The Top 20 Albums Of 2012

I haven’t listened to as many full albums as I usually do this year, especially when it comes to Australian music. So more than ever before this really is a list of my favourite albums of the year, rather than the best albums of the year. With that being said, all the end-of-year lists I’ve read so far have been very similar, so at least this one might be a little different.

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Harvest Festival Review

Over the weekend Harvest Festival solidified its place as the best single-day music festival in Australia, bar none. Take a phenomenal lineup with zero filler and consisting mostly of bands who haven’t toured Australia in the last five years, add an idyllic location and a chilled crowd, and take away the organisational issues that plagued last year, and you have basically the perfect day.

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Essential Reads

2012 So Far: Essential Reads

Whilst I obviously kind of enjoy listening to music, I also really enjoy reading about music. I studied my undergraduate degree with a strong focus on music journalism and music law, and I find a well-written analysis of the music industry just as fascinating as a finely crafted song. The music industry is a microcosm of the issues facing the world at large in the digital age, from the ‘ethics of free’, to the adaptability (or otherwise) of the law to suit digital media, to the cultures and forms of identity that have developed around bands, genres, and even websites. There have been some great articles written this year that touch on some of these topics, and here are some of my favourites.

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Essential EPs

2012 So Far: Essential EPs

For some reason I’ve found myself listening to more EPs and fewer albums this year, especially when it comes to Australian music. It’s little wonder really, given how many great new bands have appeared on the scene this year, many of whom have released their debut EP recently. In fact of this list I believe all but two EPs are from bands who are yet to release a full-length record, which says a lot about just how many newly-formed bands there are floating around at the moment, just waiting to be discovered by a wider audience.

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2012 So Far: Essential Albums

This year probably hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty standards of 2011 in terms of album releases yet, but we’ve still seen some real quality and still have much to look forward to in the second half of 2012. Here are my favourite records of the year so far.

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Splendour Sideshows Guide

Back by popular demand, here’s my trademark easy-to-read guide to Splendour In The Grass sideshows (there are two lies in that sentence). If you’re sick of lists that are arranged alphabetically or that only include ‘official sideshows’, then this is for you: every sideshow announced so far arranged by date so that clashes are obvious and with ticket prices, venues, and support acts all listed.

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Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Dan Romer And Benh Zeitlin ‘The Bathtub’

Part of the reason ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’ is so fantastic is the music. Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, who are responsible for the score, have created a soundtrack that blends gypsy music with a more modern twist to spectacular effect.

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Cosmo Jarvis

Cosmo Jarvis @ The Corner Hotel, 3rd Of January

Last Thursday night the one and only Cosmo Jarvis played a very entertaining set to an enthusiastic Corner Hotel crowd. It had been just a few months since the UK musician last toured Australia, only this time he brought a full band down with him, which added a lot of texture and power to his live show. This gig was a whole different beast to his earlier acoustic set at the comparatively tiny Pure Pop Records Courtyard, yet it was still full of the typical and exuberant Cosmo Jarvis flourishes and trademarks, and made for a night of fantastic music.

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Burial ‘Truant’

First of all: Burial has released a new single. It’s called ‘Truant’ and it is of course excellent, throwing many preemptive end-of-year best of lists into disarray.

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Super Magic Hats ‘Wind’

Melbourne-based producer Super Magic Hats has dropped a new single from an upcoming EP due out next year. The track in question is ‘Wind’, and it’s a shining example of what I guess you have to call ‘gentle dance’ music.

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Tom Rosenthal

Tom Rosenthal ‘Christmas Quiet’

Writing an indie Christmas song can come off as a bit cliche at times, as it seems like just about every independent musician in the world has tried it at some point or another. But when you’re as awesome as Tom Rosenthal is I’d say you can just about get away with it, and it doesn’t hurt when the song itself is absolutely beautiful.

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Gung Ho

Gung Ho ‘Strangers’

Brisbane’s Gung Ho are ohsohot right now, and seem to be gaining more and more momentum with every release.

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