So, here it is, the moment you’ve probably all not been waiting for. The start of our top 50 album countdown begins right here. Given that the Tidal Wave of Indifference was created essentially to give this list a home at the end of 2009, we think we’ve come a long way since then. Thousands of people looked at our round-up last year, although we reckon 99% looked away feeling disgusted at the lack of their favourite pishy little outfit.
We encountered hundreds of album this year, many dismissed out of hand, but there was some real quality out there in 2012, some of it found in the most surprising places as our first entry demonstrates. So here we go…
50. Bloc Party – Four
This band have absolutely no right to make a comeback, let alone with a half decent record. But they did, and Kettling had one of the guitar riffs of the year.
49. Rozi Plain – Joined Sometimes Unjoined
Sweet English songstress + Fence Records = RESULT!
48. Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship
Luke Temple’s band of odd-poppers are every bit as good as many of their more famous and more appreciated peers. A Different Ship was a significant leap forward.
47. Twin Shadow – Confess
Seeing as Prince himself has disappeared into a creative wormhole, George Lewis Jr seems keen to be anointed as a worthy successor.
46. Frankie Rose – Interstellar
Even when stripped of The Outs, Frankie Rose still had a knack for fuzzy pop tunes.
45. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral
Perhaps a smidge overlong, Lanegan’s long awaited follow-up to Bubblegum was clearly influenced by his work with Soulsavers and further cemented his position as rock’s Prophet of Doom.
44. So Many Wizards – Warm Nothing
These guys have the potential to be among America’s coolest bands. This compact little collection was full of bite-sized chunks of cutesy dream pop.
43. Adrian Crowley – I See Three Birds Flying
Ireland’s own Bonnie “Prince” Billy? Quite possibly. This was bleak, introspective and very, very good.
42. Holograms – Holograms
Sod the over-hyped Iceage – these guys really demonstrated that young Scandinavians can produce a raw, powerful, snarling guitar.
41. Breton – Other People’s Problems
With Foals away, this gave those in search of glitchy, groove-driven alt pop a fresh outlet to indulge their needs.
40. Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts in Snow
A worthy successor to Boots Met My Face, it saw them step up their profile massively. That wider UK breakthrough still seems to be in the post though.
39. The Leg – An Eagle to Saturn
Comfortably one of the more bonkers albums of the year. Stylistically all over the place, like a friend who’s losing the plot after one drink too many, constant attention was needed to stop it taking you to some very dark places indeed.
38. Steve Adey – The Tower of Silence
Six years in the wilderness, and this low key Edinburgh singer-songwriter returned with an eclectic and engaging set.
37. The Unwinding Hours – Afterlives
You can’t help but feel that the progression of Craig B and Iain Cook’s music would have been headed in this direction even if they’d continued playing as Aereogramme but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
36. Ultrasound – Play For Today
In short, the unlikeliest and best comeback of the year. The tunes are still huge.
35. Beak >> – >>
It took us a while to approach Geoff ‘Portishead’ Barrow’s Krautrock/post rock/drone project but this was hugely satisfying and not without a tune or two either.
34. We Are Augustines – Rise Ye Sunken Ships
One of the most natural-sounding American rock records of the year. These guys really ought to be at the Gaslight Anthem level (they’re also better) but there’s time yet. An excellent debut album.
33. Francois and the Atlas Mountains – E Volo Love
A lovely effort from the Gallic maestros of tropicalia-infused odd-pop. This maybe isn’t the best video of them, but hey, we’re in the crowd so it’s special for us!
32. Xiu Xiu – Always
Not everything Jamie Stewart has done has filled us with joy but this may be his best album since Fabulous Muscles. Deeply screwed up but somehow strangely uplifting too.
31. Orbital – Wonky
Remarkably, the Hartnolls still have it in them to produce off kilter trance mentalism. Their best album in over ten years.
30. Die Hard – Die Hard
Bruce Willis jokes were inevitable, but you can bet that this Glasgow trio would meet them with the stoniest of faces. Meshing dark electronica with tuneful strumming was their thing and this came from nowhere to muscle into this year’s list.
29. The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know
Also known as that difficult third album. Dominance by doom-y synths moved the music on considerably, but James Graham’s deadpan howl was unmistakable.
28. Stanley Odd – Reject
Despite some of the touchy subject matters, the witty rhymes and, umm, bangin’ beats guaranteed this to be one album that got us grinning from ear to ear every time.
27. RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost and Found
We wouldn’t have guessed that an album centred around classical guitar compositions would have been one of the year’s best, but we’ve been wrong before. Guest slots by Aiden Moffat and Alasdair Roberts just added to its excellence.
26. Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny – Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose
Not to be lumped into the every-growing slew of uninspiring lady singers, BJH is a real piece of work. Unhinged and with an ear for a great melody, this was breakneck stuff at times.
Next week marks crunch time. Who’ll be in the top 25?