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[娛樂] Pitchfork: Top 50 Albums of 2012

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發表於 2013-1-5 14:31:41 |顯示全部樓層


We present to you Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2012. As ever, both LPs and EPs are eligible.
50.
Lambchop
Mr. M[Merge / City Slang]
Lambchop’s two decades of graceful countrypolitan creak are marked by the deliberate pace of the small orchestra’s music-- the slow strings and trickling guitars, the nonplussed rhythms, and the steady voice of frontman Kurt Wagner. Lambchop’s languid Southern stride seems particularly anachronistic in the digital age, with the bulk of the songs on the ornate and affecting Mr. M taking at least five minutes to reach their elliptical ends. This band’s arduous movement rewards persistence.

On Mr. M, Wagner leads Lambchop not only with some of his most sumptuous singing to date but also with some of his most lived-in lines. He delivers a panoramic view of the world as it might actually be-- vulnerable to wrath but welcoming to warmth, too, with rivers made by every sort of tear. He moves from the sentimental wonder of “Never My Love” to the shit-talk arbitration of “Buttons”, from the childlike curiosity of “Gone Tomorrow” to the elliptically devastating “Nice Without Mercy". Sit and ponder a spell, the Nashville gentleman asks; the sound sure is nice. --Grayson Currin
   Lambchop: If Not I'll Just Die

49.
Crystal Castles
(III)[Fiction / Casablanca / Universal Republic]
Alice Glass and Ethan Kath's noisy goth-pop/electro-punk sound is so specific it can feel like their three untitled albums are part of a single, slowly-deepening series. In articles surrounding (III), their most sonically consistent and unrelentingly bleak album, Glass spoke more than usual about her lyrics. Because her singing is so buried in noise, you don't often think about specific words when listening to Crystal Castles, so it was interesting to burrow beneath the icy distortion. Here, the words mattered: (III) is filled with meditations on the exploitation of women and children and religious oppression to match those asphyxiated vocals. "I'm one step away from being a vigilante to protect people and bring justice to the people I love," Glass said in an interview. Where Crystal Castles once seemed like substance-free stylists, with (III), they've crafted an album of haunted protest music. --Brandon Stosuy
    Crystal Castles: "Wrath of God" (via SoundCloud)
   Crystal Castles: "Affection" (via SoundCloud)

48.
Peaking Lights
Lucifer[Mexican Summer / Weird World]
Peaking Lights’ love of neon-tinted psych-dub loops continues unabated on Lucifer, and if there’s less fuzz on this record, there are still layers of beatific repetition to get lost in. Lucifer is structured like a day, opening with “Moonrise” and closing with “Morning Star”, and along the way moving from the waking brightness of “Beautiful Son” to the dark echo of “Lo Hi” back through the sparkling dawn of “Dreambeat”. The simple progression mirrors the child-like earnestness of the tunes, which could soothe the most despondent baby (I know at least one newborn who can testify). But Peaking Lights’ musical innocence is both genuine and misleading. There are dark rumblings and deep undercurrents on Lucifer, reflecting the album’s titular character, whose name is synonymous with both Venus, bearer of life, and the devil. And it's within that resolution of contradictions that this album finds its real power. --Marc Masters
    Peaking Lights: "Beautiful Son" (via SoundCloud)
   Peaking Lights: "Lo Hi" (via SoundCloud)

47.
Pallbearer
Sorrow and Extinction[Profound Lore]
Hype is a hell of a drug. In certain circles, this album seemed destined for greatness before it was even committed to wax and has more than fulfilled the promise of the Arkansas outfit's 2009 demo. Sorrow and Extinction is moving and graceful and devastating. But what separates Pallbearer from the million and a half other doom bands is soul. Pallbearer's music is straightforward and well-executed, but the atmosphere-- the feeling, man-- that they manage to convey using doom metal's classic template and Southern gothic undertones is magical. Brett Campbell's voice is powerful and flawed, the perfect medium to plumb the depths of misery and redemption that make doom doom. Pallbearer know what it's like to suffer, to be lonely and directionless and stifled, and they ease their suffering the only way they know how: by invoking the spirits of Saint Vitus, Candlemass, and cheap Kentucky bourbon, crossing fingers, and tuning low. --Kim Kelly
    Pallbearer: An Offering of Grief

46.
Rustie
Essential Mix[BBC]
When Russell Whyte sat down to record his two-hour installment of BBC's "Essential Mix" series the night before it aired in April, he didn't have a grand plan in mind. He wasn't going out of his way to connect the dots between his own ecstatic sounds-- many of which seem to citeMario Kart's star-power music as a guiding influence-- and those of both over- and underground hip-hop, dance, and R&B artists. But a mix like this is an ideal outlet for breaking down supposed musical walls; it's where TNGHT's unstoppable "Goooo" can lay down the red carpet for Rick Ross, or where Clams Casino can make Juicy J's "Geeked Up Off Them Bars" that much geekier, or where Nicki Minaj can share a few minutes of hard-nosed minimalism with up-and-coming Brooklyn banger factory Baauer. Rustie wasn't trying to Define the Future, and that's probably why he did it with such ease.

But thinking ahead can cause some confusion in the now. When I caught the 29-year-old Glaswegian at Manhattan's Webster Hall in September, the place was filled with a unique blend of shirtless club bros, cap-down rap kids, and some nerds. So when a drunk friend brushed against a nodding hip-hop dude, things got a little tense. "Touch me one more time and I'll kill you," said the dude. "I don't believe you," responded the drunk friend. They separated. But then, somewhere between Kanye's "Mercy" and Rustie's own "Ultra Thizz", the two traded warm, beery apologies. The Great Rustie Détente of 2012 was secure. --Ryan Dombal
    Rustie: BBC Essential Mix (via SoundCloud)

45.
El-P
Cancer for Cure[Fat Possum]
El-P's 2012 collaboration with Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music, was the hard left hook to the jaw, but his solo record Cancer for Cure was the body blow-- the one that rumbled your guts, left you sickened and confused. Solitude has always suited El-P, and on this record, he emerged from it with a record so dense and internal that it was impossible to discern the hum of the machines from the hum of his mind. El let his sputtering nerves bleed into every corner of his minutely fussed-over mix, muttering, yelling, and pleading with the same compelling combination of confession and obscurity that has always characterized his music. On “For My Upstairs Neighbor”, he stops an abused woman with a touch of the arm, telling her, “It must have taken every muscle in your body to produce that little twitch you probably thought was passing muster for a smile... But I read the tells, I know the sacred art of bluffing.” The connection is so vivid because El has spent the album, and his career, painting himself as a kindred spirit: Cancer for Cure is what a scream feels like when it never leaves your brain. --Jayson Greene
   El-P: "The Full Retard"

44.
METZ
METZ[Sub Pop]
The technology to crank your guitar up to huge, ear-busting levels can be purchased over the counter, but bands that can pull off volume while inducing claustrophobia are something special. Metz are such a band. The Toronto-based trio’s Sub Pop debut is pure pummel and ugliness in the best sense. The drums thunder away like they’re being bludgeoned at the bottom of an elevator shaft. The bass and guitar pound minimalist patterns through a curtain of fuzz and grit. The songs sound live-- not in the sense that they were recorded as-performed, but in the way that represents what loud bands actually sound like when they turn up at a grimy club with cement walls. High frequencies bounce through the stereo field. The vocals seem feedback-baked and half-strangled. There are moments when Metz betray a minor debt to grunge, but most of the time, they're out on their own bizzaro wavelength, singing about rats, mental instability, or whatever else conjures up appropriate levels of anxiety. --Aaron Leitko
   Metz: "Wet Blanket"
  Metz: "Headache"

43.
Mac DeMarco
2[Captured Tracks]
Mac DeMarco's persona is so willfully slimy (in interviews, he's talked about how he once stuck his thumb up his bumhole and then put it in his mouth at a gig and how he once held a job putting dead pets in body bags) that you might expect his music to be just as tossed-out and childish. But his talent is true. DeMarco's second record of the year, 2, is downright greasy; his unpredictable, louche guitar melodies rise above the warped production and showboat with a laidback, lubricated clarity that’s more “Sultans of Swing” than slovenly slacker. The fact that lead single “My Kind of Woman” drew comparisons to Cass McCombs raised some hackles over the issue of authenticity; here’s a kid previously known as Makeout Videotape whose last record dealt in debauched glamour now playing the sensitive troubadour. But everyone suffers heartbreak, and 2 shot wearily accepting glances at what looked like a hopeless family situation: a clingy father with a meth problem. Whatever the literal truth of DeMarco's persona on 2, at least someone’s putting effort into playing the provocateur-- and without dumbing his music down as part of the act. --Laura Snapes
    Mac DeMarco: "Ode to Viceroy" (via SoundCloud)
   Mac DeMarco: "My Kind of Woman" (via SoundCloud)

