Roman Catholic Spanish invaders and rapists. Whatever apocalypse the Maya experience will pale in comparison to the disease and devastation those Spanish f*cks brought upon the Maya.

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David Allison
Dec 11, 2012 3:28pm

I get that it's funny and leftfield not to mention the album that is going to be the top of almost every other list this year, but really, are you honestly saying all of these 75 albums are better than Frank Ocean? Cos it's sort of hilarious if you are.

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Timh Gabriele
Dec 11, 2012 3:43pm

Great list as always, but I'm shocked not to see Death Grips represented here. It seems like John Calvert was one of their biggest advocates. Did one lousy live show make him lose all faith?

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son23
Dec 11, 2012 3:50pm

My personal favourite, "Nude" by The Irrepressibles isn't on the list :((

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Grimm
Dec 11, 2012 3:53pm

mark lanegan yes yes, but no tindersticks?

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kattatogaru
Dec 11, 2012 4:03pm

You fellows have listened to a lot of music but isn't your list a bit... wilfully obscure? Regarding those I've never heard of... the album covers are a bit depressing really. Is all good music about alienation and self pity nowadays?

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John Doran
Dec 11, 2012 4:24pm

In reply to David Allison:

No. We're saying (quite clearly as it goes) that we've all listened to these albums more than Frank Ocean. We're actually fans of his, check the high placing of his mix tape in last year's chart and our interview with him, but the album - IMO - isn't as good.

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plischplosch
Dec 11, 2012 4:26pm

In reply to David Allison:

It's sort of hilarious to imply that the Frank Ocean is good to being with. Just because it's hyped everywhere doesn't mean everyone has to go crazy over it. It's just another one of these rather uneventful albums that gets shoved down people's throat for no reason.

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John Doran
Dec 11, 2012 4:33pm

In reply to kattatogaru:

Which albums are about self-pity? There's a bit of an obvious problem in rocking up here like a village idiot with a cob on going, I've never heard of any of this shit, and let me tell you why this music sucks...

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todd
Dec 11, 2012 4:42pm

the best "best of.." list i've read yet. but no death grips?!

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John Doran
Dec 11, 2012 4:44pm

In reply to todd:

Yeah, I like both albums when I listen to them but they don't have the sheer madness and WTF of the mixtape. It's a bit too codified for me.

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Andri
Dec 11, 2012 5:13pm

With the exception of TOY ( who i find to be terribly2 dull) this is a fantastic and refreshing list.

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Harry Sword
Dec 11, 2012 6:51pm

In reply to kattatogaru:

Oh, for fucks sake.

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spoandoast
Dec 11, 2012 7:15pm

Shares none with my top 10 though not heard about half of them and want to check a bunch out. Swans & Liars just miss out. Scott Walker's fresh on my ears. Didn't like CarterTV, Andy Stott. My top ten are the new ones by FNU Ronnies, Phil Blankenship, GR, Windy & Carl, Talk Normal, Sharpie Crows, Mt. Eerie, Ectoplasm Girls, THEESatisfaction and Debo Band.

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frenchbloke
Dec 11, 2012 7:20pm

lots of favourites in there but a slap on the wrist for missing out Pegasvs & Drokk.

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james
Dec 11, 2012 7:23pm

I’d go with Jordanian Descent over Ghosts of Chechnya. It’s a more focused and realized release.

It seems like the Robert Hood LP should be higher up the list - the accompanying write-up makes it sound like one of the best records ever.

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John Blonde
Dec 11, 2012 7:26pm

Hirsute Pursuit, Sun Araw, John Foxx, Actress - a solid and nicely mixed list. (And, all right, I'll finally listen to the Swans.)

So much just sort-of okay stuff gets shoved in our faces every day online that it's almost heroic Frank Ocean, Grimes, and Grizzly Bear weren't listed here.

As far as bands with no publicist: I like Onra's "Deep in the Night" EP.

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Kent Music Library
Dec 11, 2012 7:42pm

Swans 'The Seer' a well deserved number one and fantastic live shows. Great to see Chris & Cosey in 2 of the Top 4 albums. Where were Deerhoof though??

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Grimm
Dec 11, 2012 7:55pm

In reply to frenchbloke:

drokk... preferred that to the last beak

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Tzarama
Dec 11, 2012 8:00pm

Mmmmm, sausage party much? Blokes list blokes playing bloke music! I count... five women involved in this list of 75?

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spoandoast
Dec 11, 2012 8:03pm

In reply to Tzarama:

there are more than that, I count 10 at least, but certainly unrepresentative.

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Jeff
Dec 11, 2012 8:22pm

While everyone's butch about being left out...
Richard Hawley- Standing at the Sky's Edge?

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FDF Funk
Dec 11, 2012 8:35pm

...What's that? (Cups ear) What record do I feel should be ranked higher?
Oh, Goat's 'World Music'. Magical.

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Apop
Dec 11, 2012 8:49pm

3rd year as a frequent visitor to your site, 2nd year picking through the yearly top albums list. And, as ever, i'm so reminded of how wide your palettes are and how narrow mind is...haven't even gotten through last year's as yet unheard (by yours truly) bands and talent. Deep breath, ok, back at it.

