Archives for the category ‘Staff Picks: Top albums of 2012’

Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #19: Ben Rimmer

December, 21st 2012 11:00

Artist: Big Deal
Release: Lights Out
Label: Mute Artists
Release Date: January 2012

Picked by:
Ben Rimmer | Key Accounts Manager

“Returning to the start of 2012, the wave of boy-girl duos grew bigger as Big Deal broke through on both sides of the Atlantic with their debut album ‘Lights Out’ on Mute. In the ashes of KC Underwood’s noisier band projects he taught an eighteen-year old British girl to play grunge tracks. Whether the 29-year-old American Underwood and Alice Costelloe are a couple remains a mystery, but the intimacy of the lyrics and duets on these naïve yet knowing tracks, taking in subjects from homework to Kurt Cobain, is there as clear as a record this hazy and swooning allows. 

Recalling the Moldy Peaches in their cleaner moments and the likes of Tennis and Summer Camp, it’s the sleepy euphoria created by Underwood’s tar-filled vocals and grotty acoustic guitar mixing prettily with Costelloe’s sweet vocals and soaring, sometimes fuzzy, electric guitar that set Big Deal apart this year.” – Ben Rimmer

Lights Out, co-produced by Underwood and Dean Reid, emerged from its bedroom beginnings as a collection of 12 deeply personal songs with universal appeal, innately tapping into the innocence, insecurity, wonder and (sometimes unrequited) love and lust of relationships. These are songs which are structurally sparse yet emotively rich, sweet and seductive yet raw and jagged.



Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #18: Gideon Mountford

December, 20th 2012 11:00

Artist: Harry Oakwood (Millionaire)
Release: Harry Oakwood (Millionaire) EP
Label: Old Money Records
Release Date: June 2012

Picked by:
Gideon Mountford | Head of Video UK

“If you’re into Creedence, The Band, Stones et al then Harry Oakwood (Millionaire) are going to be right up your street. With not a helicopter or shortbread in site, Harry Oakwood deliver track after track of classic sounding Rock N Roll. Could have been big in the 70’s,  Harry Oakwood are looking to breakthrough into the mainstream in 2013, which their music so deserves. Get on it!” – Gideon Mountford

Having recorded their first E.P earlier this year, the boys performed at LSO St Luke’s with one of Britain’s hottest new orchestras, The Aurora Orchestra, a show that was broadcast live on Radio 3. Requests came in from a host of radio shows; BBC Radio Merseyside legend Billy Butler and BBC London/Amazing Radios Gary Crowley to name but two DJ’s who have jumped on board the Good Ship Oakwood.

Not much is known about Harry himself. When probed on the subject the band reply in unison, “We are not at liberty to say”. They are more forthcoming about their influences though, citing The Band (first & foremost) along with Patrick Watson, Lowell George and Elliott Smith as inspiration.



Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #17: Hannah Donovan

December, 19th 2012 10:30

Artist: Various Artists
Release: Sick Music 3
Label: Hospital Records
Release Date: November 2012

Picked by:
Hannah Donovan | New Media and Communications Manager

“The much loved Sick Music series consistently showcases new music right across the dnb spectrum including both new and established artists. The 3rd installment features some absolute bangers from High Contrast, Danny Byrd and Nu:Logic, with Lung and Bop representing little sister label Med School. Highlights for me come in the form of Fred V & Grafix ‘Major Happy’ and an incredible remix of Madeons’ ‘Finale’ from the musical genius that is Netsky” – Hannah Donovan

Sick Music 3 sees the revival of the highly successful compilation series with another slew of top-notch talent from across the spectrum. Expect to find tracks and remixes from artists as diverse as High Contrast, Raiden, Jonny L, Technimatic, Lung and Madeon across this 26-track compilation.




Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #16: Panos Polimatidis

December, 18th 2012 10:45

Artist: Various Artists
Release: Seven Music the First Chapter
Label: Seven Music
Release Date:  January 2012

Picked by:
Panos Polimatidis | Client Relations

“Deep house vibes for both dance-floor and bedroom listening from a blend of upcoming and established artists. This compilation truly shows what Seven Music is all about; quality music free from constraints and trends. Keep an eye on them, more joy to come!” – Panos Polimatidis

Back in 2011, Ric McClelland & Sean Grieve launched Seven Music as an outlet for their own material. Since then, the label has grown dramatically. Not only have they released their own material as Scope, South West Seven and Sydney Young, but the label has become a home for a wealth of new talent such as Sumsuch, Chilf, Stephen Day, Replika and Giorgione Luceri.