42.
Rick Ross
Rich Forever[Maybach]
We’re all familiar with Rick Ross’ fantasy aspirations at this point: Big Meech, Larry Hoover, John Lennon, Wingstop entrepreneur. Best rapper alive, though? This isn’t a mixtape that comes out and says it like Wayne's Dedication 2 or Clipse's We Got It 4 Cheap, Vol. 2, but there was something immediately different about the aims of Rich Forever-- and it’s not just that one of America’s most proud capitalists was releasing 79 minutes of ridiculously expensive-sounding music for free. When it dropped on January 6, Rozay put hip-hop on notice that the rest of 2012 would be ruled under his martial law; the benevolent, caricatured overlord of Teflon Don becomes something close to a fearfully real tyrant on Rich Forever, and any semblance of pop concession is steamrolled by domineering Lex Luger-style beats and instantly quotable, must-hear verses that can be taken as a threat to anyone who doesn’t appear on the tape. Those that did-- 2 Chainz, French Montana, Meek Mill, Drake, Wale, Future, just to name a few-- would go onto divide and conquer the charts this year after convening on tracks like “Stay Schemin’”, “Fuck ‘Em”, and “MMG The World Is Ours”, street singles that still managed to infiltrate the mainstream and render Ross’ commercial release God Forgives, I Don’t comparatively safe and forgettable enough to earn a Grammy nomination. --Ian Cohen
   Rick Ross: Keys to the Crib [ft. Styles P]

41.
Dum Dum Girls
End of Daze EP[Sub Pop]
End of Daze owed some of its success to the sheer sound of Dee Dee's voice, suddenly so full of velvet and inscrutable regret. But it was also in the black-veil, drama-rich way she deployed it, intoning “I want to live a pure life” on “Lord Knows” like a woman bravely facing a firing squad for unnamed sins. Every gesture on End of Daze rang with that freaky preternatural charisma, the sort of unfairly distributed magnetism that shouts Budding Rock Star, whether it was the “Crimson and Clover” chord progression of “Lord Knows” or the stunning centerpiece cover of Strawberry Switchblade’s “Trees and Flowers”. Her version was nothing but a glimmering single guitar and a sigh, but it created a warm feeling of isolation and loneliness deep enough to live inside. --Jayson Greene

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發表於 2013-1-5 14:41:47 |顯示全部樓層
40.
DIIV
Oshin[Captured Tracks]
The video for DIIV's "Doused" is fairly basic: just live footage from one of the approximately 65 billion shows the band played over the last 12 months. What's notable, though, is how excited the young audience is, sweating, arms tentatively outstretched, mouthing along with Zachary Cole Smith's laconic mumble. It's like the entire room was just hanging around, looking for a band like DIIV to give them something to believe in. Oshin is that record. It's lyrically sparse, opting for unanswered existential questions and muttered moments of lost hope. It's a record about growing up lost, and then becoming an adult and realizing that you'll forever be lost anyway. On closing track "Home", Smith sings, "You'll never have a home," sounding completely defeated, as if he doesn't even realize that, in Oshin, DIIV created one of their own. --Sam Hockley-Smith
   DIIV: "How Long Have You Known?"  
   DIIV: "Doused" (via SoundCloud)

39.
Hot Chip
In Our Heads[Domino]
There's a scene in 500 Days of Summer when Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character breaks into love-struck song while surrounded by animated birds. Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip comes close to that feeling several times on In Our Heads, lost in the universal, often tongue-tying expressions of love and companionship. Except he's singing about something long-lasting rather than instant infatuation. Especially in the face of new research about thehormonal pitfalls of companionship, it’s reassuring that Taylor can still find joy in how amazing it is to wake up every day next to the same morning breath.

Hot Chip has always been a little out-there, but the British outfit’s fifth album steers things in a more mature direction without losing any eclecticism. The songwriting often reads like a conversation between date-night dance floor synths and the seriously revealing pillow talk afterwards. Veering confidently between the seven minutes in heaven of “Flutes”, opening bombast of “Motion Sickness”, and more twittering birds on “Let Me Be Him”, Hot Chip manage to stay true to both their loving and fun-loving selves. --Harley Brown
    Hot Chip: "Flutes" (via SoundCloud)   
   Hot Chip: "Don't Deny Your Heart" (via SoundCloud)

38.
Lotus Plaza
Spooky Action at a Distance[Kranky]
Lockett Pundt, the half of Deerhunter’s songwriting duo who still seems locked in his bedroom when he’s onstage, has made his dream album. Spooky Action at a Distance is a work of forlorn guitar geekdom, packed with awe-inspiring bummer jams that tower over those on 2009’s Floodlight Collective. Pundt still doesn’t get out much, and when he does, he doesn’t have much to say. But that’s why god invented reverb, right? You don’t necessarily go to Lotus Plaza for lyrics, but Pundt is able to wring surprising emotion from stasis. On “Strangers”, a simple anecdote of the most mundane situation-- “You walked in and found/ Me staring at the ground/ What’s wrong, you said/ I shrugged and shook my head”-- gains poignancy by association with Pundt’s resonant, stately lead guitar line. “Monoliths” is the pinnacle of this approach, and the most self-consciously epic track Pundt’s done yet. An ode to the conflicted pleasures of drugged-out isolation substituting for social interaction, it’s 2012’s indie rock version of the Beach Boys’ “In My Room.” When it comes down to it, actually, Lotus Plaza’s entire existence can be summed up in a single lyric from Brian Wilson’s 1964 classic: “There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to.” --Eric Harvey
    Lotus Plaza: "Monoliths" (via SoundCloud)
   Lotus Plaza: "Strangers" (via SoundCloud)

37.
Future
Pluto[Epic / A1 / Free Bandz]
Halfway into "You Deserve It", the crowning track from Future's Pluto, the Atlanta rapper blurts out: "All this pain I can't even rap/ Sometimes I feel I wanna sing!" There's a lot of singing on Pluto. And a lot of blurting too. There is also a lot of gurgling and grunting and croaking and stammering and spitting, all of it out of sheer necessity. Future's rap style is barely a rap style. Instead, it's a series of unfiltered feelings exploding into verbal and nonverbal proclamations, then slathered in Auto-Tune. What he lacks in traditional lyrical prowess he more than makes up for in sheer conviction and performance. He pushes against the perimeters of his genre's language, in much the same way that rap's forefathers shattered the expectations of what came before them.

But the strangest thing about Pluto is how it remains a completely effective pop-rap album in spite of (because of?) these evolutionary leaps. It's spawned five charting hits, from the raucous "Same Damn Time" to the aggressively emo "Turn on the Lights", making Future one of the only natural rap hitmakers to emerge this year. But then again, it makes sense. Future's humanity is so transparent in his gurgles that he's like a newborn baby on the mic. It's only inevitable that he'd connect with the world around him. --Andrew Nosnitsky
    Future: "Turn On the Lights" (via SoundCloud)

36.
Sharon Van Etten
Tramp[Jagjaguwar]
Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner and featuring a cabal of Brooklyn-based players (Beirut’s Zach Condon, Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett, Julianna Barwick), Sharon Van Etten’s third full-length concerns the mechanics of bad love-- forces germane, maybe, to all love: fixation, isolation, deep, cataclysmic longing. It’s not so unreasonable to resent someone for forcing you to feel all that shit, and the tiny-but-potent bursts of hostility embedded here (“I want to be over you/ I want to show you”) are gloriously human; Van Etten is a formidable guitarist, but it’s her hazy, lilting vocals that land like an anvil to the chest. “You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city, or why I’ll need to leave,” she admits on “Give Out”, her voice plaintive, resigned to both ecstasy and devastation, to love and its wreckage. Van Etten has said that the album’s most visceral track, the ukulele-led “We Are Fine”, is “about a friend talking you through a panic attack,” but its urgency translates to a cornucopia of annihilatory scenarios. And, in turn, offers some universal solace: “We’re alright,” she sighs. “We’re alright.” --Amanda Petrusich
   Sharon Van Etten: Serpents
   Sharon Van Etten: Give Out

35.
TNGHT
TNGHT[Warp / Luckyme]
There were signs of this coming. The purple movement's fascination with Neptunes production, numerous UK laptoppers toying with trap beats, Diplo-- but it wasn't until Hudson Mohawke and Lunice teamed up as TNGHT that global bass music and American hip-hop finally became one. And while these guys hail from Glasgow and Montreal and arrive with sturdy dancefloor credentials, that’s really the way to think of this EP: a thumping, thwacking lyric-less hip-hop record. The obvious take is that these guys are building off Lex Luger, Hit-Boy, and regional comers like Young Chop, polishing and melodicizing that machine-gun approach, but their own spin on the sound is undeniable: ultra-clean, ultra-modern, less about street grit (though it’s there) than laser-beam precision. But back to the thump. Hit play on walloping centerpiece “Higher Ground”, with its nods to the Pharoahe Monch classic “Simon Says”-- those horns!-- and try not banging your head. Heck, even Kanye’s on board. --Joe Colly

34.
Chairlift
Something[Columbia]
Chairlift first came on the radar of the iPod-buying public four years ago with the focus-grouped quirk of their single "Bruises", but Something is the record on which they gloriously came into their own weird selves. A newfound penchant for Eurovision-worthy dance moves, catsuits, and playfully high-concept lyrics about fictitious scientific phenomena were all on display in the Brooklyn duo’s video for lead-off single "Amanaemonesia", but the tightly propulsive track itself also announced a major leap forward in Chairlift's songcraft. It could have easily gone the other way: losing a founding member can sometimes spell disaster, but Aaron Pfenning's 2010 departure gave Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly an opportunity to restructure into something confident and sleek. Featuring production from Dan Carey (Hot Chip, Bat for Lashes), Something is a record with a new-age brain and a thumping 80s pop heart, pulling equally from the playbooks of Suzanne Ciani and Duran Duran. Polachek's vocals-- every bit as acrobatic as her dance moves-- are expressive enough to transcend influences, though, packing a barking, staccato punch one moment and turning to vaporous falsetto the next. The album's most memorable songs ("I Belong In Your Arms", "Met Before") are as explosive, ecstatic, and prismatic as falling in love. --Lindsay Zoladz
    Chairlift: "I Belong in Your Arms" (via SoundCloud)