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Straylight
Dec 11, 2012 8:53pm

An outstanding recap of the year. It's given me a veritable treasure trove of records I either missed or never got round to investigating at the time - exactly what this sort of thing should do. Found plenty to agree with too (Shackleton; JK Flesh; High on Fire). For my two cents, I also took great pleasure from Lambchop, Mount Eerie, and Future of The Left (amongst others)

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a
Dec 11, 2012 8:54pm

bo ningen,white hills,toy,Carter tutti,and so many more.by far the bravest and best list yet,can't be beaten.and no Frank bloody ocean,hurray!

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lucas
Dec 11, 2012 10:26pm

Only list in the recent downpour of lists that had me scroll right to the end, and scroll up again, and down... Lots of records to discover yet ! Couldn't agree more with the Swans #1. Thanks !

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Spacious
Dec 11, 2012 10:43pm

Thanks for the work. As always, an entertaining list to disagree with. And that's the highest possible praise in this era of endlessly bland End Of Year lists that include only that which is ceaselessly promoted elsewhere. Music is a big tent now and everything is obscure.

I'm only bummed about Malka Spigel because you mentioned it. Did I miss a review?

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John Doran
Dec 11, 2012 10:50pm

In reply to Tzarama:

You have no idea what you're talking about. There are many, many more women on the list than five and three female/female fronted acts in the top ten alone, five in the top twenty. It might not be enough for your tastes but it hardly counts as sexism.

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John Doran
Dec 11, 2012 11:01pm

In reply to John Doran:

"bloke music". All the blokes down my Wetherspoons are dead into Tighten That Muscle Ring by Hirsute Pursuit and the dead blokeish X-TG with all their blokeish mates on vocals singing the songs of the dead blokeish Nico in memory of the bloke-tastic Peter Christopherson. And don't get me started on Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland... total blokefest mate. Maxine Peake and three female narrators on Jane Weaver's record label doing a concept album about the Pendle Witches... really doesn't get more lads club than that does it? Angel Haze... bi-sexual rapper who sings about domestic violence... wahey! Come Uni-Lads we've found the next national anthem! Melody's Echo Chamber, good bloke she is. Antony Hegarty... loves pork scratchings, Loaded magazine and a good game of pool. Laurel Halo - geezer house! Eva Spence... too macho for most people! Hexvessel lets get lairy and pissed up with this beautiful Finnish folk music made by married couples... Chromatics... thank god the natural heirs to the Macc Ladds are here! Ego Sensation... when she's not fronting White Hills she's down the footie! Nik Void and Cosey FT... haway the lads!

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kattatogaru
Dec 11, 2012 11:02pm

In reply to John Doran:

Dragged into sunlight sounds fairly ghastly for one, forgive me if I don't run out to slit my wrists to that one. Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed discovering new music from your previous lists and you can live what you damn well like, but 2012 seems to be significantly more maudlin than years gone by. I personally don't much like music that makes you feel ill but you are welcome to enjoy the stuff. I won't insult you for it though.

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John Doran
Dec 11, 2012 11:44pm

In reply to kattatogaru:

You've made a very obvious mistake here though. Indie music is about self-pity. Dragged Into Sunlight is about terror, nihilism, abjection, hatred, sickness, death, disgust and horror. That's a none too subtle distinction I'm sure you'll agree.

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Steven
Dec 11, 2012 11:48pm

Melody's Echo Chamber but no Tame Impala? I guess that since they're popular, loved by the NME, and sound like the uncool 60s, I must be mistaken for thinking Lonerism to have better songs and more interesting arrangements than MEC (which is a wonderful record!).

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Steven
Dec 11, 2012 11:51pm

And what the hell are Toy doing on this list? Sure, they sound like the critically approved 80s bands, but their album is one of the most passionless, least original, exceedingly boring and predictable, and extraordinarily unnecessary albums I've ever heard. It has no reason to exist.

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Andri
Dec 12, 2012 2:35am

In reply to Steven:

Lonerism, along with , TOY, are incredibly dull albums. ANd i liked Innerspeaker but lonerism was flaccid, psychedelic yes, psych rock , uh no.

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Andri
Dec 12, 2012 2:37am

In reply to Charlie F:

And No Grimes! Thank good ness!!

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Jackson
Dec 12, 2012 3:19am

Finally someone puts The Seer at number one where it belongs. This is the best 2012 end of year list I've read, top to bottom.

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23minutes
Dec 12, 2012 3:37am

Fantastic list that's instantly given me a dozen albums to discover. Carter/Tutti's double presence in the top ten is richly deserved - I might have flipped the positions but that's at least in part a purely emotional response to Desertshore. Nice to see VCMG and John Foxx get the recognition and The Seer, of course, makes an argument for the reactivated Swans as as peerless an outfit as the Mk I version.

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Dec 12, 2012 8:15am

sometimes you just want some happy wee tunes. Have any of these albums got some happy wee tunes?

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Jules
Dec 12, 2012 8:21am

In reply to Steven:

since when have the 60's been uncool? that decade (well, the last half) has always been hip.
and Lonerism is pretty boring and over-rated. limp.

this list is great, lots for me to check out. i am a little surprised that there's no Death Grips.

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Louder
Dec 12, 2012 9:00am

what an amazing list, could not agree more with most of it, apart from Toy who stick out like the fucking charlatans they are. Happy Xmas.

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Louder
Dec 12, 2012 9:05am

In reply to David Allison:

you got it, thats exactly what they saying. get over it.

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andy
Dec 12, 2012 10:29am

I would add to this list a couple of great albums/bands that I have discovered through Quietus,like Orkney: Symphony Of The Magnetic North and the Unwinding Hours - Afterlives.

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andy
Dec 12, 2012 10:42am

...and also the Twilight Sad - no one can ever know and 2:54. 'guess they're not contenders,still very good albums nonetheless.

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Like, you know?
Dec 12, 2012 3:21pm

Lots of stuff to ruminate over here. No Love Deep Web is pretty dark/heavy/mental and definitely compares to Ex Military, so I'm pretty surprised it didn't make an appearance. Also, Skelethon by Aesop Rock is fucking amazing and thought that might have been on the list. The sheer volume of albums on here makes my head hurt though, because it's just not possible to listen to that much music at any meaningful level. I try, but I always fail.

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Gizzi M
Dec 12, 2012 4:14pm

Lovely stuff as always. Always look forward to this end of year round up and some stuff that sounds ace and completely passed me by.

Nice to see Metal well represented in the top picks. It was an astonishing year for Metal IMO. Will Toby be doing a Metal specific list? If not, why and can I do it instead?

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MB
Dec 12, 2012 4:40pm

In reply to Gizzi M:

Seconded! A wee top 20 column from Toby would be much appreciated. As for this list, plenty on it I've heard and enjoyed and even more to find out about.

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Luke Turner
Dec 12, 2012 6:51pm

In reply to Gizzi M:

Toby is indeed doing a Horns Up Ya Shitters best metal happenings of 2012 list

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Austy
Dec 12, 2012 7:05pm

Wow it's a bumper year for the "old" futurists, although the depeche mode goes techno album struck me as rather dull at the time, for me black bananas would be in the top five, but since it came out last jan I can excuse its exclusion. Hopefully Jennifer and company aim for a summer release next time.. Thank you for not putting beach house in.. I've never been so underwhelmed

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a
Dec 12, 2012 7:20pm

had a proper look thru the list now,and made some great new discoveries,carlton melton being one.this list as a pose to others comes across as the genuine loves of a few music heads,rather than the critical consensus some of the others aim for,so for that reason alone I prefer it.
shame no king tuff,mean jeans or gnod made the cut,och well.

Will there be a hip-hop list?gucci mane,rick Ross and tons others all released brothers this year,be sweet to see you guys take on the years best.

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a
Dec 12, 2012 7:23pm

In reply to a:

belters I meant,no brothers.bloody predictive text

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Simon
Dec 12, 2012 8:35pm

Really interesting list, enjoying Bo Ningen on Spotify.

If you're not either a music journo or a student how the hell do you people out there get to listen to so much music?? Hey, I'm just jealous.

No list is ever going to include everyone's choices, but I liked Cate le Bon's Cyrk - and I don't usually like That Sort of Thing.

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Chad
Dec 12, 2012 8:43pm

Great list! Without a doubt, the best countdown of albums of 2012 I've seen so far. I'm still waiting for the lists of Pitchfork and TinyMixTapes (that's right, I said Pitchfork). I consider you three sort of the "holy" trinity of music criticism. So happy to see Swans, Scott Walker, and Laurel Halo in your top ten. Those three albums made my top five, along with Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean. However, I don't think I will ever understand the allure of metal music that this site has cherished. The closest thing to metal this year that I loved was Earth's "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II". Anyway, thanks for your hard work and almost flawless taste!

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Harry Sword
Dec 12, 2012 8:49pm

In reply to Chad:

Check the Dragged into Sunlight record. You may be surprised. If you like Earth, you could well find something to enjoy (well, at least the first 15 minutes)

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Chad
Dec 12, 2012 10:00pm

In reply to Harry Sword :

Well, I did listen to the first track, and it is immaculate. Though, as soon as the second track got going, I couldn't keep listening. Evil is the only word I can use to describe it. ha!

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Darragh
Dec 12, 2012 10:22pm

Always the most interesting list going and, as many others have said, a wonderful series of signposts to albums many of us haven't heard of. The only album I'm disappointed to see overlooked is Vessel's Order of Noise, which pulled apart techno tropes in a similar deconstructive fashion to Actress's fine album, but with some greater success to my ears.

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McGunn
Dec 13, 2012 12:20am

No Dylan? No Godspeed? No Dirty Three? No Gaslamp Killer? Come on!

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 1:33am

In reply to McGunn:

"No Dylan"

*Shoots self in the fucking face with a whaling harpoon*

So, you don't read the Quietus much then?