Key players in the scene such as Audio Soul Project, Huxley, Russ Gabriel and Ethyl have also joined the Seven Music camp and helped the label continuously build. The label has accomplished a lot in a short space of time and this collection of tracks handpicked from the initial 10 releases showcases the consistence in quality from Seven Music.




Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #15: Ian Pither

December, 17th 2012 14:18

Artist: Breton
Release: Other People’s Problems
Label: FatCat Records
Release Date:  March 2012

Picked by:
Ian Pither | Believe Recordings Label Manager

“From the chopped up strings – here courtesy of German composer Hauschka – on opening track ‘Pacemaker’ through to the skittering beats of album closer ‘The Commission’, the South London collective’s debut is a patchwork of field recordings, distorted sounds and the sort of pop hooks most bands would kill for. The filmmakers-turned-musicians have taken their collective influences and created what is arguably this year’s most interesting, if not electrifying record.” – Ian Pither

The London based four-piece, Breton, released their debut album ‘Other People’s Problems’ back in March. Primarily film-makers with cutting-edge video and sound design work under their belts, they’ve delivered innovative remixes for the likes of Local Natives, Tricky, Tom Vek and Temper Trap, as well as being award winners and regular fixtures at film festivals for their independent short films.

Predicted to be the “UK indie upstarts” of 2012 by Sound on Sound, Breton have had a fantastic year, proving this to be true with their stunning debut.




Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #14: Victor Conradsson

December, 14th 2012 19:16

Artist: Various Artists
Release: Don’t Break My Love
Label: Clown and Sunset
Release Date: November 2012

Picked by:
Victor Conradsson | Senior Sales Manager

“It seems that house, after dubstep, is now inspiring the freshest new sounds – Jaar surely led the way with his first EPs two years ago. By drastically slowing down the tempo à la XX or J.Blake, by daring to use silence to create space, he embellishes everything he touches (check out his remixes of Nina Simone, James Blake, Missy Elliott, Ellen Allien).

It has to be heard by everyone, and can be liked by anyone (present for Granny?!). Coming in a special ‘Virtual Edition’ his latest release shows his modesty as he takes a step back into production duties for the first half of the compilation. The best tracks are by the end though, from Avalanche onwards: pure bliss you can lie down or dance to. La classe incarnée.” – Victor Conradsson

Originally released on the Prism in March 2012 – a physical cubed shaped player that housed the collection – Clown & Sunset now present their ‘virtual version’ of the release, a collection of lost memories from Nicolas Jarr’s label. Featuring tracks from Acid Pauli, Will Epstein, Just Friends and Nicolas Jarr himself, the compilation is a beautiful insight into the label and the delicate and stunning sounds it consistently delivers.



Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #13: Nick Parry

December, 13th 2012 13:13

Artist: Gang Colours
Release: The Keychain Collection
Label: Brownswood Recordings
Release Date: February 2012

Picked by:
Nick Parry | New Media Assistant 

“Gang Colours’ debut highlights the extent to which young producers are keen to experiment with a whole host of sounds from a variety of sub-genres to breed something new and captivating. ‘The Keychain Collection’ has done just that, combining raw piano melodies with broken beats to produce a sound that’s just as catchy as it is coy.” – Nick Parry

‘The Keychain Collection’ is a valiant contribution to the Brownswood series, where it seems Gilles Peterson still has a knack for discovering and pushing those emerging artists in to the limelight. Typically, Peterson is associated with the more fluid, mellow sounds, yet here he strays towards Gang Colours’ mosaic of disjointed and sombre compositions. ‘In Your Gut Like A Knife EP’ was the Southampton producer’s first venture on the Brownswood label, but this year he returned with his debut LP.

‘The Keychain Collection’ showcases Will Ozanne’s (Gang Colours) brilliant formula; short sparse tracks that combine raw piano chords with sluggish R&B tinged drum patterns, topped with intermittent yet poignant vocals. Standout tracks ‘I Don’t Want You Calling’ and ‘Tissues & Fivers’ do just this – both tracks build upon simple piano arrangements, but are met with crashing hip-hop drum kicks and Ozanne’s carefully placed solemn vocals.

The centrepiece of the debut is ‘Botley In Bloom’, which has an energy like no other track on the album – teasing vocal echoes and tentative percussion finally give way to the most dance-orientated verse across all ten tracks. The standard is maintained with ‘Fancy Restaurant’, the lead single that throws down the Brownswood calling card. Jazz vibes set the scene for a crisp delivery of Ozanne’s clearest and best vocals yet: “I know you don’t care that much about money/ but I’m gonna make some and take you out”. Two lines that voice the simplest sentiment, yet speak louder than your average soppy pop song.