33.
Actress
R.I.P.[Honest Jon's]
The music of London producer Darren Cunningham has always been like a faded sketch, hinting at worlds of unimaginable detail obscured by the very medium through which they’re viewed. In the case of Actress, that medium is harshly processed frequencies and mechanical buzz. It’s part of what made his past music so fascinating-- arch rhythms that held entire universes in the pauses between the beats. Third album R.I.P. showed Cunningham open up a little bit, though not in the way you might expect; here, everything was still coated in a primordial goop of digitization and blocky pixel processing, but it was rendered with a distinctly human hand. All broken melodies and wounded lullabies, the only thing more stunning than the album’s deeply personal vision of techno and ambient music was how fragmented and conflicted it sounded across such a unified palette. From the Eno-esque drift of “NEW” to the Heart of Darkness evoking “Caves of Paradise” to straight-up house banger “Lords of Graffiti”, R.I.P. went to 15 very different places in the span of an hour, always returning to a state of wonder as if the album itself was dumbstruck by the strangely beautiful sounds it was making. --Andrew Ryce

32.
Action Bronson/Party Supplies
Blue Chips[Fool's Gold / Reebok Classics]
A horny Albanian-American former chef from Queens going over to Williamsburg to rip bongs, cruise the internet, and record with a dance-music-leaning hipster producer sounds like a recipe for a complete mess. And Blue Chips really is an almost total wreck by most technical standards-- but a deeply fascinating one. No record made by professional musicians in recent memory sounds as likely to fall completely apart at any second: producer Party Supplies leaves rough edges on his beats (at one point, when he turns up a Mac running a sample, he leaves in the telltale bleeps), while Bronson blatantly flubs vocal takes all over the place (“Dreamer” offers 45 seconds of absolute rap bliss before he fucks up a line and the song simply stops). But the lo-fi treatment fits with the weird selection of media that Party Supplies samples (vintage Thai psych-pop, YouTube videos, a song by power ballad icons Extreme), and the desperate quality of Bronson’s performance suits his own take on the louche rap-star lifestyle, which feels distinctly seedy and downmarket. So wrong; so right. --Miles Raymer

31.
Spiritualized
Sweet Heart Sweet Light[Fat Possum]
Never one for subtle metaphors, Jason Pierce introduced Spiritualized’s 1995 album, Pure Phase, by extolling the virtues of his “Medication”, rendering its effects as a sustained, euphoric gospel-soul rush. But after spending much of 2010 on different kind of meds-- thanks to a chemotherapy treatment for a near-fatal liver disease-- Pierce could only describe his state of mind with the single word that graces the artwork of Sweet Heart Sweet Light: huh?

The brain-fogging influence of that experience, however, stops at the cover. After all, Pierce has been singing about death, depression, and Jesus since his Spacemen 3 days, so it’d be presumptuous to assume his recent hospital stint had any direct bearing on lines like “sometimes I wish that I was dead, because only living can feel the pain.” What is certain is that Pierce has rebounded from the most tumultuous period of his life with his most clear- and level-headed album to date, one that places Spiritualized’s twin affinities for gospel-hymn grandeur and dissonant psychedelic squall on an equal, complementary footing, rather that in competition with one another. Even at its most epic (the two-part, Autobahn-bound odyssey “Hey Jane”, the carnivalistic swirl of “Headin’ for the Top Now”), Sweet Heart Sweet Light remains approachable, engaging, and in good humor-- rather than float in space, the resurrected Pierce gets his high from keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground. --Stuart Berman
    Spiritualized: "Hey Jane" (via SoundCloud)   

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發表於 2013-1-5 14:47:04 |顯示全部樓層
30.
The Men
Open Your Heart[Sacred Bones]
When we included the Men's Leave Home on last year’s Top Albums list, there was hope that the band's pulverizing Sacred Bones debut could trigger a revival of truly nasty, abrasive indie rock in the increasingly friendly confines of Brooklyn. In the next six months, they toned down the sonic S&M on the relatively accessible and triumphant Open Your Heart only to shelve the vast majority of it in a live setting. Instead, they test drove material from their next album-- and from the sounds of things, it will possibly head into full-blown Allmans and Creedence territory. The lesson being: It’s risky to use their studio albums to say anything definitive about the Men at this point, so let’s just forget about narratives and evolution and appreciate Open Your Heart as a record that makes them sound capable of doing whatever the hell they want. It cycles through barnstorming classic rawk, searing punk, beer-chugging country, and muscular krautrock. If you basically like any kind of music made with guitars, there’s something for you here. --Ian Cohen
    The Men: "Candy" (via SoundCloud)   
   The Men: Open Your Heart

29.
Cat Power
Sun[Matador]
Chan Marshall got stuck in Los Angeles with the Endtimes Capitalism blues and from it wrenched Sun. Confident and cool, it was Marshall born again, transformed by her struggles and transfixed by America’s. She tried her hand, at what, in her dark palette, counts as party music, quasi-rapping (“3 6 9”), going sublime about patriotism and New York as it will never be again (“Manhattan”), and doling out love and liberation to little troubled girls. While the album, largely a solo endeavor, was about Marshall coming into her own power as an artist, it was one of the very few in recent years that reflected the current climate of America back to us, without sloganeering; Sun is Chan, of the people. --Jessica Hopper
    Cat Power: "Nothin But Time"  
  Cat Power: "Ruin"

28.
How to Dress Well
Total Loss[Acéphale / Weird World]
Considering how much music he'd released in various configurations over the past two years, it was easy to forget that Total Loss was actually the proper debut full-length from Tom Krell's experimental R&B project. After Love Remains, which gathered highlights from a series of free downloadable EPs, it was hard to know where he would take his sound next, whether access to better studios and more eyes watching would push HTDW somewhere that didn't play to Krell's strengths. But Total Loss turned out to be the right next step. Krell knows that people turn to his music to feel something, that it's less about the details than the totality of the expression. And this album succeeds by amplifying emotion to the greatest possible degree. At points, like on highlight "Set It Right", the music draws from the ego-obliterating power of shoegaze, but the record also brings to mind the soaring drama of Broadway, going for the biggest and most powerful moments at every turn. Turns out Krell never needed to be lo-fi, and here his internally focused music is projected outward to glorious effect, a deep outpouring from a generous heart. --Mark Richardson
   How to Dress Well: "& It Was U"  
   How to Dress Well: "Ocean Floor for Everything" (via SoundCloud)

27.
John Talabot
ƒIN
[Permanent Vacation]
Spanish producer John Talabot moves at his own pace, veering from meditative house grooves to music that encroaches on the pop sphere. His transitions between these worlds are seamless, whether he’s working with guest vocalists or producing slow-reveal instrumental pieces like this album’s gorgeously understated “Oro y Sangre”. The space Talabot works in is often tricky to get right-- dreamy dance music that can work just as well in a club as it can on headphones at home. For much of this record it feels like he’s searching for the perfect sunrise anthem, the kind of record a DJ slips on as dark fades into light and flagging spirits are given a much-needed lift to close out the night. Talabot clocks in for his shift around the same time as Burial, only with entirely different results. For Burial, the early morning hours are all long walks through litter-strewn streets, lost in a cycle of bitter rumination. ƒIN pictures that same time as the point to indulge in a comforting kind of reverie, a quiet moment to get lost in for a few minutes, a place where normal existence can gently fade back into the frame. --Nick Neyland
    John Talabot: "Destiny" [ft. Pional] (via SoundCloud)
    John Talabot: "So Will Be Now..." [ft. Pional] (via SoundCloud)

26.
Julia Holter
Ekstasis[Rvng Intl.]
After a series of CD-Rs and cassettes released in tiny editions, Los Angeles-based composer/songwriter Julia Holter raised her profile with 2011's Tragedy and broke through with this year's Ekstasis. Her latest full-length straddled the worlds of high art and pop, moving easily between the ancient and modern. Classic 1980s touchstones like synths, vocoder, and drum machines are her primary building blocks, but Holter also deploys shimmering harpsichord tones and harmonium drones. Singing about statues, a weeping boy in the moon, and people unable to connect regardless of their epoch, Holter's vocals recall 70s singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill one moment and Renaissance-period madrigals the next. By moving into accessibility while keeping her unique aesthetic intact, Holter crafted a truly ecstatic art-pop album. --Andy Beta
    Julia Holter: "Marienbad" (via SoundCloud)   
   Julia Holter: In the Same Room (via SoundCloud)

25.
Schoolboy Q
Habits & Contradictions[Top Dawg]
Schoolboy Q's debut wasn't the the headiest or most sonically expansive album to emerge from L.A.'s Black Hippy collective (that distinction belongs to Ab-Soul's Control System); nor was it the smartest or most commercially successful (that'd be Kendrick's opus good kid, m.A.A.d. city). But it was easily the best party record of the bunch, thanks to call-and-response ragers like "There He Go", spirited trunk rattlers like "2 Raw", and the delirious, A$AP Rocky-assisted lead single "Hands on the Wheel". Woozy-but-assertive production by Mike Will Made It and Digi+Phonics serve as a musical reflection of Q's mission statement: "Am I over faded?/ Hell yeah, it's true/ Turn on a beat, ain't no limit to what I can do." Also, it should certainly be noted that Q almost single-handedly brought back the bucket hat. There he go, indeed. --Corban Goble
    Schoolboy Q: "Grooveline Pt. 1" [ft. Dom Kennedy and Curren$y] (via SoundCloud)

24.
Purity Ring
Shrines[4AD]
“U guys don’t know how many times I’ve listened to Lofticries on repeat,” Danny Brown wrote on Twitter this fall before giddily rapping over a new version of Purity Ring’s “Belispeak”. Meanwhile, members of the sometimes-zonked Weeknd crew as well as upstart Atlanta rapper (and noted molly advocate) Trinidad Jame$ have also sung the Canadian electro-pop duo's praises. In a way, it should come as no surprise that Purity Ring-- who’ve cited narcotics trendhopper Soulja Boy as a central influence-- have found fans and collaborators among some of music’s loudest MDMA enthusiasts. It is undeniable: the futuristic pop melodies and confectionary vocals found on Shrines slice so cleanly and quickly at the music-listening pleasure receptors that you might believe your serotonin levels have temporarily been thrown out of whack. The effect is compounded by producer Corin Roddick’s love of down-pitched, narcotic layers and vocalist Megan James’ science-fiction narratives, which draw you into a haunted forest where every surface is a glistening piece of crystal. James adds a physicality to the sugary experience with corporeally-obsessed lyrics-- weakened legs, holes drilled into eyelids, sweating lips, starving hips, seeping blood, ripped sternums-- reminding you that the comedown is always just around the corner. --Carrie Battan
   Purity Ring: "Fineshrine"
  Purity Ring: "Obedear"

23.
Miguel
Kaleidoscope Dream[RCA]
Miguel has been posited as a rule-breaking R&B wunderkind but Kaleidoscope Dream is more about how he works within the rules he sets for himself. He offers a sensuous, yearning “Sexual Healing” tribute (“Adorn”), tearful S&M in a multi-layered rainstorm (“Use Me”), and dream-like harmonies and Timbaland-style rhythmic stutters (“Do You...”)-- a succession of costumes that are comfortingly familiar but beautifully designed. The album succeeds in large part due to his excellent and versatile voice, which effortlessly navigates a variety of contradictory poses in both falsetto and baritone, moving from the whispery intimacy of the title track (“body language like piano keys” he murmurs so close you can almost feel his breath in your ear) to the glamorous distance of “Arch & Point”. Sometimes it makes sense to cut through the artifice, but Miguel creates it and then lives up to it. --Tim Finney
    Miguel: "Adorn" (via SoundCloud)
   Miguel: "Do You..." (via SoundCloud)

22.
Flying Lotus
Until The Quiet Comes[Warp]
Steven Ellison is Flying Lotus, but Flying Lotus isn’t just Steven Ellison. When the name Flying Lotus is attached to a project, it means you’re getting Ellison’s acuity, imagination, and daring, not to mention his prodigious record collection and encyclopedic musical knowledge. But it also means that you’re almost guaranteed to get some Thundercat, you might be getting a Thom Yorke or an Erykah Badu, and you’re definitely getting some talented session musicians whose names you don't know. Until the Quiet Comes, Ellison’s dreamiest effort to date, is also his most openly collaborative. And it's the producer's ability to guide his talented players and channel his fertile imagination through them that gives the record its sense of cohesion, even as it travels from the assembly-line jitterbug of “Putty Boy Strut” to the languid beauty of the Laura Darlington-powered “Phantasm”. All told, Until the Quiet Comes was the waking-dream antidote to Cosmogramma’s delightful excess. --Jonah Bromwich

21.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Mature Themes[4AD]
Ariel Pink was strictly a cult artist until “Round and Round” brought more people into the tent. The early word pegged Mature Themes as his “freak out the squares” record, i.e., the most predictable response to sudden fame a notoriously unstable guy could have. If you didn’t have the stomach for “Pink Slime”, the patience to endure the seven-minute drone of “Nostradamus & Me”, or the belief that the the cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s “Baby" was sincere, there were plenty of opportunities to hit the exits. But Mature Themes has a wealth of ingeniously crafted pop songs, songs that were weirder, funnier, and more strangely affecting than just about anything else that came out this year. So while Mature Themes is something of an “old Ariel Pink album” intended for his new fans, it’s by no means an act of antagonism. Instead, it's a show of confidence and trust that he didn’t need to remake “Round and Round” to dazzle them all again. Pretty mature shit for an album with a song called “Schnitzel Boogie” on it. --Ian Cohen
    Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: "Only in My Dreams"
   Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: "Mature Themes"

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發表於 2013-1-5 14:51:53 |顯示全部樓層
Photo by Kate Moross
20. Jessie Ware: Devotion [PMR]
The R&B that's crossed over to the indie world has tended to reward mysteriousness, but Jessie Ware presented something very direct: herself, her songs, her voice. Consider the videos for "Running" and "Wildest Moments", both of which focused solely on an elegantly styled Ware alone in a well-lit room, singing. It would almost seem quaint if it wasn't so refreshing. Ware doesn't bother being hip. She shares a smokiness with Sade but she also shares her comfort with adult contemporary. She came up singing over beats by Joker and SBTRKT, but ditches the club scene altogether for the classy theatrics of Whitney Houston records. A cynic would say that this was no way to make it in 2012, but Ware's vision for herself proved stronger than any formula. Or maybe it's that Ware is so far out in front that everyone else will be catching up next year. --Jordan Sargent
    Jessie Ware: "Running" (via SoundCloud)
   Jessie Ware: "110%" (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Ryan Manning
19. Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory [Carpark]
Last year, a lot of ink was spilled commemorating the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, though musically speaking, 1991 seemed much farther from 2011 than it actually was. Many indie bands lined up to pay tribute by recording Nirvana covers, but few seemed to be overtly influenced by the bygone rock era that Nirvana came out of. Where were the rock records with a fat bottom end and guitars that left animalistic scrape marks on your forearms? Were indie bands even interested in making that kind of record anymore? Finally, the cacophony cavalry arrived in the form of Cloud Nothings’ Attack on Memory, the first in a series of noisy blows that battered indie-rock throughout the year-- take a bow, Japandroids, the Men, and Screaming Females, among others-- finally restoring some of the piss and vinegar that had been drained out by prog-folk, Brooklynite art-rock, and chillwave. (Doesn’t chillwave already seem like it happened 10 years ago?)

But before he could give indie rock a swift kick, frontman Dylan Baldi needed to transform Cloud Nothings. For the first time, he recorded with his touring band instead of by himself. Equally important was his decision to employ Steve Albini, who supplied his trademark "aluminum bat striking a side of beef" thud at the center of Attack on Memory’s aggressive thrust. The final result was a shock coming after the sweet, almost twee pop-punk of Cloud Nothings’ 2011 self-titled LP, and a reminder that the 21-year-old Baldi is still in the process of finding his voice and honing his already prodigious songwriting talent. For too long, indie bands didn’t want to get their hands dirty; with Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings were out for blood. --Steven Hyden
   Cloud Nothings: Stay Useless
  Cloud Nothings: No Future/No Past

Photo by Annabel Mehran
18. Ty Segall Band/Ty Segall & White Fence: Slaughterhouse/Hair [In the Red / Drag City]
Lo-fi, garage rock, punk, noise-- Ty Segall is not concerned with these distinctions. He just makes rock'n'roll albums that make sense to him. That's the story behind Hair. Initially, his plan was to do a split LP-- Ty on one half, White Fence's Tim Presley on the other. And then it just evolved into two Bay Area dudes playing each other's songs in the studio, turning them into a symbiotic product of collaboration. There are tracks with more of Presley's psychedelic leanings ("The Black Glove/Rag"), and glam bashers that easily sit in Segall's wheelhouse ("Crybaby"). But the creative delineation isn't so black-and-white-- you can hear them feeding off of each other all over the album. And in a live performance of"Scissor People", for example, you see Tim matching Ty's live energy before both devolve into Thurston Moore levels of frenzied noise.

Slaughterhouse, meanwhile, sprouted from a similar environment of collaboration, this time with the Ty Segall Band. But the product of Segall, Mikal Cronin, Emily Rose Epstein, and Charles Moothart’s hive mind was something much heavier and darker. Slaughterhouse is an awesomely aggressive ode to screaming, searing punk rock. You know that brand of laughter that comes from witnessing destruction, the laugh that pops up when Jack Nicholson's demented face peers around a corner in The Shining or when somebody smashes a guitar on stage? Throughout Slaughterhouse, those are the reactions Segall and company corner and earn over and over again. Whether it's through the guitar barrage of "I Bought My Eyes", the junkyard bark Segall delivers when they rip up Fred Neil’s "The Bag I'm In", or the otherworldly shrieks from the album's title track, the LP's an exhilarating ode to punk rock muscle. Segall’s just going to keep doing whatever he wants, which is for the best. It's easy to trust this guy’s instincts. --Evan Minsker
   Ty Segall Band: "I Bought My Eyes"
  Ty Segall and White Fence: "I Am Not a Game"

Photo by Shawn Brackbill
17. Bat For Lashes: The Haunted Man [Parlophone]
The frequent claims that The Haunted Man is a "stripped-down" album for Natasha Khan aren’t necessarily wrong, but let’s not get carried away. This is the woman whose prior two albums displayed about as much restraint as a Baz Luhrmann birthday party. So while Haunted is less ostentatious than Two Suns (not least for its cover, which eschews space-queen diorama for something more Mapplethorpe), keep in mind that the album’s gorgeous opening track "Lilies" is still inspired by a 1970 film from the dude who directed Lawrence of Arabia. This isn’t exactly strumming-on-a-stool stuff.

