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musicOMH’s Top 100 Albums Of 2012: 100-51



OMG! It has finally arrived, and it’s double the size it was last year.

musicOMH’s Top 100 Albums Of 2012 was arrived at by the application of various formulae, after heated debate, voting amongst our writers and all manner of toing and froing.

Part 1 (that’s this part) contains half of the list, from 100 to 51. Part 2 follows tomorrow and the Top 5 on Friday.

Feel free to tell us what we’ve missed, why not.

Kindness - World, You Need A Change Of Mind100. Kindness – World, You Need A Change Of Mind (Female Energy)

What we said: “Listening to World, You Need A Change Of Mind you get the impression that, if he so desired, Adam Bainbridge could write a fully-fledged melodic commercial pop album. Kindness is a rather more strange and oblique proposition, however, and the music collected on his debut album perfectly fits his mysterious character.” – Martyn Young

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Graham Coxon - A+E99. Graham Coxon – A+E (Parlophone)

What we said: “A+E will quite possibly be the best thing to come out of the Blur camp this year, for it is a hugely exciting album that forges new ground.” – Martyn Young

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O Children

98. O Children – Apnea (Deadly People)

What we said: “Apnea is rather fantastic. It’s epic, portentous and wracked with a sense of dread. But, it also pulsates with enough energy to ensure it never gets weighed down by the baggage.” – Tim Lee

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Paul Banks - Banks97. Paul Banks – Banks (Matador)

What we said: “Manages to entertain and intrigue, and suggests that there’s a lot more to Paul Banks than perhaps even he might care to acknowledge.” – Sam Shepherd

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Calexico - Algiers96. Calexico – Algiers (City Slang)

What we said: “Endlessly listenable and beautifully performed, Algiers is another fine entry into this dependably excellent band’s catalogue.” – Christopher Monk

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Nenneh Cherry & The Thing - The Cherry Thing95. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound)

What we said: “A jarring and confusing experience, but just like the uncompromising individual pursuits of Neneh Cherry and The Thing, thats the whole point.” – Michael Wilton

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Laurel Halo94. Laurel Halo – Quarantine (Hyperdub)

What we said: “Whilst it may be dream-like at times, the overall effect is surreal but not sleepy. Theres an alertness and sense of movement within these carefully crafted soundscapes.” – Daniel Paton

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Future Of The Left93. Future Of The Left – The Plot Against Common Sense (Xtra Mile)

What we said: “They’ve gone and made the most rewarding album of their career to date.” – Max Raymond

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Cheval Sombre92. Cheval Sombre – Mad Love (Sonic Cathedral)

What we said: “These songs definitely exist in a dream world, but dreams can become nightmares pretty quickly. Cheval Sombre understand this and frequently strike the balance between.” – Sam Shepherd

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Soap&Skin - Narrow91. Soap&Skin – Narrow (PIAS)

What we said: “Narrow takes harrowing experiences and pain and transforms them into beautifully cathartic lullabies. At once vulnerable and ferociously confident, it shows an artist who understands what it means to mean something.” – Danny Wright

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1982 + BJ Cole - 1982 + BJ Cole90. 1982 + BJ Cole – 1982 + BJ Cole (Hubro)

What we said: “You come away with not only a recognition of the Norwegian avant-garde, but an appreciation of Coles versatility and ability to ply that pedal steel of his with anyone with very pleasing results.” – David Meller

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Nathan Fake - Steam Days89. Nathan Fake – Steam Days (Border Community)

What we said: “There is a growing sense of maturity in Fake’s work, but also a continued willingness to experiment, and because of that Steam Days carries a great deal of conviction, right from the off.” – Ben Hogwood

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Narasirato - Waratoo88. Narasirato – Waratoo (Smash)

What we said: “Perhaps best of all is the empathetic, haunting introduction to Warahoraa, in which the voices and pipes seem to unify majestically. Its just one of many sublime moments on Waratoo, a truly unique treasure of an album.” – Daniel Paton

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Tim Burgess - Oh No I Love You87. Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You (O Genesis)

What we said: “Oh No I Love You is lovingly crafted and softly spoken, and as such you can imagine it being missed. Which would be a real shame, because it really is a triumph. An underplayed, subtle triumph, but a victory nonetheless.” – Tim Lee

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Fixers - Well Be The Moon86. Fixers – Well Be The Moon (Vertigo)

What we said: “The future seems bright for Fixers. Theyve created a finely honed album that hints at a multitude of influences but because they are ploughing their own furrow theyre in debt to none of them.”– Sam Shepherd

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Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury - DROKK85. Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury – DROKK (Invada)

What we said: “Drokk should not be dismissed as a niche project – its dark, rich and compelling in its own right.” – Daniel Paton

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How To Dress Well - Total Loss84. How To Dress Well – Total Loss (Weird World)

What we said: “It’s rare for an ostensibly indie release to be so emotionally straight-faced and soulful.” – Christopher Monk

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Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando83. Vijay Iyer Trio – Accelerando (ACT)

