2012 was a winning year for electro and experimental bands – and we saw them come from all over the world. The big winners this year being Grimes, Purity ring, Crystal Castles, the xx, Beach House and our homegrown Flume (who has just recently inked deals in Europe and the US).
The hip Hop scene also delivered some gems - Frank Ocean made headlines when he openly declared his homosexuality and moved forward his album release date to capitalise on the resulting publicity. Who really cares about his sexuality though, right!? It’s a great record. Plan B also made headlines with the release of his politically charged third album ‘Ill Manors’ before touring Australia as part of Parklife. And as far as political talking points went, there was Pussy Riot’s Russian incarceration, Meatloaf’s amazing electoral explosion and just Lana Del Rey in general.
Also, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. EPs from female artists also made a huge dint in 2012. Haim, Charli XCX, Solange, Katy B and Icona Pop (thank you Sweden) all released EPs which made us smile this year. The Queen of Beats Santigold also released her killer new album ‘Master Of My Make Believe’ and stole the show at Harvest Festival in November.
Psychedelic rockers Tame Impala seemed to be one of the most talked about bands of the year – making huge impact on not only Australia, but through the USA and Europe. Side project POND also featured high on many a best of list – making it a double win (see NMEs top 50 – TWO IN THE TEN!?). Far north Queenslanders The Medics also scored high on the Cool Accidents list with their debut ‘Foundations’.
Making some seriously loud noise this year were The Black Keys, touring Australia after far too long away. Who could forget that moment when the Lonely Boy video first hit computer screens all those months ago, and ‘Deb Spoons Perry’ hit 1 million views in only a matter of days. Also last year, the Rubens released what was – let’s be honest – a watered down vanilla ice cream blues rock record.
One of my favourite moments of 2012 was seeing Alt-J absolutely beaming at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory in October. Australia has genuinely fallen head over heels for this band and their return for Laneway will be epic.
Django Django must also be mentioned. Who could have thought that Australia would fall in love so deeply for four nerds from Edinburgh, wearing matching plaid shirts? Incidentally, their single Default is one of our picks for the top five in the Triple J Hottest 100 later this month.
Garage rock, right now, seems to be at breaking point; highlighted by Japandroids, FIDLAR, Boomgates & Twerps – not to mention the brilliant compilation ‘Nuggets’ that saw young up’n’comers covering Australian garage classics. We are addicted to the fuzzy, washed out rock and if you ask me, we’ll be hearing more.
Chris Brown continued to be a douchebag by getting a battered woman tattooed on his neck and dressing up as Taliban. The Voice turned out to actually be okay but noone cared when whichever contentant won, won. Australian Idol started again but was immediately cancelled when Delta threatened to sue Nat Bassingwaithe for stealing her patented ‘Stand On The Table To Draw Attention To Self’ maneuver. Pitbull continued to place a surprising importance on weather or not I raised my arms during his music and LMFAO’s long and illustrious career came to a
none-too-soon sad conclusion. Oh yeah, Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe happened too, right!?
Obviously this has been an extremely abridged and contracted synopsis of what was a bumper year for tunes but remember, this is 2012, the year of the limited attention span. Here’s to another big year in 2013.