Thursday, 3 January 2013

Albums List

So here is my list of what I believe to be the best albums of the year. Music is a completely subjective thing and I'm sure they'll be plenty of people that will disagree. If you do then please let me know in the comments section below, I'm always on the lookout for new stuff so any recommendations would be welcomed.

This year the list is dominated by Hip Hop because it's been a very good year for the genre with some real big releases. There are plenty of albums that I've missed and I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse so I'm sure there is a ruck of brilliant stuff I just don't know exists. I'll list a track to check for each album, if you have the time please do go and check them out and if you like it please go spend some money on it. Support good music!!!

Without further ado here is my top ten of the year in order.

Honourable Mentions

Mister Jason - Son of Frankensteez EP

Not a full album so not in but worth mentioning all the same. I've spent most of the year listening to Mister Jason Presents Frankensteez but it's release date was 2011 so I can't include it, worth a check though as is this great EP featuring a killer DJ Format remix.

Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown - Dice Game

Top quality album but it doesn't quite make it because I haven't really been able to spend as much time with it as I would have liked. I only picked it up a month or so back and it hasn't had enough play for me to be familiar enough to Top 10 it. Still a great album and well worth a chunk of your hard earned.

Action Bronson & Alchemist - Rare Chandeliers

Similar to the above mentioned Guilty Simpson/Apollo Brown album I haven't played this enough to warrant it's inclusion. Top stuff and it's great start to finish I just haven't got off listening to Bronson's 2011 Dr. Lecter album. I'm sure it'll get a lot more love from me over the coming months.

Top Ten

10) Tim Fite - Ain't Ain't Ain't

I love Tim Fite, having seen him support Buck 65 a few years back in Manchester and being blown away by just how weird this guy was I've kept a close eye on his work. There has always been plenty of Mr. Fite's music to enjoy as he is one prolific itchy-legged gentleman, who also has a tendency to put his music up for free download on his site, good egg!

This album is Tim Fite's third full length studio album and follows Fair Ain't Fair and Gone Ain't Gone and it's a far more accessible album than some of his earlier work. Not one to be pigeonholed Tim Fite's album spans several genres from stripped down country to Beirutesque noodlings, the remarkable thing is how cohesive it remains throughout which is no small feat given the bases he touches on this record. The weirdness and sampling have definitely been dialled down from his previous offerings and I only hope this helps the dude get out to a bigger audience. Starting with you guys hopefully.

Track to Check = Hold Me All Night - Try not to sing along to this after a few listens or get carried away on those drums. I dare you.

9) Best Coast - The Only Place

This is a band I got into on the strength of an album cover 2010's Crazy for You here it is...

Top notch
The album was a pleasant surprise of lo-fi shoe-gazey surf rock (I can't believe I typed that either, sorry) and as such I discovered a new band to keep an eye on. This years follow up 'The Only Place' was duly picked up with expectations of more of the same, turns out that Best Coast don't dish up seconds and as such have served up a far more polished, alt-country album to be enjoyed. The album feels more clear and concise and singer Bethany Cosentino seems to be on some Neko Case shit, not a bad thing in my opinion. A very relaxing album as that despite the downbeat nature of most of it seems to have an extremely uplifting effect on me.

Track to Check = Up All Night - Great songwriting and should actually be huge. This will be used on some tween movie romantic scene soon and people are going to wake up to these guys over here.

8) P.O.S - We Don't Even Live Here

I'll be honest, I wasn't familiar with P.O.S or his group Doomtree but I saw this album mentioned round a lot of places online at it's time of release, a little check of a couple of the tracks and it was purchased.  This album is filled with big songs. The heaviness of the opener Bumper, complete with some of the best drums I've heard on a track this year (simple yet hard), was enough to have me reaching for my card. On the whole the album is filled with filthy, club ready tracks that again could be big over here in the UK but for whatever reason isn't, check it and start spreading the word.

Track to Check = Get Down ft. Mike Mictlan - This is the only song that gave Spaceship Earth a run for it's money in my Track of the Year thinking. This song is dripping with a filthy, sweaty swagger that is ideal for a packed club. Would love to see this spun in V2!

7) DZ Deathrays - Bloodstreams

Australian rock that is in your face, distorted, and extremely loud. I've previously reviewed DZ Deathrays' EP on here and it was nice to see what they were capable of over a full length release. They don't disappoint, it's every bit as brash and bold as the aforementioned EP. I was fortunate enough to catch them live this year and as such the album serves as fond reminder of a quite spectacular performance and that was always going to ensure it had a place on this list come the year end. Do yourselves a favour and stay out of my way when I'm pumping this album in the car as this shit makes me feel near invincible or at least not give a shit about the consequences.

Track to Check = Dinomight - Actually a bit more restrained than most of the album but fuck me this track is heavy when it lets go.

6) Abdominal & The Obliques - Sitting Music

Abdominal is back and dude has gone in a completely different direction. Sitting Music represents a real departure for Abs, this is stripped down Hip Hop. Abdominal is one of my favourite lyricists and THE rapper that has me hanging on his every word on a track. His mellow voice, ability to go at any pace, and the fact that he is one witty motherfunker firmly places him as one of my favourite rappers.