What we said: “Whilst Iyer has implacable academic credentials, he is also able to imbue his music with visceral thrill, urgency and immediacy.” – Daniel Paton

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Goat - World Music82. Goat – World Music (Rocket)

What we said: “What makes Goat utterly fascinating is their ability to sound as if they come from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. Their home town might well be within the confines of Sweden, but their music exists in a universe without boundaries, where influences and ideas can be discovered and riffed upon with ease.” – Sam Shepherd

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Soulsavers - The Light The Dead See81. Soulsavers – The Light The Dead See (V2)

What we said: “Are Soulsavers becoming the ‘go to’ band for redemption? Mark Lanegan certainly thought so, for his contributions to the duo’s second and third albums were indeed spiritually cleansing, examining demons under a magnifying glass but emerging ultimately stronger for the experience. Now that the former Screaming Trees singer is busy with his own projects, Dave Gahan has stepped in to fill the void.” – Ben Hogwood

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Dr John - Locked Down80. Dr John – Locked Down (Nonesuch)

What we said: “The legions who bought and enjoyed El Camino are sure to enjoy this unofficial second helping and those who yearn for more of the freakier blues of Rebennacks 1960s heyday are certain to agree this brilliant gumbo is just what the doctor ordered.” – Darren Lee

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Kendrick Lamar - good kid m.A.A.d city79. Kendrick Lamar – good kid m.A.A.d city (Polydor)

What we said: “His major label debut good kid m.A.A.d city solidifies his burgeoning reputation and stands out as a landmark contemporary hip-hop album.” – Martyn Young

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Django Django - Django Django78. Django Django – Django Django (Because)

What we said: “After four long years in the making, their debut LP is an outstanding first up effort, a striking blend of understated electro groove and top shelf singles.” – Paul Bonadio

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Tindersticks - The Something Rain77. Tindersticks – The Something Rain (Lucky Dog)

What we said: “Falling Down A Mountain was their most consistent and assured release for many years, yet ninth album The Something Rain arguably tops this, seeing the band in superlative form.” – Steven Johnson

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The xx - Coexist76. The xx – Coexist (XL)

What we said: “There’s a mass of contradictions at the core of Coexist. It is intimate and loving, but somehow cold and distant. It is claustrophobic and yet agoraphobic.” – Tim Lee

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Hot Chip - In Our Heads75. Hot Chip – In Our Heads (Domino)

What we said: “An impressive return from the quirky five-piece, topping their nearly brilliant fourth album in both scale and ambition.” – Andy Baber

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Staff Benda Bilili - Bouger Le Monde!74. Staff Benda Bilili – Bouger Le Monde! (Crammed Discs)

What we said: ” It would be churlish to demand any more than what is provided here – superb playing and a peerless collective spirit, along with a clear and nuanced production that is never intrusive. The band have surely now transcended their compelling history.” – Daniel Paton

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Twin Shadow - Confess73. Twin Shadow – Confess (4AD)

What we said: “While the debut was clouded in hazy and understated dreamy melodies, Confess is far more direct and intense. It is the sound of Twin Shadow very much laid bare. Bigger in both a musical and personal sense.” – Martyn Young

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Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament - The Violence72. Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament – The Violence (Fortuna POP!)

What we said: “Hayman’s attention to detail and focus on people means that these songs hit harder than if they’d addressed wider topics and in turn they become finely crafted critiques of justice, punishment and the stripping of humanity from “the other”… a truly wonderful album that excels on just about every level.” – Sam Shepherd

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Father John Misty - Fear Fun71. Father John Misty – Fear Fun (Bella Union)

What we said: “There’s much to to engage on this album – in creating a pseudonym, it would appear that J Tillman has, ironically enough, discovered his own, very strong, identity.” – John Murphy

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Katy Carr - Paszport70. Katy Carr – Paszport (Deluce)

What we said: “It’s remarkably accessible, as is the intellectual ambition behind the project. Carr has a beautiful and rather unique voice, at turns gentle and strident.” – Aaron Payne

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Death Grips - The Money Store69. Death Grips – The Money Store (Epic)

What we said: “The most obvious comparison with Death Grips comes in the form of Odd Future. Given the bands presence and delivery, however, you could safely assume that Death Grips would devour Tyler, The Creator and co and keep their bones in the fridge to munch on for the next day.” – Paul Bonadio

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Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan68. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)

What we said: “What is most remarkable, and enduring, about Swing Lo Magellan is that, in reining in the more unpredictable aspects of his music, Longstreth has managed to retain the essence that has made Dirty Projectors such a continually challenging and invigorating creative outfit over the years.” – Thomas May

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Sidi Touré - Koma67. Sidi Touré – Koma (Six Degrees)

What we said: “This is music of sparse beauty and wonderfully bubbling African rhythms on fantastic instruments (calabash, anyone?) that mix traditional Mali music with more familiar Western sounds.” – Andy Jex

