Album of the Year: Youth Lagoon’s “Year Of Hibernation”
It’s an emotional, touching powerhouse of an album that doesn’t just discuss insecurity and anxiety as the subject matter, it’s the very essence of the sound. Despite it all, the sound produced is still tremendous and soul-cleansing. Beautiful. All these tracks are incredible. “17”, “Montana”, “The Hunt”, simply stunning these songs.
European band of the year: Those Dancing Days “Daydreams and Nightmares”
I’ve covered this band enough times already within the calender year. Love them to death, even if they are no longer together.
Rap Album of the Year: Childish Gambino “Bonfire”
Eff Pitchfork’s review, I love this shit.
Runner up M.anifest Coming to America
R&B album of the Year: Frank Ocean “nostaglia / ultra”
Bandcamp band of the year
What is this? We know that not every band has the luxury of having a record label to release phsycial albums. In the reality of today’s music scene, the internet becomes the best opition to get your music across. As a result, I’ve scoured bandcamp for the past year looking for new music, searching for great new bands that I would never have found without. Therefore the bandcamp band of the year is The Smiles…err… the Miracals. Listening to the growth between the first and second EP was astounding at how there was more integration of the vocals and how much tighter the sound was. Lovely. Not to mention these guys are incredibly active in interacting with their fans.
Little Jungles “Winter Was Warmer”
Colorfeels “Pretty Walk”
Milo Greene “Don’t You Give Up on Me”
Note: With Its January of 2011 release, Tennis’ album ‘Cape Dory’ was so early in the year it was easy to confuse it with a 2010 release. However, this one was easily one of the best albums of the year. Like a breathe of fresh sea air, it is from start to finish a whimsy throwback nautical summer vacation in sound, which is funny considering the duo is from Denver. Cape Dory is the ultimate get-away album
Dj Fresh “Louder” (Flux Pavillion and Doctor P Remix)
James and Evander “Constellating”
Sneaky Sound System “Big” (John Dahback Remix)
Predicted Breakouts of 2012
Wild Vibes “Molly”
Rizzle Kicks “Traveller’s Chant”
Lazy, but good natured rapping with a nice chill beat. Thanks to rappers like Cudi and Mac Miller, there’s already an established base ready to span it up.
Nikkiya “Nobody but Me”
Local boys making some strides up here in the Northwest, really offering an unique choice for those interested in looking for Seattle artistic sound other than Fleet Foxes and Macklemore.
Red Kite “Montreal”
Only released one song so far, but based on the quality of that song, I am super excited for what’s next.
Mashup artist of the Year:DJ Bahler “Free the Snares”
Remix artist of the Year: RAC (hands down) Why Even Try
This is a perfect representation of the brilliance that is RAC. Katie Herzig is a Colorado-born folk-rock artist, and the majority of you probably won’t recognize anything about “Free My Mind”; I’d never heard the original before. When RAC gets their hands on something, you don’t need to know the original. They make it accessible and catchy to people who don’t even know what they’re listening to. I can’t think of a better compliment.
Artist of the year: Frank Ocean
Who else would it be? I featured the guy so many times, I was basically his cheerleader on this blog. Love.
Molly Lambert of grantland.com sums it up best:
What a perfect name “Frank Ocean” is. It sounds like cheap luxury: glass diamonds, drugstore cologne, a New Year’s Eve banquet at a Las Vegas steakhouse. The seedy/classy Rat Pack crooner connotations of “Frank” (the flatness of morning light and old champagne) balanced out with poetic heft by “Ocean” (in tradition of evocative noun surnames: Billy Ocean, Fiona Apple, John Cougar). Frank Ocean is Christopher Breaux, a 24-year-old songwriter from New Orleans who evacuated to Los Angeles post-Katrina, becoming affiliated with the OFWGKTA crew. His mixtapeNostalgia, Ultra came out in February to critical acclaim. “Thinking About You,” which leaked in July, has floated around the web since then and been covered by Justin Bieber.
While mainstream R&B mostly fell down the Handbag house K-hole to hell (cruise director: David Guetta), alternative R&B swam laps around it on the web. Like all of the new home-studio stars, Ocean is an ambitious songwriter with wide-ranging influences (he recently tweeted about listening to John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”) and seemingly endless reserves of soft-pink bedroom songs that are more reminiscent of early (first three albums) Prince than those The Dream songs that aim to sound exactly like Prince songs (although those are great too).
With Justin Timberlake on movie-star strike, Drake still waffling hard on whether he’s a baller or a romantic, and Robin Thicke doing crazy interviews about how he gives his wife, Paula Patton, double-digit orgasms (EVERY TIME?), the soulful falsetto jam arena was wide open and primed for a rookie like Ocean to hose it down. The analog organ loop in “Thinking About You” is tinged with wedding chapel turned funeral home “November Rain” video melancholy. Ocean’s vocals are like a particularly intimate e-mail or cornered-at-a-party conversation; a dialogue between the play-it-cool-in-public voice and a pleading upper-register subtext. Like a Leonard Cohen song, a hypnotic secret message meant for one specific person is transmuted into a universal hymn to absent lovers. Ocean digs a heart-shaped grave and fills it up with tears.
— Molly Lambert