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Mayans were not Millenarians
Dec 13, 2012 4:52am

I used to be a big fan of Swans back in the day as a teenager, but the band's comeback, and this year's album, is doing nothing for me.

I'm surprised at the omission of truly original, or otherwise relevant, releases by artists like Death Grips, Young Blood, Mouse on Mars, Vladislav Delay, Cut Hands and Demdike Stare, their places instead being taken up by bandwagonists with a more generic sound (Eccentronic Research Council... really??).

For what it's worth, my own top 10:

1. Shackleton - Music for the Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs
2. X-TG - Desertshore / The Final Report
3. Demdike Stare - Elemental
4. Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route - Music of Central Asia Vol. 10: Borderlands
5. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
6. Mouse on Mars - WOW
7. Sun Araw - The Inner Treaty
8. Jam City - Classical Curves
9. Vladislav Delay - Kuopio
10. Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, The Congos - Frkwys Vol. 9: Icon Give Thank

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Rigsby
Dec 13, 2012 8:37am

Ou Est Soulsavers?

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 8:52am

In reply to Mayans were not Millenarians:

This is all by the by, as we think end of year lists constructed round what's 'worthy' or 'nourishing' are always, by their nature, less interesting than lists based on what is enjoyable. We were among the first to write about Death Grips but find this year's two albums a lot more codified and predictable than the truly excellent Ex Military mix tape. Eccentronic Research Council is only generic if you judge it as hauntology but given that it isn't - it's pop music - your assessment doesn't mean anything. And, judging by your top ten, this is all the narcissism of small differences anyway.

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 8:55am

In reply to John Doran:

I saw Mouse On Mars do one of the best sets I've ever seen in Germany earlier this year but the album is a bit patchy. There are a few whacky tracks on it that just really upset the flow of the album. The rest is great though. I didn't even know Cut Hands had had another album out this year and you'd really have to explain what Vladislav Delay or Demdike Stare (both acts we've supported in the past) have done to push their sound on radically or at all.

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Rory Gibb
Dec 13, 2012 9:31am

In reply to John Doran:

The Cut Hands is interesting but, for my money, not as striking and brilliant as last year's Afro Noise (save a few tracks - the title track 'Black Mamba' is astounding).

The new Vlad Delay is pretty astonishing and I'm a big fan of all his work, but it's only really just come out. It takes a while to absorb his albums; give me another few months and I'll doubtless be singing Kuopio's praises as one of his best...

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DK
Dec 13, 2012 12:25pm

This is fucking hilarious... Do these bands actually exist or do you just make them up?

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Luke Turner
Dec 13, 2012 12:46pm

In reply to DK:

haha! We could play End Of Year Poll Bingo, ticking off the same old comments we get every year as we went. *Adopts Larry David face* BINGOOOO! BIN....GO!"

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 1:08pm

In reply to DK:

*sigh* Yes mate, you found us out, we made all of this whacky music up and it has nothing to do with you either being old and out of touch or having narrow horizons.

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-d.
Dec 13, 2012 3:16pm

I love when people are upset that artists they've never heard of show up on other people's lists of favourite albums of the year.

How 'bout instead of spouting ridiculous things that border on some weird sort of anger (why anger?!), you check out the music? Hear for yourself!

I love the Quietus' lists. Bunch of stuff I've never heard of, albums I haven't heard by artists I've enjoyed and albums from the year that I've loved, too.

Thanks for the always enjoyable, engaging (and engaged) look at music!

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Chris
Dec 13, 2012 3:36pm

No Mumford & Sons then.

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aaron.
Dec 13, 2012 5:45pm

In reply to Chris:

I find that Scott Walker the wrong side of bloody contrived, to be honest... and I've said elsewhere, on Facebook, that this list is sorely missing Voices from the Lake's album. It's the highlight of Dozzy's (already impressive) career. Plus, any album that peaks in a SAW 85-92 style blissout deserves rapturous applause.

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Gareth
Dec 13, 2012 5:53pm

Cheers to the Quietus crew! I can't imagine finding a list like this anywhere else. I'm proud to own all of the albums in your Top 5 and I look forward to exploring the rest. I'm glad Mark Lanegan and The Pre New made the cut. I would also recognize the new albums by Mark Stewart, Barry Adamson, Dirty Three, Tindersticks, The 2 Bears, and Saint Etienne.

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tanya
Dec 13, 2012 6:11pm

I'm joining in the chorus of 'where's Death Grips?'. You guys were all over The Money Store when it was released.

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Joe S
Dec 13, 2012 7:36pm

Excellent list. My personal favourite this year is The Money Store, and I must say I'm quite suprised not to see it featured here. I'm also pleased to see Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland rated so highly. Great work, The Quietus is always a fantastic read.

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Steven
Dec 13, 2012 10:27pm

In reply to John Doran:

Perhaps if Dylan were to provide a list of references to consult and warbled in a comedy voice to generic horror music masquerading as ART you'd enjoy him more ;)

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 10:57pm

In reply to Steven:

Yeah, because that description bears no relation to Dylan *whatsoever*...