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Sun Kil Moon - Among The Leaves66. Sun Kil Moon – Among The Leaves (Caldo Verde)

What we said: “If initially Kozeleks confessions feel arrogant, bitter or provocative, by the albums conclusion it is easier to appreciate the nuances that lie between his tragicomic rants. This is a bold, honest and carefree collection.” – Daniel Paton

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Tall Ships - Everything Touching65. Tall Ships – Everything Touching (Big Scary Monsters)

What we said: “With the ability they have to create heart rending soundscapes whilst being both versatile and intelligent, this impressive debut album should be a launching point for a band that should continue to flourish.” – Sam Shepherd

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Grizzly Bear - Shields64. Grizzly Bear – Shields (Warp)

What we said: “Shields is full of both genuine surprises and moments of transcendent beauty. This is an ensemble that seems to have reached a sort of pinnacle in collaboration and musical communication.” – Daniel Paton

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Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe63. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe (XL)

What we said: “The Bravest Man In the Universe showcases a dogged, relentless talent triumphing in the face of, rather than simply because of, his collaborators.” – Colm McAuliffe

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THEESatisfaction - awE naturalE62. THEESatisfaction – awE naturalE (Sub Pop)

What we said: “awE naturalE has all the hallmarks of a blissful, feel-good summer album. Not blissful in the introspective, shoegaze sense but blissful in a far more kinetic sense this is music which implies celebration rather than obliteration.” – Colm McAuliffe

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Allo Darlin - Europe61. Allo Darlin – Europe (Fortuna POP!)

What we said: “Staggeringly intelligent and breathtakingly emotive, it’s pop music at its finest, contained not by genre or demographic boundaries.” – Gareth Ware

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The Irrepressibles - Nude60. The Irrepressibles – Nude (Naked Design)

What we said: “The image of two men that adorns the cover, in a half embrace, half struggle, is the perfect encapsulation of these lyrical themes, and the sonic landscape in which this struggle is staged is one of great drama and operatic intensity, played out by an army of grand pianos, choral voices and strings as well as moments of dark european electronica, all deployed and arranged with great tactical prowess.” – Simon Edmunds

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Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas59. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (Columbia)

What we said: “Although Cohen has always had his legion of admirers, he has only recently received the proper critical praise long due to his massive contribution to the art of songwriting. With simple, delicate moments of memorable poignancy such as Banjo or Amen, he has now made a late masterpiece. Perhaps he can rest a little now, comfortably perched at the top of the Tower of Song.” – Daniel Paton

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Lau - Race The Loser58. Lau – Race The Loser (Reveal)

What we said: “Race The Loser embraces electronica to add a whole new layer and depth to Laus sound… their reputation as folks bastions of innovation (is) extended.” – David Meller

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Tigercats - Isle Of Dogs57. Tigercats – Isle Of Dogs (Acuarela)

What we said: “Like Los Campesinos! before them, they’re self-absorbed, exciting, full of energy… and having a really good time along the way.” – Helen Clarke

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Paul Buchanan - Mid Air56. Paul Buchanan – Mid Air (Newsroom)

What we said: “Eight years in the making, and the best part of three decades since The Blue Nile’s heartbreaking debut A Walk Across The Rooftops, comes this understated gem from Paul Buchanan, the Glasgow trios erstwhile frontman.” – Rosie Wilby

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Stealing Sheep - Into The Diamond Sun55. Stealing Sheep – Into The Diamond Sun (Heavenly)

What we said: “Its packed to the brim with sounds and ideas but Into The Diamond Sun is instantly lovable, managing to balance out catchy numbers with endlessly interesting songs. It is, all in, a fantastic first effort.” – Helen Clarke

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Richard Hawley - Into The Diamond Sun54. Richard Hawley – Into The Diamond Sun (Parlophone)

What we said: “It’s great to hear Richard Hawley expanding his horizons, and there’s a lot to enjoy in this album.” – Helen Wright

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The Walkmen - Heaven53. The Walkmen – Heaven (Bella Union)

What we said: “Its taken 10 years for The Walkmen to reach fully-fledged maturity and with any luck Heaven will see them emerge as headliners in their own right. This disc proves that their ascension to lofty heights is complete and something heavenly indeed.” – Darren Lee

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Dirty Three - Toward The Low Sun52. Dirty Three – Toward The Low Sun (Bella Union)

What we said: “This is strained, evocative music that is able to relay deep, complex human emotions in very direct terms. It almost makes you wish Nick Cave would consider slowing down and maybe take some time off, to allow Dirty Three the space and creative freedom to produce music like this on a more regular basis.” – Steven Johnson

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Nedry - In A Dim Light51. Nedry – In A Dim Light (Monotreme)

What we said: “What Nedry have created here is a nuanced and irresistible dream space. Their auditory hallucinations are breathtakingly vivid. In A Dim Light is a wonderfully challenging, disorientating and immersive work.” – Daniel Paton

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  • Continue to Part 2 (numbers 50-6) and Part 3 (the Top 5), why not.

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