So who smacked us around the chops the hardest this year?  Not an easy question and compiling this overview has been a challenge to say the least, such has been the quality.   So we enlisted the help of some buddies from the industry to help make sense of it all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the only end of year parade you need:

The Headwarmer and Friends

Simon Glacken – (I Like Press)
1. High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
2. Mark Lanegan – Blues Funeral
3. Om – Advaitic songs
4. Black Breath – Sentenced to Life
5. Torche – Harmonicraft

highonfire overkill

Stringfellowe Hawke – (Contributor)
1. Overkill – The Electric Age
2. Steve Harris – British Lion
3. Death – Vivus
4. DJ Shadow – Total Breakdown
5. DMX – Undisputed

Hayley (I can’t decide) Connelly
(Little Press)

1. Basement – Colourmeinkindness
2. Landscapes – Life Gone Wrong
3. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
4. Hot Water Music – Exister
5. Make Do And Mend –
Everything You Ever Loved
6. The Black keys- El Camino
7. Canterbury – Heavy In The Day


Chris Bidad – (Contributor)
1. P.O.S – We Don’t Even Live Here
“Not only was this my favourite album of 2012, it’s probably my favourite of the last few years.  An incredible piece that reminds you what hip hop can deliver when matched with intelligence.  Lil Wayne can suck it”.
2. Attack! Vipers! – Deadweight Revival
3. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
4. Blood Command – Funeral Beach
5. Squarepusher – Ufabulum

David Gammage – (Engineer Records)
1. Hot Water Music – Exister
2. Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
3. Make Do And Mend –
Everything You Ever Loved
4. Don Broco – Priorities
5. We Are The Ocean –
Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow


Michael Albert – (Contributor)
1. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinousaurs – Trouble
2. Tame Impala – Lonerism
3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
4. Maccabees – Given to the Wild
5. Lana Del Dey – Born To Die

Pip Soret – (Relapse Records)
1. Anatomy of Habit – EP
2. Loscil – Sketches from New Brighton
3. Killing Joke – MMXII
4. Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat – Weltuntergangsstimmung
5. Maserati – VII

AnatomyofHabit black keys

Graham Ray – (Contributor)
1.The Black Keys – El Camino
2.Crystal Castles – III
3.Brian Eno – Lux
4.The Macabees – Given To The Wild
5.The Vaccines – Come Of Age

Patricia Heath
(Polyvinyl Records)

1. Woods – Bend Beyond
2. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
3. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
4. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
5. Allah-Las – (self-titled)


Howard Smith
(PEOPLE Independent Music)

1. Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Crown & Treaty
2. Bill Fay – Life Is People
3. Dr John – Locked Down
4. John Murray – Graceless Age
5. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

deftones_koiLeander Gloversmith (Artist Manager / Mythophonic Music Management)
1. Deftones – Koi No Yokan. “Following up the magnificent Diamond Eyes was always going to be a strenuous task, but Deftones have apparently decided to pretty much become untouchable, revisiting the eclectic dynamism of White Pony and the ethereal other-worldliness of the underrated Saturday Night Wrist with a confidence and swagger that only true greats can muster. Channeling Chino’s 80s new romantic obsession more than ever, and adding more than a pinch of Type O Negative esque dream-sleaze to their riffs only serve to make Koi No Yokan a continually rewarding repeat listen”.

2. Basement – colourmeinkindness. In an age where UK bands are seemingly multiplying, like basementGremlins in an Olympic Pool, to form one of the most exciting national rock scenes on record, Suffolk’s Basement delivered a double blow: the scene’s first standalone, benchmark classic, and their own swansong. Channeling grunge and 90s post hardcore but without appearing trendily nostalgic, colourmeinkindness felt from play 1 like a record you’d loved your whole life. Let’s hope they’ve got some Arnie in ’em”.

baroness3. Baroness – Yellow & Green. Having long reigned as cult heroes in the world of hirsute artisans as Mastodon’s more soulful cousins, this sprawling double effort, complete with the requisite stunning colour coded artwork from main man John Dyer-Baizley, saw Baroness come entirely into their own. While Green offered up a more familiar side of the band’s sound, it was on Yellow that Baroness ascended to the higher plains, every warm and winding jam playing out like a cut from a greatest hits collection. Part classic rock, part Cave In evoking space shimmer, you almost found yourself wishing there was a third disc… Brown, anyone”?

now now4. Now Now – Threads. Still a relatively unknown name on these shores, this Minnesotan trio make the kind of shiny, nostalgia laced alt-indie that typifies the soundtracks of focus pulling, lens flared US independent flicks – though you shouldn’t let that put you off. There’s a melancholic heart beating beneath Now Now’s twinkling melodies, this collection of lost-love songs hinting at a band with a future classic brewing just beneath the surface. But, Threads is more than just a do for now in the meantime”.

entershikari5. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour. Much maligned by cool kids, out of the loop from bizness circles but staunchly independent and ferociously connected to their fanbase, the third Shikari full length saw the St Albans quartet truly come of age as they figured out how to utterly blend their 90s house blasts, thundering metalcore and sing-a-long pop rock in a mature and seamless manner. And now they’ve finally figured out the maths, there will be no stopping ‘em. Arenas are calling, no matter what you say”.


Adam (they’re all winners) Sagir
(The Noise Cartel)

1. Turbonegro – Sexual Harassment
1. Blood Command – FuneralBeach
1. Bury Tomorrow – Union Of Crowns
1. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
1. Whitechapel – Whitechapel

turbonegro shirleyannlee

Nita Keeler – (Goldstar PR)
1. Shirley Ann Lee – Songs of Light
2. Bad Weather California – Sunkissed
3. Rebekka Karijord – We Become Ourselves
4. Swans – The Seer
5. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp’
6. Howlin Rain – The Russian Wilds’

Joe Parry – (Division Records)

purityring1. Purity Ring – Shrines. “It’s not often an album of complete eerie uniqueness comes along like ‘Shrines’ did in 2012. Creepy, full of beats and incredibly original
2. Fang Island – Major. Managing to tread that fine line between cheesy and inspired, Fang Island’s second album ‘Major’ is honest, eccentric but above all, incredibly fun.
3. Whirr – Pipe Dreams. Despite being a female front shoegaze band with a penchant for fuzzy guitars and indistinguishable vocals, ‘Pipe Dreams’ manages to not to come off as a My Bloody Valentine rip-off, by taking the 90s model and adding post-rock textures and punk energy.
4. White Lung – Sorry. Canada’s White Lung have been kicking about in punk circles for a few years now. With ‘Sorry’, the band staked their claim as one of the finest exponents of technical, melodic punk to come out of the country in recent years.
5. Deftones – Koi No Yokan. Somewhere between 2006’s ‘Saturday Night Wrist’ and 2010’s ‘Diamond Eyes’, ‘Koi No Yokan’ is as unrelenting as it is melodic”.



deftones_koi1. DEFTONES – KOI NO YOKAN

“There’s no way I can possibly narrow this down into a top 5; too many tremendous releases.  Mark Lanegan’s excellent dabble with experimentation on Blues Funeral;
The sprawling double Yellow & Green by Baroness; Bob Mould’s Silver Age and Soundgarden’s collosal King Animal are but few that stand tall for me.
I can confidently say however that I knew immediately which was going to be my number 1, the moment I heard its opening bars.  Wildly beyond expectation,
Koi No Yokan is a stunning piece of peerless and mature, modern day metal.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to enjoy its superiority”.