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 11:00pm

In reply to John Doran:

Sorry Steven, only just saw the little winking man. LOLzapppopin! etc but Dylan still sucks balls. If Walker's pretentious and shallow and Dylan's rootsy, proper and authentic, then give me shallow and pretentious every time.

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Dec 13, 2012 11:07pm

In reply to John Doran:

Dude, I just read your comment to DK about being old and out of touch or afflicted with narrow horizons...way to be a dick about people not being down with obscure, fairly unfriendly music! Totally uncalled for. Swans, Actress, Daphni, Shackleton, and Walker are the LEAST OBSCURE artists on the list! Maybe you learn humour and grace, and consider broadening your horizons when it comes to people. Here are two facts: 1. People can have broad horizons and not be into this stuff, 2.Not being aware of obscure stuff loved by you doesn't make one out of touch, it means that they don't know the stuff and aren't fucking record critics getting shit for free and who's job consists of nothing more than knowing about this stuff. Lose the fucking attitude, you're not Michael Gira. You listen to records for a living. Maybe if you had a real job you wouldn't be such a snide prick.

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John Doran
Dec 13, 2012 11:25pm

In reply to :

I'm just taking him as I find him. We get exactly the same comments each year. "LOL, ridiculous, you've just made all these up." I don't go over to the websites where they're discussing neo classical or jazz and go "LOL U GUYZ R SO PERTENCIOUS!!!!1! Why U NO have Pitbull at no.1?!!!! LOL". And I don't do that because I don't know anything about it. You can either take this chart as a chance to check out new music or you can take it as another opportunity to call people cunts just for having different expectations of music from you. If your man DK doesn't want to read the site, he doesn't have to.

You're right about me not having a proper job though. I spent from Friday evening til 4am Sunday morning doing nothing other than building this chart and writing a couple of features for the site, barely moving from my laptop for the entire weekend. During this time I earned, aprox £45. So yeah, The Quietus is actually a hobby that I earn some pin money from. I have to do another 'real' job to be able to afford to do this one. Which would probably explain why I can be a bit prickly with silly wazzerks who roll up here and start kicking off and running round with their pants on their head like a remedial kid in school assembly because they don't understand what the teacher's saying about homework.

Look, people are passionate about music and in the discussion of it tempers can get a bit frayed at times so I'll take it on the chin when people want to call me fat or stupid or lacking in taste or whatever else BUT just doing the equivalent of making armpit fart noises about something that took me 20 hours to do is... ok but I'll probably respond to it however I feel to be honest. Also, you'd think that I'd get all this music for free but we've all actually bought a significant amount of it. Music has been my biggest source of non-essential expenditure for absolutely years now.

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Dec 14, 2012 2:20am

In reply to John Doran:

Look, your job is good; it's proper. The site is great, and I really enjoy a lot of the music you cover, and I like the eclecticism. But there's no reason to be so snarky. One can read the site and still make comment of the obscurity of this list. It's totally reasonable, and it's just mean to dis the readers of this site for what is most likely a facetious comment. It's too bad that you do another job, because you ought to be able to support yourself with this one, but saying things like "silly wazzerks who roll up here and start kicking off and running round with their pants on their head like a remedial kid in school assembly because they don't understand what the teacher's saying about homework" might turn the universe against you a bit.

And I'm sorry for comparing you to Gira, because his Baker's Dozen showed him to be a man of humility and grace.

Anyway, keep up the good site. Just try to keep it about the art and arguments about art, OK? No need to dis the folks who help you earn those 45 lbs of beer money. I'm sure that most people who take the time to comment on this site, or read it, spend most of their discretionary income on music.

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Dan Cockling
Dec 14, 2012 2:23am

In reply to John Doran:

A shame there was no place for Neurosis' Honor Found In Decay...perhaps it will feature in the Horns Up Ya shitters list though. More surprised not to see Om's latest release in the list - especially when Messrs Turner and Doran gave their DJing support at the recent Om gig in London. Sorry for gratuitous butt-lickyness now but Luke Turner I very much enjoyed our brief chat after Om's set about Charlotte Church of all people :)

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-d.
Dec 14, 2012 2:40am

WAZZERKS!

I love you, John Doran.

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John Doran
Dec 14, 2012 5:58am

In reply to :

I'm teetotal. I'm actually not joking about spending all of my money on music.

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Carpathian
Dec 14, 2012 8:33am

"silly wazzerks who roll up here and start kicking off and running round with their pants on their head like a remedial kid in school assembly because they don't understand what the teacher's saying about homework"

Classic. Just read that and snorted green tea out of my nose with laughter. That's now exactly how I'm going to picture the people who troll the posts on here. Perfect mental image. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to get the smell of sencha out of my hooter.

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Chris
Dec 14, 2012 9:56am

In reply to Andri:

Thank the Lord Almighty. One of the most overrated piles of wishy washy tosh to be released this year, although I admit to liking the one before. It's as if everything rough, spooky and interesting about that one had been cleaned up for the latest effort, shame.

