Live4ever’s Essential Listening 2012 series begins today with ten of our own favourite debut releases of the year. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for essential music videos; EP, track and album highlights from the many bands which have featured in our Radar section during the course of the year; as well as the pick of the gigs Live4ever has witnessed over the past twelve months. And don’t miss our wider, main Albums rundown next month to see which, if any, debuts have also made it on to that list.
Is your favourite debut of 2012 missing from our Essentials retrospective? Remember, we’re recommending, not preaching, so make sure you highlight your pick of the year by leaving a comment below.
“OMAM’s debut may not stand as tall next to some of their more illustrious compatriot’s acclaimed efforts, but the point of ‘My Head Is An Animal’ is not to be groundbreaking, inventive, nor ‘difficult’. Theirs is a poppier world to inhabit. Granted it’s a strange one, full of talking trees and war-declaring bees nonetheless…”
“This album is an uplifting, hard-hitting, speaker-shuddering Humvee of an album. It’s something to stick on the stereo and turn up loud, it’s something to dance to, it’s something to turn your mind off to, to tune in to and enjoy. Nothing more, nothing less…despite what Waves Of Fury might want you to think.”
“If some criticise ‘Become The One You Love’ for being weighted in favour of down-tempo, or not sounding like a Richard Oakes solo album, then they’ve missed the point. Or perhaps just deliberately ignored the point. This album is a potent harmonious infusion of two talents, a rich thematic brew of contagious melodies…”
” ‘Not Fade Away‘ is dramatic, confident and about 2/3rds as epic as its title suggests – a rousing finish to what is certainly a good first album – sometimes maddening, joyous, but rarely forgettable. If Spector buckle down and generate some new lyrical themes, their sophomore album could be an indie classic.”
“Lister’s first full offering, ‘Forge and Flagon‘, is aptly named after a pub ran by co-vocalist Lorna Thomas’ family friends. With frothy pints of Guinness and Jameson’s chasers at the ready this is a sound crafted from the pubs and the streets yet with a vision of sun filled, rolling valleys and soft summer meadows.”
“Drawing from your inspirations and doing something new and fresh with those ideas is not easy to pull off, but Tribes have managed it. The production may be on occasion slightly too diluted to really give the songs their deserved platform, but there’s a delicate nature about the record that really warms to you by the end.”
“Alabama Shakes seem…well aware that blues is still alive today because it moves and changes to keep from going stale. ‘Boys and Girls’ is a record that musicians will envy and listeners will adore. If there’s a bad word to be said against this music, you’re not going to read it here. Listen to this. Listen to it all.”
“Beth Jeans Houghton is 21 years old, and she already has more than enough talent and gusto to stand alongside her contemporaries and prove herself to be something vastly different and worthwhile. Look out for this record, and look out for them. If there is any justice, they will be unstoppable by this time next year.”
“A tender, pensive mood permeates…even in the pacing of the tracklist. Ellen’s sound is so distinct, so nakedly appealing, you practically have to tear yourself away from listening to it to make any objective sense of it. The fact that you don’t even want to do that tells you everything you need to know about this band.”
“Ironically…early Bob Dylan is the overwhelming influence for much of the album. A Tennessee drawl that scarcely befits the mouth it emanates from and a world weary demeanour of course means this comparison will always be prominent, but this barely skims the surface of the variety on display here.”
Essential Listening 2012 Series: