Monthly Archives: July 2012
So, you guys, 2012 is already halfway over. Let’s take a second to process this:
Ok. And we’re back! The good news about the year 2012 having one foot in the grave is that a lot of great music has been released in the past six months– A LOT! Seriously, I’m starting to feel bad for 2011. I won’t even mention 2010– pathetic.
But enough talk– the world is supposed to end soon, anyway, right? In no particular order, here are the six best releases of 2012, thus far.
1. Frank Ocean- Channel Orange
The most recent release on the list, Odd Future member Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is amazing for a few reasons. The lyricism is sophisticated and gorgeous, the vintage vibe of Stevie Wonder/Marvin Gaye fits Frank like a glove, and it’s the best, most mature R&B we’ve heard in years. Not to mention, Pitchfork gave it an impressive 9.5 rating right out of the gate; Yowza!
2. Chromatics- Kill for Love
You’ll know Chromatics from their contributions to the Drive soundtrack, which was
one of the best film soundtracks pretty much, ever. Kill for Love– which was released by one of my favorite label names of all time, Italians Do It Better– is a lot more of the same dance-worthy, deliciously dark new wave. The opening track, a cover of Neil Young’s “Into the Black,” is a real treat.
3. Cloud Nothings- Attack on Memory
I love Cloud Nothings’ old stuff now, but I’ll admit it– I had never even heard of the band until Attack on Memory was released back in January. On the album, frontman Dylan Baldi & co traded in their fuzzy, lo-fi indie rock sound for a more ambitious early-emo vibe. Now, don’t be scared by the word ‘Emo’; with Cloud Nothings, there will be no eyeliner, misuse of the color black, or idol-like worship of that girly dude from Panic! at the Disco. Just a collection of awesomely solid rock tunes.
4. Sleigh Bells- Reign of Terror
Sleigh Bells opened their sophomore effort with (machine) guns blazing; the mesmerizing beats behind tracks like “Comeback Kid” and “Born to Lose” will have you ducking for cover. The best part about Sleigh Bells is the contrasting qualities of their hard, aggressive sounds with the airy, breathy quality of singer Alexis Krauss’ voice. Their debut, Treats, was a total winner, but with Reign of Terror, the electro duo knocked it straight outta the park. What’s a sophomore slump?
5. Fiona Apple- The Idler Wheel…
Fiona Apple is, at this point, sort of like a mythic figure in indie rock. With one foot still rooted in the mid-1990s and one reaching towards the future, she is able to create some of the most elegant, pure music around. She’s said that with her return on The Idler Wheel… (don’t make me spell out the whole thing), she has managed to stay totally influence-free; like an elderly grandmother, she chooses to steer clear of phenomena such as social media, or even current music trends. The result is a classic album filled with the bizzar-o twists and turns that Fiona maneuvers so well.
6. Beach House- Bloom
Beach House’s Bloom is a dreamy, other-worldly escape; sort of like an actual Beach House. Bloom is a continuation of the duo’s nothing-less-than-stellar work, with Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally sticking to what they do best: epic soundscapes, magically drawn-out vocals, and sophisticated instrumentation. It’s bedroom pop that extends way beyond the bedroom. Bloom has been universally praised by critics everywhere, but it’s still hard to imagine that Beach House will have anywhere else to go but up, up and away.
***Honorable Mentions: Tanlines-Tanlines, Exitmusic-Passage, Phedre-Phedre
Last year at this time everyone was all like, who the [your chosen expletive] does Lana Del Rey think she is? Now, with the recent release of LDR’s “National Anthem” video, we’ve finally gotten our answer.
Lana’s debut, Born to Die, may have been released to very mixed reviews, but it seems like Lana is still pining to be America’s sweetheart– re-defined, that is. The self-proclaimed “gangster Nancy Sinatra” has teamed up with the most unlikeliest of collaborators, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky, who plays her leading man in “National Anthem.” In the melodramatic, sweeping epic of a music video, Lana and A$AP are a modern-day Jackie O and JFK, with perhaps even more glamour than the original infamous duo.
Obviously, haters are gonna hate, especially in the beginning, when Lana girlishly serenades her man like a growth-stunted kitten. But overall, the video is simply gorgeous; a cinematic ode to a bygone era in signature LDR style. God Bless America, y’all.