2012 has been a very special year for album releases! Not only did HTF rock editor Steph Knight post her albums of the year, we also got our contributors to pick their number one album of the year too! Our bloggers Alex Berry and Floods vocalist James Power also chose their top 10 albums of 2012. We would like to thank you all for reading HTF and wish you a happy new year from all of us! Check out what albums our rock writers loved the most here below! HTF x
First up was from our regular ‘rant’ blogger himself, Floods vocalist James Power. Warning readers, this guy is very blunt and to the point and everything he says is no fault of HTF’s. (Just needed to get that point across haha).
1. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten – ‘A flawlessly perfect album, I really can’t fault it as I’m ashamed to say this was my introduction into The Gaslight Anthem. I’m so glad as well as they’re now one of my favourite bands.’
2. Deftones – Koi No Yokan – ‘Anyone who’s heard it will understand why. A return to top form for Deftones. Flawless production and songs with feeling and meaning.’
3. Mumford And Sons – Bable – ‘I’m a big fan of Mumford, I know it’s not a massive depart from ‘Sign No More’, but the band can do no wrong in my eyes.’
4. Bloc Party – Four – ‘I love Bloc Party, and I love the style of this album. A good mix between ‘A weekend in the city’ and ‘Silent Alarm’.’
5. Childish Gambino – Camp – ‘I love Donald Glover, and to find him rapping was a nice surprise. To find that he’s really fucking good was an even bigger one.’
6. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour – ‘Great album, great progress and proves to every UK band out there that the UK rock scene isn’t dead and even the smallest bands can come from nothing to something.
Has lyrics with meanings and messages, something that’s lost on a lot of bands nowadays.’
7. While She Sleeps – This Is The Six – ‘I’m a right stubborn bastard when it comes to music – if I see loads of kids wearing t-shirts of a band I usually assume its some Black Veil Brides shit and ignore it, which is why I was surprised when I heard ‘This Is The Six’ – It’s really fucking good. I can now see why people wear their t-shirts.’
8. Don Broco – Priorities – ‘Tongue firmly pushed into cheeks with this album, melodies galore and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.’
9. Lower Than Atlantis – Changing Tune – How any band can produce 17 songs, while touring constantly in 1 year is beyond me, but fair play to them because they fucking kill it.’
10. Architects – Daybreaker – ‘The tech metal masters are back with the balls they brought from ‘Hollow Crown’, fucking awesome album. Speed, aggression and feeling. Everything I love in a release.’
Isn’t it sad that I didn’t mention my own bands album. THATS THE REAL NUMBER 1 ALBUM OF THE YEAR.
Label wiz and occasional HTF blogger Alex Berry also chose his albums of the year for us. Check out his opinions of 2012 below.
End of the year already? Christ almighty. 2012 was an epic year for music. I think my list here sums up my most favourite releases of the year. I wasn’t even incredibly vain and managed to stave off filling the list with Small Town Records releases (although a notable mention goes out to The Elijah and Devil Sold His Soul, both of whom’s albums would definitely feature in the list). If any of you follow me on twitter (why on earth you would I don’t know, all I do is ramble about knack all) you’ll know that my most party of homeboys Andrew WK was on repeat all spring and summer. The amount of hype the dude’s ten year old album ‘I Get Wet’ got this year was ridiculous and it definitely meant a lot more this time round that when it was first released (yeah, ok, so I was only 15 at that time and didn’t really have the opportunity to Party Hard, but still), hence why he sits atop my top ten list. Good Party to you Sir!!!
1. Andrew WK – I Get Wet
2. Periphery – Periphery 2
3. While She Sleeps – This Is The Six
4. Young Guns – Bones
5. Daybreaker – Architects
6. Glass Cloud – The Royal Thousand
7. Lower Than Atlantis – Changing Tune
8. Sigur Ros – Valtari
9. Bury Tomorrow – Union Of Crowns
10. The Algorithm – Polymorphic Code
Our other guest blogger, Andy Hurst also compiled his 10 albums of the year! Check them out here below.
