Dyscyplyn’s Top 10 Albums of 2012

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Dyscyplynary Action
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Another year has passed and with the moments it has brought us. 2012 has seen an interesting array of events and received a hefty amount quality music in the process. For me, I’ve been introduced to new sounds as well as following up with what I discovered in the previous years and I must say that it was fun as hell. There’s still some albums that I have to catch up on and some that I strongly overlooked, but for now I will present to you my top 10 favorite albums of 2012. Hope for you to all enjoy the New Year and what 2013 will bring to music lovers everywhere.

Grizzly-Bear-Shields1 (1)

1. Grizzly Bear – Shields

I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of this as it was my first time listening to the band. I still have to run through their whole discography but for my first time having my Grizzly Bear cherry popped, this was an awesome way in introducing me to them. Shields turned out to be the strongest album I’ve heard this year as when I always go to play one song, I end it playing the entire album. Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen swapping vocal duties throughout the project kept me in tune as the sonic euphoria of “Speak In Rounds/Adelma” stayed playing for hours. You go and listen to “Sun In Your Eyes” and you would think Pharrell himself stopped by the studio to add some touches to it. It’s a stellar record that makes for a great first impression, for me a least.


2. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison or now currently Captain Murphy) continues to progress his hyper electronic/jazz/hip-hop hybrid into something much more magnificent. With Quiet, it turns out to be his most cohesive project to date, easily flowing like a river in the woods. Actually, that’s a really soothing feeling as FlyLo weaves in chiming bells, electronic video game sounds, and various strings in 48-minutes of dreamy superiority. Erykah Badu, Thom Yorke, and Laura Darlington are some of the few names that come through to expand this project even further, and Lotus himself doesn’t seem to be stopping.

Read the full review here.


3. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city

What a hell of a year TDE has had, only to cap it off with their head honcho releasing his aftermath debut to high acclaim. And boy, it was well worth it as Kendrick went damn near All Japan overkill in making a album that can be considered (by most) a modern classic. It’s maybe one of the reasons why I might be ranking it a little higher than it should be, as K. Dot was very meticulous in the structure and production of GKMC. It’s 12 powerful songs that are held together through a story of Kendrick’s youth, circling through his mother’s van and a girl he used to fuck with named Sherane. And it sounds so good when it goes on, but it can feel to be extremely heavy on some ears. In any event, Kendrick proves that he can hold his own on the main stage and that artistry shouldn’t be sacrificed in order to received mainstream recognition.

Full review here, dudes.


4. BJ The Chicago Kid – Pineapples Now-Laters

This seemed to find a way into my top 10 early and stayed ever since as BJ delivered one of the most authentic R&B albums in recent memory. I have always been a fan of his work from being prominently featured on projects from Fly.Union, TDE, and Pac Div, so it was only a matter of time he would step to the stage for his solo debut. Here he crafted some of the most sensual, and soulful work I have heard in a long while. With the D’Angelo-inspired “Good Luv’n” and one of my favorite songs this year in “Dream II’, it holds a special place in my heart.


5. Jessie Ware – Devotion

I said this once and I’m gonna say this again: Jessie Ware is going to be something special. From covering English football games to performing with SBTRKT, Ware has built herself up to become another pop sensation. With her debut album Devotion, she can come pretty close to doing that. It’s a rejuvenated feeling of 80’s pop music reminiscent of Janet Jackson and the seductive allure of Sade. “Wildest Moments” has the potential of being a smash record if pushed correctly (and I think it still will happened, look at Gotye). An EP of her album will be releasing soon and hopefully it will be the start of things to come for the Londoner.

Full review here.

RAP Music

6. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music

While part of the Dungeon Family core moved on to other ventures (Cee-Lo Green appearing on The Voice and Andre 3000 just being here or there), the Atlanta music collective continues to hold it down. With half of the OutKast duo Big Boi paving his way through solo means, the 2nd generation members in Janelle Monae and Future are finding creative ways to fulfill their musical message. This leaves the DF stalwart Killer Mike and his consistent workrate in delivering strong albums. As focused as ever on R.A.P. (Rebellious African People) Music, he combines his quick southern drawl with the spaced-out, guitar heavy production of Brooklyn’s El-P. Proving that regional boundaries are a thing in the past, this turns out to be Mike’s most politically charged work to date. With the powerful “Reagan” and AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted-influenced “Don’t Die”, Mike reflects on his childhood growing up in that era. I would be to remissed to say that this received much more play than GKMC.


7. Ab-Soul – Control System

It’s something about conveying emotion that would pull listeners into an artist stronger than they have ever imagined. That’s exactly how it is with Black Hippy’s Ab-Soul and his second full-length LP Control System. A resident of suburban Carson, California, Souloh is as lyrically proficient as his TDE counterpart Kendrick Lamar, with his furious wordplay and excessive use of double entendres. What separates him from Kendrick is how Soul can rap about his life and really make you empathize with him. As exemplified with the grand “Book Of Soul” and reflective “Double Standards”, Ab-Soul can tug away at the string of hearts with ease. And he can definitely hold his own as a superb rapper as shown on “Track Two” and “Pineal Gland”. The Black Hippy crew also makes an appearance for the closing “Black Lip Bastard Remix”, wrapping up an album that’s filled with introspection, pain, joy, and excitement for what is to behold.


8. Oddisee – People Hear What They See

Oddisee’s got the juice, plain and simple. Initially known for his production, the PG County, Maryland native took to rapping and crafted one of the most complete, well-rounded Hip-Hop works of this year. With a blend of jazzy keys, horns, and a thumping bass, Oddisee represents the ever-impressive Mello Music Group with their quality releases. The features are kept to a minimum, as this was able to let Oddisee tell his story from coming up from nothing and succeeding. It’s amazing how this album was left under the radar by so many.


9. Tame Impala – Lonerism

When Perth Psychedelic band Tame Impala released their debut Innerspeaker in 2010, I was thoroughly unimpressed by it. While it sounded good, much of the record lost its traction with me and dragged on. So of course I was reluctant in giving Lonerism a shot until I heard it in full and man, this is so much better. It blows away its debut by far and is much more accessible and free-flowing than the former. “Endors Toi” is one of the highlights for its explosive simplicity: synths rummaging in an elementary harmony as the guitars pick up in force. It’s groovy and buoyant, and can seriously leave you in a mega mindtrip.


10. Passion Pit – Gossamer

Other than Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens, there aren’t that many albums that can evoke an emotional reaction the way Passion Pit’s sophomore effort has. Though the music will sound very upbeat sonically, with further listening it evolves to one of the darkest albums released this year. Michael Angelakos has made no secret that he deals with depression and opens up to his problems in candid detail on Gossamer. From downplaying his fight with alcoholism over the sensual keys and backing harmony of vocals on “Constant Conversations” and confessing to his girlfriend about his issues on “On My Way”, Angelakos bears it all as if it was his last record. Beneath the layers of poppy hooks and its childlike-feel, this is some serious art.

Here is the rest of my list spanning from album 11-25 if you care to read:

11. John Talabot – Fin
12. Chromatics – Kill For Love
13. How To Dress Well – Total Loss
14. Purity Ring – Shrines
15. Phantom – Scars EP
16. Robert Glasper – Black Radio
17. Roc Marciano – Reloaded
18. Ty$ – Beach Hou$e
19. Nas – Life Is Good
20. Future – Pluto
21. Rashad – Museum
22. Death Grips – The Money Store
23. Chance The Rapper – 10 Day
24. Lambchop – Mr. M
25. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange


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