Albums of 2012: Samantha

1. The Staves – Dead and Born and Grown
I bought this album on the day it was released and I was not disappointed.  My favourite tracks are Motherlode and Mexico, and the rest of the album continues to carry the theme of lamenting personal stories. With drifting guitar melodies, pretty ukuleles and harmonies, the gentle melodies carry you away; the three sisters can easily hypnotise the listener with their earthy, natural sound. Beautiful album, beautiful voices, beautiful songs. Stuck on repeat.

2. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
The Sound of 2012 winner has a voice which resonates with 70s soul and his album is the perfect showcase for it. With dashes of improvised flute, lyrics filled with emotion and intricate guitar melodies, and hits like Tell Me a Tale, Home Again more than exceeds expectations.

3. Newton Faulkner – Write It On Your Skin
Another acoustic gem from Newton Faulkner that's filled with breezy songs like Clouds, full of optimism and uplifting choruses. Write It on Your Skin is my favourite track, evoking the desire to ‘jump into a lake’ and forget about all life's troubles. I played this album non-stop on a road trip from Aberdeen to Cornwall. Says it all really.

4. RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost and Found
Another wonderful instrumental delight from RM Hubbert, featuring some brilliant collaborations. With names like Emma Pollock Alex Kapronos (also produced) and Aiden Moffat lending their talent, tracks such as Hungarian Notation, Car Song and Half Light are brought to life. I saw the whole album performed live in the Arches, Glasgow earlier this year and just like the album, RM Hubbert captivated the audience with ease.

5. Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society
A brilliant follow up to her Grammy win in 2011, this album is a cacophony of jazz traits with the boisterous Black Gold, my favourite track, contrasting with the mellow. Just like one of her many live performances, the album is full of unpredictable surprises.

6. Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts
Whilst being very different to her previous albums, Little Broken Hearts still follows a slightly melancholic path, particularly songs like 4 Broken Hearts. One of my favourite tracks is Happy Pills: funky beats with a catchy riff, and Norah Jones’s velvet vocals. Another great album and brilliant collaboration with Danger Mouse.

7. The Shins - Port of Morrow
Another album that I had on repeat this year is from The Shins; I first discovered them on the soundtrack of Garden State and it has been a rocky relationship ever since. I often find their music hit or miss, but this was definitely a hit, the title song being my favourite track.

8. Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
For a lady who likes her electronics, The Haunted Man is a surprisingly minimal and dreamy album. I find it refreshing. My favourite track is Laura, a gentle voice and piano arrangement with a touch of orchestra.

9. Sigur Ros – Valtari
The distinctive, ethereal world that Sigur Ros create with their music never fails to disappoint. Once again, they have produced a beautiful progressive record full of ambient atmospheric tracks and Jonsi's distinctive vocals: just what the doctor ordered after a hard day's work.

10. Regina Spektor – What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
Once again, the Russian/American singer-songwriter provides an exciting and direct take on life’s emotions, with her lethal piano playing and punchy, verging on sarcastic, lyrics. After six albums, she’s still got it. 


No comments: