Now that's what they call music: Rock and pop's biggest names choose their favourite records of 2012

The stars pick their favourite albums of the year

 

Ellie Goulding

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave

One of the reasons I love the Alt-J record is that there is no fear of imagination completely taking over. It reminds me of being a really curious kid, thinking a thousand thoughts at the same time. Describing the record as an eclectic mix of styles might give way for some sort of pretentiousness or over-complication, but it doesn't. It teeters right on the edge of madness before swinging back to some sort of sense, and, at times, a real pop sensibility. The string that holds all sorts of colourful beads together is Joe's little voice. I always had a weakness for voices that can be so vulnerable and so powerful at the same time.

Miles Kane

Dr. John: Locked Down

All year I've kept coming back to this record. The title track, "Locked Down", and the track "Big Shot" are two of my favourites. The songs are written with such abstract lyrics but his message is still clear and understood. The album is produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. I'm a massive fan of them anyway, and this album has some of those Black Keys elements that I love. The production, especially the drums, and the groove of the whole record is amazing. I've been totally inspired by that sound when recording my record this year.

Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons)

William Basinski: Disintegration Loops Box Set

Released finally as a complete series in this special edition, these are some of the most important recordings in my life. I have lived with these ambient tracks for years and it is the most subliminally helpful, useful and beautiful music I've ever experienced. It is a series of tape loops that slowly dissolved as Basinski recorded them. You listen as a great civilisation falls to dust.

Johnny Bramwell (I Am Kloot)

Gaz Coombes: Here Come the Bombs

We were lucky enough to be on the same bill as him at the Crossing Border festival in Holland last month and he played the whole thing. It's my favourite gig of the year. So I got the LP and have had it on every day since. It's a personal soundscape with a great psychedelic rock backdrop. Everything is in the first person and feels to me like TS Eliot and Hawkwind, with the trademark Supergrass chord changes. I've got a copy and nobody is borrowing it.

Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes)

Fly Golden Eagle: Swagger

I love the record of our local friends Fly Golden Eagle; they make music that is hard to pin down but it gets me every time. To make such great music in the community we come from requires a certain kind of dedication. You don't have the encouragement of a supportive network necessarily and that breeds a strength of purpose that can help to create something original. They sound like a classic band living in their own time-zone; maybe a little different from the one you check into regularly, but still worth checking out. I have been discovering so much great music this year that it has inspired us to dig deep into our lives and work hard to try to create something of our own that we can be proud of.

Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets)

Tame Impala: Lonerism

The self-contained manner in which we are consuming today's music is exactly the way in which Lonerism was created. Live, Tame Impala is a psychedelic rock band – all long locks of hair and trippy projections. But on record this is the lone creation of one visionary young man in his bedroom. Kevin Parker strikes me as someone cut from a similar mould to the Brian Wilsons or Mike Oldfields of this world. He plays shows in his bare feet, is probably a genius and appears as aroused by the world around as the world is by him. But he also reminds me of Howard Hughes, the great Hollywood recluse. To me, it sounds like someone taking you by the hand you into his private universe and showing you that anything is possible, if you possess the vision to see it through. It also sounds like the missing Beatles album between Revolver and Sgt Pepper.

Tim Burgess (The Charlatans)

Carter Tutti Void: Transverse

My favourite album of 2012 is this rhythmical, minimal, slow, dark-building, monolithic beauty: four live compositions, all variants of the same thing, "V1", "V2", "V3", and a studio track, yep, you guessed it "V4". They are essentially a band that existed for one live show – it was recorded at the Roundhouse in May 2011 and released early February 2012. Even though live albums are often hard to listen to, this is remarkably easy uneasy listening. The roots of the performers lie in Factory Floor and Throbbing Gristle so this was always going to be more spiky than fluffy but that's how we like it round here. The pop art eye-shaking brilliance of the cover also scoops best sleeve of the year.

Gus (Alt-J)

Polica: Give You the Ghost

This for me is a quintessential "headphones album" – my favourite way to listen to music is while I'm walking around somewhere. Polica's album, with its beautiful vocals and production, has been a constant companion in 2012. I saw them play the Lake Stage at Latitude festival this year and I think this helped me understand the sound even more. There is a simplicity to what they do, yet every aspect of the songs is considered – nothing is there which is not needed. This is an uncomplicated and spacious album, yet one that bears repeated listening.

Pete Turner (Elbow)

Tame Impala: Lonerism

This blew other albums I was listening to away. It's a true album from start to finish. There's always something new to find.

Lianne La Havas

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave

They have a sound that is all their own, whilst you still get the sense that they'll be around for a long time, because you can't deny the raw talent and innovation. I often find I am singing the songs to myself and still I'm excited to listen to the whole album as a piece. As a musician, I've found this a very inspiring, mind-boggling album, so it's easily my favourite.

Scott Wilkinson (British Sea Power)

God Speed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

I like this record a lot. I think it's their first in 10 years and was a continuation of ideas from before their break. My first listen was in the suitably apocalyptic confines of Churchill shopping centre. It was quite scary. It's a beautiful record which I have since found ideal for labour- and craft-based tasks such as moving stones and woodwork. Having worked in hotel2tango Studios a few years ago, I hazily remember Efrim [Menuck] having been doing a lot of manual work of some kind in between studio hours. I also remember he had a singing dog which we recorded. They are a very good band who make sense more now than ever and I'm glad they've returned with this record.

Victoria Hesketh (Little Boots)

Kindness: World, You Need a Change of Mind

When I first came across the Kindness album I was unwilling to like it. Every hipster I know on Facebook seemed to be posting streaming links to the new album and everything about the project seemed a little too thought-out. However, when I finally gave it a chance and put my reservations aside I realised here was a guy after my own heart, who just really loves great classic pop music. The record has a warm feeling of familiarity, mainly due to a large part of the material being heavily sampled or cleverly magpie-ed, but he does this with a charm and originality that just about gets away with it. Live, they're like the greatest wedding band ever and watching them made me want to trade my career to be one his backing singers.

Rachel Zeffira

Laura Mvula: She (EP)

You can hear that she made it exactly as she wanted, with care and with passion. The arrangements are great, the lyrics are good. I think my favourite song is "Jump Right Out". I'm already predicting that Laura Mvula will win the 2013 Mercury Prize – she is a unique, talented and brave musician and I can't wait to hear her next release.

Colin Meloy (The Decemberists)

Hospitality: Hospitality

Simple songs, simple arrangements, beautiful songwriting; it's sort of sneaky that way. It does the thing that all pop-ish records should do, which is marry sardonic, smart lyrics with simple, melodic arrangements. I think that a lot of times folks do one without the other. Not the case here.

Becky Unthank (The Unthanks)

Sam Lee: Ground of its Own

Previously a dancer, Sam turned his attentions to song collecting from the oral tradition. On his debut album you get the chance to hear some of the gems he learnt from time spent with the travelling communities. I first heard Sam sing at Whitby Folk Week. Ground of its Own embodies all and more of what struck me then: his rich, velvety voice, beautiful ornamentation and his ability to draw you in and tell a story though song. It's a brave and understated record, and it's full of innovative arrangements.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York