Greeting Fam. It's that special time of year, when we look back on the year and make the tough decisions: what music will be immortalized on the playlist called life? And what will join the simply "listenable" and other weak sauce that came out in 2012?
This year I took a spin through Pitchfork's Top 50 tracks to get a legit feel for the Indie music scene. I must say, some was brilliant, a lot of it was not good and some was just "meh". Below are my findings and other takeaways.
JZ's Top 10 traxx of 2012:
Chromatics - "Kill for Love"
This band came to my attention via the raddest movie of 2011/12: Drive. Well, I watched it in 2012. Since then I have waited for this album with baited breath. It delivered. Look for Chromatics traxx in various other awesome movies like Bellflower - whoa.
Grimes - "Oblivion"
Perhaps the most heavily hyped indie-songstress of 2012 is Grimes. I must say, Grimes lives up to the hype. She has a style all her own that is odd, melodic and upbeat.
Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You"
This SNL performance destroyed. If you haven't heard of Frank Ocean or his killer album, Channel Orange, you need to go to Spotify immediately and stream. You won't be disappointed, unless you hate rad traxx.
Purity Ring - "Fineshrine"
It was tough to choose the right Purity Ring track. It's a fairly recent infatuation, but Fineshrine is as good as any, and probably the most accessible of their spliced-electro style. Check it out.
Jai Paul - "jasmine"
This is the diamond in the rough, so to speak. It's the only track from Pitchfork that I hadn't already heard that made it to the top 10. It's so strange, yet addictive. Definitely worth a listen, or 10.
Beach House - "Myth"
Yeah, the nu Beach House delivered. Beach House is one of those bands with a distinct sound, that doesn't mess with the recipe. You wanna ride the chill wavves? Pop in some Beach House.
Odd Future - "Oldie"
Those who know me, know I'm not much of a rap-guy. But, the mixture of strong laid-back beats and the twisted lyrics of Tyler the Creator, et al make this a song to remember for 2012. It's on my doin' work (not to be confused with werk) mix, believe it or not.
Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid"
YES! Sleigh Bells was probs the best concert of 2012. That or M83 (round 1). I can't decide, but either way, these guys have something special. They have combine listenable metal riffs with a hawt alt-girl-former-teacher whose vocals matchup perfectly with the wall of Marshalls spewing forth sound
Danny Brown - "Grown Up"
OK, here is the best video I've seen in a bit. It features an awesome little kid, that just F's stuff up left and right. Reminds me of the oft-overlooked gem from Sagat: Funk Dat (re: kids F'n stuff up).
Atoms for Peace - "Default"
How in the F did I almost miss this one?! Atoms for Peace is what you call a super-group. It features:
Thom Yorke - vocals
Flea (Chil Peps) - bass
Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Air, Beck - producer) - guitar, synth, keys
Joey Waronker (Beck & REM) - drums
The first time I heard it, I got goosebumps. It's just that good.
Honorable Mention: Nu Crystal Castles. I just haven't listened to it enough yet to have a great opinion, but if it's anything like I or II, it will get some serious rotation
Summing up this list, I conclude that either music is getting decidedly stranger, or I am. Either way, I'm on board. I mean 2012 is when M83, a French electro-pop mastermind, became a household name. I mean, Purity Ring? Could this have happened in 1992? Any other time, and it would have faded into electro-obscurity. Second observation: rappers are getting less hardcore. They just are. There are still a few who keeps it real, but even the thugs, have been de-fanged. I saw some clip of DMX crying about his mama on TV. I guess that's how Rough Riders are rollin' these dayz...
Much like Highlander, there can be only one Song of the Year / Album of the Year:
1) SOTY: Atoms for Peace - "Default" (see above)
2) AOTY: Chromatics - Kill for Love (ok, it's not ALL good, but there are at least 6 rad traxx and at least 2 killer traxx (killer > rad).
See you in 2k13...it's gonna be a great one, I can already tell.
Hope you Dig,