We’re already half away through 2012, crazy huh? It felt like it was a slow start to the year in terms of standout album releases but slowly things have picked up pace and some (in our ears) essential purchases have emerged. Here, in no particular order are twenty LPs that have captured our attention over the last six months.
LAMBCHOP | MR. M
This is their best since Nixon, majestic, intimate and ethereal.
NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE | AMERICANA
The long awaited return of Crazy Horse to the NY fold and they recommence work with brilliant primitive garage rock interpretations of folk classics.
EARTH | ANGELS OF DARKNESS, DEMONS OF LIGHT II
Dylan Carlson and co continue to explore parched and ghostly americana doom.
SHACKLETON | MUSIC FOR THE QUIET HOUR
This music for the head, food for the ears and possesses an astonishing range of electronic composition.
TORCHE | HARMONICRAFT
The sludge metallers continue to refine their heaviosity with their most realised collision of melody and surging heavy rock.
JOSEF VAN WISSEM & JIM JARMUSCH | CONCERNING THE ENTRANCE INTO ETERNITY
A fascinating journey into experimental post rock with this collaboration between a lutist and the acclaimed indie film director on electric guitar.
DR JOHN | LOCKED DOWN
The Night Tripper hooks up with a Black Key and produces his finest work in years. New Orleans voodoo swamp blues and jazz at its finest.
SINEAD O’CONNOR | HOW ABOUT I BE ME (AND YOU BE YOU)?
O’Connor gets personal and raw on one of her best collection of songs in years. FULL REVIEW
OREN AMBARCHI | AUDIENCE OF ONE
Ambarchi’s exquisitely recorded guitar compositions are stretched fleshed out with vocals, whirs and patter making this his most holistic release to date.
DEEP SEA ARCADE | OUTLANDS
Sydney quintet Deep Sea Arcade deserve to top charts and win hearts with this stellar collection of infectious indie guitar pop. FULL REVIEW
FATHER JOHN MISTY | FEAR FUN
Josh Tillman discards his dark stark folk and reveals an album brimming with hooks and a sharp wit. FULL REVIEW
SUZY CONNOLLY | NIGHT LARKS
An early candidate for my album of the year. Night Larks is heartfelt and mature songwriting of the highest order. This will take up residency in your heart and ears. FULL REVIEW
THE CARETAKER | PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD)
Arcane, lost and forgotten sounds in a bed of crackle and hiss. Pick the right time (night, wine and headphones) and prepare to be transported through space and time.
DAMIEN JURADO | MARAQOPA
Jurado follows up his excellent Saint Bartlett with another LP of classic troubadour songs, this time a tad more psychedelic and swirling in the hands of collaborator Richard Swift.
OPOSSOM | ELECTRIC HAWAII
Essentially the solo project of ex Mint Chick Kody Nielson, this is technicolor pop music at its finest. FULL REVIEW
THE MEN | OPEN YOUR HEART
A real mix of post punk, hardcore and indie rock. The songs tumble from the speakers leaving a trail of carefree gems scattered in their wake. FULL REVIEW
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD | THIS IS PIL
The return of John Lydon and his band of merry men and what a welcome return with this dub heavy excursion into indie, post punk, industrial rhythms and rhymes.
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE | NOTHING’S GONNA CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL ABOUT ME NOW
Earle is now beginning to expand his sound, taking it into Memphis soul territory with horns aplenty and a bigger band sound to match his outstanding country and folk songwriting abilities. FULL REVIEW
CHARLIE HORSE | I HOPE I’M NOT A MONSTER
A record from Sydney’s Blue Mountains that takes strong and sultry country rock vocals and marries them to some Peter Buck and Neil Young guitar anthems in waiting. FULL REVIEW
VCMG | SSSS
Who’d have thought original Depeche Moders Martin Gore and Vince Clarke would collaborate again/ They did and the results were surprisingly dark and fun on this techno collision between two stalwarts of modern electronic pop music. FULL REVIEW