Wow, here we are – A bit of a boyhood dream after reading so many best of lists throughout my tender years maturing into a Pie and Record shop owner. Forgive the outpouring of emotion; but I still see top ten lists written in large pixalated fonts found on Teletext’s Planet Sound. For that reason, I’d like to dedicate this to regular PS contributor John Earles. So, it’s my extreme pleasure to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about by unveiling what we have been enjoying most over the past year at Pie&Vinyl towers….The Tension is Unbearable….It goes without saying, that we stock all of the records mentioned below. So if you like what you read, come and make a purchase and see if you agree.
No. 1 – Lower Dens – Nootropics
What a seductively dark pleasure it was to find this record. A very subtle slow pace which gathers momentum using the tension in Jana Hunters vocals, and anti dream (nightmare) swirling synths and guitar. The Krautrock influence is there (I hate that term) all together creates a sort of accessible, addictive gothic pop record. The first album was great, but this one is even better….one word to describe…Goosebumps. Lower Dens, you are P&V’s very first record of the year 2012.
No. 2 – Polica – Give you the Ghost
But you can’t understand what she is singing about?…the pure beauty of interpretation of the melody, and lyrics makes this the 2012 slow burn record of the year. Bon Iver’s band mates from joint venture Gayngs, use the auto tune influence on their vocals to make the arrangements in these songs very hazy but very natural. The bass line is right at the front, and the vocals are at the make nudging you along…you can’t tag it, which we love.
No. 3 – Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
Sexy, sinister American advert music…almost like humming your own songs you made up when you were 8…somehow Ariel gets it just right again.With a range of influences and trademark soft 70’s production, this could so easily be the biggest joke album of all time (the first single release not on the album ‘Baby’ was born from a joke cover). After a few spins, pink and his graffiti delve deep into your conscience and haunt you using non-stop repeated chorus lines. It almost makes you feel like you are going mad and chanting about schnitzels at the same time! He hit’s that spot again….the genius pervert.
No. 4 – Chromatics – Kill for Love
The Eighties are back! As if they ever went away….Portland, Oregon’s Electro starlets 4th studio album encompasses a melange of synth, post rock and dream pop. Described as a like being in a timewarp, a warm collision of past, present and future, Kill for Love immediately sets the bar with an audacious version of Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)’, and you know, absolutely nails it! If you have not heard this record yet, strap yourself in and let it take you on a seedy, washed out journey to neon fantasy land. If you liked the movie Drive, we strongly recommend your ears hear this record.
No. 5 – Ty Segall and White Fence – Hair, Ty Segall – Twins
Ok, a cop out – I couldn’t decide which one I liked best…not even sure if Album number 2 of 3 released this year (slaughterhouse) is like a mix of the two records. Ty Segall is undoubtedly the star of this year, just when we were missing The White stripes, and loud feedback inflicted garage pop. Extreme excitement guaranteed in every song, Ty wears his influences clearly on his sleeve but somehow adds some boogie, some glam some dirt and pop and mixes them all together to sound like the groundhogs covering the small faces. Best Live gig of the year for me, I’m excited as it feels like this year has unearthed the next American guitar hero.
No. 6 – XX – Coexist
Ha! All you naysayers and Yeasayers said they couldn’t do it again, couldn’t follow up 2009’s self titled with anything remotely as good. Well, they only went and did it with Coexist. The year’s minimalist highlight, each part is played to minute accuracy, using just the power of voice, simple chord progression and slow programmed beats. Romy’s seductive vocals quietly collide with Oliver’s, while Jamie silently pulls the strings on these eleven beautifully crafted songs. Not everybody’s cup of tea, but firm Pie and Vinyl favourites and definitely a worthy addition to the record of the year list.
Disclaimer: This record should only ever be heard on vinyl!
No. 7 – Grimes – Visions
Oh Canada, how do you do it? Tipped to top many end of year lists, and quite rightly so. In a year where females have well and truly ruled the musical roost,Vancouver’s Claire Boucher has given us her third record, and it is, quite simply, incredible. Much like her fellow list entrant Polica, Boucher has a vocal style which borders on maddeningly incomprehensible, yet just seems to fall into place at the last minute. A concoction of Beats and Beeps, Visions is not a record to shuffle, it was made to be played from start to finish. The birth of Nu-Pop begins here.
No. 8 – Godspeed! you Black emperor – Don’t bend! Ascend!
This is officially our top selling record of 2012 in the shop…Southsea, I applaud your immaculate taste. The fathers of political minimalistic noise and samples return after a 10 year hiatus. Almost painting visuals in your head, the Canadians release possibly their most accessible release to date.With early peers Mogwai, and Dirty Three pushing non vocal soundscapes to the forefront, the collective make a timely return with a rush release which is always very exciting. A beautiful record that sounds like nothing else.
No.9 – Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Party, Party, Party….we will never grow old, we just want to have fun, sing it loud and proud. Celebration rock, is just that. Japandroids build on their extremely impressive debut album by mixing hair metal and grunge to great effect. Celebrate ”rawk”, and sing it with a beer in one hand and the other hand on your heart….smells like teen spirits, sure to put a big smile on your face and keep the bullies at bay.
No.10 – Twin Shadow – Confess
Including our song of the year, the heavily 1980’s inspired pop power ballad – ‘5 Seconds to your Heart’ with more hooks than you can shake a fishing rod at. George Lewis JR invites us to join him on the back of his motorcycle and together, form a twin shadow as we drive into the sunset…the soundtrack to your dream 80’s film and we love it.
The nearly albums…..
Perfume Genius – Put your back N2 it
Errors – New Relics
LotusPlaza– Spooky action at a distance
Bat For lashes – The Haunted Man
Field Music – Plumb
Diiv – Oshin
Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Howler –America Give Up
Dirty Projectors – Swing Low Magellan
Grizzly Bear – Shields
Liars – WIXIW
Some controversial choices? Or pretty much what you thought…we would love to hear your top ten lists. Please post below, and everyone that posts their top ten list will be automatically entered into a raffle with the winner a £10 voucher to spend on their record of the year in store.