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meatbreak
Dec 14, 2012 5:04pm

You know why you like Dragged Into Sunlight so much? Because it sounds like Charger! Those vocals are amazing, especially the finish.

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Michael Engelbrecht
Dec 14, 2012 10:47pm

Oh, yeah, a lot of good albums. Some that leave me cold, Let me point one that is (I want to speak out loud this old word of uninhibited enthusiasm) MINDBLOWING: No. 31

Number Thirtyone. The best album of Touch year, and Number 2 of all in my world.

THOMAS
K
Ö
N
E
R NOVAYA ZEMLYA

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Dec 15, 2012 1:29am

In reply to John Doran:

Teetotal? Maybe that explains it!

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Michael E.
Dec 15, 2012 10:42am

In reply to meatbreak:

You remember Florenz6, from old days on another website Its me :)

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MR
Dec 15, 2012 5:27pm

Oh boy,
this list surely has no credibility whatsoever. Beach House & Tame Impala are not listed, Kendrick is somewhere down on 50. The text below the 9th place is written in capital letters - are you serious?
And last but not least Frank Ocean, who made an incredible album, has at least 75 albums in front of him that according to you guys are better albums?
Cut that fake stuff, Grammy Nominations doesn't make his album any worse!

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Dec 15, 2012 6:29pm

Nice, eclectic list - I very much agree with the top 4 (haven't heard VCMG). Of course, I have my own additions - Golden Donna - "All Alone" EP, Ratkiller - "Cellar Dweller", Lazerhawk - "Visitors", Von Goat - "Disappear", Deiphago - "Satan Alpha Omega", Beherit - "Celebrate the Dead" and Aluk Todolo - "Occult Rock". Big thank you for the heads up on Actress - "R.I.P", really great stuff there.

Upcoming - looking forward to Cannibal Movie - "Mondo Music".

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Mars
Dec 15, 2012 6:30pm

In reply to :

That was me...

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Mars
Dec 15, 2012 6:33pm

In reply to David Allison:

I've only ever heard his name. I can honestly say Frank Ocean music has not ever been played around me.

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Mars
Dec 15, 2012 6:42pm

In reply to Austy:

Oh shit! Yes, BLACK BANANAS. Totally Hot FM Concrete.

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Zach
Dec 15, 2012 6:45pm

Say what you will about Grimes, It's definitely nice to not see her here, but that Grizzly Bear album is actually good despite the tendency to veer away from pfork approved bands that have received hype. What's Wrong and Sun in your Eyes are incredible songs....just my 2 cents. That said, it is nice to see such a different list so kudos to that. If only I had the time and money to go listen to all these albums. Think I've only heard about 8 of them.

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t
Dec 15, 2012 8:05pm

In reply to MR:

we got a pitchfork reader here. everyone of those albums is an over-rated, hyped, snoozefest.

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Chad
Dec 15, 2012 9:13pm

In reply to t:

Well, The Quietus did put a Beach House album on their 2008 year-end list, at #30, and that album, "Devotion", was more dull than "Bloom". I actually really enjoy Beach House. And I'm not sure which is worse: Blindly following Pitchfork's every recommendation, or irrationally hating Pitchfork with a burning passion, no matter what opinion they have. As humans, we are flawed, so each of us like some form of shit. That's why (note my comment above) I use The Quietus, TinyMixTapes, and Pitchfork for music suggestions. Each one brings something nice to the table, and each one endorses some piece of garbage.

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TheDisexists
Dec 18, 2012 1:37am

I enjoyed browsing this list. I also enjoyed observing that trolls and naysayers are still winning in 2012 and snagging replies from the gods that work the site rather than those who have something positive to say. (Have you ever browsed the comments section on The A.V Club - it's gotten so post-troll, post-irony, even the nastiest of naysayers demonstrate a good-humoured comic charm.)

I'm thrilled by the list, mainly because I only have two of the albums, both purchased because of Quietus reviews - Swans and The Cherry Thing, and I'm sure I'll pick out a few more to discover. I also like that Quietus's toppermost picks often betray a love of pop over death-drone; The Seer, after two or three spins is an easy album to love - regularly find myself singing "Loo-nah-see / Loo-nah-see" as I stroll the urban hills.

Album covers do seem to play a role; there's a distinct landscapish kind of style prevalent among these covers, among other oft-occurring symbolic or grim-seeming modes of artwork.

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bewarethemoon
Dec 18, 2012 12:13pm

Nice to See The Seer at the top of the pile! I only came to the Swans around the time of White light from the mouth of infinity, but I've pretty much liked everything since then!
There's a 27min doc on Pitchfork on the Swans, which sheds some nice behind the scenes light on Gira and Co. performing The Seer.
Plenty on here I've not heard, so, time to do some digging!
World Music by Goat has had plenty of spins recently, loving that guitar squall!

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AKB
Dec 18, 2012 1:03pm

In reply to MR:

Don't forget the rules of credability, Quietus - your list must merely reshuffle those found elsewhere... Excellent work on this; most of my favourites come in the ranges 60-75 and 1-10, so I'm looking forward to hearing the stuff I missed in-between the two.

