Best Of 2012: That Top 50 List In Full



A Happy Saturnalia to you all!  And as that’s my hols over, what better than a hastily cut-and-pasted reposting of the Top 50 to sit on top of the turkey, trifle and Twiglet overdoings of the previous 48 hours?  Probably plenty of stuff now that I think of it, but there you go.

Depending on what lists you’ve been reading this year, you’ll see people disagreeing about whether this was a year for Great records, or merely Good ones.  That, I suppose, we’ll find out in time when the truly timeless ones float up to the top and the ones we listen to every now and again (even sometimes the ones that now make us go “Wow!”) drift slowly towards the back of the crates. That most lists this year are so wildly different would seem to suggest that people may not be talking about 2012 in terms of a Great Cultural Wossname, but there are more than a few records around and about that have the potential to be either looked back at fondly and excitedly as stepping-stones to someone’s future greatness, or as Pink Moon-like gems that are just waiting for everyone else to catch up.  Whatever happens, it’s been a good year to be doing this sort of year no matter how many of the below (or indeed, ones that I missed out on and am only just picking up on, thanks to other top 10s, 20s and 50s) I’ll be listening to later on.


There’s already much to look forward to in 2013, hope to see you all there.

Si, the people of 6 Days From Tomorrow.



Best Of 2012, No.1: Soulsavers – The Light The Dead See

lightAfter much deliberation, writing out of lists when I was supposed to be doing actual paid employment-related shenanigans, trying to look all organised by tapping out a spreadsheet and then forgetting to save it, throwing everything away and starting again, and finally making it up as I went along, my choice for my Number One favourite record of 2012 was the one at the top of the very first list after all.  After picking my way through 49 other things and being able to pinpoint the exact justification for it being where it was, it’s probably fitting that the overriding reason for having this at the top of the pile is a succinct “dunno really”, before putting it on again.

It’s been a bit of a madness this past 6 weeks where I’ve crammed in over 50 albums over and over again (as there were a few that didn’t make the final list) while tapping this out, reorganising and generally wailing at the world in general, and to be honest it will be nice to give my brain a couple of fallow days before starting all over again.  I can’t honestly think of a better way to finish this Top Fifty off than this record, something that has all of those undefinable “this is how all records should be made” elements in the right amounts and in the right order, and one that never fails to move me whatever mood I happen to be in whenever I start listening to it.


Best Of 2012: The Other Things


Only one part left to do, and the infernal list is finished for another year. I know why everyone else does theirs in committees now. Anyway, before I get things wrapped up and back to normal, I want to mention a few other related comings and (sadly) goings that made 2012 special for me.

It’s been a genuinely odd year for the blog, although that was mostly my fault. Twice I went “sod this for a game of soldiers” and hovered over the delete button, and being flattened by Facebook’s policy of not letting my friends read what I’d written on my own Page unless I gave them money to allow them to do so (I will never, ever pay to advertise on that site, and I am overjoyed to notice that none of the artists, musicians, bands and friends of this site have given in and forked out) halved my readership, because nobody could tell when I’d written something. The site recently crapping itself and refusing to work (resulting in the ugly hack you see before you) hasn’t really helped much either.
So I am grateful to various interventions in the form of a couple of strange appearances in the UK National Press, a continuing absence of anything better to do with my free time and especially the kind words of friends and visitors alike has kept 6dft (as well as myself in general) going, and going to the point where I have ended up up with just over twice the visitors of last year.  Which just goes to show that even Facebook’s Demented Ideas Department can’t keep a determined idiot from typing.
Before I get on with the business of getting this blog’s Number One album typed up and finished (although I suspect it won’t be too difficult to work out), I’d like to do a quick tip of the hat to all the other things that have piqued my interest his year.


Best Of 2012, No.2: My Jerusalem – Preachers


Hmm.  I was going to leave this until Christmas Eve, but sod it.  External influences have put me in an incredibly bad mood (someone who wants me to have a crap Christmas has at least in part succeeded, but hey ho), and I’m listening to this as a way of both dissipating, soothing and – as a somewhat guilty pleasure – exacerbating my current disposition.  Somewhat handily, this record manages to do all three rather well, so I’m sitting here alternating between sheepish, impotent grumpiness (rage doesn’t really become me) and a slightly stubborn “stop making me feel better!” vibe which I excel at.

So I’m really glad that this record is at Number Two in this little list.  Mostly because of all the above cathartic nonsense, but also because the post I wrote originally about this back on release was a terrible piece of prose even by my own unlofty standards, so at least now I get another go to try to come up with something a bit better.  Maybe.


Best Of 2012, No.3: Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

Blues_FuneralThis Top 3 has changed so many times, it’s unbelievable.  All interchangeable and all for different reasons, I think I’ve finally settled on an order that I can look at and go “yup, that’ll do”.  Or I could change it all again in a hissy fit.  Anyway, I’ve surprised myself a bit with having this ‘merely’ at (embolden!) Number Three, as from the first playthrough I was convinced that there would be nothing better than this.  And in a way, that’s turned out to be correct, albeit in a slightly off-kilter fashion (more on that down below).  And I’m actually rather glad that there are two records that have made slightly more of an impact this year, as there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition to indicate what a year it’s been for my ears and the occasionally misfiring gelatinous mass in between.


Best Of 2012, No.4: Smoke Fairies – Blood Speaks

bloodspeaksGood grief, I appear to be back on some sort of track!  I suppose the thing is now I’m getting to my absolute favourites, I’m finding myself that little bit more eager to write stuff.  Also, I’m not suffering from Food Poisoning like I was the other week, and that does wonders for the old concentration levels.  Onto Number Four then, and one that has vague echoes of two records that little bit further ahead and a link to the next one along, so it’s nice that all the ones at the top have that little bit of spiritual commonality to them.  This is one of those times where as soon as I heard it was on the way, I was on tenterhooks right up until release day – partly because of the obvious stuff about the last one being brilliant so therefore I was looking forward to this one, but in a more general “what are they going to do next?” curiosity.


Best Of 2012, No.5: Bob Mould – Silver Age

silver ageThe promise I made myself that I would not listen to any more new stuff until I got this list finished is starting to get a bit stretched, although on the plus side it’ll mean that I have plenty of presents to open on Christmas Day and I won’t have to disconsolately hope that someone’s still got the receipt somewhere.  So, as the pile gets bigger, I am starting to type faster which is kind of apt in the case of this Number Five as it’s a record that has that effect of forcing the mind and body to speed up through sheer infectious force of will.  It’s also the most surprising listening experience of this year, and one that has snapped me out of one or two of my own funks this year. (more…)

Best Of 2012, No.6: The Local Strangers – Left For Better

leftforbetterI must admit that my reasons for emboldening where I’m up to in this list have been somewhat lost to the mists of time, but I’ve started now so it would be churlish not to mention that I’m now up to Number Six of this seasonal countdown (or countup, if you will), even though it says so anyway up at the top.  This is one of those choices that sits here for the usual musical and emotional reasons, but also a bit personal, as I’ve been following these guys since their first single and now that their first album is here and amongst us, it’s just nice to see that sometimes the music biz works in the way that we all hope it does, rather than the way it usually operates.


Best Of 2012, No.7: True Bypass – Toby



Wow, this is an odd concept right off the bat, and is certainly something that raises this record as high as it is because it’s something that couldn’t possibly work without 100% honesty from all involved, and someone who recognises herself so clearly in the words of another to the present them as a part of her.  Make no bones about it, this one at Number Seven is absolutely mad, scary and all kinds of wonderful, and I’m amazed that it’s not occurred to anyone else to do this before.  Then again, your average musicianly ego would never permit such frank and forthright intrusion to be turned into one song, let alone a whole album.  It also helps a lot that it sounds so lovely with it.


Best of 2012, No.9: Shearwater – Animal Joy


For several months, I had this one pegged as being a lot higher than ‘merely’ finishing the year at Number Nine, and if I could be bothered rooting through playlists and the like I suspect that I’d find that this is the most-played new record of this year, with only two others (both higher-placed) coming anywhere close.  So while it’s perhaps a bit strange to go on at some length about Shearwater following their huge three-album Island Arc concept (plus accompanying live album) with something akin to an easy-listening pop goof-off (which would be doing it something of a disservice), I’m going to do that anyway.