Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

'Bout It, 'Bout It wit Sgld x B-Rock TONIGHT

2012 Year End

Top 10 Albums
10. TNGHT - s/t
Dynamic electronic production duo Hudson Mohawke and Lunice may not have created the trendy subgenre of "trap" music, but they set the standard for its overall sound.

Standouts: "Higher Ground"

9. Birdy - s/t
How this young lady wasn't talked about with the same intensity as Charlotte Church was a few years back is beyond me.  Both sickeningly cute winners of UK talent contests, Birdy has a much broader style range.  As unmistakable as some of the original songs are that she covers, she attacks them with an acute fragility that makes you listen to the lyrics for the first time and open your door to a helpless english lady with a heart of gold who's shivering standing in the rain.

Standouts: "Skinny Love"

8. XXYYXX - s/t
This young Florida producer embodies everything that is good about the post-dubstep genre.  While last year's genre-defining album by SBTRKT introduced the world to the genre, XXYYXX's album shaves off the sugar-coating that made the SBTRKT's introduction accessible to the masses.  There isn't a sound or note that doesn't envelop the listener in syrupy noire that fuses the seemingly polarizing moods of eroticism and the come-down from a high.

7. Cherub - Mom & Dad
If this list were based solely on how many times I listened to an album this would be #1.  It's impossibly catchy and danceable, but is equally appropriate for a party pre-game or chilling after-bar.  They are a more lyrical, less house-y version of Boombox and created an album that will never leave your summer home/cabin.

Standouts: "Doses & Mimosas", "Dear Body"

6. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
Killer Mike never went anywhere, but I'm sure he'd agree with me in saying that this is a comeback album.  It's an album so good, so unapologetic, so devoid of pretenses it was impossible for even the casual hip-hop listener to not catch wind of the record.  It definitely helped that future-producer El-P created the raw soundscape. 

Standouts: "Reagan", "R.A.P. Music"

5. Fiona Apple - Idler Wheel
How Fiona Apple can continue to write such deeply sad and introspective music after all of these years makes me worry for her mental health.  The plus side to her borderline insanity is that listeners continue to get some of the best songwriting of the year paired with a beautifully raw voice.  She also happened to give one of the best live performances I've seen in a long time at the State Theater.

Standouts: "Werewolf", "Jonathan"

4. Grimes - Visions
Forget sub-subgenres... Claire Boucher once described her style as "..a little like everything you've ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you've ever heard."  None of these tracks should be on the same project and yet this album is one of the most cohesive albums I've heard all year.  Unlike the drug-addled nature of the sonics, taken in whole, the album leaves you satisfied... not wanting and not teetering on overdose.  It shows a tremendous amount of restraint and respect for the right dosage of elements.

Standouts: "Genesis", "Be A Body"

3. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Who else would have the guts to have an arsenal of producers at their helm to create radio singles and instead choose to make a concept album... on their major label debut?  And who would do that and have the skills and credibility to pull it off?  Only Kendrick.  While I personally would prefer to listen to his mixtapes, the artistry of this album cannot be denied.

Standouts: "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", "Poetic Justice"

2. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
This is modern-day Sinatra balladry at its best, sung by the stereotype of Americana who touches upon the dark undercurrents of western society against decadent backdrops from Emile Haynie (Kid Cudi, Eminem, Kanye West).

Standouts: "Born To Die", "Summertime Sadness"

1. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
To show this must versatility on a major label debut is astounding.  From two-part songs with a house groove ("Pyramids") to a ballad about vaginas with a rapped verse from Andre 3000 ("Pink Matter"), the diversity of the album is overwhelming but handled like an industry veteran.  Each subject matter is approached from a refreshingly different point of view and treated with so much care that the listener can't help but wonder just how much of the inspiration was garnered from personal experiences.

Standouts: "Pyramids", "Crack Rock"

~honorable mentions~
Purity Ring - Shrines
Sean Price - Mic Tyson
Solange - True
Jessie Ware - Devotion
Beach House - Bloom
Thavius Beck - Heavens Bleed Sunshine
Dr. John - Locked Down 

Best Covers 

Best Mixtape

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Best Music Videos

10. Disclosure, "Latch"

9. JJAMZ, "Heartbeat"

8. D E N A, "Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools"

7. Danny Brown, "Grown Up"

6. Isaiah Toothtaker, "Champion Cuffer" (NSFW)

5. Jack White, "Freedom At 21"

4. Trinidad James, "All Gold Everything"

3. Major Lazer, "Get Free"

2. XXYYXX, "About You"

1. El-P, "Full Retard"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blue Sky Black Death x Deniro Farrar - Cliff of Death