2012 in Mixtapes

For posterity's sake.....

Volume 1

Poliça - Dark Star
Freddie Gibbs - Anything To Survive w  Freeway, Sly Polaroid & Adrian
Wendy Rene - After Laughter
Lee Fields & The Expressions - I Still Got It
THEESatisfaction - Extinct
The Dø - Bohemian Dances
Tanlines - All Of Me
Grimes - Genesis
Porcelain Raft - Is It Too Deep For You?
Young Galaxy - Cover Your Tracks
Koushik - Nothing's The Same
The Peach Kings - Little Things
35bag - Find Me Pt.2
Action Bronson - Double Breasted
Teebs - While You Dooooo (Extended)
Clams Casino - I'm Official [Squadda B]

Volume 2

The Replacements - Androgynous
Islands - This is Not A Song
Andrew Bird - Lusitania
Hospitality - Argonauts
The Shins - September
Vetiver - Can't You Tell
Jagwar Ma - Come Save Me
Tennis - Origins
Cate Le Bon - Puts Me To Work
Jessie Baylin - I Feel That Too
Damien - Jurado - Maraqopa
Wendell Stuart & The Downbeaters - My World Is Empty Without You
Michael Kiwanuka - I Need Your Company
King Creosote - Bootprints
Lambchop - Gone Tomorrow
Wild Beasts - Devil's Crayon (Acoustic)
Heartless Bastards - Marathon

Volume 3

Daughn Gibson - In the Beginning
Major Lazer - Get Free
Tomas Barfod feat. Nina Kinert - November Skies
Gardens & Villa - Orange Blossom
The Beastie Boys - Flute Loop
Quantic & Alice Russell - Magdalena 
The Walkmen - We Can't Be Beat
Kindness - Anyone Can Fall In Love
Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids (feat. Earl Sweatshirt)
Kwes. - Honey
Beach House - Irene
Chromatics - Back from the Grave
Craft Spells - Burst
The Mynabirds - Radiator Sister
Jack White - Love Interruption

Volume 4

Cat Power - Manhattan
Chris Cohen - Rollercoaster Rider
John Maus - Bennington (2007)
Grizzly Bear - gun-shy
Twin Shadow - Run My Heart
Wild Nothing - Only Heather
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Baby
Delicate Steve - Luna
Ombre - Weight Those Words
King Krule - Rock Bottom
Divine Fits - Would That Not Be Nice
Django Django - Storm
Quantic & Alice Russell - Una Tarde en Mariquita
Andrew Bird - Near Death Experience Experience
Dirty Projectors - Just From Chevron
Fiona Apple - Anything We Want
Eternal Summers - Good As You
Lambchop - Gar

Volume 5

The xx - Chained
Melody's Echo Chamber - You Won't Be Missing That Part of Me
Mac Demarco - Dreaming
Andrew Bird - Three White Horses
Jessica Pratt - Mother Big River
Bat For Lashes - Laura
Cold Specks - Winter Solstice
Chris Cohen - Open Theme
Nightmoves - Colored Emotions
Miguel - Adorn
Kendrick Lamar - Poetic Justice ft. Drake
Chromatics - There's a Light Out On the Horizon
Le1f - Wut (5kinAndBone5)
Big Boi - CPU
Grimes - Genesis
Action Bronson & Alchemist - Modern Day Revelations feat Roc Marciano
Purity Ring - Belispeak
Ellie Goulding - Anything Could Happen

Best of 2012

Oh, hello there.  I missed you too!  Aauugghh, STOP IT.  I know.

It's been a painful hiatus, but if anything can get me out of the funk, it's the year-end list.  As always, the list is just a snapshot of my year in music; I've never been more off my game and am sure my critical faculties abandoned me long ago.  Even I think my list is weird.  But this is what tickled my fancy in 2012.  Truthfully, I was uninspired by music for extended stretches of this year, but you put together a list like this and wonder how that's possible...  

Ima Numba One Stunna

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange.  I can't believe I even considered anything else.  There is nothing else.  Channel Orange owned this year and easily settled itself among my favorite R&B albums ever.  Sh!%, I never even realized what my favorite R&B albums were until this bad boy came along and got me thinking.  Mr. Ocean's year out of the studio doesn't hurt the cause either.  Hard not to love this kid.

