August also means we're more than half-way through 2012, so what better time than to reflect on the music that has come our way thus far.
You now have no excuse to put your playlists on hold as the 2012 London Olympics have ended. Instead of watching the endless re-runs of the Gold medals and Jessica Eniss' amazing arse in slow-motion on YouTube. Get your CD's, iTunes and Spotify on shuffle and listen to the following albums we have been enjoying so far. If you have Spotify then you don't even have to create your own playlist as we have one right here >> featuring the artists mentioned below.
Take a look at our choices and views on the albums, feel free to chip in with your own choices via the comments section.
Above each selection, we have linked through to the staff member's profile on AltSounds to give you full stalker capabilities. We are for the people, by the people here, and we love to fullfill all of your needs, urges and fetishes. If only we had invented Facebook...
Album: Ceremony - Zoo
Why? Without a doubt the best hardcore album of the year so far and probably of the year. Period.
Album: Jack White - Blunderbuss
Why? In a year when so much new talent has already made itself known in the acoustic field (Keaton Henson, Willis Earl Beal, Cold Specks), White has proven that he's still the force to beat. A slamming record with the lyrics, subject matters, and instrumental skill that made Jack White such a powerhouse in the first place.
Album: Microfilm – AF – 127
Why? Microfilm’s third effort is hard to describe, there’s so much depth, ingenuity and wonderful boldness within it. I’ll keep it simple: unnerving, eclectic but ultimately beautiful, this is one of the records of the year. Wasteland indie guitar bands, take note.
Album: Alabama Shakes – Boys And Girls
Why? Do you remember the time when the Kings of Leon made the American South sound edgy and raw? Well, add Britanny Howard’s Janice Joplin styled vocals and you’ve got yourself a drop dead gorgeous album. Enjoy this electric debut, it might remain their best.
Album: Disclosure – The Face
Why? Ok, so I am bending the rules a little here, as this is actually only an EP, but it’s a great reference point to understand why Disclosure have been garnering so much attention. Forget dubstep, this is soulful, funky and downright brilliant electronic dance music. Future garage is, er, the future. While you’re at it, check out Regal Safari too.
Album: Fearless Vampire Killers - Militia Of The Lost
Why? An amazing debut LP, with enough dramatic gothic horror tales to see off Tim Burton’s career. Quite possibly the UK's answer to My Chemical Romance - mark my words: this band will be huge.
Album: LostAlone - I'm A UFO In This City
Why? This is what you get when you splice Queen with Muse and The Beach Boys, although they still somehow manage to sound individual. Tight vocal harmonies to die for with big riffs and a highly theatrical flavour sprinkled on top.
Album: The Used - Vulnerable
Why? One of my top 5 favourite rock bands of all time returned after a 3 year break with a brilliant new album that's full of positivity and a stand-up-for-yourself attitude. Even their experimentation with dubstep didn't put me off.
Say Anything – Anarchy, My Dear
Why? Nothing has jumped out at me as amazing just yet. But I saw Say Anything live last month; they recently released Anarchy, My Dear. 'Overbiter',with Max Bemis' wife Sherri accompanying on vocals, as well as 'So Good' are my favourite tracks.
Album: The Used - Vulnerable
Why? An album that I highly anticipated and I must say that it did not disappoint: an amazing album, hands down. Put it on repeat, from start to finish.
Album: Adam Lambert – Trespassing
Why? Another highly anticipated album. Lambert is a powerhouse artist whose music consists of irresistible choruses and infectious dance beats. This album shows Lambert's growth as an artist, and successfully introduces his listeners to who he truly is by allowing the listener to take a look inside of his heart.
Album: I See Stars - Digital Renegade
Why? A catchy album with screams to die for. The record is also phenomenally well crafted, housing many influences and bursting with inspiration.
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Why? I stated it in the review, so it has to be this one. Alt-J's An Awesome Wave. I think it offers something just undeniably fresh and new to indie fans. The vocals are so unique.
Album: Lamb Of God - Resolution
Why? Another solid, accomplished slab of American groove metal from the Virginians. Full of heavy yet catchy riffs, technical wizardry, mammoth grooves, and some of the best drumming Chris Adler has ever performed, it shows exactly why Lamb Of God are fast becoming one of the most respected metal bands around today.
Album: Soulfly - Enslaved
Why? A brutal concept album by the Brazilian metal kings, revolving around the theme of slavery. Moving further away from their tribal, nu-metal leanings, this is straight up, relentless death metal.
Album: DJ Food - The Search Engine
Why? An eclectic and engaging blend of trip-hop, break-beats and rock, it showcases some blinding production, expert sampling and cut'n'paste innovation. Futuristic, yet organic, The Search Engine is a must have for any fans of the Ninjatune label.
Lambchop - Mr. M
Why? Lambchop's album is ridonkulous.
Album: Emily Wells - Mama
Why? Emily Wells’ album is perhaps not the best, but certainly one of my favourite artistic finds of the year.
Album: Garbage - Not Your Kind of People
Why? Garbage? They certainly aren’t! So happy they're back.
Album: Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Why? This is a summer classic. A little more polished that their previous release but still skuzzy as heard on their cover of 'For The Love Of Ivy'.
Album: Spiritualized Sweet - Heart Sweet Light
Why? Not a huge departure for Jason Pierce but that's no bad thing in my eyes. Big sound from a quiet man.
Album: Graham Coxon - A + E
Why? A rather more trad' offering than his early albums but still has his trademark fractious guitar which, due to the pitiful amount of great releases gets him in my favourite 3 for this year.
Album: Emeli Sande - Our Version Of Events
Why? A brilliantly crafted album all round; vocally and lyrically. It's a must have for everyone.
So that's our staff view on the albums of the year so far in 2012. What albums have you been digging recently? And what are you expecting to be the in the top 50 albums of the year? We can't wait to put that list together (as we do at the end of each year). Bon Iver was last year's number one, who will take his spot in 2012? Could it be one of the albums listed above? Who knows...