Sunday, January 13, 2013

Paqman's Top 10 Albums Of 2012

Tens of thousands of albums have been released this past year, so P&B are taking on the arduous task of breaking down our very own Top 10 Albums of 2012 List. We'll break down the albums, EPs, and mixtapes, etc, that made for quintessential listening throughout the year. If you don't see something on here that you feel should've made the lists, feel free to leave a comment or send us an email about it! 


10) Kid Koala - 12 bit Blues


I've got so much love for Kid Koala, and it goes beyond him being a proud Canadian. Eric San (aka Koala)  takes old blues to the next level with a fresh take on some old recordings. As an added bonus, San creatively found a way to turn the CD case into a working mini turntable. Brilliant.

P&B Approved Cuts: 1 bit Blues (10,000 miles), 3 bit Blues, 8 bit Blues (Chicago to LA to NY)

                   ALL OF THE P&B APPROVED CUTS CAN BE ENJOYED HERE ON RDIO.

9) Grizzly Bear - Shields


I've tried to get into Grizzly Bear in the past, but always had a hard time getting a feel for their music. Shields is the most cohesive collection of songs that I have had the pleasure of experiencing from the group (with  limited exposure to the 4 piece from Brooklyn of course). I missed them when they opened for Radiohead years ago, but I now finally get them.

P&B Approved Cuts: Sleeping Ute, Yet Again

8) DIIV - Oshin


As we continue to keep it Brooklyn, DIIV (pronounced Dive) come in at number 8 with their shoegazingly awesome debut album. The riffs are delay and reverb heavy, reminiscent of the Cure, with very dreamy melodies and hooks. I'm looking forward to seeing them live (heard that they sound much edgier on stage) next time they are in the Tdot.

P&B Approved Cuts: Past Lives, How Long Have You Know?, Doused

7) Oddisee - People Hear What They See


Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, better known as Oddisee, has been in the game since 1999. Surprisingly, Turnbull and I only discovered him this year. Coming off as a more conscious rapper, Oddisee quotes Rakim and a Tribe Called Quest as influences and you can hear it in his rhymes and production. Don't be fooled, this is the REAL Wiz Khalifa.

P&B Approved Cuts: Ready to Rock, That Real, American Greed

6) JJ DOOM - Key to the Kuffs


The super villain does it again. Everyone's favourite masked man behind the mic, DOOM, delivers a classic album with producer/rapper Jneiro Jarel. DOOM does not disappoint on "Kuffs" where he spits his signature rhymes, which are as witty as ever. Legend claims that DOOM recorded all of his vocals in the UK since he was denied entry back into the US due to complications with his visa. The English are lucky to have this mad genius living among them, as long as he shows up when booked to preform. You just can't keep this villain down!

P&B Approved Cuts: Guv'nor, Winter Blues, Retarded Fren, Wash Your Hands

5) Silversun Pickups - Neck of the Woods


My fave rock/alternative outfit came out with a solid effort which hits up the mid-way mark of this round up. Silversun Pickups have put together another eerie collection songs that could double as a soundtrack for a horror movie. The only element missing from the album cover to complete the imagery would be an ominous  shadow on the white fence. There is a heavier electronic presence on "Woods" that melds well into their sonic arsenal. Some of the intros are a little on the long side, but most of the tracks are so great that you don't notice it.  They showed that they are in the driver's seat now since bands they have been compared to (i.e. the Smashing Pumpkins) totally flopped with their releases this year.

P&B Approved Cuts: Skin Graph, Make Believe, Mean Spirits, The Pit

4) Captain Murphy - Duality


When Captain Murphy first hit the web-waves, it was believed to be a colabo from Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Flying Lotus. It was finally revealed later in the year that it was the brainchild of Flying Lotus, who laid down the rhymes and production. The sound on this mixtape of the year reminds me of Mad Lib (who appears as a producer on "Children of the Atom") but only weirder...which is why I feel in love with it. The narrative on the album is a guide on how to become a cult leader, complete with all the steps to achieve this dark goal. FlyLo put together a 35 minute NSFW video for "Duality", which includes stock cult footage and hardcore sex scenes. Totally worth to view if you feel like tripping out for half an hour. The video, and a free download of the entire mixtape (with bonus tracks), are available poetically at captainmurphy.xxx .

P&B Approved Cuts: El Topo, Mighty Morphin Foreskin, The Ritual, Between Friends feat. Earl Sweatshirt

3) Tame Impala - Lonerism


Tame Impala is the psychedelic brainchild of Kevin Parker, who writes and records most of the tracks that you hear on "Lonerism" and all previous releases. The Perth based group took a safer approach on their 2nd studio album, writing what seems like more radio friendly cuts. The raw charm from "Innerspeaker" has faded a bit, but the sound and songwriting have matured. I had the pleasure of seeing Tame Impala in November 2012 and they preformed exactly as expected. The live sound was on point, air tight and mesmerizing.

P&B Approved Cuts: Apocalypse Dream, Music To Walk Home By, Elephant

2) Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.a.a.d. city


Kendrick Lamar dropped what was by far the most anticipated rap album of the year. Like any project touched by the great Dr. Dre, the release date was pushed back due to issues with some of the tracks (presumably "creative differences" on cuts that Lady Gaga worked on i.e. "Partynauseous" and "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe"). This would not put a damper on the hype surrounding "good kid, m.a.a.d. city" since it was received extremely well by critics and fans alike. K-Dot showed why he is rap music's saviour, displaying his signature flow and incredible delivery via his rhyming acrobatics.You cannot underestimate this kid's skill and his impending influence on young rappers listening to his work.  Lamar's mixtape was #1 on my 2011 list and his 2012 release could easily be at the top of his one as well. 

P&B Approved Cuts: The Art of Peer Pressure, Money Trees, Poetic Justice, Real, The Recipe

1) Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE


Mr. Ocean had quite an eventful year. He went on his first NA tour, released his major label debut album and announced to the world on tumblr that he fell in love with a man. He made some brave moves to deliver these major elements of his young career. "channel ORANGE" is a concept album where each track is unique, but lead to the album's cohesiveness. It's like Ocean is channel surfing for the duration of the LP. From "Sierra Leon" to "Crack Rock" to "Bad Religion", you get a sense of the diversity in his songwriting. It feels like you've got a 1st class ticket aboard his journey into his musical awareness. If Ocean keeps delivering albums like "ORANGE", his longevity in the R&B and Pop game is all but guaranteed.

P&B Approved Cuts: Sierra Leone, Sweet Life, Super Rich Kids, Pyramids, Monks

2012 Honorable Mentions:

Reptar - Body Faucet
El-P - Cancer 4 Cure
Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
Soundgarden - King Animal

-Paqman

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