Haunted doesn’t so much dial back the lavish, LARP-ish folk-prog set pieces of Khan’s earlier work as much as it refines and expands them. The album is built around narratives of self-empowerment and tragedy transcendence typically found in disco and house music-- a line like "you’re more than a superstar," from torchy first single "Laura" could have come from the mind of the Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears. On both "Lilies" and the rumbling warrior chant "Horses of the Sun", she proclaims joy at simply being alive. The entirety of "Oh Yeah" sounds like nothing less than a druidic pleasure ritual.

Haunted came together as Khan was restoring her confidence and creativity in the wake of a traumatic breakup. Because she is who she is, this process meant taking classes in children’s illustration and intensive dance instruction, then flying to New York for a Native American medicine ceremony. But it also meant getting in touch with her own ancestry, particularly the story of her grandfather returning home from World War II, shell-shocked and without the emotional resources to deal with it. Khan told the Quietus that Haunted is about "letting go of the things that haunt me," but that’s underselling the scope of this project, which is empathetic, bold, and outlandish. The path she took to shed her psychic baggage meant taking on significant extra weight.
  --Eric Harvey
    Bat for Lashes: "Laura" (via SoundCloud)
   Bat for Lashes: "All Your Gold" (via SoundCloud)

16. Burial: Kindred EP [Hyperdub]
With Burial, it’s footsteps or fossils. Two-step drums click like heels in shaded pursuit. Sounds are shrouded in mist. You can feel the serotonin of brutal highs thinning into forgotten revelations. The skeletal remains of garage, jungle, and house crushed until they start to bleed black. Disembodied vocals wailing like discontented spirits. Ghost requiems. Kindred sounds like taking a 4 a.m. subway ride and stepping out into a peat bog.

It’s been a half-decade since Untrue was nominated for a Mercury Prize and William Bevan was un-hoodied. In the interim, dubstep’s star waxed and wanged. But rather than capitalize on his newfound cult, Burial hardened his isolation, by passing a full-length follow-up in favor of 12" collaborations with Four Tet, Massive Attack, and Thom Yorke, along with the three-track releases Street Halo and Kindred. The latter is a masterpiece masked as an EP, where Burial unveils everything but his face.

The 11-minute title track crackles with static and rain, pixilated fatalities and spearing snares. A saturnine lover coos "baby, you." Synthesizers turn sepia. The vocal smears sound celestial and suffering, unearthly but wounded. Like Burial’s best work, it operates as an eraser, bypassing traditional lines of communication and operating as some ancient and abandoned Esperanto. You remember the emotion but never the details.

"There is something out there," starts "Loner." It ends with a mournful "hold on." You’re left to filter the whispers that stalk the in-between. If 2012 found the first wave of dubstep artists dabbling with house, Burial reserved the most crumbling lampless chamber. For his encore, there is "Ashtray Wasp", sculpted out of a silvery rickety house beat that threatens to collapse, folding onto itself like some haunted origami for 11 plaintive minutes. Bells faintly peal. Voices echo into another forgotten night. And you hear one final footstep. --Jeff Weiss

Photo by Shawn Brackbill
15. Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan [Domino]
For 10 years, Dave Longstreth has made his music more difficult than it needs to be. Dense arrangements, flashy time changes, interlocking melodies, and vocal harmonies so acrobatic that watching the band land them live can feel more like a circus performance than a musical one-- these are the marks of an ambitious artist with big things to prove. With Swing Lo Magellan, he proved them in part by letting them go.

This is an album of love songs by a band that until now would’ve never dared to say the word. Its darkest moments-- "Offspring are Blank", "About to Die", and "Gun Has No Trigger"-- are cautionary tales by young people fighting against time to hold onto their innocence. Its most social ones-- "The Socialites" and the oil-spill story "Just From Chevron"-- rest in unexpectedly personal places: a girl sitting alone at a party wondering what she’s really worth; a solitary worker going home.

At the album's heart is "Impregnable Question", a simple song about something irreducibly complex: How to live with someone else. There is sweetness here, and apprehension, and excitement, and fear. Above all though, there is acceptance. Longstreth’s vision is not of two people becoming one, but of understanding that they are and always will be two. That’s where the challenge starts. The sentiment is simply rendered and the music is as stripped-down as the band has ever played. At least one couple I know has already chosen it as the first dance at their wedding, which a writer as careful, self-examining, and quietly confident as Longstreth could probably anticipate. Given his history of being almost compulsively obscure, the heartening thing is that he went ahead and wrote it anyway. But Dirty Projector's aren't giving up their prickly braininess-- after all, the title of the song contains the word "impregnable," which you don’t hear too often in conversation. For some bands, maturity means getting softer. For bands as talented and skeptical of routine as this one, it means getting better. --Mike Powell
    Dirty Projectors: "Gun Has No Trigger" (via SoundCloud)

14. Andy Stott: Luxury Problems [Modern Love]
Prior to 2011, Andy Stott was workmanlike, both literally-- he painted cars for a living in his native Manchester-- and artistically. His chosen idiom, the reverberating confines of dub techno, had grown largely static, almost by design. But he found found menace and mystery with last year's Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs. Still, those releases did not prepare us for Luxury Problems, which connects the dots between the hazy, crestfallen dub of 90s pioneers like Basic Channel andPorter Ricks, mid-naughties minimalism, and Burial's vocal alchemy. The resulting mix of fierce rhythms and dewy exultations was like watching a bulldozer pirouette: Stott was harnessing visceral, athletic energy, but it took a great amount of control and coordination to prevent things from ending poorly.

These are the tightropes you must walk when you invite your childhood piano teacher to record vocals for your unmade album. The opening track, "Numb", on which this gambit is introduced, is like a cinderblock dressed up in lace doilies, but this isn't some misplaced exercise to make hard, obscure sounds go down easy for the uninitiated. One of the great triumphs of Luxury Problems is that it never feels as if it's making you take your medicine. By the time the roof-scraping drum skeleton of "Up the Box" arrives, it feels natural, an acid to the soothing choral base. Stott balances these elements so deftly that the result is not a tension, but a deeply personal grace. --Andrew Gaerig
    Andy Stott: "Numb"

13. Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music [Williams Street]
On his fierce 2006 manifesto "That’s Life", Killer Mike threw down a lyrical gauntlet that could double as a campaign theme: "If you’re really ‘bout intelligence/ You really know I’m right/ If you’re lookin’ for some leadership/ Look for Killer Mike." Six years later, the long-underground Atlanta rapper and erstwhile OutKast affiliate dropped a bold album that doubled down on this promise, and succeeds on all counts. R.A.P. Music feels anomalous in the 2012 rap landscape: a fiercely political and deeply personal album that addresses rap’s myriad contradictions and embraces history and family, without ever once sounding didactic or nostalgic. Nine years into his career, Killer Mike’s sixth album is easily his best, illustrating a way for aspiring hip-hop intellectuals to keep both feet in the streets, and establishing Mike as rap culture’s pre-eminent diplomat.

The album is steeped in the music's history: Ghostface, KRS One, Raekwon, Ice Cube, "Murder Was the Case", Gang Starr, and "Fuck tha Police" drop by both spiritually and lyrically. But R.A.P. Music is much more than a simple throwback, largely thanks to the production work of 90s underground vet El-P-- maybe the only current rapper/producer capable of making Killer Mike look like a sunny optimist by comparison-- who twists his bleak, mechanistic Brooklyn-derived beats into sleek, trunk-rattling Southernplayalistic doomsday devices.

The genius of R.A.P. Music is Killer Mike’s capacity to celebrate rap’s garish narratives and outsize characters while using the storytelling capacities of the form to sermonize and hold forth intellectually. "Jojo’s Chillin’" is a three-minute verité narrative of a small-time crook fleeing Atlanta for NYC-- Mike’s own "Shakey Dog" staged within the War on Terror’s air-travel security theater. It’s directly followed by the jaw-dropping "Reagan", a people’s history of the crack-and-guns 1980s that casts fresh light on the Dark Alliance that turned "Freeway" Ricky Ross into a kingpin. He’s the leader of the crooks and the reader of the books, a Player Pentecostal preaching the good word of that Ghetto Gospel. Fuck you, amen. --Eric Harvey
    Killer Mike: "Reagan" (via SoundCloud)
   Killer Mike: "Big Beast" [ft. Bun B, T.I., and Trouble] (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Erez Avissar
12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! [Constellation]
When Godspeed started touring again in 2010 after a years-long silence, there was little use speculating about the band’s motives. It made no difference why they were back together. This moment in history simply needed them, and there they were. Two years on, we are still trapped in the belly of a horrible machine, where the spiral of austerity and political discord whips up the wreckage of the old economic reality and sends it swirling around our heads to be dashed into ever tinier pieces. And Godspeed are still here, building sonic monuments to a global system that's clawing to avoid history’s dustbin. Their first album in 10 years features two brief clouds of drone and two long but intensely focused instrumentals that should put to bed the limiting idea that this band’s music is somehow "post-rock." These two long compositions, "Mladic" and "We Drift Like Worried Fire", have been in the band’s sets for some time, but on record they take firmer shape as much more than simple exercises in dynamics and tension-and-release. Each begins with its eyes cast down, bowed under the heavy freight of modern confusion, but each finds its way up out of the mire to its own affirming peak as well.