I picked this up for my girlfriend (what's better than buying a gift you yourself want?), on account of Abdominal and DJ Fase's Flowtation Device being the album I used to actually introduce Wen to Hip Hop and slowly get hooked. I ordered it as soon as I could, I'm a keeper, and was soon enough in possession of one of the most surprising releases of the year. As I said in the first paragraph this is bare bones Hip Hop, the beats and samples have been replaced with bluesy/folky guitar and soft drums. Abs is still rapping albeit in a slower, more considered way but he is also singing a few bars on this album.  It is definitely not the album I was expecting and I'm grateful to Abdominal and The Obliques for swerving my expectations. You want hear most rappers collaborating with their mothers but Abdominal isn't most rappers. Probably the most interesting album on this list.

Track to Check = Balance Both ft. Chali 2na - I wanted to pick one of the songs that had a bit more singing on it but this is such a brilliant track that I insist you have a listen.

5) Masta Ace & MF Doom - MA_Doom : Son of Yvonne

Masta Ace kicking it over some Doom beats?!? Sold, take my money and take it now. What's that? Big Daddy Kane is on the album? The album with Doom's production??? Take my bank card, here's my pin, take what you need.

Now the beats are recycled from Doom's other releases but I love Dooms other releases and could listen to, and have listened to, his music all day. Masta Ace is as sharp as ever and as per usual his storytelling is on another level.

Thank you to anyone and everyone that had anything to do with this album coming into existence.

Track to Check = Think I Am ft. Big Daddy Kane - It kind of had to be, check Doom's positive verse too, I always like to big up the pleasant side of this genre.

4) Blu & Exile - Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them

I don't really know much about these guys, I discovered Blu through that track he did with Edan and stumbled across this album on iTunes a couple of months back and seeing his name just blind purchased it. Sometimes it's nice to just have something I'm into that I don't know anything about. I deliberately have not looked up anything about Blu or Exile as I just want to enjoy the music for what it is much like the pre internet days when I had my Beastie Boys tape anfdfirst started getting into music properly.

This album is so chilled it's unreal, there is a Madlib vibe to the beats and the rapping is so laid back and effortless whilst clearly being extremely complex and sophisticated. If you know anything about these dudes please don't share it with me. Let me just have this one, that said if anyone can throw me a copy of the album with that Edan/Blu track Ronald Morgan on it (I think it's called No York), I certainly wouldn't say no.

Track to Check = Ease Your Mind - I can't wait for summer just so I can put this track on repeat and lounge in the sun.

3) El-P - Cancer for Cure

Put simply nobody else could make this album. Nobody. A beast of an album right from the off, probably the best opener on any of the albums on this list. El-P goes hard and isn't so much presenting you with new music more smacking you round the head with it. If you are unfamiliar with El's work then maybe check his other work first because I'm worried that if this is your first encounter with his sound you might actually get hurt.

My words probably won't do any of these albums justice and that is certainly the case with this album, I don't know how to describe it other than to swear a lot and use the word hard. Just listen to it.

Track to Check =  I should say The Full Retard but I have to go with the opening track Request Denied - Just wow.

2) Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

Production by El-P, not a combo I expected to be listening to but I'm extremely grateful that it came to be. These two represent two different areas within the Hip Hop community and I didn't expect them to collide in this way. What a great fit these two are with each other, and they both seem to have raised each other's game. Personally I don't think Mike has ever sounded so good, don't get me wrong, I'm a big Killer Mike fan but on this album he's just an absolute monster! His rhymes are so technical and assured that I don't know if he will ever be able to top this.

El's production is as insane as it always is, and his style is all over it but he has clearly worked very hard to put together beats that have a Southern sensibility to them in order to really fit Mike the way they should. This album is an absolute animal and it's damn near perfect. I'm currently working on a full review of this album so I'll leave it at that for now.

Track to Check = Untitled ft. Scar - They know they've made a classic, they absolutely know it.

1) DJ Format - Statement of Intent

This is the album of the year for me. I've reviewed it previously on this blog so I won't go into too     much detail on it again. Put simply it's a great album that strikes up a brilliant balance of all that is good in Hip Hop, perfect instrumentals like 'Mayor of a Ghost Town' to old school Hip Hop vibes like 'Mr.DJ' via the future of Hip Hop 'Spaceship Earth', everything is covered. This is as perfect an album, as far as my tastes go, as is humanly possible and I thank Format for creating it. I will never ever tire of this and I'm sure most people would have a similar view if they gave it the chance it deserves.

Everyone has a right to disagree with another persons opinion, and I fully expect people to not agree with half the shit I say and musically there isn't really a  right or wrong, BUT if you disagree with me with regards to this album, I'm afraid you are most definitely wrong. They'll be Universities in Texas and other parts of the world that will carry out scientific studies proving me to be right on this occasion, which in turn will make you look very foolish indeed. Don't try to argue this one, just go out and get this album and then send me a thank you card.

Track to Check = Spaceship Earth ft. Edan - I could pick anything and you should listen to it all but for me this was the best song released all year so I'm obliged to pick this.

So that's my list and hopefully you've discovered some new music that you can enjoy, if so please go and buy the records. I appreciate that the internet is full of torrents and the like but these artists deserve to have their work paid for.

Thanks for reading



  1. Everyone has there own taste of music. I didn't realize DJ Format had a new album, thank you for that. Aesop Rock's album 'Skelethon' is damn good. Also Large Professor released a dope album not forgetting Ka's album also 'Grief Pedigree'. They are all worth checking out. Peace!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. To be honest I just haven't got round to Skelethon or Professor @ Large yet but they've been noted and will be purchased shortly.
      I'm not exactly familiar with Ka to be honest so I'll check it out.
      Cheers for reading and for the recommendations.