The best albums of 2012
Featuring Django Django, Meursault, Errors, The Twilight Sad and Konx-Om-Pax
It’s easy to draw comparisons with The Beta Band – especially as DD member David Maclean is brothers with BB’s John Maclean – but from the chirping, floaty intro that segues into the transcendental swamp-funk of ‘Hail Bop’, their debut treads its own sci-fi rock path, merging folk, Afrobeat and electronica with indie-pop. Continuously inventive and complex, yet accessible, warm, comforting and irresistible.
(Song, By Toad)
Back in June when this third LP from Neil Pennycook and co came out, The List proclaimed it ‘their most cohesive, gorgeous and forceful album yet’. The soaring arias and insistent strings – all driven forward like a steam train by Pennycook’s powerful vocal – marked a big step forward for the Edinburgh chamber-folk band. No filler, and it sounds radio-ready too.
They’ve been building pleasure palaces (a terrible pun on the title of one of this LP’s more shimmeringly infectious tracks) out of their electro-kosmsiche-math rock vibes since 2006, when they released ‘How Clean is Your Acid House’. Six years on, the Glasgow trio added vocals for the first time, plus more woozy space-odyssey melodies (eg ‘Blank Media’) and throbbing synth masterworks. Lords of the dance, these guys.
Grandiose drama is the stock-in-trade of the Kilsyth emo-post-rockers. And there were a few shivers up the spine delivered by this, an icy update on their guitar-squall sound, with added synths, and deadpan, Depeche-style chills. It led to a stunning remix album towards the end of the year too, featuring Com Truise, JD Twitch, Liars, Mogwai and Errors.
Tom Scholefield, aka Konx-Om-Pax, used to DJ around Glasgow with Ross Birchard, aka Hudson Mohawke, and is chuffed at the upwards spike his friend’s career’s taken. ‘I’m really, really happy for him. He’s gone and totally smashed it.’ Although their music styles diverged, K-O-P definitely deserves to bask in his own glory too, particularly after this year’s album (out on Planet Mu, after putting out previous releases on his own Display Copy label), a trippy, tingling sleepwalk around ambient, foreboding Aphex-y soundscapes. Softly majestic.