The Best Albums of June and July 2012

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You may have noticed there was no Best Albums of June. Instead, we told you about The Best Albums of 2012... So Far according to the likes of Huw Stephens, Zane Lowe, Jo Whiley and Janice Long. So to catch you up, here's a double-dose of monthly round ups - first, 10 great sets from June in brief, and then a more detailed 10 from July.

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The Best Albums of June 2012

Album of the Month

The Invisible - Rispah
Ninja Tune; released 11 June

Recommended by: Gilles Peterson, 6 Music Album of the Day, Zane Lowe

"Rispah possesses a proud confidence carried by compositions never cluttered with unnecessary instrumentation - every element serves these songs, with nothing added just because it can be. Records like this don't need to be forced upon the listening public. Rispah is brilliant enough for the listening public to find it naturally, in their own time."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to Wings on YouTube (external link)

The best of the rest...

Chromatics - Kill for Love (review)
Dexys - One Day I'm Going to Soar (review)
Japandroids - Celebration Rock (review)
Liars - WIXIW (review)
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Trouble (review)
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel... (review)
Lorn - Ask the Dust (review)
Neneh Cherry and The Thing - The Cherry Thing (review)
Oddisee - People See What They Hear (review)

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The Best Albums of July 2012

Album of the Month

Baroness - Yellow & Green
Relapse; released 16 July

Recommended by: Rock Show with Daniel P Carter

"The quality of songwriting and amount of raw passion on show throughout the Georgia band's third album is striking. The driving and brooding Take My Bones Away will be the first to latch onto the singing-to-yourself part of your brain, while the Green half of proceedings ebbs to a more reflective position. This nearly flawless collection is simply the next step in the Baroness saga, and it's a beautiful one... the kind of album that will set the band apart from its peers in years to come."

Read the full BBC review
Listen to Take My Bones Away on the official Relapse YouTube channel (external link)

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The best of the rest...

Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE
Mercury; released 23 July

Recommended by: Westwood, MistaJam, Trevor Nelson

"Given the hype, some may be expecting the second coming of Thriller. Instead, channel ORANGE is a meditative voyage through Ocean's innermost thoughts, no matter how intangible the topics. It's a direct reflection of its maker, with moments of assured clarity juxtaposed with flashes of childlike shyness. We get to watch his maturation, growing pains and all."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to Thinking Bout You on YouTube (external link)

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Purity Ring - Shrines
4AD; released 23 July

Recommended by: 6 Music Album of the Day

"The temptation to draw comparisons with 4AD's original conjurers of oblique mystique the Cocteau Twins is strong, but probably also unfair. Purity Ring have pulled off the feat of producing one of the year's most arresting debuts - a Grimm Tales for the 2010s, shrouded in the illusory threads of contemporary club music - while sounding like no-one else but themselves."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to Fineshrine on Vimeo (external link)

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Twin Shadow - Confess
4AD; released 9 July

Recommended by: Radio 1 Review Show

"While his 2010 debut Forget traded in gentle, slight melodies and obfuscation, there's nothing indirect at all here. Instead, George Lewis Jr's sonics are masculine and upfront, while his lyrics are strung together with sly digs and cruelties. There's no dream-pop pussyfooting; instead, he leaves himself nowhere to hide as he pushes his character to the absolute limit, leading to a record that's brutal at times but also smarts with impressively high-octane pop."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to Patient on Vimeo (external link; contains scenes of violence)

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Delilah - From the Roots Up
Atlantic; released 30 July

Recommended by: Nick Grimshaw, MistaJam, Radio 1 Review Show

"Regardless of production or instrumentation, Delilah's inimitable voice is by far and away the star of From the Roots Up. The album houses an overall trippy, chilled setting, but simultaneously, with a voice so charismatic and quietly concentrated, it's hard not to actively pay attention. It could so easily have been music to get casually lost in, but thanks to Delilah herself, background music this ain't."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to Go on YouTube (external link)

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Plan B - ill Manors
Atlantic; released 23 July

Recommended by: Charlie Sloth, DJ Target, Annie Nightingale

"ill Manors, an unrelentingly bleak soundtrack to Ben Drew's directorial debut of the same name, marks Plan B's return to return to hip hop's gritty realism. The album tells of a world of childhood drug dealers, racist attacks, prostitutes working to pay for heroin - and it's a world that Drew depicts with a cinematic eye for detail."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to ill Manors on YouTube (external link; contains scenes of violence and vandalism)

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Nas - Life Is Good
Mercury; released 16 July

Recommended by: Gilles Peterson, Westwood, Zane Lowe

"On Life is Good, Nas' 10th solo studio album, he turns the spotlight on himself, detailing everything about his divorce from pop singer Kelis, his shortcomings as a father, and his chequered upbringing. As with any Nas record, you can see the story unfold as his raspy baritone tumbles from the speakers. But unlike his recent recordings, the music matches his narrative urgency."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to The Don on Vimeo (external link; contains language which may offend)

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Shed - The Killer
50 Weapons; released 30 July

Recommended by: Gilles Peterson

"René Pawlowitz's third LP as Shed sees him celebrate the immortal style of techno, then decorate it with his own obsessive minutiae. He hasn't reinvented the wheel, but he has captivated us with his sonic mottle, daubed onto the classic edifice of techno's irresistible structures. It can appear one of purest genres, and we'll thrive here in its warm breath forever."

Read the full BBC review
No official video available

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Cooly G - Playin' Me
Hyperdub; released 16 July

Recommended by: Benji B

"As exemplified on this debut album, Cooly G's work is a sophisticated blend of dubby house, techno and RnB, incorporating grime, drum 'n' bass and funk. Nowadays there's nothing radical about such stylistic combinations, but the appeal of her work isn't what she's mixing, but how she's mixing it."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the video to Landscapes on YouTube (external link)

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Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth
Universal; released 16 July

Recommended by: Lauren Laverne, Alex Lester, Cerys Matthews

"Has anyone ever sounded as joyous as Jimmy Cliff when expressing such deep concern for the state of the world? Now aged 64, the reggae superstar sounds as socially engaged as ever on this remarkably consistent set of mostly self-penned songs, which explicitly revisit the sonic terrain of his biggest 60s/70s hits."

Read the full BBC review
Watch a short video on Rebirth on YouTube (external link)

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