Musicology: Best albums of 2012

IN the quest to find the best music of 2012, we turned to a host of local and formerly local musicians (plus a radio presenter and a music store employee) to tell us their favourite albums of the year.

Some picked 10, some picked less, some picked more, and there was no consensus... except that there was lots of good music out there this year.

Matt Neal (The Standard/The 80 Aces)

1. Future Of The Left - The Plot Against Common Sense

The third album from these noisy Welsh rockers adds keyboards but doesn't diminish their punkish riffs and sharp cynicism. Whether skewering the Olympics (Failed Olympic Bid), slagging off the Hollywood sequel factory (Robocop 4 - F**k You, Robocop) or sticking it to the privileged (Sorry Day, I Was Late For The Riots), Future Of The Left deliver intelligent hilarity without forgetting to bring the rocking rhythms and spiky hooks.

2. Bloc Party - Four

3. Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory

4. Dr. John - Locked Down

5. The Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends

6. The Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania

7. Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind

8. Jack White - Blunderbuss

9. The Melvins - Freak Puke

10. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...

Joe Gardner (Red Eagle/Scooters By Choice)

1. Dr. John - Locked Down

An album from the Night Tripper that takes you back to the basics of music. Raw, sexy and down right dirty. An old dog still teaching us new tricks.

2. The Heavy - The Glorious Dead

3. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

4. Devin - Romancing

5. The Hives - Lex Hives

6. Cosmo Jarvis - Think Bigger

7. Miike Snow - Happy To You

8. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill

9. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

10. Tame Impala - Lonerism

Tom Ballard (Triple J)

1. Hot Chip - In Our Heads

Flawless pop, simultaneously serious and funny, that satisfies on the first and the twenty-first listen. This is Hot Chip at their consistently best.

2. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...

3. Chairlift - Something

4. Jonathan Boulet - We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart

5. Grizzly Bear - Shields

6. Flume - Flume

7. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

8. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

9. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

10. Tame Impala - Lonerism

Luke Watt

1. Kelly Joe Phelps - Brother Sinner & The Whale

The new album from one of my all time favourites. Marks a return to detailed, solo slide playing that simply stands alone. Devastatingly honest songs, served up in mono.

2. Anais Mitchell - Young Man In America

3. Mia Dyson - The Moment

4. Bob Dylan - Tempest

5. The Dirty Three - Toward The Low Sun

6. Liz Stringer - Warm In The Darkness

7. Matt Walker - In Echoes Of Dawn

8. Sean McMahon's Western Union - Live At The Last Hotel

9. Hat Fitz & Cara Robertson - Wiley Ways

Dave Bickerton (Series/ex-Deliverance We Prey)

1. Hacktivist - Self Titled EP

Hard smashing grooves mixed with a dual vocal onslaught from these British chaps. They somehow mix rap with modern metal to form what has been hailed as 'rap-djent' - Hacktivist are really pushing musical boundaries. These guys were my top pick for 2012 purely for their innovative style and their ability to show the rest of the world that heavy music is still on the rise.

2. Meshuggah - Koloss

3. Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression

4. Abreact - Entities

5. Thy Art Is Murder - Hate

6. Teramaze - Anhedonia

7. Lamb of God - Resolution

8. Periphery - Periphery II

9. Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I

10. Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

Brady Jones (Red Eagle)

1. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - 12 Bar Bruise

Brash psychedelic-rock from a shed littered with effects pedals deep in regional Victoria. Time changes on a dime (Muckraker), violently danceable harmonica (Garage Liddiard) and an ode to overdoing it at Meredith (Uh Oh, I Called Mum), this is an album that delivers on a level few can grasp.

2. Action Bronson & Party Supplies - Blue Chips

3. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...

4. Quakers - Quakers

5. Kadavar - Kadavar

6. The Machine - Calmer Than You Are

7. Graveyard - Lights Out

8. Chet Faker - Thinking in Textures

9. Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim

10. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

Jackson McLaren

1. Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

Leonard Cohen, the 'lazy bastard living in a suit', is going home. He's neglected his duties and there's songs to write. In trademark deep, growl Cohen has been meditating on sex, love and death for a while now and he has few rivals.

2. The Dirty Three - Toward The Low Sun

3. David Byrne & St Vincent - Love This Giant

4. Patti Smith - Banga

5. Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

6. Paul Kelly - Spring & Fall

7. Henry Wagons - Expecting Company

8. The Mountain Goats - Transcendental Youth

9. Bob Dylan - Tempest

10. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...

Richard Tankard (Tank Dilemma)

1. Hiatus Kyote - Tawk Tomahawk.

Melbourne's Hiatus Kyote have created an adventurous debut album. Old yet new sounding, beautiful and nasty. Cross-time funked up rhythms but with lush harmony. Partly instrumental. Seriously bent in places, but big on melody.

2. Dr. John - Locked Down

3. Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind

4. Matt Walker - In Echoes Of Dawn

Cobey J Fletcher (The Alamo)

1. Lucero - Women & Work

Epic dirty vocals and songwriting from front man Ben Nichols. Not as good as their first release 'The Attic Tapes' but extremely close. Garage country rock at its finest.

2. Foxtrot - The Bottom Line EP

3. The Smith Street Band - Sunshine & Technology

4. The Pretty Littles - I Am Not From A Small Town EP

5. Shadow League - Ghosts In Our Sails

6. Milhouse - Thrillhouse EP

7. Tim Barry - 40 Miler

8. The 80 Aces - Dollars EP

Adam B. Metal (The Departed)

1. Hot Water Music - Exister

This album caught me by complete surprise this year. I was given a copy as a gift by a good friend of mine but I had no idea what to expect as I am not at all familiar with the band's previous material. Not only did I find superb no-nonsense rock songwriting, but a refreshingly honest and raw sound production including a "warts 'n' all" vocal performance from singer/guitarist Chuck Ragan that I appreciate and respect not just as a musician, but as a studio engineer and general music fan.

2. Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour

3. Plan B - Ill Manors

4. Lo! - Look And Behold

5. Deftones - Koi No Yokan

6. As I Lay Dying - Awakened

Gus Franklin (Architecture In Helsinki)

1. Kindness - World, You Need A Change Of Mind

A perfectly non-kitsch marriage of disco, synth-pop, house music, R'n'B and hip-hop hooks learned from the last 30 years of pop music history (with a pretty particular nod to the likes of Prince), and hi-fi/lo-fi production and mixing genius by Phillipe Zdar (Phoenix/Cassius), made this record the deepest and most infectious record of the year for me. Most futuristic. A grower, and a classic.

2. Chromatics - Kill For Love

3. Tame Impala - Lonerism

4. Milk Teddy - Zingers

5. Poolside - Pacific Standard Time

6. Tim Richmond - Dot

7. Lindstrom - Smallhans

8. Mount Eerie -Ocean's Roar

9. Grand Salvo - Slay Me In My Sleep

10. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Phillip Cooke (Capricorn Records)

1. King Cannons - King Cannons

2. Bob Dylan - Tempest

3. Dr. John - Locked Down

4. Jimmy Cliff - Re-birth

5. Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

6. Beth Orton - Sugaring Season

7. Best Coast - The Only Place

8. Beach House - Bloom

9. Willy Mason - Carry On

10. Shelby Lynne - Live At McCabe's

11. Lyle Lovett - Release Me

12. Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again

13. Father John Misty - Fear Fun

14. Lost In The Trees - A Church That Fits Our Needs

15. Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The World

Dr. John's album Locked Down gained multiple mentions from our panel.

Dr. John's album Locked Down gained multiple mentions from our panel.


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