1. King Charles – LoveBlood
King Charles describes his music as ‘Glam Folk’. He has this certain kind of flamboyancy and whimsicality that embodies his music and himself as a performer, which makes for a very entertaining and powerful performance.
There are many stand out tracks on his début record, particular highlights are tracks, Coco Chitty and Lady Percy, the latter being a joy-filled tale of love and yearning for the eponymous, Lady Percy.
LoveBlood is a mixture of fun pop melodies and darker guitar ridden tracks, King Charles effortlessly combines the two to create something of pure beauty. Some tracks also find themselves edging towards country and folk, The Brightest Lights for example, which also features Mumford and Sons. LoveBlood is as entertaining as it is from start to finish, a must for everyone’s record collection.
2. Spector – Enjoy It While It Lasts
Enjoy It While It Lasts, in my opinion, is the perfect indie record, one that everyone should have in their record collection. Their début record is brimming with fast paced indie rock tunes and cleverly written ballads, a very well produced début.
Enjoy It While It Lasts opens with True Love (For Now), like most of their songs it starts off with a slow tempo then speeds up as we hit the bridge. True Love is the perfect opening track as it reels you straight in, if the intention of the album was to start off heavy and end with a bang, then they succeeded. Enjoy ends on a high, with the song, Never Fade Away, leaving us with the hope that we need that Spector will never fade away and that this is only the beginning of their journey. As you see in the video below, Spector aren’t a band that take themselves too seriously, they don’t fit the ‘mould’ of what it is to be a band, they are not just another indie band, they are Spector.
3. Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
Jake’s self-titled debut record is astounding, utterly brilliant. It’s amazing to think just a few years ago he was unheard of, now the 18 year old Nottingham native is one of the biggest stars to come out of 2012.
He already has a number one album, he’s virtually sold-out two headlining tours and he’s supported Noel Gallagher & the High Flying Birds and Snow Patrol in the USA, all this under his belt in less than a year. Surely it can only be world domination from here on out , it couldn’t happen to anyone more deserving, he always comes across as the sweetest and most down-to-earth guy which is also so refreshing.
Really I have to say, Jake Bugg’s album has to be one of my all time favourites ever, it’s a brilliant mix of slow, raw emotional songs to country-styled ballads to upbeat fast-tempo songs. The stand-out tracks on the record have to be Someone Told Me, Broken, Slide and Someplace. I’m a soppy-romantic, so these songs really fill me up; these songs really showcase his voice, it’s unreal to me when listening to him how he can do some of the things he does with his voice, such a talent.
I think Jake Bugg has to be the best new artist to come out of this year, just brilliant. The sheer emotion that comes out of his songs is beautiful, and he doesn’t just stick to one style which keeps everything fresh.
4. Gotye – Making Mirrors
The man behind Gotye is Wally De Backer, a Belgian-Australian who has shot to mainstream fame earlier this year with his no 1 song, Somebody I Used To Know. Wally is a master when it comes to song-writing and producing a record, he is pure and simply a musician. Not only has Wally wrote all the songs on Making Mirrors, he also produced the album and mixed some of the tracks.
Making Mirrors covers of a wide range of genres, it has a little bit for everyone, a wineglass is even used in one of the songs. Wally’s smooth and soothing vocals are the perfect accompaniment to the melodic guitar riffs in Easy Way Out, which is all about the monotony of daily life. Making Mirrors has an ethical conscience that becomes prevalent with the song, Eyes Wide Open, which highlights the effects and the total ignorance we have for our environment. All in all, Making Mirrors is a magnificent piece of artistry and one that deserves more attention.
5. All The Young – Welcome Home
All The Young are a four-piece from Stoke on Trent, their goal is to revive guitar music and bring it back to the fore-front. Their début record, Welcome Home, features a very heavy-hitting selection of guitar centric tunes, that range from loud in-your-face anthems to the slower retrospective rock ballads.
Particularly, the song The Horizon stands out from the pack, it feels like a stadium filler type of song, I could easily picture this song being one of their most well regarded and sought after songs. Track no.2 on the album, Today, is a good example of their stand up values, a “seize-the-day” type of message, ‘get up and fight the day’ and finally the title track of the record, Welcome Home, a beautiful tribute to their home town, Stoke on Trent. One which I’m sure everyone can relate to.
6. Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart
Marina’s second offering, Electra Heart thoroughly outshines her début, in my opinion. Filled with catchy pop hits and dance anthems, Electra Heart is something of greatness. Marina is not to be messed with though, she is a very clever song-writer and she never fails to say something unexpected, like the opening line of Radioactive states, “Lying on a fake beach, you’ll never get a tan”, obvious but genius.
Electra Heart is very much about love and the effects that it’s had on Marina, as she says this album “is very personal”. Electra Heart features the single, Primadonna, a frivolous look at the stereotypical Hollywood type. Marina is known for her ‘no-holds barred’ song-writing approach, she thrives when writing about stereotypes, such as the songs, Teen Idle, Homewrecker and Bubblegum Bitch suggest.
The whole album is a concept in itself of Electra Heart, looking at the American stereotypes and archetypes, of prom queens and house wives in particular. Marina also made herself the embodiment of Electra Heart, as she dyed her hair blonde for the whole period of this album. Electra Heart ends with the retrospective Fear and Loathing, the perfect end to a great album.
7. The Killers – Battle Born
The Killers know how to make a great record, it has to be said they are one of the bands that will never get old and hopefully will continue to make music for many years to come.
Battle Born is a great addition to The Killers musical catalogue. Battle Born opens with big stadium filler tracks, Flesh and Bone and Runaways, and continues to throughout. Brandon Flowers signature vocals seal the deal, he brings out the true beauty in the songs and leaves you wanting more.
8. Taylor Swift – Red
Taylor Swift, only at 23, already has 4 studio albums under her belt, she has to be one the most hard working people in the industry. She writes all her own music, if not then she co-writes. She is one of my favourite singer-songwriters, she writes solely from experience, her songs are mostly about love, whether that’s good or bad and all the things that come in between.
Red has already received a big welcome, it went to number 1 in over 6 countries and it features 2 duets with Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. Red is Taylor’s most successful album to date, and it’s also Taylor’s most riskiest album, she takes more of a departure here from her country roots and moves more in the direction of pop. But it works just as well. Red is a fantastic album, the stand outs for me are Stay Stay Stay, I Knew You Were Trouble, Begin Again and Sad Beautiful Tragic.
9. Keane – Strangeland
This has to be the best album of Keane’s to date. It was a great way to start the year on. Strangeland is full of big stadium fillers with Keane’s signature keyboard-heavy sound, perfect for a quiet night in or the soundtrack to a big weekend.
Keane teach us to enjoy every moment and bask in the beauty of our hometown’s, in such songs as Sovereign Light Cafe and You are Young. They develop their sound with a darker, more Gothic twist in the song, Disconnected but mainly Strangeland consists of upbeat, joyful storytelling tunes.
10. Tribes – Baby
Baby is the début record from Tribes, it’s a mix of guitar rock and soft rock ballads. Reminiscent of 90’s grunge.