Album: Bell Hooks
It’s about time 2012 threw up a bold, brash and discernible hip hop album and BBU’s Bell Hooks delivers in every respect. This release, which follows the group’s politically charged ‘Fear of a Clear Channel Planet’ is mixed by DJ Benzi and pounds walls with its raw energetic rhythms and intoxicating bass. Showboating well-known rappers such as Das Racist and GLC, the album is plump with witty lyricisms, political kicks in the teeth and pays homage to 70s funk and 90s grunge. Bell Hooks is a musical feast that will appeal to both hip hop loyalists and potential converts to this irrepressible genre.
Artist: New Build
Album: Yesterday Was Lived and Lost
Yesterday Was Lived and Lost is immediately reminiscent of British dance behemoths Underworld with its uplifting synths, suave vocals and driving house beats. But New Build, a side project of three Hot Chip absconders is much, much more than a return to 90’s hedonism and mega, mega white things. Constituting a rambunctious amalgamation of eclectic pop, dance, funk and house this release lifts spirits with its capable rendering of tried and tested modes, and raises the bar for the pre-club warm-up album.
Artist: The Shins
Album: Port of Morrow
Port of Morrow sounds like a band at the zenith of its musical powers. Singer-songwriter James Mercer, the band’s visionary front-man has returned from a long hiatus where presumably he was cultivating inspiration and not one to spread it thinly over several LPs, has simply poured it over this exemplary indie release. Check out the spine-tingling ‘Simple Song’,
the mesmerizing ‘For a Fool’ or the sumptuously complex ‘Port of Morrow’ to sample the extent and breadth of this captivating album. This will easily be a front-runner for release of the year and it will take something special to match it.