BEST OF 2012 // THE ROOKIES

Putting out a great first album is no easy feat.  Here are our picks for LP rookies of the year.

9. KISHI BASHI // 151a

In the vein of Andrew Bird or Owen Pallet, the deft compositions of Kishi Bashi quickly catapult one’s mood into the realm of Narnia imagination.  The vocals, including japanese interstitials are lovingly crafted and the string work was sharp enough that Yeasayer used Kishi for their powerhouse single, Longevity.

8. DAUGHN GIBSON // ALL HELL

Recently picked up to Sub Pop, Ladykiller,Daughn Gibson’s deep baritone, paired with cool electronic production made him a truly fresh new sound, and definitely an artist to watch next year.  His debut, All Hell is like James Blake doing country.

7. HALF MOON RUN // DARK EYES

We haven’t spent a ton of time with this artist, but there is something truly sharp and fresh about their sound.  While this album finds them doing pretty good impressions of Radiohead and fellow newcomer Alt-J, the foursome from Vancouver also stretches itself with playful folk and alt-rock sounds that are more compelling with every listen. 

6. FRANK OCEAN // CHANNEL ORANGE

N’awlins original Frank Ocean, previously found teaming up with the likes of Odd Future, entered the spotlight first as an openly gay R&B artist in a world where that type of bravery is rare.  But separate from any hype gained from this fact, Channel Orange is sly, cynical and catchy album about life, liberty and luxury on the west coast.  While lyrics often favor convenience over logic, the album is enjoyable nearly start to finish and has moments of greatness.  Now, if they’d just put the fucker on vinyl…

5. LEMONADE // DIVER

With Diver, the Brooklyn duo has created a bright and bold entry into the world of male driven post-EDM (viz. Tanlines, Beat Connection).  The track Neptune was an instant and completely overplayed favorite. And the whole album, featuring clean cut emo-lyricism and eurodance rhythms acts as the year’s best guilty pleasure.  We missed them live this year, but there is no doubt their shows are buckets of fun.

4. DJANGO DJANGO // ST

The ambitious 2xLP from the UK’s Django Django popped onto the scene with a completely unexpected brightness and energy. The album art and included poster forces a confusion that intrigues the listener from the start and perhaps helps to keep them pinned down during the more experimental 2nd record.  The first three tracks are brilliant, and on a whole the album feels like Beck doing a dance LP while simultaneously incanting the beach boys.  Fun.

3. PURITY RING // SHRINES

We don’t need to say anything that hasn’t been said before about this awesome release, but we will.  The sharply morose lyrics, compressed hip hop rhythms and haunting voice all mean Witch wave is here to stay, and with Fever Ray off the scene at the moment, we’re really happy about that!  Oh, also bonus points for best colored vinyl of the year.

2. ALT-J // AN AWESOME WAVE

We first peeped our friends Alt-J when they opened for Cascine artist Erika Spring at the Echoplex earlier this year.  Triangles immediately became our favorite shape. Bold, super-proficient drumming accompanied by quirky lyrics sung in a complex and caricatured falsetto drove Alt-J deep into our hearts.  Having won the prestigious Mercury Prize, we have no doubt there will be more great tunes, and more brilliant movie references in Alt-J’s future. (Now, if you’re on a mac hit alt+j with us ∆)

1. JOHN TALABOT // FIN

In a year when we felt like house music left a bit to be desired, one man rose above the rest to not only capture rookie of the year, but in our opinion ALBUM OF THE YEAR.  This man is John Talabot (w/ his friend Pional).  Making great house music means beating expectations with every track, and carrying an energy that tells a story while keeping your feet moving.  Talabot does this by lacing his tracks with lush circular rhythms and amazing vocal samples.  There is NO lackluster track on this album.  With the intro, you are ushered into a dark balearic forest by this Spaniard’s adept production methods, and while sometimes frightening (see scream samples in Oro y Sangre) , this is a place that we never want to leave.

TOUCH VINYL will be stocking copies of all the rookies through the new year, so come and make sure you grab your favorites before they go out of print!


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