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ijb
Dec 18, 2012 11:07pm

I don't get what all those people are complaining about. If your headline goes: "reductive and subjective list of the Quietus' favourite albums of 2012", how can ANYONE be pissed about you not including THEIR (or oh so many other other listmakers') favourite albums (even when several appear in my other listmakers' hitlists, e.g The Seer)? Sorry, I just don't get the point of this criticism. Thanks for one very complex list which does NOT focus on just indie stuff or just electronic stuff or just whatever, as do many other lists. And yes, I am missing some of my favourite albums, too. So what.

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MR
Dec 19, 2012 7:08pm

So I came here to get some new Albums that I did not know yet, and I was really suprised not to find Frank Ocean within the top 10 Albums.
I know it is difficult to compare Albums and say "that album should clearly be ranked above the other", but it might be a bit easier to compare Albums of the same artist.

So when you gave 'Nostalgia, Ultra' a high ranking last year and also listed Beach House's Devotion in 08's list, I ask myself why you wouldn't list Bloom and Channel Orange.

Do you truly believe that those Albums are not as good?

Because it seems obvious that you are just leaving out musicians that have gone "big", selling wise or from endorsements of other magazins.

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John Doran
Dec 19, 2012 10:05pm

In reply to MR:

Hi, it might seem obvious to you but I'd love to know what you're basing this knowledge on. Having only a voter base of three people for these charts meaning that changes can be amplified on our charts like they wouldn't be on someone else where they poll 80 writers or whatever. In the case of Beach House we had a staff member who really liked indie when we first started, we no longer do. And as for Frank Ocean... there was only me who voted for the mix tape... Goddamn, I loved that mixtape... and I don't really like the album at all... however at the same time it was only really me who voted for the other really obvious hip hop choices of the last few years like Big Boi, Janelle Monae, Kendrick Lamaar, Killer Mike etc so I'm not sure you can say it's because other magazines have voted for them. Essentially though, we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. If we vote FO, we're just following the crowd, if we don't, we're just being elitist. We always know this is how people are going to respond, so we have a clearly stated goal of simply voting for the albums we've listened to the most and not trying to second guess what we're 'supposed' to be voting for or what albums we think are 'important'. I listened to FO's album twice and hated it both times, Luke and Rory aren't fans to begin with, hence he doesn't appear on our chart. And that's how simple it is.

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John Doran
Dec 19, 2012 10:10pm

In reply to John Doran:

I guess Janelle Monae is RnB but my point still stands. And if you're here to find new music why do you care where Frank Ocean is? He's massive. He's made it. Everyone knows about this album. I'm more interested in people coming over here and coming away loving Richard Skelton or Vatican Shadow or Dragged Into Sunlight or whatever. Did you find any new music you liked?

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MR
Dec 20, 2012 1:19pm

In reply to John Doran:

Yeah, I listend to Goat - World Music and randomly picked something out of the top 10, which was Vatican Shadow and I liked both of them!!!

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john carico
Dec 22, 2012 2:59pm

In reply to John Doran:

Well I love this list. I remember when. I first got into Indie, and my listening habits still dictated by msm. Everyband seemed so amazingly odd. Please make a spotify list :)

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john carico
Dec 22, 2012 3:09pm

In reply to john carico:

Never mind I see the list link now. Thanks.

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Baby Jebus
Dec 23, 2012 9:32pm

Moaning about the Quietus list for its obscurity is beyond pointless. The fact that this music is relatively inaccessible is hugely appealing- I can only imagine what they sound like, and don't have to spoil that thought by actually hearing them.
Actually the ones I do know are all bloody excellent, though I just love the missing Ty Segall's Twins, the best bubblegum pop of the year. Could you drop the popularity contest though? It's very male. Seventy five great, often undervalued records in no particular order is enough.

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Audiolitist
Dec 28, 2012 11:26pm

Just a short note to thank you all for your efforts. I've enjoyed many artists and albums that I've discovered through The Quietus (Richard Skelton included) and recommended to friends (CTV for one). I don't come by often enough to be a regular on the forums, and while I also stop by Pitchfork, I find TQ's willingness to engage with readers, recognition/admission of their tastes (as opposed to pretensions to objective "good music") and tendency toward kneecapping unjustified pretension informative, refreshing and often humorous. Kudos and looking forward to another year of reading your interesting opinions.

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James Hinchcliffe
Dec 31, 2012 4:49pm

Fine effort as ever that has me equally excited about and shamed by all the new acts that passed me by this year. For me it was a terrific year for LPs but very much a comfort blanket type as loads of acts I already liked made really great records. Of those, Death Grips, Why?, Liars and Lambchop probably head the list. A few of the newer acts to me on this list I like on the basis of very recent exposure (VCMG, White Hills) and a few I don't (Toy, Killer Mike) but I look forward to picking the bones out of much more of this in January.

Happy New Year to The Quietus staff and readers!