But I have a theory that Godspeed’s music isn’t really all about political anger, or even living in trying times-- at its heart, there lies a much more fundamental belief in the basic dignity of people. The peaks of the music that jut upward from the landscapes of dread the band creates speak to it; regardless of the miseries visited upon them, people make it through. They adapt. They find ways to be happy. They overcome. The music of Allelujah! can be dark, chaotic, even mournful at times. It is also immensely moving, and proceeds with a forceful sense of purpose that all of this band’s finest music possesses. And in its moments of release, it urges us on through everything, a paddle passed to the decent, everyday person stuck navigating the creek of economic cataclysm. --Joe Tangari

Photo by Leigh Righton
11. Japandroids: Celebration Rock [Polyvinyl]
Brian King can't sing "The House That Heaven Built". The melody to Japandroids' best song is just above the frontman's vocal range. On a very physical level, it should not work. "When I first heard it back in the studio, I thought, 'This is terrible! We can't use it!'," he told me earlier this year. But they did use it, and thank god for that. Like nearly everything else about Japandroids, King's performance on "The House That Heaven Built" is the result of a normal man pushing himself to abnormal places-- places most of us are too scared or wary or lazy to go. "If they try to slow you down," he snarls on the song, "tell 'em all to go to hell!" He could be talking about an ex, nagging parents, society at large, or even his own vocal cords, but one thing is clear-- "they" do not have a chance.

As an indie rock band that idolizes both the Replacements and Guns 'N Roses, Japandroids are of a particularly modern ilk. Their crowd-pleasing, call-and-response choruses are completely devoid of the self-sabotaging indie mindset of yore, yet their decidedly austere attitude toward their own sound and presentation-- just two guys, very few overdubs-- couldn't be more DIY. The combination of Celebration Rock's extreme, arena-ready themes (heaven or hell! life or death!) and its workmanlike creation ("It might take a whole month to write a song we think is good," King has said) makes for confusing rock'n'roll mythmaking. According to the singer, "There's a difference between people who are born with that special thing and people who love the people who are born with that special thing so much that they want to try their best to get as close as they can to it." But it's hard to take King at his word since Celebration Rock does everything it can to obliterate that supposed divide.

The album flips Japandroids' limitations into superlatives; their in-studio restrictions mean that these eight songs crash just as hard live as they do in headphones. And King's newfound ambition with the pen means that his lines aren't just fun to sing back to him anymore-- they go way past "whoa-oh" to a place equally universal, but more trenchant. His words are about getting off your ass and actually doing something, to stop "waiting for a generation's bonfire to begin" and start sparking some fuses: "We don't cry for those nights to arrive/ We yell like hell to the heavens... HEY!" It often reads like self-fulfilling prophecy, because whether Japandroids were born that way or had to work like hell to achieve greatness is ultimately irrelevant-- they're there, and they're not looking back. --Ryan Dombal
    Japandroids: "The House That Heaven Built" (via SoundCloud)
  Japandroids: "Younger Us"

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發表於 2013-1-5 14:56:43 |顯示全部樓層
Photo by Tom Hines
10. Grizzly Bear: Shields [Warp]
With Shields, Grizzly Bear got outside of themselves and left behind the domestic comforts of Veckatimest-- where Droste sang, "Hope I’m ready, able to make my own good home" on "Ready, Able", and "Take all evening, I’ll just be cleaning" on "Foreground". But on Shields: "Plod ever onward across some tundra," Daniel Rossen sings on the rallying, clanky piano swing of "A Simple Answer". "The sky keeps staring at me/ Frozen in my tracks," Droste chants among the ambient warp of "Gun-Shy"; "Past the roaring shore. I have nothing left to hear," goes the tumultuous "Half Gate".

The arrangements here are thunderous and billowing, sparse and punishing, rarely polite. The effect is to set the record’s emotional landscape in a desolate, barren space, one where its central characters are either negotiating the physical distance between them and another far away, wondering whether they can cope, or the emotional disconnect with a face staring directly into theirs. That hopeless tundra you reach when you’re at the end of your tether, when you’ve argued into oblivion with no recollection of the original misgiving, and the only definite things that remain are the contrasts between elements: sky and earth, sun and wind. Shields is a magnificent record, where the lights are blazing, but nobody’s feeling very much at home. --Laura Snapes

Photo by Samantha Marble09. Death Grips: The Money Store [Epic]
If there’s one moment that defines The Money Store, it’s the glitch 55 seconds into "System Blower": tennis pro Venus Williams screaming as she swings, looped and crusted with so much noise she’s barely recognizable as human. Like every sound on the album, it’s cramped and almost transcendently panicked. It doesn’t blend into its surroundings because there’s nowhere safe to blend. Instead, it breaks off abruptly, back into silence.

The Money Store is brutal, beautiful music. Most of the time it sounds like someone dropping a whole apartment’s worth of kitchenware down a staircase while screaming the word "fuck" while a block party outside suffers through routine air-raid sirens. In interviews, drummer Zach Hill and Stefan Burnett referenced body artists like Chris Burden, who in the early 1970s inched across a pile of glass on his bare stomach and voluntarily took a bullet in the shoulder-- an exploration of the threshold where physical extremity becomes spiritual epiphany. Listen to the album for two minutes and it sounds chaotic; listen to it for 20 and it becomes meditative, like the moment on a train ride when you stop seeing the landscape as a thousand discrete things flying by and start seeing it as a uniform blur. The 13 songs here are more than jock jams, they’re devotionals.

"We want our music to make people feel empowered, and that's where I could say it's like rap or punk," drummer Zach Hill told Pitchfork in April. But rap and hardcore fostered a sense of community; The Money Store doesn’t. Death Grips don't reach out and tell you that you belong. Whenever they speak, they make it clear that the psychic underworld of their music isn’t shared, but guardedly personal. For them, coincidence is more important than logic, and record-release dates have more to do with phases of the moon than the fluctuations of the market. This isn’t just punk as radical individuality, but mysticism.

If you’re not seduced by their conceptual framework, that’s fine. You can shout along with Burnett’s collage of abstract threats. You can geek out to Hill, whose grand trick as a drummer is to make his kit sound as though it’s physically running away from him. Or revel in Death Grips' future-primitive grooves, scavenged from YouTube, captured with iPhones and pushed to the point of ecstatic malfunction. For all the abstract talk, the music remains devastatingly concrete. --Mike Powell
    Death Grips: "I've Seen Footage"

Photo by Vinna Laudico
08. Chromatics: Kill For Love[Italians Do It Better]
Dusk is the time to listen to Kill for Love. From the pensive, reverb-drowsy introductory rework of Neil Young’s "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" to the softly drifting "The River" and subsequent 14-minute coda that closes things, the album’s submerged in a particular nocturnal mood, made for low lights and lonely nights. "I just want you to come back, give us all something to do," sings vocalist Ruth Radelet in standout "Lady" amid a backdrop that yearns away, sounding utterly sapped. Singer Adam Miller gets more explicit still on the next track: "spend my life inside this room, disappear some more each day," his voice processed with vocoders and echoes until it sounds half-vanished itself. At times, it’s hard to imagine listening to Kill for Love with anyone else in the room, let alone an audience; the introspective fog is that thick, that absorbing.

Kill for Love isn’t the first time Chromatics worked this aesthetic; last album Night Drive explored the same themes, though not as cohesively, and it’s practically the trademark of leader Johnny Jewel’s label Italians Do It Better. But they got a massive, and massively lucky, signal boost with the success of last year’s Drive, a soundtrack disguised as a movie, that pretends to be about its love story and action pyrotechnics but is really about what plays while Ryan Gosling drives alone into the dark. Chromatics contributed a track, and Jewel composed an entire would-be soundtrack. It’s serendipitous, in a way; the film’s almost like a big-screen adaptation of the group, faithful enough to inspire those moved to venture deeper. --Katherine St. Asaph
   Chromatics: "Into the Black"
   Chromatics: "Kill for Love" (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Liz Flyntz
07. Beach House: Bloom [Sub Pop]
You can't blame Volkswagen for trying. Around the same time Beach House released their fourth album, the German carmaker used music suspiciously resembling the reverie-revering Baltimore duo's in a U.K. commercial. If nothing else, the resulting media flurry, in which the band's manager told The Wall Street Journal the commercial came after Beach House rejected multiple licensing offers, undercuts criticisms like that of Flying Lotus, who had tweeted that Bloom sounds just like countless other records. Since 2006's self-titled debut, Beach House have been patiently refining-- and expanding-- a singular, easily recognizable sound.