‘The Keychain Collection’ charms in a mesmerising half-hour, gracing your company with a succinct insight into Ozanne’s musical world. It’s without a doubt one of the standout albums of 2012.


Gang Colours performs ‘Fancy Restaurant’ from brownswood on Vimeo.



Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #12: Jenna Jones

December, 12th 2012 17:14

Artist: Various Artists
Release: Tsuba Colours, Vol.1
Label: Tsuba Records
Release Date: September 2012

Picked by:
Jenna Jones | Digital Marketing for Zimbalam UK

“A mix of chillout and smooth deep house, this album has some amazing tracks from some of my favourite artists, Kevin Griffiths, Huxley & Ethyl to name a few. Been supporting these guys all year, and its great to see a compilation featuring them all!” – Jenna Jones

The Tsuba Colours series reached single No 10 this year and to co-inside they proudly presented their first compilation bringing together the very best tracks from each release. Musically the series leans towards classic & deeper shades of house with each 12” pressed on coloured vinyl with matching sleeves & labels, a must have for any collector.

Label boss Kevin Griffiths started the series with the yellow edition in February 2009 with the Vinyl selling out in a week and the original of ‘Cantona Kung Fu’ reaching No. 2 in the deep house chart on Beatport for one month. From there, Tsuba went on to release the debut single from Huxley (Purple), who’s since gone on to become the biggest breakthrough act in house music this year. Other releases in the series which feature on the compilation come from Sascha Dive with ‘Jus Groove’ (Red) and ‘Déjà Vu’ (Aqua), Moodymanc with ‘Thumbs Up’ (Green) and arguably the standout track in the series, ‘Black Paint’.




Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #11: Claire Lothian

December, 11th 2012 14:27

Artist: The Bamboos
Release: Medicine Man
Label: Tru Thoughts
Release Date: June 2012

Picked by:
Claire Lothian | Office Manager and Sync Coordinator

“This album has some stand out tracks featuring Aloe Blac, Megan Washington and Kylie Auldist. ‘Wilhelm Scream’ and ‘Where Does The Time Go’ are particularly great. As a band born out of Melbourne, my home town pride wouldn’t allow me to side step this one as a top album of 2012.” Claire Lothian

Formed in 2001 in Melbourne Australia, the band, inspired by the instrumental raw funk of the late ’60s and early ’70s,  quickly made waves internationally and were labelled as one of the greatest funk and soul bands of our time. ‘Medicine Man’ is the fifth album to be released by the Aussie band featuring high quality guest vocals from Aloe Blacc, Tim Rogers (You Am I), Megan Washington, Daniel Merriweather and Bobby Flynn. ‘Medicine Man’ delivers the deep funk sound The Bamboos have become known for, plus some deviations from the path.





Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012


Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012 – Staff Pick #10: Hinako Omori

December, 10th 2012 16:50

Artist: Yeasayer
Release: Fragrant World
Label: Mute
Release Date: August 2012

Picked by:
Hinako Omori | Believe Recordings Label Assistant

“Every time I listen to ‘Fragrant World’ I get teleported into Yeasayer’s psychedelic world of intricate synth parts, rhythms and soundscapes, building up to create a beautifully strange wonderland. The stand out tracks for me are ‘Devil And The Deed’ and ‘Demon Road’. Can’t get enough of this album!” – Hinako Omori

Yeasayer released their highly anticipated ‘Fragrant World’ LP back in August on Mute, the follow up to 2010’s crossover hit ‘Odd Blood’. Having initially set the internet alight with the teaser track ‘Henrietta’, the psychedelic experimentalists from Brooklyn made an assured return with their most accomplished album to date.

‘Odd Blood’ was widely regarded as one of the best albums of 2010, hitting everyone’s end of year lists including NME, Mojo, and Q. A hard act to follow, certainly, but ‘Fragrant World’ does not disappoint. Produced once again by Yeasayer themselves (and mixed by Dan Carey), it is a wholly immersive record. Keyboards clank and wheeze, tiny claps stumble against busted drum machines, and there’s very little obvious guitar. It is an album that grapples with the schizophrenia of the modern world by gathering piles of electronics and moulding them into something vast and rather gorgeous.

Whether it’s the warped and clipped alien-dancefloor banger ‘No Bones’, or the gothic, almost industrial pulse of ‘Reagan’s Skeleton’, Yeasayer are truly making 21st century music. Couched in healthy fear, yet unafraid to move forward and expand, pulling in new influences just as frequently as new worries, Yeasayer have created a dense and beautiful record. It is as much a synthesis of the last three decades of pop music as it is a way of dealing with the oddities of life.



Believe UK’s Top Albums Of 2012