Download: Adopt a free Young Fathers mp3

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EDINBURGH-based hip hop trio Young Fathers are set to give birth to Tape One mid-January, and to wet the musical baby’s head, a free download of album opener Deadline is up for grabs.
A spokesman said: “Tape One is a fearless combination of beat, rap and song that smells not only of its dark and dank birthplace, but of discovery and of communion.
“If their aesthetic sometimes seems bleak, it’s only because the world outside is, and YF are a mirror reflecting our hard truths back.
“But they are also our imaginations running weird and wild, finding color in dark corners or dancing in light nobody else sees.”
Click here to grab your free copy.

Review: Go wild for Dutch Uncles LP

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DUTCH Uncles have slowly become a familiar band, creeping onto the scene with their two previous albums – and January’s Out Of Touch In The Wild, the first truly amazing release of 2013, ought to see them join the indie top table.
The LP is a collection on avant-pop – it’s all easy on the ear, with the Hot Chip-esque vocals of Duncan Wallis and the arty orchestral goodness of the piano and strings mixing with the clean-cut twin guitar work of Pete Broadhead and Daniel Spedding, which echoes the classic work of the likes of Talking Heads.
However this is all arranged in a decidedly different way to standard pop fodder, eschewing verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure – in fact, come the LP’s end, you would be hard pushed to remember a chorus at all.
And this is the Out Of Touch In The Wild’s strength, not a weakness – this is a maelstrom of musical wonder, full of interest and intrigue yet accessible and enjoyable throughout, out of touch but always within reach…

Soundcast: Whoops!

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EVERY year I, like most music writers both professional and amateur, bust an absolute gut to compile an Albums of the Year shortlist.
Mine can be found here.
However, with the best will in the world, no one person’s perspective on the past 12 months can be all-encompassing – some of the best music will have been overlooked for one reason or another.
Some will have been really low key or cult like Samuel Jackson Five’s awesome LP, some will have been released too late to make an impression on a list, such as Gallops and Dam Mantle, and some blinders like Kaki King, Torche and THEEsatisfaction will just have been missed!
Sadly, if you compile a list like I do, this is the time of year where everyone else’s lists rub the ones you’ve missed right in your face.
So here’s my Whoops! playlist, of the ones that got away I’ve only heard since I finished my own Albums of the Year.

View: Five future Albums of the Year for 2013

DESPITE the voting to name the Sound Advice Album of the Year for 2012 still being open, I couldn’t help but take a peek into the pipeline and select a few potential Albums of the Year 2013.
Here is what I found in the pipe.
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Thom Yorke (Radiohead) + Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) + Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) + Joey Waronker (Beck & R.E.M) + Mauro Refosco (David Byrne & Red Hot Chili Peppers) = sum thing good.
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No band has made my Albums of the Year shortlists more than Biffy Clyro. Don’t bet against the Biff doing it again with Opposites.
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Judging by the quality of the first few tracks to be released from Everything Everything’s Arc, be glad you only have to wait until January to hear it.
Holy Fire by Foals is set to usher in the band’s funkiest, heaviest work to date. Hot stuff.
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A new, full, proper, non-side-project release from Scandanavian electronic duo The Knife? Yes please, Shaking The Habitual.
And don’t forget, there’s still time to dwell in the past and vote for the Album of the Year 2012 below…

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Albums of the Year: Wave Picture perfect

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WYMESWOLD band The Wave Pictures’ album Long Black Cars is the last LP to park itself in the Albums of the Year 2012 lot.
The group sees a slightlier rockier sound driving the ramshackle indie pop which fans of the band know and love.
And atop this, as always, sits David Tattershall’s trademark vocals and perceptive, poetic, bathetic wordplay.
It’s the sound of a band deciding not to reinvent it’s wheel, just to run it that little bit faster and smoother than ever before.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Albums of the Year: Taxidermist a cut above

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NOSTALGIA 77 normally brews up a heady mixture of hip hop breaks and funk, but alongside pianist Matthew Bourne – who I assume is The Monster – The Taxidermist sees the collective led by Ben Lamdin stitching together an altogether jazzier creation.
In addition, there’s his usual fare here too, plus sultry sax, a bit of Latin and Afrobeat tacked on, all sorts of strange influences, to create an odd animal.
It’s eclectic, and an exploration every time you listen.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Albums of the Year: I like I Like Trains

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2012 was the year that wallowing miseries I Like Trains embraced the digital age, and to stunning effect.
The Leeds group and their trademark plodding depressed post-rock was transposed from guitars to synth and computers on The Shallows, as was the subject matter, moving from the likes of doomed historical figures (Elegies To Lessons Learnt) and impending apocalypse (He Who Saw The Deep) to the effect the computer age is having on human culture.
As you can imagine, it’s not been great.
But the great news is, as our society increasingly breaks down into some dystopian matrix, we do now have an LP which is in equal parts cerebral and evocative to soundtrack it.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012