The Noble Challenger

Quantic & Alice Russell with the Combo Barbaro - Look Around the Corner.  This album won the sentimental vote and definitely filled our apartment more than any other this year.  Quantic just keeps getting better at what he does, and this time around, he found the perfect muse for his signature blend of latin- and funk-inflected soul.  

#s 3-9, in no particular order

Poliça - Give You the Ghost
Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
Chris Cohen - Overgrown Path
Cat Power - Sun
Grizzly Bear - Shields
Lambchop - Mr. M
Chromatics - Kill For Love

#s 10-25, in no particular order

Hospitality - s/t
Jessica Pratt - s/t
Tanlines - Mixed Emotions
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes
Ariel Pink - Mature Themes
Beach House - Bloom
Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Wild Nothing - Nocturne
Animal Collective - Centipede Hz
Lower Dens - Nootropics
The xx - Coexist
Big Boi - Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city
Bat for Lashes - The Haunted Man

Individual Awards

Jam of the Year: Frank Ocean - 'Super Rich Kids'
Best non-album single: Radiohead - 'Daily Mail'/'Staircase'
Album I most want to hear live: Beach House
Most intriguing: Daughn Gibson - All Hell
Biggest disappointment: Bjork - Biophilia
Best opening tack: Walkmen - 'We Can't Be Beat'
Guaranteed Starbucks pleaser: Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
Go-to good time: Tanlines
Best soundtrack: Drive OST
Best archaeological dig: Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Biggest what have you done for me lately victim: Cloud Nothings
Doin it for me lately: Jessica Pratt and Bat for Lashes
New obsession: Tom Waits catalogue (thx MA)
Best week o' shows: 4/16: Horrors @ Bimbo's; 4/17: WU LYF @ Independent; 4/19: Wild Beasts @ Independent; 4/20-22: Coachella
Not so guilty pleasure:  Ellie Goulding - 'Anything Can Happen'
More importantly, what were you listening to in 2012!??  I'd love to know...

Best of 2011

Alright, folks, I sat on this one for a long time, but I put some serious elbow grease into it.

The consensus was that 2012 didn't produce a whole lot of heavyweights, and I wouldn't disagree, but one album defined this year for me, gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it (hiking solo in Big Sur a year ago), quickly revealed itself as the year's first great album, got more plays on our table and on my headphones than anything else, and still blows my mind every time I hear one of its silky sax solos, worthy of my mom's smooth jazz station.

That would of course be Kaputt, by Destroyer. Welcome to the recesses of my heart and soul.

Meanwhile, the music world continues to grow weirder and wider and more fractured and fascinating by the year. My impressions thereon..

The Best of the Rest:

The Horrors - Skying
Little Dragon - Ritual Union
Wild Beasts – Smother
James Blake - s/t
Yuck – s/t
WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
V/A: Sofrito Tropical Discotheque
Radiohead - The King of Limbs

T10 - 25:

Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
Other Lives – Tamer Animals
Gotye - Making Mirrors
Anna Calvi - s/t
Okkervil River – I Am Very Far
Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread
Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine
Eleanor Friedberger – Last Summer
Teebs – Ardour / Collections 01
Spectrals – Bad Penny
Zola Jesus - Conatus
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Austra – Feel It Break
The Weeknd – House of Balloons / Thursday
The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient

Underrated Cusp Albums:

Blood Orange – Coastal Grooves
Wilco – The Whole Love
Fruit Bats - Tripper
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
The Kills – Blood Pressures
Diego Garcia - Laura
Weekend - Sports
Future Islands – On the Water
White Denim – D
Fools Gold – Leave No Trace
Julian Lynch – Terra
Grouper – AIA: Dream Loss / Alien Observer
Bibio – Mind Bokeh
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Properly (and above) Rated Cusp Albums:

Feist - Metals
Girls - Father Son Holy Ghost
Cut Copy – Zonoscope
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
Atlas Sound - Parallax

2011 Annex (aka Small Sample Size Stunners):

Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces
Korallreven – An Album by Korallreven
Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming
SBTKRT – s/t
Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawl / The Dream

Fave EP: Trash Talk

Best single without a proper release: Mazzy Star – ‘Common Burn’

Most interesting: The Weeknd

Best album by Kanye or Jay-Z since Graduation: Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch the Throne

Model of consistency: Okkervil River - I Am Very Far... Four very good LPs in a row (not counting last year's collab with Roky Erickson, which is probably great too!). Name me another band. I'm just sayin...

