December is traditionally a pretty dire month for album releases, and this year is no exception — but still, having said that, there’s enough noteworthy records dropping over the next four weeks to at least make our regular monthly “Albums You Need to Hear” post worth writing. It’s not just box sets and fancy reissues, either! The headline attraction this month is clearly the new Scott Walker record, which stands as one of the most remarkable things anyone’s released in 2012 and also a testament to the danger of starting your end-of-year-lists in November, but we’ve also tracked down a bunch of other releases that will do a fine job of bulking out your Christmas stocking. As ever, do let us know in the comments section what’s on your shopping list this month.
Scott Walker — Bish Bosch (December 4)
Superlatives get thrown around far too often in the music industry, so we’ll avoid using descriptions like “amazing,” “astonishing,” and “entirely deranged” and simply say that this is unlike anything else you’ll hear this year. Bish Bosch — Walker explains the title here — is a series of strange, extended freeform lyrics that address topics as diverse as Montgomery Clift and Nicolae Ceaușescu, set over curious backing tracks that feature sampled knife sharpening, fart jokes, and lots and lots of silence. The result is a thoroughly idiosyncratic listening experience, one that means Bish Bosch is right up there with Swans’ The Seer as this year’s album most deserving of an extended, deliberate listening session.