Well, here we are. We weren't thrust into a new dark age oblivion, the world didn't end and neither did my workaday quest for the best music for the day. This year was rife with records that just had to be snatched -- reissues, compilations, and a fair few newbies too.
Here follows my personal, "show and tell" style best-of list for 2012: the year that didn't stop the big wheel a-turnin'. Rather than just dicing up a list of cold-cut favorites, I've included personal events and trends herein that shaped the music I sought and gravitated towards within the past year.
BEST NEW ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Jessica Pratt - JP. No contest. I have naught but the best of things to say about this disc of spun gold and I'm not alone. It seems every Barry, Rob, and Maurice in the blogosphere has been falling all over this record like autumn leaves in the rain. If you really want to know my take check out my real talk review of JP here, otherwise please do enjoy the album's opening track, "Night Faces" below.
The band, which formed after a former classical violinist (Stephen Docker) and a DJ/Producer (Gerard Sidhu) met at a house party in Melbourne, released their self-titled debut EP on Neon Gold in 2011 and is working on their full-length album which is due out in 2013. In the meantime, they have released a few singles, most recently "Cast Away," and have been busy remixing tracks for other artists, including Foster the People, The Naked and Famous, and The Temper Trap. They also found time to record a pretty amazing version of "Roxanne" by The Police (listen here).
If you're in San Francisco, you can catch Strange Talk tonight at Rickshaw Stop (get tickets here). Or join me tomorrow in Los Angeles at The Echo (get tickets here). Don't forget to bring your dancing shoes!
They'll be in New York for a few dates too:
October 17 - Mercury Lounge (CMJ Windish Showcase)
Jero grew up among a strong influence of Japanese culture and began singing Enka at an early age due to his Japanese grandmother Takiko's enthusiasm for the genre. She had met Jero's grandfather, an African-American serviceman, at a dance in Yokohama during World War II. They married, had a daughter - Jero's mother Harumi - and eventually moved to Pittsburgh, his grandfather's hometown. Though his parents divorced when he was still very young Jero was reared under the cultural influence and familial guidance of his Japanese grandmother and his Japan-born mother in a mixed-heritage household.