Best album that has at least three unlistenable songs – Gotye – Making Mirrors

Seven-headed monster that proves women run sh!% - Zola Jesus / Austra / Anna Calvi / Eleanor Friedberger / Laura Marling / St. Vincent / every Yukimi Nagano appearance

Music city of the year: San Francisco, California, suckaaa (killer releases by Girls / Ty Segall / Sonny & the Sunsets / Thee Oh Sees / Weekend / and we’ll throw in Oaktown’s Tune-yards)

Favorite product of the Dirty Dirty since TI's 'King': Big K.R.I.T. – Return of 4Eva

Favorite major label release: Cults – s/t

Archaeological Dig of the year: The Olivia Tremor Control – Dusk at Cubist Castle

Favorite beatmaker of the year: Teebs

Go-to ambient album of the year: Kyle Bobby Dunn – Ways of Meaning

Life-affirming thumper - Anna Calvi - 'Desire'

Poised to make noise in ‘12: King Krule

Listen to: Eleanor Friedberger

My text to DB: "Bro this Eleanor friedberger album is heavy heavy heavy. Perfect parallel universe pop. Remind me to send."

That parallel universe, as DB well knows, is not necessarily one where pop is dance-y and frivolous but where the hooks, buried in skronky bass lines and hiding around unexpected left turns, are even more satisfying. Pop that resonates in your heart and provokes your mind while still preying on your impulses and demanding repeated listens.

Eleanor Friedberger - My Mistakes from Merge Records on Vimeo.

By the way, for those of you following at home, if we the answer wasn't already clear, I think now we know which is the more satisfying, less obtuse half of her brother-sister outfit The Fiery Furnaces.

2011, Vols. 7-8

For a year that's been a little short on big time albums, the hits keep on coming! Here's what I've been gettin down with recently...

2011, Vol. 7, aka Boom Sh-Clack Clack

Gotye - Smoke and Mirrors
Blood Orange - Sutphin Boulevard
Phantogram - Don't Move
Little Dragon - Constant Surprises
Atlas Sound - Te Amo
The Rapture - In The Grace Of Your Love
ASAP Rocky - Trilla (Feat. ASAP Twelvy & ASAP Nast)
Kanye West & JAY Z - Ni**as in Paris
Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx – Nightcall
Youth Lagoon – Posters
Zee Avi - Concrete Wall
Mayer Hawthorne - The Walk
Sade - When Am I Going To Make A Living (Poolside's Tons of Drums Edit)
Kisses - Bermuda
Metronomy - Everything Goes My Way
Jonti - Firework Spraying Moon
Teebs - Long Distance ft. Gaby Hernandez
Björk – Crystalline

2011, Vol. 8, aka Gabba Gabba Hey!

The Horrors - Endless Blue
MGMT - All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
King Krule - The Noose of Jah City
DJ Shadow - Scale It Back
St. Vincent - Dilettante
The War on Drugs - Come to the City
White Denim - River to Consider
Cut Off Your Hands - You Should Do Better
Future Islands - Balance
The Head And The Heart - Lost In My Mind
Arctic Monkeys - That's Where You're Wrong
Anna Calvi - Desire
Zola Jesus - Vessel
Pure X - Surface
Mazzy Star - Common Burn
Other Lives - Dust Bowl III

SOTD: Other Lives

You're officially on notice about Other Lives. Carefully crafted but expansive late-Beatles-meets-Grizzly-Bear chamber pop from... wait, WHAT?... apparently Stillwater, OK. Which I can tell you first hand ain't so bad but still would've been my second to last guess after Yemen. Anyway, they're lush and seductive and just right.

This one's got a Western vibe that's a little misleading, but you gotta here the chops on display here. You expect this kind of business from the vets, but not the first time you ever hear an artist. Just a mesmerizing five minutes.

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