So then, just a quick note with the ten records that has made the first half of 2012 fly by at KPL Towers.
We’re in the process of gearing up to restart the record label, but for fairness we’ve not included any Keep Pop Loud releases on here. This is just ten albums that I’ve really enjoyed in a rough order – although it’s worth saying that there’s some (likely) cracking albums that aren’t on the list as I’ve got a bit behind.
10) Best Coast - The Only Place
Slicker than Crazy For You it may be, but Bethany has got pop stardom in spades on The Only Place. It zips by rather quickly, but with plenty of smashing singles along the way. This may have jumped a couple of places up the list if Britain had been lucky enough to get a summer this year.
Top Track: Do You Love Me Like You Used To
09) Gaz Coombes - Here Come The Bombs
Putting every lesson learned from his time in seminal ’90s group Supergrass into a modern and experimental pop record, Gaz has proven yet again that his talent isn’t confined to writing radio friendly summer smashes. With a darker, electronic edge Here Come The Bombs is a very fine addition to Coombes discography.
Top Track: White Noise
08) Glow Kit - Glow Kit
Speeding through an astonishing 14 songs in 25 minutes, Glow Kit made the album that you wished The Vaccines could have when you first heard ‘Wrecking Bar’. Fast, fuzzy and fun there’s nothing to dislike about Glow Kit. The sound of a band in a room bashing out some songs before dinner gets cold.
Top Track: Do You Really
07) Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky’s Edge
Hawley’s best album since Cole’s Corner. Standing At The Sky’s Edge is simply incredible with blinding guitar work and stunning songs. Mesmerizing and surprisingly physical for a man known primarily for his string laden ballads, this will stand the test of time and become a classic.
Top Track: Leave Your Body Behind You
06) Maxïmo Park – The National Health
Mid 00’s indie-rock favourites that can still release blinding records are sadly few and far between. Yet the Park, on their fourth, have distilled everything that’s ever made them great into thirteen tracks of unrelenting quality. Lead single ‘Hips And Lips’ is possibly their best ever A-Side.
Top Track: Hips And Lips
05) Standard Fare - Out Of Sight, Out Of Town
Delayed from the tail end of 2011, Standard Fare’s second record carries on with the excellent trajectory that began on The Noyelle Beat. Classic indiepop songwriting mixes with skilled musicianship and a massive heart on what is certain to be one of the very best albums from 2012.
Top Track: Darth Vader
04) The Futureheads - Rant
The long promised a’capella record contains more covers than was first hinted at, but the relative lack of Futureheads classics makes way for superb versions of traditional drinking songs and rounds as well as takes on chart hits from across the decades. Educational and catchy, Rant has an excellent grip on what popular music means.
Top Track: The No.1 Song In Heaven
03) Allo Darlin’ - Europe / Covers
There’s not been a better song in 2012 than ‘Capricornia’. That it doesn’t loom over Europe is testament to the talent of Allo Darlin’ and their remarkable second album. Summery, jangly indiepop hits galore. A bonus disc of covers (Darren Hayman, AC/DC, Springsteen, Go-Betweens) cements the brilliance.
Top Track: Capricornia
02) Taffy - Caramel Sunset
Classic British guitar pop meets 90’s British shoegaze, but Taffy are from 2012. And Tokyo. Not to worry, there’s not a duff moment on Caramel Sunset. Evidence that as long as there’s superb musicians and songwriters the classic four-piece line-up will never grow tired. New life and ideas are breathed into old sounds with devastatingly awesome results.
Top Track: So Long
01) MJ Hibbett & The Validators - Dinosaur Planet
Simply the best indiepop concept album about dinosaurs from space laying waste to Peterborough before giant robots turn up – EVER. There’s a dinosaur-less album for the easily startled, which just goes to show how many GRATE songs there are amongst the dialogue. But as a complete piece of work there’s simply nothing else like this. Referencing comic books, classic sci-fi and disaster movies there’s not an opportunity missed. You’ll find yourself quoting this at every available opportunity.
Top Track: The Battle Of Peterborough