In time-honoured tradition, here's our list of the best records released this year so far, plus some tasty extras: best EPs, albums we missed last year, best hip-hop albums and mixtapes, and of course, the records we're anticipating for the upcoming half of the year. Read on for more on what SPB considers must-hears from 2012 so far.
Overall best albums of 2012 so far
It's been an interesting six months and we've assembled an overall list of the staff's six joint favourite albums of 2012 thus far. Read on for links to our reviews of these albums, our ratings, and excerpts from what we thought at the time. Each album is ranked equally in this list by our writers.
"Anathema are truly masters of their field. Able to flow through contradictory emotions and switch from calming moments to all-out rock and vice versa ("The Storm Before The Calm"), this is a band at their peak. Weather Systems will captivate and break you. Magnificent." (Cheryl)
SPB rating: 8.5 / 10
"Bosse-de-Nage have constructed a record of profoundly human feeling and accordingly the music sways between harsh terrain and gorgeous melody, echoing the divide in the mind of one not at peace with the world. The band are a mystery and their subject matter is terrible in its individual and private take on psychosis and misanthropy, and iii will take you on a journey of destruction to the very depths of the soul. Be prepared." (Cheryl)
SPB rating: 9.5 / 10
"The record is a call to action, from referencing Woody Guthrie in "Would-Be Kings" to ending the record on the line "we need a change", there’s a very clear focus. There’s a driving energy, a clear structure to the songs, and it just sounds good. Michaels knows how to put a song catchy together and the sound isn’t a stretch from his previous endeavors." (Loren)
SPB rating: 8.3 / 10
"El-P fans cannot accuse him of being disappointing. This is his record through and through, still very much his own style without being merely an addendum to his recorded legacy. Newcomers will have something new to discover upon both first and accumulated listens. This is something to listen to in the late night hours while feeling the toll of the world." (Jon)
SPB rating: 9.0 / 10
"This record is a rager, with early ‘80s LA hardcore as the foundation and a relentless energy packing it in. Only 7 out of the 16 songs here top one minute, yet they all sound fully realized and developed. The band isn’t wasting time with clever bridges, solos, or mixing up their tempos. They’re jumping straight into the pit and not stopping for a breather." (Loren)
SPB rating: 8.7 / 10
"It’s incredible to see a band this early on in their career speak with such wisdom, and be able to wrench such emotion and touch quite so profoundly. It’s genuinely remarkable to think that this is only their first full recording, and where the band go from here is certainly an exciting prospect. Sorrow and Extinction is a record to fall into, the themes held within are universal and immersive and such that Pallbearer have transcended all, and are able to break even the coldest of souls. Magnificent." (Cheryl)
SPB rating: 9.5 / 10