"Patiently" might be the operative word in explaining how Bloom became Beach House's first album to crack the top 10 on the Billboard 200 album chart while so many near-contemporaries have faded from view. The differences here are significant enough to reward longtime fans without alienating listeners who might be just tuning in after hearing older material sampled by G-Side or the Weeknd. Victoria Legrand's lethal contralto and gothic organ playing, Alex Scally's side-winding guitar lines and simple drum programming-- both remain, joined by live drums, and burnished again by past producer Chris Coady. And yet, where 2010's Teen Dream added Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac and other styles to the post-Mazzy Star haze, Bloom billows out even further. Plea for remembrance "The Hours" alone spans from Abbey Road-like layered vocals to stadium-indie guitar chug. Ghost-ship waltz "On the Sea" brandishes viola.

Legrand's lyrics are often overlooked, but their impressionistic, fill-in-the-blanks way of expressing deep feeling is too fundamentally characteristic of the group's appeal to discount. On Bloom, her subject is often the ineffable itself-- "Help me to name it," she repeats, referring to "momentary bliss," on intoxicating opener "Myth"-- along with the one-of-a-kind, the ephemeral, and the sublime. Whether conveyed through visual details or cryptic fragments, these words enhance the mood the meticulously constructed music creates, a mood Beach House have been too smart to spoil by spelling out entirely. --Marc Hogan
    Beach House: "Myth" (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Erez Avissar
06. Grimes: Visions [4AD / Arbutus]
Cynics and traditionalists have it tough in today’s populist free-for-all. This year has lobbed a spectacular softball at them, though: a musically untrained young Canadian woman named Claire Boucher who creates bizarro synth-pop with user-friendly Apple software and claims to draw inspiration from anything and everything. She also sings and coos her (largely indecipherable) lyrics in a precious falsetto and dresses in a stylistically scatterbrained way that makes fashion editors drool. The Internet loves her. She’s often mentioned in the same breath as made-up terminology like seapunk and Tumblr aesthetic (though she doesn’t even maintain a personal Tumblr). She has the audacity to both produce and sing. She collaborates with white-girl rappers and makes jewelry that looks like female genitalia. She’s the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Get in your bunkers.

Meanwhile Visions, the hypnotic album Boucher released in January, sits in the corner snickering quietly to itself as one of the most optimistic pieces of music we’ve heard all year. It’s a triumphant meeting of human and computer, an album that blows the traditions of both pop and experimental music to pieces and glues them back together in gorgeous, entrancing ways. And for all of the dubious aesthetic trends that have been pinned on Grimes in some way or another, the album remains a singular, inimitable piece of art. No one else is making music that sounds like this, hyper-feminine experimental pop music that revels in a futuristic fantasy in a way that could inspire you to either dance all night or sit and meditate. Forget all of those things Grimes signifies for our future-- if you hopped in a time machine and played Visions for the music lovers of two, three generations ago, they’d probably be itching to get where we are right now. --Carrie Battan
   Grimes: Oblivion
  Grimes: Genesis

Photo by Samantha Marble
05. Swans: The Seer [Young God]
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the phrases "swan song" and "Swans song" signify the exact same thing: that the end is nigh. But on his second album since resuscitating his long-dormant band of pig-fuck pioneers in 2010, Michael Gira orchestrates nothing less than a funeral procession for the end of humanity.

The Seer is ugly, grueling, and punishing in a way that only Swans can be: the seismic shovel-loads of industrial-strength sludge and merciless percussive clatter heaped upon the 23-minute closer "The Apostate" and the 32-minute title track centerpiece rain down on you like the Biblical plague. But in the propulsive, heavy-Meddle bass throb of "Avatar" and blacksmith-molded psychedelia of "A Piece of the Sky," The Seer also evinces a magisterial grandeur and hypnotic allure, elevating Swans’ seedy, sewer-scraping depravity into an extravagant, cinematically scaled noise that effectively transforms the band into Bad Seeds You Black Emperor.

There are more pleasurable things you could do in the amount of time it takes to listen to the entirety of The Seer: enjoy a coastal drive from Los Angeles to San Diego; watch five DVRed episodes of "Modern Family" in a row; go for a massage and shvitz. But making it through to the other side is very much its own reward. By the time you’re subjected to the public-stoning skronk of the closing "93 Ave. B Blues," you’ll feel physically and emotionally exhausted-- but that sense of debasement is inversely related to just how relieved you’ll feel that you’re still breathing. --Stuart Berman
    Swans: "Mother of the World"

Photo by Matthew Saville
04. Tame Impala: Lonerism [Modular]
Kevin Parker's first album as Tame Impala, Innerspeaker, featured a song called "Solitude Is Bliss"; the astounding follow-up, Lonerism, is an album-length treatise on the power of one. In a recent interview, Parker described the record as dealing with "The idea of being someone who doesn't feel part of the rest of the world", and that sense of confused alienation is what makes Lonerism head music in the most literal sense: when you're trapped in your own thoughts, where else is there to go?

So the endlessly repeated question "Why Won't They Talk to Me?" isn't so much answered as it is shrugged off: "I don't really care about it, anyway." Plenty of light pokes through the clouds and the hooks are everywhere-- "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards", for one, is an instant classic. But when that female voice pops in during the first third of the damaged epic "Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control", advising that "Nothing has to mean anything", you wonder: is this a conversation between two people, or is Kevin Parker simply talking to himself? This sense of complete immersion is the album's greatest gift. Lonerism allows you to lose yourself in the act of Parker losing himself inside the huge, dense, thicket of sound he's created. There's no question that Lonerism ransacks psychedelic pop's past. But it's not about where your influences come from but the places you go when you carry them with you. --Larry Fitzmaurice
    Tame Impala: "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Will Deitz
03. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel ... [Epic]
Fiona Apple once said, "If you just made something, you should fucking feel like you've got nothing left in you." On The Idler Wheel, the singer practices what she's preached and then some, pushing her body into newfound territory that's emotionally exposed and raw. There's fist-clenching, face-contorting, chest-pounding soul; there's undiluted sexual frankness; there's empathy even for animalistic lovers-done-wrong. Apple's fourth album favors unhinged intensity and nuanced expression over refined pop appeal-- a stylistic shift you could have called with 2005's Extraordinary Machine, where she sang, "Please, please, please/ No more melodies/ They lack impact, they're petty." In some sense, Apple had to pare down these Songs of Herself to their rhythmic, acoustic essentials to maximize her own voice. "I know that I have intention," Fiona said in 2005, "but I don't know how to articulate it with instruments [beyond piano]." Not so any longer. Seven years later, this unexpected masterpiece is Apple's most profound statement.

A consistently self-reliant pop-sphere outsider, Fiona Apple is easy to obsess over because she embodies an entire set of principles for living. Her personal journey has always been inherent to her autobiographical records, like volumes in a series of books, chronicling her quest to learn strength against personal struggle, a superficial media, or the misguided music industry she knew was corrupting her. Idler Wheel's songs also present deep-running psychological demons. On "Valentine", she moves casually from dark propositions of cutting herself or crying over dinner to playfully loving rhymes. On "Jonathan" she calculates and calibrates but begs "don't make me explain." You can't just pull out material this brutal. It boils and bursts from somewhere deep.

And yet optimism is this record's primary theme, with a repeat lesson that we can always cull something positive from pain. "I don't cry when I'm sad anymore," she sings on centerpiece, "Left Alone", its feminist man-playing sing-song scat building to a climactic vocal performance, her voice like spinning helicopter blades capable of carrying you skyward or cutting you in half. Fearless in its embrace of solitude, this song distills what makes Apple such a powerful mediator of human emotion with the most quintessential Fiona lyric ever: "How can I ask anyone to love me? When all I do is beg to be left alone." Elsewhere, her verses ebb and flow with lines that are dense or direct. She'll still liken herself to "a neon zebra shaking rain off of her stripes" but she'll also say things so strikingly straight they feel like left-turns. "All that loving must have been lacking something/ If I got bored trying to figure you out," she sings on the disdainful "Periphery", honing her characteristic rage. "You let me down/ I don't even like you anymore at all."

Fiona has spent 16 years as a kind of patron saint of self-empowered poetry for those who've needed her most but on Idler Wheel she sounds more liberated from the cages of her past than ever. Now there's no question she sounds free. --Jenn Pelly
    Fiona Apple: "Every Single Night" (via SoundCloud)
   Fiona Apple: "Werewolf" (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Kirstie Shanley
02. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange [Def Jam]
The eye of any storm is a place of almost zen-like calm. That’s the funny thing about the whirlwind of hype, headlines, and meaningful words that have encircled Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange since its July release: the record at the center of this tornado is impossibly serene, an epic that constantly shrugs off its own grandeur. It begins not with a swell of strings but the faint and distant sound of a Playstation booting up, as if to joke, in Ocean’s signature deadpan, "This is what an orchestra warming up sounded like in 2012." Its interstitials have the fuzzy, clipped, out-of-context quality of cell phone videos, and most of its songs begin and end with the abruptness of the YouTube tabs you closed before the end of the video because you got the point. There are moments when Ocean overshares in sighing falsetto, and then backtracks like he’s deleting a slightly-too-earnest tweet. (A beat after a confession of love: "No, I don't like you, I just thought you were cool enough to kick it.") All of which is to say that Channel Orange moves with the rhythm of right now, and will always sound like the way noise and music flowed in and out of our consciousnesses in 2012. But also: will always. Because it flows against the current of disposability, hyper-nowness, musical planned obsolescence. It has these gilded edges that you can already tell won’t tarnish. "Sweet Life," "Thinkin’ ‘Bout You," "Bad Religion," "Super Rich Kids," "Pyramids"-- they feel already not just like timeless classics, but like generation-affirming proof that timeless classics might still be a thing.

