Sorry guys, I don't care what Paste Magazine or Rolling Stone says nor if anyone other than me is listening to my favorites. Because I won't (and can't) decide about a ranking the order is alphabetically:
- Adrianne - Me After You.Adrianne resp. Adrianne Gonzalez or AG is one of my long time favorite artists. Recently she was heard as one quarter of The Rescues, whose new independent album Blah Blah Love And War didn't make this list because it is a 2013 release (but as a backer of their PledgeMusic project I can assure you: it will be on next years list.). Adrianne is one of the singer/songwriters where it all fits together: a distinctive voice, no-nonsense lyrics and a rocking sound that lures me. I continue to ignore the change of her stage name to AG.
- Alanis Morissette - Havoc and Bright LightsAlanis beautiful voice and her emotional lyrics are companions in my musical world since many years. This release after four years without any news did not disappoint. Receive, the first track published, blew me away and is still my favorite (no video to include because of the insane hassle between Youtube and artist association GEMA).
- Callaghan - Life in Full ColourThe debut album of Callaghan caught my attention on first listen. The laid back tunes, her beautiful voice are soothing, a perfect treat for Sunday afternoons. When listening to Look Around I entirely fell for this artist.
- Carminho - AlmaI have a secret crush for the intensely blue, haunting Fado genre. Alma ("Soul") is a well produced collection of different Fado songs (original, traditional and from several songwriters). Carminho's husky, passion-laden voice fits perfect for this emotional genre, well accompanied by the traditional instrumentation.
Sadly this is a common thread through this article, @#.. $^&*()!!
- Carrie Haber - TaurusI discovered the Maltesian born Carrie Haber on a webcast from The Bedford in London some years ago. Captured by her sunny nature, the powerful voice, enjoyable lyrics and haunting melodies I was impatiently waiting for the release of her debut album. How life goes in the world of Indie music, Carrie couldn't afford to production costs of an full album and she started the release of a series of EPs with Taurus. I recommend to spend the 40 minutes to watch the recording of this EP's release show (music starts after 3:00 mins):
- Chance's End - Down the DoorsA (male) violinist and a (female) vocalist performing mixed genre influenced Electronica, the result is simply brilliant.
Listen to Sleeping On the Interstate (full track).
- Delerium - Music Box OperaI always loved Delerium's Ambient music for the featured amazing female vocalists and this new album didn't disappoint at all. The compositions are of usual quality and the voices of Stef Lang, Nadina, Jaël, Kristy Thirsk, Leona Naess, Anna-Lynne Williams, Azure Ray, Leigh Nash, not to forget Michael Logen turn listening into a real treat.
- The Dunwells - Blind Sighted Faith
This amazing British Folk-Rock band appeared on my radar in 2010 when I watched the webcast of an intimate show of Lucie Silvas and friends from The Bedford.
Two years later The Dunwell Brothers Band are signed to a label in Austin, Texas, changed to The Dunwells and successfully toured the US.
- Elise Vatsvaag - This Is Not My Music EP #1
...and... This Is Not My Music EP #2«This Is Not My Music», is a collection of 8 songs, which were all released throughout 2012. A new song was released on the 10th of every month on www.elisevatsvaag.com, and all tracks were available for a free download. All, who missed the opportunity, can buy the two EPs with four songs each from iTunes. Definitely an interesting concept but what amazed me when stumbling about the Norwegian Elise Vatsvaag was the brilliant songwriting, her distinctive voice and the professional production of the tracks.
- Ellen And The Escapades - All the Crooked ScenesI was waiting for this debut album since I discovered the band on Last.fm some years ago, pledged for it to make the release possible and the final result is stunning.
- Gabrielle Aplin - HomeGabrielle Aplin is one of the highly talented young Folk-Pop singers in Britain like also Lauren Aquilina, Orla Gartland, Birdy, Hannah Trigwell or Nina Nesbitt. Endued with a beautiful, distinctive voice, Gabrielle Aplin won attention by publishing cover videos on Youtube but her original songs like Home, the title track of this EP, prove as also her songwriting talent.
award for the best album art this year
- Greenfield & Conder - Introducing... Greenfield & Conder EPHaving an addiction to dark, haunting songs this duo instantly impressed me when I heard them playing Indiscriminate Act of Kindness live on BBC radio. As with Louise and the Pins one year before I need more patience to wait for a full length release by Greenfield & Conder.
- Jesse Thomas - War DancerDon't get confused with the blues musician, we talk about that young lady here. I discovered Jesse Thomas' two grandiose EPs in 2011 and impatiently waited for her full length album. War Dancer is a strong debut with quite different songs and rhythms, only having Jesse's beautiful, raspy voice in common, excellently produced.