I was asked to compile a top ten albums of 2012 by my Masters at Hit The Floor approximately 19 Hours ago. I’ve deviated somewhat from the remit by including a smattering of EPs as well. Here’s where my head was at in 2012. This list was powered by a LOT of post Xmas leftover chocolate. The only rule that applied is that all entries had to be available on Spotify so that you can go and have an instant free listen.
1 Acoda – Acoda EP.
Acoda are without doubt the hottest thing to come out of Corby since the Trouser Press (note to the person who is going to write in to tell me that the Corby Trouser Press is actually built in Windsor: I don’t give a fuck). This appetiser for their forthcoming album features bone crushingly heavy riffs, combined with some incredible musicianship. It also packs a political punch (and by politics, I don’t mean that cunt D:Ream endorsing the bigger cunt Tony Blair and his ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ New Labour cronies). It’s more a wake up call for those sleepwalking their way through modern life – the personal politics of “the world is fucked, and party politics are NOT the answer”. When the album lands, BUY IT.
2 John Frusciante – Letur-Lefr.
This five track pre cursor to the album ‘PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone’ (also released in 2012) by former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Frusciante is as far removed from his time in the RHCP as possible on the musical spectrum. It contains no guitar. He describes it as ‘Progressive Synth Pop’, and it was released on hand painted cassette. Brilliant.
3 Bleach Blood – The Young Heartbreakers Club.
This EP from the artist formerly known as Jamie Jazz (ex King Blues) and his new band is a real gem. I cannot wait for those two days in early August where we can go outside in ridiculous Hawaiian shorts and buy ice creams with Flakes in them (I think they call it ‘British Summertime’) to have this one hitting my eardrums while I hide behind some fake Ray Bans and factor 2000 sunblock. This EP is a short sharp burst of summertime in the bleak midwinter.
4 Yashin- We Created A Monster.
I didn’t choose the Yashin album just because I Tour Manage them and live behind their merch table. I chose it because their not so difficult second album has more hooks than an Abu Hamza themed fancy dress Christmas party in the staff room at Guantanamo Bay. Pop sensibility meets riffs a plenty and a rock hard edge.
5 Soundgarden– King Animal.
This bad boy from Seattle survivors Soundgarden takes me back to the time five days after Kurt Cobain had blown his brains out when I fucked up my ankle playing football, and had to stand at the back of the old Manchester Academy watching them whilst the rest of the crowd beat the living shit out of each other. As Chris Cornell barks in the first track, Soundgarden have “Been away too long”.
6 Slipknot – Antennas to Hell.
So this compilation is technically not a new album. But it is a timely reminder of just how absolutely fucking BRUTAL and brilliant Slipknot are. Disc two features their Main Stage headline set from Download 2009. That was the first time I saw them live, and they owned. In the words of Corey Taylor on ‘Get This’ from that set…”OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD”.
7 Floods – Floods.
Fellow Hit The Floor blogger James Power is quite possibly the most awkward frontman of all time. His between song banter makes me cringe and piss myself in equal measures. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a copy of this album for a long time, so had to double check whether it was eligible in the 2012 list. Luckily for you, it is. Perfect music to lift heavy weights to whilst listening to a Friedrich Nietzsche audiobook
8 Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living.
If you listen to the gang vocals on ‘Drunken Physics’ from this album, you will hear the finest set of vocal chords to leave the North East since Jimmy ‘Oz’ Nail somewhere in the mix. My flatmate Simon is on this album, so it deserves a spot on the list solely for that. The fact that it the songs are all so great is a bonus. I like to listen to this one whilst punching sleeping Canadian nuns in the face.
9 While She Sleeps – This Is The Six.
This debut full length from Sheffield’s latest sons shows that the leaden skies of Yorkshire will always inspire great Metalcore, and While She Sleeps seem to have stepped up and taken the crown whilst others have Dropped Dead in pursuit of clothing empires and other such distractions. The North stands for something. Something very noisy and cathartic.
10 Bury Tomorrow – The Union Of The Crown.
I did not expect that a concept album based upon the 1603 accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the thrones of England and Ireland, and the consequential unification of Scotland with both realms under a single monarch would make it onto a list of albums of 2012. But those buggers in Bury Tomorrow only went and ruined that for me, didn’t they? When Hollywood sends Jerry Bruckheimer back in time to chronicle the end of the Elizabthan Era, he wont have far to go to look for the soundtrack to the bloodiest of the battle scenes. As brutal as Russell Crowe covered in CGI blood on a battlefield.
Our Rock News and Reviews Editors were up next! See what Louisa Smith and Amy Jones thought here below.
2012 has been a great year for classic rock albums. Europe’s ‘Bag Of Bones’ was a real stormer, and so was ‘Live At The River Plate’ by AC/DC, but nothing compares to Aerosmith’s ‘Music From Another Dimension.’ With its arena style anthems and anthemic choruses, this album stays true to old school Aerosmith style, with a new flavour of modern rock thrown in for good measure. This album would definitely be welcomed in my stocking this Christmas…no pun intended.
Written By: Louisa Smith – Rock News Editor
After much deliberation (and countless plays on iTunes), this year’s best album for me was The Gaslight Anthem’s third studio album release: ‘Handwritten’. The Gaslight Anthem have been one of my favourite acts for the last four or five years so it seemed unlikely that I wasn’t going to enjoy this release from them – just how much I loved it, was something I couldn’t have quite imagined.
‘Handwritten’ – released back in July – contains some of the band’s best work, tracks such as latest single ‘Here Comes My Man’ (which also featured one of my girl crushes, Elisha Cuthbert, in the video), ‘Mulholland Drive’ and the immensely beautiful album closer ‘National Anthem’ show off the band’s insane talents for both musicianship and songwriting.
From start to finish this album is – simply put – just incredible. Frontman Brian Fallon is nothing short of a lyrical genius, with the craftsmanship of guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine and drummer Benny Horowitz bringing Fallon’s raspy voiced creations to incredible life. Not only is this my favourite album of the year but may be one of my favourite albums of all time (… yes guys, its just that damn good!)
Written By: Amy Jones – Rock Reviews Editor
Then all of the opinons of the rest of our fabulous HTF rock writers! Here’s to a bloody good 2012 and may 2013 be even better!
In part an album and in part an uninterrupted wall of distorted sound, the self-titled effort by Canadian garage-punk trio Metz introduces some upheaval into the often oversaturated retro/re-imagination band pool of the last twelve months. Rarely moving away from the immediacy of in-your-face sonic battery, the ten tracks force attention through their deliberately repetitive droning that ends up as far removed from monotony as possible. The album borrows from the past (re: 90s punk) yet pushes the sound towards the present day with their unique take on an established genre. Metz is dirty, gritty, unpolished and downright noisy – and about as punk-as-fuck as you’re going to get this year.
Union of Crowns is my album of the year because it showcases exactly what British metal is all about at the moment: it’s full of power and depth but has such a strong melody. The vocal combination from Daniel and Jason is so refreshing and it’s the sort of album I can never get fed up of listening to. There are few albums where every track is as strong as it’s precessor, but Union of Crowns doesn’t make me want to skip a single track.
Following the release of this record on 28th May 2012, it was soon realised by every UK metal and hardcore band alike that they might as well give up trying to create ‘heavy’ music and jog on back to Burger King to live a menial existence before a timely demise. It’s dark, bleak, hopeless, pissed off, it’s the definition of hate. If your ears are seeking to hear something that’s going to get you up on your feet, dancing and smiling inanely like some sort of possessed, ridiculous chump, Desperation Is The English Way Vol.1 is definitely not for you.
It’s not a chart-botherer and it’s far from easy listening, it’s Brotherhood Of The Lake and that’s all that you need to know. Pin back your lugholes. It’s meant to hurt.
Whether you’re a fan of Every Time I Die, metalcore in general, or just love amazing music, then ‘Ex Lives’ is an absolute triumph. As soon as ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ kicks in it’s obvious that Keith Buckley and co are going to blow you away, the album is full of songs which might not last long but feel seriously epic and have tonnes of replay value. It eclipses everything this band have done till now, even their previous album ‘New Junk Aesthetic’ which was itself a fantastic record. If there’s one album you need out of everything released in 2012 it’s this one, it has everything from apoplectic lyrics to ear-stretching vocals to guitar riffs thicker than Joey Essex. It’s not just the best metal album of 2012; it’s the best album of 2012 bar none.
It seems like it’s hard for most people to talk about this band without mentioning Bruce Springsteen’s name, so I’m going to try not to bring him up… Doh, too late. In all seriousness, from the moment I listened to the opening burst of ‘”45″‘, The Gaslight Anthem’s ‘Handwritten’ became my favourite album of the year before it had even finished playing. Not only is it filled with some killer anthems (‘”45″‘, ‘Howl’ and ‘Desire’ to name but a few), but what I really love about it is how the band came into their own on this album. From the harmony-filled ‘Here Comes My Man’, to the timeless classic ‘National Anthem’, to the moving honesty of the title-track, there’s not a single song I can fault. It’s perfect. (Just like Brian Fallon… Did I tell you that I love him? *drools*)
This year has seen us landed with a number of fantastic albums, I could quite easily put a top 10 together of this year alone, but there has been one band that has stood out above the others. Not because they’re inherently different, but because they enjoy what they do, and what they do is write incredibly catchy and fantastically crafted music. ‘We Created a Monster’ is the post-hardcore album that everyone needs in their lives this year. With their blend of perfectly tuned melodic vocals and powerful screams and growls it’s hard to not do anything but feel incredible about the songs that they’re creating. I could pick out every single song from the album as a top performer, but I have managed to whittle it down to three. ‘Runaway Train’ is the perfect start to the album, introducing you to the fantastic melodic vocals Harry Radford with the powerful voice of Kevin Miles both in incredible harmony. Yet ‘The Game’ manages to prove that they’re not just about the same style, turning the dial down a bit for some rest, this song has managed to show just how melodic and ballad-like the band can get if needed. Finally we have possibly their most inspiring song to date. ‘Make It Out Alive’ is quite bluntly incredible. With the drum beat to keep your foot tapping throughout the entire song, it will keep you hooked to the lyrics throughout, even giving you a fantastic little quote from our heroic Winston Churchill. To put it simply, everyone needs to listen to this album if you’re into rock music, it has a bit of everything to keep you interested from first to last track. May they continue to rise and improve.
Having discovered DZ Deathrays at the NME Tour last Autumn, I have since then been following those two Aussies in the small London venues, including the 3 nights residency at the Old Blue Last. DZ Deathrays are the perfect band you want to see at a house party but preferably not your house. Their dance punk sound can make you want to scream along at the gigs as well as when listening to the album on the bus and the most unforgettable fact is that being only two they create the sound of a 5 piece band! With the funky punk single, ‘Gebbie Street’, DZ Deathrays – ‘Bloodstreams’ is definitely my album of 2012!
My rock ‘Album Of The Year’ would have to be ‘Hot Cakes’ by The Darkness. Eyebrows may have been raised when they reformed last year but let’s face it that deep down in even the biggest rock fans heart there’s a place for the fun that The Darkness bring.
Honed on the road during a mammoth reunion tour the album has brought back the hard rock edge of ‘Permission To Land’ and added more and more and more guitar craziness than ever before. As always Justin Hawkins’ previous work as a jingle writer comes to the fore with melodies catchier than Chlamydia was during the bands decadent heyday. Plus lest we forget the amazing dancing bear in the video to ‘Everybody Have A Good Time’. Long live fun Rock ‘n’ Roll! Long live The Darkness!
