This past year in music was significant for many things, but who would have guessed that British acts of the 1960s would be vital 50 years later? Consider the following artists who all released new albums this year: Justin Hayward, Eric Burdon, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath, Roy Harper, Eric Clapton, Richard Thompson and David Bowie. But with the old, we also heard from new artists including Arcade Fire, Serena Ryder, The Sheepdogs and Lady Gaga, all with varying degrees of success. The jazz world had plenty of new releases showcasing the healthy state of jazz and blues music. Classical music, albeit with the smallest portion of the pie, continued to milk the old favourites (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms) and the anniversaries of Verdi, Britten and Wagner, all treated with healthy and hefty CD box set re-issues.
But the year really marked the fallout of EMI’s end in 2012. This year Universal Music Group (artists) and Sony Music (publishing) added EMI’s massive back catalogue to their rosters, which reduced the corporate ownership ranks by one. Nevertheless, smaller labels such as Dine Alone, Yep Roc and New West still managed to maintain a business plan while issuing some pretty good records. The Canadian upstart label Arts & Crafts celebrated 10 years in the business, proving it is possible to have a successful label while maintaining artistic integrity.
The following is a list of ten previously reviewed favourites, plus three additional releases that were too good to ignore.