This week marked the second anniversary of Music.Defined. so I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the stuff we’ve covered over the past year via photographs. Kari has taken a lot of great shots over the past year (and I snuck a few in that I took as well). I already posted it on Facebook and Twitter, but if you haven’t seen it or don’t “Like” or “Follow” us (????) then let me say it again: Thank you for your support. Now lets look at some pictures! These will be in chronological order, starting with April 2012-present.
At the beginning of the year I posted the ten bands that I thought should hit big in 2012. I wasn’t right on all of them, but I got a few things correct. I suppose if it proves anything, this lists shows that I am not in step with the mainstream in the least. That’s ok, though. Great music doesn’t always live on KISS FM or whatever your local hot radio station is. Sometimes you have to search for it, and hopefully this list gives you some ideas about music to check out in 2013.
Dastardly-The group released two great EP’s, including my favorite EP of the year, Ballads In Blue. They got quite a bit of touring in, making multiple trips between Chicago and the east coast. They didn’t sell ten million records, but they did have a fantastic year creatively, and I’m looking forward to their 2013.
Bhi Bhiman-What can I say about this guy? He’s taking it to another level. He got some great reviews for his second album, Bhiman, and the love just kept on coming. He got on the good side of NPR, got to open for Taj Mahal, went over to England a couple of times and got to play Later With Jools Holland. He isn’t a household name…yet, but he definitely had a great year!
Adam Arcuragi-Like a fire that consumes all before it… was one of my favorite records of 2012. Adam has such a passionate voice. He and his band toured tirelessly across the US this year. They did a Daytrotter session and also got some of that NPR Best New Music love.
Sons Of An Illustrious Father-They didn’t release any new music this year, and they lost two members (Sofia Albam and Ezra Miller), but they’re still truckin’. They did some touring as a three-piece, featuring Lilah Larson, Jake Generalli, and Josh Aubin. They even stopped here in Chicago and played with another of my favorite bands, The Canoes. Missing two members did change the sound, but I really liked the direction they were going.
Fanfarlo-Ok, this one was a shot in the dark, and I missed pretty badly. Their 2012 release, Room Filled With Lights, was not very good. They hit the US for a tour, but I didn’t go see them because I was disappointed with the album.
Cloud Nothings-Attack On Memory got a lot of buzz before it’s release, and when it came out it seemed to polarize critics a bit. It was a big change from their previous album. I didn’t love it, but the song “Stay Useless” did make my Songs of the Year for 2012.
Young Jesus-These guys started out hot, and then cooled as the summer turned to fall. They released Home in January, put out a video for the song “Fallin For You,” and went on a tour of the midwest and east coast. Recently they’ve just been playing local shows around Chicago and Milwaukee, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had big plans for 2013.
Oh! My Blackbird-They followed up their EP from 2011 with their debut full-length, Dare Me. I rated it number 37 on my Top 50 Albums of 2012. They didn’t leave the east coast, but I’ve heard that one member is from the Chicago area, so a tour isn’t out of the question.
Tennis-I’m not sure that Tennis got any bigger in 2012 than they were in 2011. They put out Young & Old, produced by The Black Keys Patrick Carney, which I thought was a pretty solid record. They played here in Chicago twice, and toured around the country, so I’m sure they at least kept the fans that they won over with Cape Dory.
Fort Frances/Chaperone/Molehill-These three local bands I put at the end because I wanted to see them succeed this year. Fort Frances maybe had the best 2012 of the three. They opened for some of the buzziest bands in the country, were featured on Tosh.0, and released some great covers in their “As Told By Fort Frances” series. Chaperone is probably nearing the end of their run. They’ve announced that their upcoming show next week could very well be their last. I’ve seen a lot of growth in them over the past two years-both artistically and as people-so it is with great remorse that I accept their decision. Molehill is going stronger than ever, though. After releasing Equinox in March of this year (#34 of my Top 50), they did some touring and came within a whisper of winning Hard Rock Cafe’s Battle Of The Bands. They’ve been working on some new material this winter, so 2013 might see another Molehill album for us to enjoy.
This list has been in the making since February when I started keeping a Top Ten that was updated weekly. One album held the top spot from the day we started until August. The album that replaced it ended up remaining in the top spot for the duration. There have been some changes in the order throughout the year, but nothing too shocking. The biggest surprise is Hurray For The Riff Raff who started out in the high teens and ended up sneaking higher and higher, even cracking the top ten! 2012 was a fun year for music. I’m sad to see it go (I’m guessing we’ll see the next Star Wars installment before we get another record from Fiona Apple). As always I’m hopeful that next year will bring bigger and better!
22. Lawrence Arabia-The Sparrow
18. Cody ChesnuTT-Landed On A Hundred
17. Japandroids-Celebration Rock
10. The Mountain Goats-Transcendental Youth
I’ve kept a revolving top 25 since February. It reflects what I think are the best 25 records released this year at any given time. All the year-end hubbub has been much more manageable and less stressful. Still, what about the other albums whose only crime is that they aren’t quite up to the level of those I’ve included on that list? I’ve expanded it out to 50 to give a better idea of the music that made me happy in 2012. (where applicable I have included a link to my original review)
50. The Shams Band-Cold City
49. Killer Mike-R.A.P. Music
48. Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray-We’re From Here
47. Hoots & Hellmouth-Salt
44. Of Montreal-Paralytic Stalks
43. The Wooden Sky-Every Child A Daughter, Every Sun A Moon
42. Scissor Sisters-Magic Hour
41. Emily Wells-Mama
39. California Wives-Art History
38. Islands-A Sleep And A Forgetting
37. Oh! My Blackbird-Dare Me
36. El-P-Cancer 4 Cure
35. Jason Myles Goss-Radio Dial
33. Yellow Ostrich-Strange Land
32. Big Boi-Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumours
31. Chromatics-Kill For Love
30. The Great American Novel-Kissing
29. The Men-Open Your Heart
28. Flying Lotus-Until The Quiet Comes
27. The Congregation-Right Now Everything
26. Bhi Bhiman-Bhiman
I’ve spent the past couple weeks cobbling together a playlist that includes my favorite 100 songs from the past year. I have only one rule: no more than one song by any artist. So, as much as I wanted to just include all of channel ORANGE, I had to pick the one I like the best. I included a lot of local artists, as well as a good number from NYC’s DIY scene, which I feel much more a part of after getting to spend a night in awe of the community they’ve built out there. This probably isn’t the most eclectic mix you’ll ever hear, but after seeing some of the major publications top songs I feel pretty confident that this will best any of those.
There are a few songs that Spotify doesn’t have in their catalog, so I have 91 songs in the playlist and nine posted here at the top. I can’t really say they’re in any particular order other than alphabetical. When you’re doing 100, the numbers tend not to matter much (is there a huge difference between 90 and 100?) Also, for the first time ever I’ve allowed myself to include covers. There are three.
Pony Boy: The Murder Ballad Of Carrie Lee
Cool. Ok, sorry about that. Stupid Spotify. Here’s the rest. If you don’t have a Spotify account you can sign up for one for free. If you don’t feel like it you can still scroll through the songs.
“A Dog In This Fight” by David Wax Museum
“Able Moving Hearts” by Sharks
“Afterward (You Should Have Seen It)” by Briar Rabbit
“Alone & Stoned” by King Tuff
“Always One Step Ahead” by Gold Motel
“Apple Like A Wrecking Ball” by Hoots & Hellmouth
“Baby Come Home” by Scissor Sisters
“Bad For Me” by Brendan Benson
“Better Off” by Haim
“Bird Of Sorrow” by Glen Hansard
“Boner For The Benny’s” by The Harmonica Lewinskies
“Bones” by Michael Kiwanuka
“Born To Win (Part One)” by Hurray For The Riff Raff
“Breathing Underwater” by Metric
“Brief Thoughts On Death” by Dastardly
“Cameo Lover” by Kimbra
“Cause You Can” by The Shams Band
“Continuous Thunder” by Japandroids
“Crime Of Passion” by Bhi Bhiman
“Death To My Hometown” by Bruce Springsteen
“Do You Want To Die Together?” by Stars
“Don’t Let The Truth Get To You” by Jason Collett
“Draw A Crowd” by Ben Folds Five
“Elephant King” by Yellow Ostrich
“Emmylou” by First Aid Kit
“Fallin’ For You” by Young Jesus
“Float” by Pacific Air
“Ghosts” by Communist Daughter
“Glerbot” by Mum
“H*A*M” by Portland Cello Project
“Hallways” by Islands
“Henrietta” by Yeasayer
“Here With Me” by The Killers
“Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” by Jack White
“Hood” by Perfume Genius
“Hospital Shirt” by Jason Myles Goss
“I Got Nothing” by Dum Dum Girls
“I Hate” by Passenger
“I Need Your Love” by Calvin Harris (featuring Ellie Goulding)
“I’m Okay” by Molehill
“I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again” by NOFX
“In A Small Body” by Titus Andronicus
“Kill For Love” by The Chromatics
“Layne Montgomery Is Bad At Girls” by The Great American Novel
“Let Us Not Confuse Our Thoughts With Our Beliefs” by Christopher the Conquered
“Liberal Arts” by Hospitality
“Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men
“Lonesome” by Dr. Dog
“Lord Have Mercy” by Empires
“Loving You” by Matt Costa
“Make Me Down” by Josh Ritter
“Mature Themes” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
“Meet In The Dark” by Dark Dark Dark
“Miriam” by Norah Jones
“Newly-Weds Song” by What Tyrants
“Paper Cup Words” by Elin Ruth
“Parliament Of The Birds” by Adam Arcuragi
“Passenger” by Emily Wells
“Pay In Blood” by Bob Dylan
“Pyramids” by Frank Ocean
“Quiet Crowd” by Patrick Watson
“Reagan” by Killer Mike
“Road” by The Damn Choir
“Runway Love” by Diamond Rings
“Shank Hill St” by Shovels & Rope
“Shape I Was In” by Spider Bags
“Shortie” by Hannah Georgas
“Stay Down” by El-P with Nick Diamonds
“Stay Useless” by Cloud Nothings
“Stick Song” by Oh! My Blackbird
“Stills, Young” by The Dirty Pigeons
“Take Me To Heaven” by Tennis
“Teenage Icon” by The Vaccines
“The 4th of July” by Jon Drake & The Shakes
“The Coast No Man Can Tell” by Bill Fay
“There’s No Leaving Now” by The Tallest Man On Earth
“This Ladder Is Ours” by The Joy Formidable
“Traveling Shoes” by Lawrence Arabia
“Trouble Town” by Jake Bugg
“Tumbleweed” by The Great American Canyon Band
“Twenty Three” by California Wives
“Under The Spell Of The Handout” by Cody Chestnutt
“Voting Man” by The Canoes
“Warrior In Woolworth’s” by Kate Nash w/Everett True
“Werewolf” by Fiona Apple
“Wildebeest Song” by Ghost Pal
“You Always Told Me (Terrible Things)” by The Congregation
“You Go On (& On)” by The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library
“Your Sweet Touch” by Bahamas
“Zelda” by The Antlers