Favorite New Music: March

1.Grandaddy Last Place

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This new Grandaddy sounds like what Sparklehorse might have released had he won his battle with depression and created a record of victory and positivity. The tunes are catchy and pleasantly upbeat. The tone of the singer’s voice gives the songs depth to what might otherwise go down as saccharine pop rock tunes.

Standout Track: “Brush with the Wild

2.WHY? Moh Lhean

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In Yoni Wolf’s podcast, Wandering Wolf, the front man of WHY? often communicates his continual fight to stay positive despite perpetual health issues. In this new album, Yoni continues that theme to create the band’s best album since 2008’s Alopecia–a very different album in tone, but similar in song structure complexity. The rapping is takes a back seat to Wolf’s unusual voice, but the performance on these tracks is more solid than his recent efforts. I’m so happy this album is as solid as it is…and re-listenable as well!

Standout Track: “One Mississippi

3. Kool AD Sky Ladder

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It’s more of what you’d expect from the Bay Area stream-of-consciousness rapper, but with a new sound palate when it comes to his choice of instrumentals.

Standout Track: “FUCK THAT (Feat. Killer Mike)

 

Other Solid Releases: Sondre Lerche Pleasure ; Methyl Ethel Everything is Forgotten ; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah The Tourist ; Sorority Noise Not As ___________ As You Think

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January Highlights

Here are some highlights from albums, EPs, and singles released in the month of January! Enjoy!

1. Kool A.D. Not Ok

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What is it? One half of Das Racist, Kool A.D., has been releasing his own mixtapes since the group’s debut and only LP Relax. This is more of the same reference-filled, mumbling mc work A.D. has claimed–which is all fine with me. I guess he has an LP coming this year?!

Standout Track: Pass the Milk feat. Milo

2. Duck Sauce Duck Droppings

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What is it? Duck Sauce is the pairing of two dance music producers A-Trak and Arman Van Helden. Their super-catchy single “Barbara Streisand” got them some attention and they have been performing live together as Duck Sauce recently. Lots of cheesy, disco-esque super tunes. And by lots, I mean four.

Standout Track: Calamari (Put the Sauce on it)

3. Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang Four Foot Shack

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What is it? Les Claypool might now best be known for creating the theme song to South Park but before that he was thumping out the most ridiculous bass lines for his 90s hillbilly rock group Primus. Now he’s grabbing an old friend and making a cover record. Some are covers of himself, but a few are twangy reworkings of more mainstream songs.

Standout Track: “Man in the Box” (Alice in Chains cover)

4. Andy Mineo Neverland

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What is it? Christian Rapper Andy Mineo, the token white emcee in the 116 Clique, has released a new EP a la his previous mini-project Saturday Morning Car-Tunz. Most of the tracks are simple trap beats with mellow R&B hooks, but when Marty of Social Club comes in to help out…wasn’t expecting a Wookie call.

Standout Track: “Paisano’s Wylin'” feat. Marty of Social Club

5. HeeSun Lee Stereotypes

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What is it? To perpetuate the Christian-to-secular-rapper comparisons, HeeSun Lee is the Christian Angel Haze. Both are New York female emcees who relentlessly deliver line after line to prove their worth to the male-soaked profession. HeeSun Lee gets a little too on-the-nose with a lot of her message (which is covered over and over) but her style helps sell her product.

Standout Track: Breaking all the Rules (feat. Kei Landa, Erica Cumbo)

6. Davis Absolute Thought Poet

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What is it? This is, from what I can glean, the debut mixtape from little-known Christian rapper Davis Absolute. The first half is pretty unique and brings some cool electronic vocals into the genre.

Standout Track: “Thought Poet”

 

Awesome Music Video of the Month:

Neon Trees “Sleeping With A Friend”

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Favorite Music from 2012

My methods of music consumption have been sporadic at best this year. From obsessively using Spotify to discount CD sales to whatever happens to come on the radio to whatever pitchfork says a savvy cool kid should be listening to. There is too much music out there to say this is the best music, but I know from all that I have listened to that this is my favorite music of 2012.

Top 10 Favorite Songs (Outside my favorite albums):

10. “The Wave” Miike Snow

9. “Take a Walk” Passion Pit

8. “The Motto” Drake feat. Lil Wayne

7. “Manny Pacquiao” Kool A.D.

6. “I Will Wait” Mumford and Sons

5. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” Kendrick Lamar

4. “Triftshop” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

3. “Laura” Bat For Lashes

2. “One Sixteen” Trip Lee feat. KB, Andy Mineo

1. “Thinkin Bout You” Frank Ocean

Top Six (Cause I couldn’t think of four more) Favorite Albums of 2012:

6. Out of Frequency – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

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Big horns and a lead vocal that rides that fine line between unique and grating. The whole album is like an Austin Powers movie score. Listen to: “Dollars in the Night” “Major”

5. Church Clothes Mixtape – LeCrae

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While I wasn’t super pumped about LeCrae’s 5th studio album Gravity, his mixtape hosted by Cannon had more than enough bangers to get me through many weekends of yard work under the hot Boise sun. Listen to: “APB” “Church Clothes” “Black Rose”

4. Halcyon – Ellie Goulding

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Easily my favorite dance record of the year, Halcyon’s production wins over Ellie’s vocals to where it seems like Ellie is being sampled on her own LP. Goulding turns in her best Florance Welch impersonation in “My Blood” to great success and “Figure 8” is up there with whatever the rave kids are tripping to these days. The ballads cannot compete with fellow British pop star Adele, but no one really expects that from another human being. Listen to: “Anything Could Happen” “Figure 8” “My Blood”

3. Everything Else Fades Mixtape – The Intervention

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With what might seem like a very biased number three spot having spent the summer with the members of The Intervention this mixtape deserves this spot because…well, it’s one of my favorites. That’s how this works, right? The collection ranges from songs that sound like their previous work (“Answer the Call”, “Strong Enough”) to some crazy growth in production value from songs featuring all three members to the solo tracks. Can’t wait for their projects in 2013. Listen to: “Houdini” “Iron Shirt” “Dear Lord”

2. Instrumental Mixtape 2 – Clams Casino

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Clams has been producing for the up and coming generation of rappers and released a second set (hence the name) of instrumental tracks (again, the name). What the listeners find is that adding to a Clams Casino track only makes it less beautiful. No surprise that the worst offender is Lil B, but even A$AP Rocky doesn’t seem to find a way to add to his tracks without me wishing he was muted. Now I don’t have to worry, thanks Clams! Listen to: “Kissing on my Syrup” “I’m God” “Bass”

1. Who’s Feeling Young Now? – Punch Brothers

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I have almost been following Chris Thile since someone in Montana showed me Nickel Creek about five years ago. But who does that anymore? Anyway, his last project, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, featuring none other than the only cello player I know Yo Yo Ma, was a great album. This year, however, Chris nails down his progressive blue grass style again with the band he’s been with since 2008. This album is filled with catchy, dance-able tunes that I’m pretty confident no one will hate…which is impressive in our cynical world of music snobs. Every single member of this group really owns their instrument and becomes overwhelmingly apparent on “Flippen (The Flip)”. Not to mention, there’s a cover of “Kid A” and who doesn’t love Radiohead? Punch Brothers is to Mumford as an electric guitar is to a Guitar Hero controller. Listen to: “This Girl” “Flippen (the Flip)” “Kid A” “Don’t Get Married Without Me”

So there ya go. I’m sure this list will be all flipped around three months from now when I catch up with the world, but as for now 2012 shall be celebrated as seen above. Happy 2013