Later this year Jesse put a free live EP on Bandcamp, another treat not to miss.
- Karima Francis - The RemedyKarima Francis' album The Author sticked to be an insider's tip. Her 2012 release was highly anticipated... by me and a few critics which fell for her Tracy Chapman-like voice and music style. Months later now it seems to prove true: real talent seldom makes the top of the charts.
- Kimberly Anne - Bury It ThereEven though Kimberly's music is much more that this, the song La La became her signature tune as soon as I heard it for the first time.
After a false start with the Pop genre No Place Like Home EP Kimberly found her characteristic sound and this EP makes me hungry for a full length.
- L.P. - Into The Wild (Live at EastWest Studios)I monitored L.P.'s (Laura Pergolizzi) musical progress over years on her Myspace page, unbelieving that none of the grandiose songs posted there got published to a wider audience. Finally L.P. signed at Warner Records and this grandiose live EP got released, including both the music and the videos. Once again, the label forced a change of an artist name L.P. got LP, once again ignored by me. Find LP's breathtaking cover of Beyoncé's Halo below that didn't make the EP.
resp. for the German readers on Vimeo. I hate that Youtube and the German GEMA couldn't find a compromise within 4 (four!) years. The German music industry is a mess.
- Lauren Aquilina - FoolsThis young, 17yo talent managed to produce and release this EP without a record company, just supported by friends and to make the iTunes top twenty (peaking at #11) for over a month, more than deserved. An artist to look out for during the next years IMHO.
- Rachael Yamagata - HeavyweightI love Rachael Yamagata's music since I first heard I'll Find a Way on ER's soundtrack years ago. With only few, mostly independent releases Yamagata never failed to impress me. This, again independently produced, EP might be my record of the year, 'nough said!
- Unsung Lilly - Time Changes MindsThis band caught my attention when watching their release party at The Bedford, showing so much passion and enthusiasm.
With the words of a person, more eloquent than me: "Unsung Lilly are a formidable team of 5 musicians, each bringing their own original and individual style to the mix to produce a versatile, relevant very dynamic musical ensemble which sounds exciting, likeable and fresh." (courtesy of David Durant from Brooklands Radio).
- Xoe Wise - Archive Of IllusionsXoe's beautiful voice, sweet and smart lyrics, varied sounds as also as a strong production make this independent album one of my favorites for this year.
This list is not complete at all, almost every week I find an album, an artist worth to be mentioned in bold letters like The Saint John's...
Before I forget to mention:
- Josie Charlwood - Pieces of Me - Live Album
A wonderful debut of this young singer/songwriter. The multi-talented Josie is definitely an artist to look out for in future.
- Girl Named T - Wait By the Rabbit Hole
Not only an amazingly talented artist, she also gave me her album for free because I mentioned her on Facebook! ;)
Albums that should be on your list of wishes for Christmas if you don't have them already:
- Ingrid Michaelson - Human Again
- Meiko - The Bright Side
- Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
- Missy Higgins - The Ol' Razzle Dazzle
- Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur
More recommended albums as they come into my mind:
- Broken Fences - Broken Fences
- Tanita Tikaram - Can't Go Back
- The Strange Familiar - Chasing Shadows
- Sunday Lane - From where You Are
- Birdy - Live In London
- Cold Specks - I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
- Elizaveta - Beatrix Runs
- Gabby Young & Other Animals - The Band Called Out For More
- Emily Hearn - Red Balloon
- Heidi Solheim - Found
- Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
- Lana Del Rey - Born to Die
- Liz and the Lions - Learning to Be Dangerous
- Lucy Rose - Like I Used To
- Madi Diaz - Plastic Moon
- Passenger - All the Little Lights
- Ren Harvieu - Through The Night
- Sam Behymer & the Bowties - This Bad Decision
- Sea of Bees - Orangefarben
- Sweet Talk Radio - State of the Union
Two of my favorite artists didn't meet my taste in music this year: Brandi Carlile turned fully into Country and because of that her new album Bear Creek was seldom heard in this household. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals lost the Blues, their new release is made of overproduced gimmicks, hiding the remaining fragments of the familiar old genius Blues-Rock sounds behind a curtain of strings and drum machines, The Lion The Beast The Beat is Grace Potter's first Pop album (the music industry sucks IMHO).
At last I want to feature my most favorite cover of this year, Josie Charlwood turning Adele's Bond song Skyfall into a wonderful Indie ballad: