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.