Album Of The Year: Our Contenders

So it seems that yesterday was midsummers day. Yes, that's right, somehow we're already halfway through the year! But before the misery and realisations of missed opportunities descend on you like an anvil, we've got something to brighten up your mood - our contenders for 2012's album of the year.

In the last six months, some brilliant albums have graced the shelves of music shops and download stores worldwide. Some however, not so memorable. So to help you out, we're going to cut the wheat from the chaff, and provide you with some of our favourite releases so far this year.

Asking around the office, there is one particular album that keeps topping the list; the sensation that is Jack White's first solo effort, Blunderbuss. After my first listen, I bought the album and continued listening for about a month. Each time, a new musical layer or lyrical meaning would emerge, it just got better with every play. And now, having come back to the album after some (reluctant) time apart, it's still just as brilliant.

There are also a couple of individual suggestions from the Gigseen team, including Neil's choice - Clock Opera's Ways To Forget - an album (and band) he came across when they were supporting The Temper Trap live at The Great Escape earlier this year (read review here). He's been raving about them ever since!

Grim has a few preferences who he hopes will grab the album of the year 2012 title. A title he thought very seriously about, responding to my request for contenders, replied with "That's an evil question!". His first is Valentina by The Wedding Present, along with Santigold's spectacular Master Of My Make Believe and Danish post-rockers, Pinkunoizu and their album Free Time!.

Being a highly indecisive person, I've selected a mere four albums which I believe are strong contenders in this musical battle. My first two choices, band Of Skulls - Sweet Sour and 2:54's self-titled debut, are perhaps a little biased having seen them perform live, but their albums certainly stand alone, confident in their musical prowess. My final two choices come from two ends of the Rock/Metal spectrum; one a grunge-tinged colossal release that is The Killing Jar by Black Moth, and the polished pile-driving riffs of Slash's (ft. Myles Kennedy) Apocalyptic Love.

But, of course, it's not all about us, there's been some real movers and shakers in the last few months. Certain albums have made serious waves, receiving critical acclaim from anyone and everyone. What about Wrecking Ball by The Boss, A.K.A Bruce Springsteen? Or southern Blues-Rockers, Alabama Shakes and their outstanding debut, Boys & Girls? And we can't forget the touching 50th anniversary release from The Beach Boys! Their 29th studio album, That's Why God Made The Radio is a moving celebration of one of the most influential groups in Pop history, with 12 fantastic, original tracks - perhaps their best work in the past 35 years.

So what are your favourite contenders for 2012's album of the year?