IT’S SIMPLY impossible to keep track of everything going on in music at all times, try as I might. It turns out that the gift that keeps on giving during the festive season and beyond are the end of year lists that magazines, websites and bloggers post, revealing hidden gem upon hidden gem. To the extent that even these lists are a curse — so many lists, so little time…
As a result, I’ve limited myself to only four lists and decided to pick the pick of the picks…
First out of the gates, in more senses than one, are New York four-piece, Hospitality. They released their self-titled debut at the start of 2012, and that it’s remained off my radar until now is a sin.
They have an indie summer shimmer like classic nineties guitar pop and the occasional reveal of angularity that feels like the Velvet Underground and Liz Phair.
Like my other top indie pick of the year, Allo Darling, there’s something bigger than the sum of its parts here, a melodic thread that makes the discordant break downs more surprising and welcome.
From one extreme to another, now, and let me introduce Baroness. Hailing from Savannah, Georgia, REM they ain’t.
They rock. They rock hard. Pitched somewhere between Deftones and Smashing Pumpkins, Baroness have been plying their trade on stages across the world for the last few years, and released Yellow And Green, a double album, in early summer last year
The revelation of their 2012 power and glory recalls the moment when Metallica dropped …And Justice For All. It looks, feels and sounds like metal, but there’s something far more going on.
From the first bars of opener Take My Bones Away, Baroness exude all of the traits of every great metal act; in particular, they have songs, and damn good ones at that.
Hopefully, the serious bus crash in England that ended their touring ambitions for the year will not diminish their ambition, and they will come back stronger, and to the size of an audience that they undoubtedly deserve.
Last, and by no means least, we stay in the South and hail hip hop hero, Big KRIT, currently dropping some of the most impressive rhymes and productions on the scene.
Having built an impressive and rich back catalogue of mixtapes, guest appearances on tracks by some of the biggest names in the business and production credits over the course of the last eight years, KRIT released two full-length sets in 2012: the official album, Live From The Underground, and the arguably superior mixtape, 4evaNaDay.
4eva features some of the freshest production since Kanye’s College Dropout, which KRIT clearly took as an influence here, but there is a unique flow at work, a blend of tough hip hop and smooth soul-influenced instrumentation that would put Outkast to shame.
So many songs, so little time – but these three gems will keep shining.