It’s actually been a pretty good year for one man and his guitar type troubadours with stunning albums from Richard Hawley, Paul Weller and the young pretender Jake Bugg. Monday also sees the release of Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch, which is likely to be as brilliant as it is, well, bonkers.
There are a few that you may have missed, especially from British songwriters, so here are twelve great albums ranging from the quirky 60s pop of Suzi Chunk through to the return of cult legends Bob Lind and Bill Fay.
The number one album is astonishing and IMO by some distance the album of the year.
Do you agree with the choices? What have we missed? Check out the Spotify playlist below. If you want the top den debut albums of 2012 go here and for a round up of the year’s best music polls check out this brilliant blog.
1 Darren Hayman and The Long Parliament - The Violence
At face value a concept-esque album about The English Civil War and the Suffolk/Essex Witch Trials doesn't exactly sound like a huge barrel of fun. But Darren Hayman, who you may remember as the frontman of 90s post Brit pop indie band Hefner, is no ordinary songwriter. This is the third of trilogy of albums about Essex, the first two are equally as amazing, and he has clearly worked on this for years. This is obviously a massive labour of love. Everything about this album is, for want of a better word, crafted. Sure it is a little long and there are probably a couple of instrumentals too far, but after you have played it a couple of times you will be utterly hooked by it. The melodies are delicate, the instrumentation (mainly acoustic guitars, ukuleles and quiet pianos) beautifully subtle and as for the lyrics they really transport you back a century or four. Give it a couple of spins and you’ll soon be finding out all you can about Henrietta Maria, Arthur Wilson and Rebecca West. Perhaps Hayman’s brilliance is to record an album about a contentious period of English history and yet not take any sides. So you get songs from both a Catholic Queen and Puritan witch hunters and yet you can always see their point of view. An absolutely stunning album.