Channel Orange often seems funny, though you’re not entirely sure you could explain why; half of the record comes off like an inside joke Ocean's got with himself, a punchline whose explanation not even the most staggering Rap Genius could wrench out of the privacy of his grey matter. Still, zoom out a couple clicks and you can tell who the joke is on, which is a lot of people. The joke is on Def Jam, occasionally. The joke is on people clinging to the skeleton of an  ever-changing industry like the rails on an upturned Titanic; there’s Ocean paddling serenely in the mild blue below, like, "The water’s fine!" The joke is on people who seem rich but aren’t; the people who pay for expensive news but don’t even watch it. And maybe most of all, the joke is on people who listened with their metal detectors out and noses to the ground, combing Channel Orange for clues and unexpected pronouns like gold watches at the beach. Did they finally realize, as soon as the sun was setting, that they wasted a really gorgeous day at the beach?

Frank Ocean found a way to selectively screenshot the stimulus that passes in front of us every day; out of the banalities of modern life-- Text Edit docs and Playstations and taxicab confessions, he made moments, characters, poetry. And like any good, timeless poem, Channel Orange feels both of its moment and above it. It speaks our language of distance and irony and ennui so that we will trust it when it whispers to us, in this kneecap-melting falsetto, that we’re not wrong to believe in something beyond. That was the disorienting genius of Frank Ocean in 2012, singing "Real Love" until the scare quotes fell off. In the Year of YOLO, mischievously, he was thinkin' 'bout forever. -- Lindsay Zoladz
    Frank Ocean: "Sweet Life" (via SoundCloud)
   Frank Ocean: "Pyramids" (via SoundCloud)

Photo by Jeff Forney
01. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city [Interscope/Top Dawg]
Kendrick Lamar is the first to admit he comes on too strong. His 2011 album Section.80 was presented as a manifesto; its visionary follow-up, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, is subtitled "A Short Film By Kendrick Lamar." It's variously been described in even loftier terms: West Coast hip-hop incarnate, a morality play guided equally by Jeezy and Jesus, the most important major-label rap album in nearly a decade. It's all of those things, and after selling more than 500,000 copies in its first two months, it's safe to call it something more simple: a hit record.

Don't underestimate the importance of this last fact. Section.80 was an auspicious and promising album but it was hardly flawless. To improve, Lamar needed investments of talent, trust, and money. Without a broader belief in his vision, Kendrick doesn't repurpose his thrilling lyrical technique to vividly embody the characters who occupy these self-contained and heartfelt parables. Nor does he unify them through linear and non-linear narrative devices that turn good kid into an open-ended soundworld as vast as Compton itself but as detailed and intimate as a journal entry. And you don't assemble this roster of production and guest rappers without expecting a return on said investment: Just Blaze, Pharrell, Dr. Dre, and Hit-Boy create beats that serve as living environments, lush and warm when expressing joy in the experience of music and young lust, sinister and hard when penetrated by the gang violence and abuse of South Central L.A. that remains a constant in Kendrick's life.

The merger of multifaceted storytelling and exquisite music results in a tremendous payoff on "The Art of Peer Pressure", the 12-minute stunner "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst", and "Real," ambitious numbers that likened good kid to similar art-rap opuses like Aquemini, Black On Both Sides, and, yes, Illmatic. But the overwhelming response assures its legend is still being crafted outside the controlled environment of critical opinion. Everything that made you second-guess its "classic" attribution is the result of earned ubiquity-- overuse of "ya bish," Lady Gaga demanding "her" version of "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" be heard, dozens of Soundcloud rappers butchering the "Backseat Freestyle" beat, frat parties misconstruing the entire point of "Swimming Pools (Drank)", the debates about whether "Compton" was even necessary as a closer. Those are the cost of doing business when you ascend to this level of The Slim Shady LP, Doggystyle, or Ready to Die, records that are eternal for both their artistic achievements and their constant presence in cars, radio playlists, parties, and discussions among people who may never set eyes upon a year-end list.

Towards the end of good kid, Kendrick's mother pleads with him to "tell your story to these black and brown kids of Compton...give back with your words of encouragement." The scope of this album goes far beyond Compton, but her words serve as a fitting coda for a song where Kendrick meditates on what makes him matter. good kid gives of itself. So while the achievement is Kendrick's, the music belongs to everyone: Whether it's other rappers, industry heads, or listeners hoping for redemption after being let down by the former two, everyone can leave good kid, m.A.A.d. city dreaming of something bigger. --Ian Cohen
    Kendrick Lamar: "Swimming Pools (Drank)" (via SoundCloud)
   Kendrick Lamar: "Backseat Freestyle" (via SoundCloud)

Next: See our writers' individual Top 10s.

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發表於 2013-1-5 14:57:48 |顯示全部樓層
Hari Ashurst

Albums
01. Frank Ocean: channel ORANGE
02. Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream
03. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city
04. Julia Holter: Ekstasis
05. Passion Pit: Gossamer
06. Andy Stott: Luxury Problems
07. Jeremih: Late Nights with Jeremih
08. Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan
09. Hot Chip: In Our Heads
10. Dawn Richard: Armor On EP

Tracks
01. Miguel: "Adorn"
02. Jai Paul: "Jasmine"
03. Frank Ocean: "Thinking About You"
04. Carly Rae Jepson: "Call Me Maybe"
05. Passion Pit: "I’ll Be Alright"
06. M.I.A.: "Bad Girls"
07. Dawn Richard: "Intro (Call to Hearts)"
08. Perfume Genius: "Hood"
09. Jeremih: "773 Love"
10. Hot Chip: "Let Me Be Him"
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發表於 2013-1-5 14:57:58 |顯示全部樓層
Carrie Battan

Albums
01. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel
02. Grimes: Visions
03. Purity Ring: Shrines
04. Sasha GoHard: Do You Know Who I Am?
05. Dum Dum Girls: End of Daze EP
06. Jeremih: Late Nights With Jeremih
07. Swearin': Swearin'
08. Solange: True
09. Chief Keef: Back From the Dead
10. Nicki Minaj: Roman Reloaded

Tracks
01. Nicki Minaj: "Beez in the Trap (feat. 2 Chainz)"
02. Fiona Apple: "Periphery"
03. Future: "Turn on the Lights"
04. Grimes: "Vowels = space and time"
05. Swearin': "Just"
06. AlunaGeorge: "You Know You Like It"
07. Chief Keef: "Save That Shit"
08. Lil B: "I Own Swag"
09. Kool A.D.: "Lagrimas Blancas"
10. Light Asylum: "End of Days"
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發表於 2013-1-5 14:58:09 |顯示全部樓層
Stuart Berman

Albums
01. Swans: The Seer
02. Ty Segall Band: Slaughterhouse
03. Tame Impala: Lonerism
04. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: 'Allelujah! Don't Bend, Ascend!'
05. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange
06. Metz: Metz
07. The Men: Open Your Heart
08. Japandroids: Celebration Rock
09. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, M.A.A.D. City
10. Spiritualized: Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Tracks
01. Bat For Lashes: "Laura"
02. Grimes: "Oblivion"
03. Sky Ferreira: "Everything Is Embarassing"
04. Solange: "Losing You"
05. Miguel: "Adorn"
06. Chromatics: "Kill for Love"
07. Chief Keef: "Cos Ber Zam - Ne Noya"
08. R. Kelly: "Share My Love"
09. Savages: "City's Full"
10. Jessie Ware: "110%"
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發表於 2013-1-5 14:58:19 |顯示全部樓層
Andy Beta

Albums
01. Voices From the Lake: Voices From the Lake
02. Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan
03. Oren Ambarchi: Audience of One
04. Various Artists: Personal Space
05. Julia Holter: Ekstasis
06. Various Artists: American Noise
07. Black Dice: Mr. Impossible
08. Andy Stott: Luxury Problems
09. Various Artists: Sofrito: International Sounclash
10. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes

Tracks
01. Todd Terje: "Inspector Norse"
02. Andres: "New For U"
03. Unknown Artist: "Journey I."
04. DJ Sotofett: "Pulehouse"
05. Delroy Edwards: "4 Club Use Only"
06. Young Marco: "Video Days"
07. Jessie Ware: "Still Love Me"
08. Secret Circuit: "Nebula Sphynx"
09. Electric Street Orchestra: "Scorpio"
10. Sinkane: "Runnin' (Daphni remix)"
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發表於 2013-1-5 14:58:30 |顯示全部樓層
Jonah Bromwich

Albums
01. Action Bronson: Blue Chips
02. Ab-Soul: Control System
03. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, M.A.A.D. City
04. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel
05. Tame Impala: Lonerism
06. Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream
07. Peaking Lights: Lucifer
08. Flying Lotus: Until the Quiet Comes
09. Nicolas Jaar: Essential Mix
10. Four Tet: Pink

Tracks
01. Action Bronson: "9-24-11"
02. Miguel: "Adorn"
03. Solange: "Losing You"
04. Usher: "Climax"
05. Fiona Apple: "Every Single Night"
06. Nite Jewel: "One Second of Love"
07. Ryan Hemsworth: "Colour and Movement"
08. Grizzly Bear: "Sleeping Ute"
09. Schoolboy Q: "Hands on the Wheel (feat. A$AP Rocky)"
10. Ty Segall and White Fence: "Time"
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