Try Wait: Favorite music of 2012
BY GARY CHUN / email@example.com
Like the title of my blog says: “Try wait!” I still want to make mention of the sounds I enjoyed last year, in conjunction with my annual ballot to the Village Voice’s “Pazz & Jop” poll, open to around 1,500 music critics and writers to participate in.
I was tempted to give another shout-out to blues-rock duo The Black Keys, as Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney became a big-time touring act in 2012, thanks to their recent album “El Camino.” Instead, I’m giving kudos to an album Auerbach helmed that came out early in ’13, “Locked Down,” a layered, swamp-thick effort from the revitalized New Orleans legend and Rock and Roll of Fame inductee Dr. John. You can hear how much of a labor of love the project was for Auerbach, working with a personal hero of his.
Alabama Shakes definitely did just that last year, and the soulful rock band is making its anticipated Honolulu debut Friday to start an Australia/Japan tour this month. Anchored by the singular voice of Brittany Howard and Rolling Stone’s number-one song of the year “Hold On,” the band’s debut album “Boys & Girls” is full of Southern goodness. To say I look forward to experiencing the band this weekend would be an understatement.
I’d be hard pressed to remember how much I thoroughly enjoyed going through a catalog of music as I did with the 10-CD “Philadelphia International Records: The 40th Anniversary Box Set.” Released in the U.K., what I loved about this set was not only the big hits from acts like The O’Jays and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (featuring the always phenomenal Teddy Pendergrass), but also a great selection of lesser-known artists who worked within the label’s richly urbane funk ’n’ soul sound. There’s even a nugget on Disc 3 that Hawaii listeners should get a kick out of, with showman Dick Jensen sounding just terrific on 1973’s “New York City’s a Lonely Town.”
Dream pop duo Beach House continued to mine its attractive sound on “Bloom” and Cat Power arguably never sounded more animated with her heartfelt “Sun,” her ninth album in her notable career.
Other albums that I share other critics’ enthusiasm for include Killer Mike’s “R.A.P. Music,” Japandroids’ “Celebration Rock,” Odd Future gem Frank Ocean and his heralded “Channel Orange” LP, and L.A. up-and-coming rapper Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city.”
And considering how recently he played here in Hawaii with his compatriots Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs, I want to make special mention of Donald Fagen’s latest solo effort “Drunken Condos.” His music has lost none of its sardonic wit and affinity for superb musicianship. We should all age as gracefully as Fagen has.
Songs of 2012 include:
» “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen
» “Some Nights” – fun. (epic pop)
» “Oblivion” – Grimes
» “Forever” – HAIM (the sister act from L.A. should be a breakout this year):
» “Climax” – Usher
» “Liquorice” – Azaelia Banks
» “Sixteen Saltines” – Jack White
» “Emmylou” – First Aid Kit (gorgeous country tribute via Sweden)
» “Thrift Shop” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
In lieu of their well-received New Year’s Eve show at The Republik, Lewis told me that he and his writing partner wanted to do something “between clowning and some swag — a song that’s not absolutely a gimmick but pushing the limit.” Buoyed by Roland 808 drums and a sick saxophone synth sound, “we had a dope single.” Pop dem tags! (Explicit lyrics)
And I leave the last word to Bruno Mars, whose “Locked Out of Heaven” was the first breakout single from December’s “Unorthodox Jukebox.” Here’s hoping Mars will make a tour stopover here sometime later this year.