50 Indispensable Songs From 2012

Instead of creating a ranked order of my top 50 songs of the year, thus forcing myself to make arbitrary differentiations, I decided to go a slightly different route. What follows are 50 unranked songs from 2012 that I find to be indispensable. If you were only to listen to 50 songs from this year, these are the ones that I would show you.

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Song of the Day: “Breeze” – XXYYXX

This song is a a moody, masterful piece of what I like to call “electrobeat.” Especially notable is the way he interweaves the sample of Alt-J’s “Breezeblocks“. I cannot wait to see this promising young producer (along with Hundred Waters, Levek and Different Sleep) in concert on November 3rd at the High Dive.

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Music Roundup: Sept. 24th

Here’s a rundown of some good new music that premiered today:

  • “Petey Green” – Uptown XO Feat. AB The Pro
  • “Three White Horses” – Andrew Bird
  • “Cool Kong” – Retro Su$hi

And as an added bonus, here’s a full version of Bon Iver’s Radio City concert, streaming for the next 48 hours only. Having seen Bon Iver live in Tampa, I can tell you, the groups concerts are surprisingly good and add nice texture to the songs.

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Song of the Day: “Numbers” – Logic

At what point do similarities become more than mere coincidental likenesses? This is an important question when discussing Logic’s Paramore-sampling “Numbers”. I won’t mention whose music “Numbers” resembles, but it should be obvious to anyone who has listened to mainstream hip hop within the past couple of years. When do these stylistic resemblances turn into forms of imitation, and consequently, when does imitation lose it’s credibility as “art”?

(For the record, I like the song)

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Song of the Day: “Fuck Your Stuff” – P.O.S.

P.O.S. has long been one of my favorite MC’s. “Fuck Your Stuff”, the latest leak off his soon-to-be-released 4th solo album We Don’t Even Live Here, continues the Minnesota rapper’s tradition of releasing great music full of bombastic production and intelligent, layered lyrics.

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Streaming Music: Artists’ Newest Attempt To Counter Pirating?

Yesterday was a big day for fans of music. In addition to the release of quite a few noteworthy singles, many of which you will probably hear on this site in the next week or so, three major artists made their soon-to-be-released albums available for streaming online. Grizzly Bear made their latest project Shields available to the folks at NPR, who put it up on their website for fans to listen to. Meanwhile, Band of Horses and How To Dress Well shared their respective albums on their Soundcloud pages. All three of these albums are set for release on September 18th, exactly a week from today. This comes within a week of The xx making  a stream of their highly anticipated sophomore album known to one fan and then watching news of the stream spread worldwide.

This (somewhat) recent trend of making an artist’s album available to stream online a week or two before it’s physical release suggests a calculated attempt by either the artist or the label (or both) to combat the preponderance of internet piracy that is seemingly affecting music sales. Giving people access, but not ownership, of the music they desire is an interesting market strategy; sites like Youtube and Spotify allow listeners to ascertain the quality of the music they’re most intrigued by, thus making buying a record less of a leap of faith by the consumer and more of a show of support and preference. Full album streams would achieve the same goals. It seems like an acknowledgement by the industry, however begrudgningly, that if people want to pirate music they will. Instead, artists and labels should redirect some of their focus to those listeners who are tentative about making purchases and selective when it comes to how and where they spend their money. Consumers who require conformation of quality before making a purchase are probably more abundant than we give credit for. Increased access afforded by these streams leads to increased exposure for the artist’s music and exposure is rarely a negative thing as long as the music holds appeal to a certain sect of listeners.

All of this is based on speculative reasoning of course. I haven’t conducted any of the industry studies I assume the record labels have and I don’t pretend to know the reactions and listening habits of all consumers. However it seems like common sense that streams like this would be beneficial in discouraging the desire to pirate music, even if only amongst a fraction of those who illegally obtain music. But even a small increase in sales is noteworthy; at this point the record industry needs all the sales that they can get.

Here’s the stream of Band of Horses’s upcoming 4th album Mirage Rock:

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Song of the Day: “Growing Young” – Dumbfounded

Here’s west coast MC Dumbfounded’s latest single (and video) for his track “Growing Young.” Featuring some slick, nostalgia-inducing production, the track showcases DFD’s lyrical skills as he describes the maturation he’s undergone as he’s grown older. Other than a cringe-inducing Moby Dick reference, not a single lyric is wasted on the track. Also, the video is fairly creative and well put together. Listen (and watch) below:

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