[sic] Magazine

Editor’s Albums Of the Year 2012

I ended 2012 (a rotten year, personally) with two favourite albums. These records are as night and day but could barely be separated. However, separate them I did. Darkness triumphed.

Funny to think that people often accuse me of liking “miserable” music. Family and friends outside of the musical spheres in which I operate tend to think my tastes tend towards the desperate. I suppose if you enjoy mainstream or dance music then even iconic alternative bands such as Sigur Ros or Arcade Fire must seem alien and unapproachable? On the other hand, I cannot put into words how miserable One Direction make me feel.

Each to their own.

This is a list. It’s my list and it’s as trivial as I am trying to make it sound. I saw Pitchforks and Drowned In Sound’s and feel more out of sync than ever. [sic]’s Deputy Editor Rob Gannon has, in my humble opinion, surpassed those publications and all their combined resources by himself with his own extensive and excellent round up. I urge you to check those (It’s a three parter) out if you haven’t already done so, via the links provided below.

That said, I make no great claims for 2012 as a musical year. Not every year can be outstanding. Add to that my own general mood and disposition and it all looks a bit frayed at the edges. I don’t like Tame Impala . I don’t like Crystal Castles . I have no love for the XX , Swans or Frank fucking Ocean . Liars leave me cold. Cloud Nothings ? Nothings. And Scott Walker ….. sorry, but i don’t want something that’s “unnerving but ultimately rewarding”. Music is my hiding place. And I don’t want that with me, thank you very much.

Of course there was good stuff too. Grimes and Chromatics had their moments. I Like Trains third album proper, The Shallows can count itself unlucky not to make my ten. Surprise of the year was probably Asonat’s Love In Times Of Repetition , cooler than cool chill-out. The reissue of the year was Interpol Turn On The Bright Lights whcih remains one of the greatest albums of the last decade. Compilation of the year was A.R.KaneComplete Singles Collection

[sic] review: Asonat

[sic] review: Interpol reissue

[sic] review: A.R.Kane

Onto my top ten. Not all of the records listed here were sent in for review. More’s the pity. They would have been received in glowing, welcoming terms.


1. The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

The ‘Sad’ go post-punk on us and it’s 1979 all over again. Seventies BBC sci-fi, retro futurism and that trademark, awful subject matter. The synths are the stars here, lifting even the most chugging tracks to further heights. This is real.

[sic] review: No One Can Ever Know

2. Hammock – Departure Songs
The ‘day’ to The Twilight Sad’s ‘night’. A wonderful double album of fizzing, sparkling guitars that rejuvenates the nugaze side of electronica and sees Hammock ease ahead of the likes of M83 , Maps and Ulrich Schnauss . The label never sent a review copy… so we couldn’t.


3. Glissando – The World Without Us
Post-chamber bordering on gothic and cementing a fine year for post-rock generally. Oh and yes I would put this above Godspeed YBE . Listen to it and tell me I’m wrong.

[sic] review: The World Without Us


4. Godspeed You Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Again, no review copy. The GY!BE boys are probably on a different plane from [sic] Magazine. A return to form for me after Yanqui .



5. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Yes this is excellent. I don’t normally fall in line with trending acts such as this Ms Van Etten but no escaping the quality on display here. Everything Deputy Ed Rob Gannon said and more.

[sic] review: Tramp


6. Bvdub – All Is Forgiven
No you didn’t blink and miss this one. I’m late with my pre-Christmas review stack. This was in it and it impressed me greatly. IDM with nods to dubstep, trance and ambient.

[sic] review: All Is Forgiven


7. ExitMusic – Passage
In a year when the Sigur Ros album disappointed, Exitmusic kinda made up for that. Empires rise and empires fall. We’ll see.

[sic] review: Passage


8. Beach House – Bloom
Honestly, Teen Dream was better. I begin to wonder if Beach House have their career backwards. But the album highlights are so good that they make Bloom a must have.


9. Violens – True
True was championed all year by my friend Jeff Runnings ( For Against ) and I found myself a begrudging revisiter until the penny dropped. A bit C86, a bit Stereolab , a bit, almost Swedish sounding (never bad). A strong album.


10. Motorama – Calendar
Indulge me. As gloomy, brilliant music often came out of Manchester I have always speculated what the Russians might have to offer, if only we had the knowledge and access. Then I found Motorama .
Yes it’s a little lightweight and ephemeral. I offer it more as a curiosity than anything else. You know Interpol . Now try the KGB!


That’s it. Happy New Year. Before you go I really do urge you to check our Rob Gannon’s exhaustive round up, links below.

Rob Gannons annual round up – Albums

Rob Gannons annual round up – Tracks

Rob Gannons annual round up – Gigs