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Fiona Apple: Are you calling me noisy?

ADM 2012: The first six months

We're halfway through 2012: it's time for our regular look back at the most critically-acclaimed music so far this year

Is noise making a comeback? We ask because over the years we've been putting together our regular check-ups on what's attracting the most critical acclaim, we can't recall a top 10 that's been so, well, noisy ...

Previous lists have been dominated by the likes of Bon Iver, Gillian Welch, Anaïs Mitchell and their ilk, with only occasional appearances by guitar terrorists such as doom drone merchants Earth.

We've certainly never seen a top 10 that featured so many acts to whom the label "hardcore" could be applied, whether under the guise of punk, rap or noise rock.

While diehard dubstep aficionados might argue that Burial has mellowed somewhat since his early output, only three albums - those from Fiona Apple, Chromatics and John Talabot - offer any real respite from aural assault, with the former being the one release that straddles both the critical rankings and the best-seller charts.

The two notable names to have been eclipsed since our quarter-year check-up three months ago are Leonard Cohen and Anaïs Mitchell, both of whose albums subsequently attracted reactions that were not quite as unanimously enthusiastic as the first reviews.

With the absence of Mitchell and the disappearance of other early contenders such as the Sharon Van Etten album,  it is tempting to speculate on a downturn in the indie folk field, this being a genre that has been a staple in every one of our previous lists.

However, having mooted on the evidence of our end-of-2011 lists that the days of guitar-toting rock bands appeared to be drawing to an end, maybe we won't bother. There'll be an indie folk explosion along before you can say Father John Misty.

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8.5

Fiona Apple

The Idler Wheel...

Succeeds in creating a singular world more daring than any of Apple's previous records and one of the most daring pop records in recent history

Consequence of Sound

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8.4

Burial

Kindred

Does what all great art should do: create a landscape that wasn't there before, a landscape that invites so much to explore that it is an exploration onto itself.

No Ripcord

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8.4

Death Grips

The Money Store

An incredible, precedent-resetting manifesto

BBC

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8.3

Chromatics

Kill For Love

This is a modern masterpiece, it's as simple as that

Drowned in Sound

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8.2

Liars

WIXIW

A wonder of an album of endless layers and contrasts to get caught up and lost in

music OMH

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8.2

John Talabot

fIN

Talabot isn't doing anything particularly fancy, au courant, or even innovative here, but you can't fake quality - and if there's one adjective to describe ƒin, it's that.

Rave Magazine

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8.2

El-P

Cancer For Cure

When we look back on the hip-hop of early C21, Cancer For Cure will stand tall above the floodwaters of nostalgia. El-P is one of the few great artists still inhabiting the form

The Skinny

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8.1

The Men

Open Your Heart

The most thrilling and exciting album of the year thus far and one that demands your immediate attention.

The Quietus

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8.1

High On Fire

De Vermis Mysteriis

A ferocious and captivating listen that twists and turns through the deepest darkest depths all the while pushing forward into new sonic territory

Sputnik Staff

 

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8.1

Killer Mike

R.A.P. Music

As exciting and wildly unclassifiable as hip-hop gets

Spin

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And the next 20

11 Can The Lost Tapes
12 Japandroids Celebration Rock
13 Dr. John Locked Down
14 Screaming Females Ugly
15 Jack White Blunderbuss
16 Gojira L'Enfant Sauvage
17 Future Of The Left The Plot Against
18 Sweet Billy Pilgrim Crown And Treaty
19 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas
20 Anaïs Mitchell Young Man In America
21 Paul Buchanan Mid Air
22 Julia Holter Ekstasis
23 Daniel Rossen Silent Hour/Golden Mile
24 Actress R.I.P.
25 Perfume Genius Put Your Back N 2 It
26 Earth Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light
27 Dexys One Day I'm Going To Soar
28 The Walkmen Heaven
29 Polica Give You The Ghost
30 Sharon Van Etten Tramp

 

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