There’s not a single track on this album that isn’t scorching hot – it may have been eight years since the last Hot Water Music offering, but the guys from Gainesville, Florida, certainly haven’t gone off the boil. ‘Exister’ is a 38-minute barrage of bluesy hooks and grooving drum lines from a band renowned for having one of the best rhythm sections in rock, and the gritty dual vocals from Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard are phenomenal – both men absolutely kill it. ‘State of Grace’ is an absolute must-listen, and easily my top track of the year.
This album lets the imagination of Coheed’s frontman Claudio Sanchez run wild once again over the whole bizarre concept of The Amory Wars. Not only that, the band take a whole step back in the concept and involve spaceships, entities and anything else remotely sci-fi and turn it into a double album, involving the main character (Sirus Amory) descending into madness. The only other band that comes close to brilliant concepts I know of is Fear Factory, but Coheed take it one step further by producing prog-rock masterpieces over and over again.
This is release of the year because it’s too beautiful not to be. Mixing the delicate instrumentals and melodies of post-rock with the seething heaviness of hardcore and the flair and subtle nature of experimental music and jazz ‘Eardstapa’ is a tortured, exhausting and wonderful journey through a whole range of musical and emotional sound scapes. For fans of the avant garde, the cutting edge and dynamic side of the UK’s alternative music scene.
The album is available now from the band’s Bandcamp in limited physical copies and as a pay what you want deal download at http://analogueofthesun.bandcamp.com/album/eardstapa
Don Broco’s debut album ‘Priorities’ has definitely been the soundtrack to most of my year; happy times, sad times and always when I needed cheering up I whack them on! I just generally have it on repeat all day while faffing about, I don’t think I will ever become tired of it. To be honest it is probably the only album I can have on repeat without wanting to switch it off! I couldnt even tell you which is my favourite track, I simply love them all the same. There’s no song on the album I want to skip!
Personally I cannot wait to see what they have got in store for us next, 2013 is definitely gonna be a great year for them!
Best album of twenty-twelve. My whole year has been leading up to this kind of question. The pressure’s on as I sit sifting through records, CDs, and making Spotify my bitch to help me make this decision and the truth is – there were a ton of contenders that my fellow amazing music fiends at HTF will attest to. But Jack White (musical maverick extraordinaire) made my task significantly easier with his recently released ‘Blunderbuss.’ With the rock backbone and jazz, cabaret, and even some select motown elements that weave their way in and out of each track is super successful in keeping the listener on their toes while making them privy to several unexpected auditory surprises that are way more than welcomed. I’ll say this for the release – it’s one of the very few CD’s I can listen to in its entirety without jumping the gun and switching up the tracks prematurely. Apparently ‘Blunderbuss’ was the music ADD antidote I’ve been searching for.
It was difficult to chose my album of the year (for obvious reasons!) whittling it down to a close call between Slash and We Are The Ocean. Yes, two VERY different sounds but I decided that we all already know that the man who made G’N'R good is a rock legend, so I have decided my give appreciativeness to a band I feel is reaching their musical maturity. ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ is a brilliant concoction of rock, melodic hardcore and british pop-punk. I’m not saying that the exit of Dan Brown, their now ex lead vocalist, is what has made this band better because they were good anyway but Liam Cromby’s vocals just brings a depth to the lyrics that wasn’t there before. ‘Bleed’ showcases Liam’s grittier voice still with their classic heavy drums and prominent guitars, provoking a need to sing this tune at the top of your lungs or fist-pump violently at one of their gigs. There are songs for every occasion on this album. With the accoustic ‘Chin Up, Son’ allowing you to sit back and chill. ‘Pass Me By’ makes it impossible to not have a little skank to and if you aren’t playing ‘The Road’ on full volume whilst clenching your fists and banging your head… then you are doing it wrong. WATO have settled into a sound that works well for them and their fans, a perfect balance of hearty lyrics, progressive melodies and hardcore drums. I strongly recommend this album for your collection!