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Paul Laird
Jan 2, 2013 12:23am

I was unfortunate enough to get Mr Doran a bit upset earlier this year.

That "spat" didn't stop me from reading and enjoying The Quietus.

It's a gloriously varied and outrageously opinionated.

I visit the site every day and always find something new to read; news articles about Martin "Let me be Morrissey" Rossiter and reviews of Ghost sitting side by side with interviews with people I don't know anything about and retrospectives on things I'd forgotten all about.

As for this list...I hadn't heard of or listened to any of them; that's mainly because, as John Doran points out in response to somebody else here, I have very narrow horizons and I am too old/lazy to discover "new" music. Also, in my defence; I had a baby this year...well, my wife did and believe me that little bundle of loveliness will fuck up your ability to listen to music, watch films or read books in a way you never imagined possible.

Looking through the list and reading the accompanying reviews I've placed 15 onto playlists on Spotify...that's 15 new bands/artists to listen to that I wouldn't have heard of on any other site or in any other end of year list. How anyone can be critical of that is beyond me.

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shermstixx
Jan 2, 2013 4:46am

did you guys hear the new circle record?

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John Doran
Jan 2, 2013 9:46am

In reply to shermstixx:

Which one? I got the RSD EP with the Eno cover on it and the last Pharoah Overlord album as well as some Circle reissues.

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John Doran
Jan 2, 2013 9:49am

In reply to Paul Laird:

I watch films/listen to music after gf and child are in bed... it's the only time it will happen. I think you're right about books though. They've become a thing of the past for me.

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Paul Laird
Jan 2, 2013 3:25pm

In reply to John Doran:

Daughter is only 3 months old John and the guilt I feel at doing anything that doesn't involve her is crippling. I'm sure it will settle down though...eventually. Anyway this is The Quietus, not Jeremy Kyle or Oprah.

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shermstixx
Jan 2, 2013 9:14pm

In reply to John Doran:

hell yes! I was referring to the rsd one though. The eno cover isn't my favorite because you can't really better something like that, but the rest of it is so killer... It's like return to forever plays judas priest or vice versa... I don't know any other group who can do what those dudes do.
I guess I just wanted to gush for a second...

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John Doran
Jan 2, 2013 11:05pm

In reply to shermstixx:

Yeah, it is great really. I don't know why it's not on there... simply too much damn fine music out at the moment. Maybe it'll be a top 100 at the end of 2013...

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frank
Jan 3, 2013 12:07am

In reply to plishplosh:

i would LOVE to hear what you find unsettling and crazy, although i think that's kinda missing the point for bish bosch.

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Chris
Jan 3, 2013 4:03pm

I can imagine John Doran singing "It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To" with quite a bit of gusto.

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John Doran
Jan 3, 2013 4:35pm

In reply to Chris:

I'm the life and soul of the party you bugger! I'll be singing Stevie Nicks' Edge Of Seventeen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn8-4tjPxD8 I leave the melancholy and crying for when I go to bed, two days later.

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Evan
Jan 3, 2013 5:15pm

Yup... a huge percent of the album art isn't exactly convincing me to go out and give these unknowns (at least to me) a spin. I'm trying not to be superficial and knee-jerk, but good lord... The supposed creativity within is definitely NOT reflected in the exterior packaging.

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Chris
Jan 4, 2013 9:53am

In reply to Evan:

Too true. I could have done without the the cover of Hirsute Pursuit thanks very much!

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steve
Jan 8, 2013 2:24am

SWANS? nope... they might have been interesting in the 80's but the latest effort sounds like hillbilly shit. Same old pseudo arty farty nonsense from the quietus as expected. Yawn.

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Chris P
Jan 13, 2013 2:16pm

Notably, Niki & the Dove's lush, eccentric pop went acknowledged here in 2012. No love from The Quietus?

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Sakura and the Spider
Jan 17, 2013 10:36pm

Whoa, whoa, whoa -
No Melvins Lite Freak Puke? At all?
I mean, I have that Turbonegro album and it's fun and all, but it in no fucking way compares. I'll give you the Swans and hell, thank you for it...but really, NO FREAK PUKE?! I had a months long mental battle over whether that or De Vermis Mysteriius was the goddamn album of the year, and thank fucking whatever you thank in your dark and lonely times that you guys included High On Fire.

No fucking Freaking Puke...sort of makes me want to puke.

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Phil
Apr 9, 2013 12:15am

Thank you, Quietus, for allowing me view the entire list without having to click "Next" x number of times, thereby increasing my unwilling consumption of advertising. Thank you.

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Dan
May 8, 2013 3:56pm

WHAT! No Pigeon Detectives!!?? Oh, that was this year, my bad..

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tyke tyler
May 24, 2013 2:02pm

i know you dont like lists but can we have yourr opinions on the greatest albums of all time, or the greatest songs

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May 28, 2013 3:37am

In reply to Steven:

Absolutely!! These haters on here think a band is uncool if they have roots in the past. But TI is pushing it forward: psychadelic rock for the adhd generation. Like MGMT they are also influenced by dance music.

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