Crucial 20:12: Seba Rashii Culture Albums of the Year

On a day like today, when we could potentially be running from floods of lava in the next few hours anticipation is a key factor. When we started considering our event coverage feature, our Crucial 20 albums of the year many months back we didn't know what it would look like or how we'd be able to narrow down from all the records we've heard this year. But somehow we did it, and thanks to lord knows how many gallons of coffee and love we've assembled the final list . There could be agreement, disagreement, arguments, fights and even controversy but you can't hear every record or include everything that catches your ear. So feast your eyes on our Crucial 20 records of 2012. (Click the album covers to see our review) 

#20 Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel

In music terms it was a good year for Fiona Apple. Her long awaited fourth album impressed us with the usual off kilter production and songs. The album may have been a lot more subtle than her previous releases but it was still a welcome return albeit a slow burning one.

#Hot Knife. 

#19 Tokyo Jihen - Color Bars

The final release, bar two compilations released later in the year, from Tokyo Jihen is possibly their most bizarre yet. With just five tracks,one each from the band that cover a number of styles it's a perplexing listen at first yet soon grows as the styles meld together to form a cohesive if unexpected finale to a good run of albums.


#18 The Invisible - Rispah

This quietly soulful record is dedicated to singer Dave Okumu's mother, who passed away during the recording of the album and it shows. The grooves and bass are still there but there's a soul searching feel to the album and it's one that can't fail to touch you.


#17 Cold Pumas - Persistant Malaise

Brighton's Cold Puma's know how to make an album make you feel ill at ease in the best possible way. Taking post punk and adding some kraut melodies to the mix it makes an album that never stops the intensity but remains as melodic as it can. An impressive album.

#Sherry island

#16 Garbage - Not Your Kind of People

A return after seven years refreshed Garbage's sound considerably and gave an album that positively impresses. From the opening salvo of Automatic Systematic Habit to highlight Control it's an dark, re-energized ride through a sonic world that is reminiscent at times of the bands early output yet brings the sound right up to date. 


#15 Huey Morgan and the New Yorkers - Say It To My Face

The solo debut from Huey Morgan certainly impressed and Say It To My face is certainly one of his more direct albums. It's also a good cause as well - with all profits going to Veterans Charities. Check out album tracks It's Alright or Let My People Go and you'll see why this is an excellent album!

#It's Alright 

#14 Madonna - MDNA

Following a shaky previous album MDNA was a massive return to form for Madonna. The biggest part of this was the involvement of William Orbit, proving some killer alt-pop moments on Some Girls and the albums highlight Love Spent. Only the filler Give Me All Your Luvin' gets a forward click, mostly because of Nicki Minaj. Next album make it Orbit all the way!

#Love Spent

#13 Andy Allo - Superconductor

A fantastic performer in her own right, Andy Allo has Prince on production duties for her addictive album Superconductor. Less of a protege and more of a true collaborator Allo creates an album that demands your attention with a funky ease. Check it out!

#People Pleaser

#12 J.A.M. - Jazz Acoustic Machine

The third album from J.A.M. was one that kept the cool of the previous two and added the energy of a live jazz show. The talent of the trio is undeniable and the acronyms as album titles get ever better. This release was a Japanese one only but fans of true modern jazz will be impressed and addicted to this excellent album.

#Sing For You

#11 Martha Wainwright - Come Home to Mama

With the feminine feel of Yuka Honda's production and a 
fresh sound Martha Wainwright returned in style on Come Home to Mama. With a cover to match it's stylized contents it's a record that is enjoyable for it's warmth as much as it's sonic honesty.

#Radio Song

#10 The Soft Pack - Strapped

The big sound and surfing melodies that fill The Soft Pack's Strapped is never less than engrossing and always as funky as music that isn't Funk can get. If sunshine in music is your thing then this is the album. Listen to album track Bobby Brown and you'll hear why. 

#Bobby Brown.

#9 Perri and Neil - Then

Liverpool based classical guitarist and vocalist duo Perri and Neil released their album Then earlier this year and it's a listen that is sometimes so subtle it's barely there but overbearing solo's are not this album's raison d'etre and as such this is a beautifully produced and played record.

#Walking in the Sun. 

#8 The Smoke Fairies - Blood Speaks

Favorites of Jack White and also yours truly, The Smoke Fairies' Blood Speaks is a powerful record that slipped under many radars when it really shouldn't have. The Blues influences are out to bear and there's rarely a happy moment but that's why we love it!

#The Three of Us

#7 Bjork - Bastards

We haven't heard Bjork sounding so fresh in many years and on Bastards she presents the best of the crop of remixes from Biophilia. It's a multi-personnel journey, with all genres of alt-dance taken in from the mellow to the hardcore and it's also an eclectic joy to listen to!

#Thunderbolt (King Cannibal remix)

#6 Argonaut - s/t

With a grunge sound and an irresistibly mellow but dark production Argonaut's self titled album was one that we listened to often and enjoyed like music that really means something. The Gothic joy of Monet, the urgency of Vintage Dress and the whole album make it one deserved of a position in our Crucial 20.

#Vintage Dress

#5 Death Grips - No Love Deep Web

"Released" by stealth by the band for free and with a cover that would make (non DJing) nuns blush No Love Deep Web is an album that seriously fucks with the mind. With a more off kilter production and flow than The Money Store, also a contender for this list, No Love Deep Web is a seriously excellent prospect. Now try and find it!


#4 Ikil Oriion - Paranoise Void

The arrival of the New Prince of Punk was heralded with this album and it made quite an impression on us here at Seba Rashii Culture Zine. With an array of excellent and seriously funky songs on offer from Zombie Walk to  we loved this. Simple.

#Zombie Walk.

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#3 Portico Quartet - s/t

Anyone who says Modern Jazz is for men in suits will be changed with a listen to this affecting album. With a line in atmospheric film score like music that truly shimmers with beauty this third album is truly a triumph.



#2 Patti Smith - Banga

With a cover that showed Patti Smith is still a visual as well as musical artist Banga is a record that proved to be as vital as any of her career. The poetic beauty of April Fool, the melancholy of This is the Girl and the overall humanity of the record make this a definite highlight of the year.  

#April Fool

#1 Stealing Sheep - Into The Diamond Sun 

Last years overall winner was Emily and the Faves and the titular Emily of that record is one third of the trio that form Stealing Sheep. Into The Diamond Sun was a much anticipated record and it didn't disappoint when it finally arrived in September. The opening single was the rousing Shut Eye and if that didn't impress then the album itself  did. The alt-folk of their previous E.P's was developed into a primeval but tantalizing mix of harmonies, retro melodies and choruses that stuck in the mind with an admirable ease. With highlights a plenty from Genevieve to the psychedelic harmonies of Gold this is an album as entrancing as it is addictive. It was truly a pleasure to listen to Into The Diamond Sun and the fact it hasn't left our deck yet is testament to that fact. 

#White Lies    FB/T/YouTube

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