Here's this year's top 10 albums list from Music Liberation. Whilst we didn't quite get to review all of the albums we'd have like to have this year, I feel the records we did get to were all really strong and as a result it was a difficult but wholly enjoyable process of narrowing down the final list you see before you. Hopefully you'll discover something new here you might have missed this year, and at the bottom of the post we also mention those albums we really rated but didn't quite get round to reviewing. 2012 has been a superb year for new music and fortunately for us it only looks like continuing into the new year and beyond.
Thanks for reading, listening, and engaging with Music Liberation this year, we'll be back in 2013 slightly fatter, older, and in some cases greyer, but we'll promise to keep up our desire to review and support the best in new music from across the globe. If you'd like to submit your music to us then please head here, and if you'd like to join the team and write some reviews then go here.
Jon Sidwell (Editor)
1. Tall Ships - Everything Touching // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell
"Tall Ships have been on our radar for quite some time now, with us first covering them back in March 2010 with a review of their self titled EP. The trio from Falmouth (now based in Brighton) are signed with the impressive Big Scary Monsters, and Everything Touching is their debut record out as a split release with Blood And Biscuits...Everything Touching is quite possibly one of the best albums you'll hear all year, you just don't know it yet, and for that matter, neither do I, yet. You see this is a complex album which requires several listens to really grasp the depth of ideas this band have put forward over the ten tracks. Some moments are instant, others might take a while longer, but I'm deadly sure that at some point the penny will drop for all...To sum up this album I'll use a vastly overused word - EPIC."
2. Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory // Reviewed by Clive Rozario
"Just listen to the opening couplet of 'Attack On Memory' – and you'll barely recognise them. 'No Future / No Past' is slow-burning, moody alternative-rock – not a million miles away from Pixies, with grumbling bass and eerie whining building to an exhilarating last minute in which Baldi screams “no future, no past” repeatedly. Darker, angrier, and a damn lot better than anything Baldi has written before. However, the second track 'Wasted Days' is not just the best song of their career, it's the best alternative song of the last few months. At nearly 9 minutes, it's much longer than anything else on the album, but it never feels excessively strung-out. Starting off as a simple garage-punk number with a massive vocal hook, it soon gets stuck into a progressive, vocal-less groove, with bubbling sonic textures and climbing, post-hardcore guitars. It’s sprawling, but the climb is never without precision, and the heavy conclusion features Baldi's best ever vocal performance – barking-then-screaming “I thought I would be more that this” over and over with some mighty, mighty passion. It is huge."
3. Negative Pegasus - Looming // Reviewed by Moker
"It’s a giant of a record; greater than the sum of its rackety and screeching parts, greater even than the crazy trio that fused it all together in a seaside lab full of smoking, bubbling liquids in glass beakers. The twisting, rich guitar riffs dance around horrendously huge staccato rhythms in some kind of punk / dance insanity that that gives zero fucks to what genre it may or may not fit into, whilst echo-drenched vocals occasionally wail out between the ensuing carnage...Look, whatever, it’s stunning. Words are limited, music is infinite and this is one of the most exciting records in years. It it self indulgent? Yes. Is it inaccessible? Most probably. Is it genius? No doubt. Think Holy Fuck. Think Sleigh Bells. Think World’s End Girlfriend. Think about every electro-punk-rock crossover that you’ve had the displeasure of hearing and then listen to an entire genre being saved by an epic, breath of fresh air that is this album. Inspired, passionate, adventurous and uncompromising, music really doesn't get much better than this."
4. Beat Culture - Tokyo Dreamer // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell
"Released earlier this year through Bad Panda Records, 'Tokyo Dreamer' is the new album from 17 year old South Korean Sunik Kim. Going under the moniker of Beat Culture, this exceptionally talented young man is already onto album number two, after releasing his debut LP 'Goldenbacked Weaver' in July of last year when he was just 16. His new record, 'Tokyo Dreamer', is a collection of 10 tracks which demonstrates Beat Culture's impeccable knowledge and skills in electronica...The songs that make up Tokyo Dreamer have a great deal of complexity to them and yet somehow Beat Culture seems to make it all sound so simple, and for any audio fan its literally like food for your ears. Taking inspiration from the likes of Burial, James Blake, Fourtet, and Gold Panda, Beat Culture fuses a range of electronic styles such as dub, hip hop, house, and breaks, to create songs which not only get you moving, put you in a really fucking good mood, but can also transport you wherever you'd like to go."
5. Hysterical Injury - Dead Wolf Situation // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell
"Dead Wolf Situation is the debut full length album from Bath's Hysterical Injury, a band that should need little introduction to you Music Liberation regulars...My favourite song on the album is 'Bitch's Balls' (great title), a track which starts stripped back but is slowly added to with a growing intensity, made up of wild guitars, prominent drums, and far out vocals. Concluding with the monstrous 'Rainbow Thunderclap', the 'Dead Wolf Situation' experience is one that leaves you feeling part exhausted, part overwhelmed, part enlightened, but in the end wholly satisfied and entirely captivated. As debut albums go its certainly sets the bar high, which will not only challenge those bands around them, but also will surely push the Hysterical Injury onto even greater things in the future. A thought which I hope you'll agree is more than tantalising..."
6. Citizens - CTZNS // Reviewed by Clive Rozario
7. Whirr - Pipe Dreams // Reviewed by Sarah Rayner
8. Grimes - Visions // Reviewed by Sarah Rayner
9. Luke Ritchie - The Water's Edge // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell
10. Mia Sparrow - Mee-Ah-Spar-O // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell
Some records we missed, but deserve a mention:-
Desolated - Verse Of Judas
Egyptian Hip Hop - Good Don't Sleep
Exlovers - Moth
Hold Your Horse Is - Frimley
Kyla La Grange - Ashes
Lucy Rose - Like I Used To