Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Best Hipster Music Of 2012. Really.

By Eli Winter

HOUSTON, Texas – Here’s an overview of my favorite hipster music for 2012.

Best Albums

“Four”—Bloc Party 
This album’s title comes from a pretty obvious fact: that it’s the fourth album made by Bloc Party.
While its name isn’t terribly original, the music is, and it’s naturally – at least for the most part – extremely well done.
Its songs feature a variety of opposites: urgent-sounding and relaxed guitars, begging and yelping vocals, calm and driving bass parts and the same ol’ same ol’ of good old Matt Tong’s unbelievably precise drumming.
As a result, many of its songs seem opposite as well (“Real Talk” followed by “Kettling” serves as a great example of that), but Bloc Party manages to pull it all together in such a way that gets me to call this one of the best albums of the year.
And we all know that’s what they always wanted.
Try out “Real Talk”, “Day Four”, “V.A.L.I.S.”; Stream “Four” here.

“Thoughtless Sounds” – Max Jared
Though I liked this album from the start, I had a few complaints about it.
Now, though, it has grown on me --- not very much, you understand, but it didn’t really need to. It’s that good.
Jared’s great at making catchy, sincere music with encouraging, thoughtful lyrics, though a little help from Chuck Rainey on bass doesn’t hurt either.
Jared’s influences include everyone from Jason Mraz to John Cage, who inspired the 10th song on the album, “3:33” (3 minutes and 33 seconds of silence).
Forgive me, but you’d be thoughtless not to hear these sounds.
Try out “Talk”, “Coming Home”, “The Effect”; Stream “Thoughtless Sounds” here,

“Silver Age”—Bob Mould
Best album of the year. Bar none.
Bob Mould played in alt-rock bands Husker Du and Sugar before going solo, and while his previous albums have involved everything from folk to electronica, his latest sticks to the tried-and-true guitar rock that made his bands household names in the first place.
Mould still manages to branch out within that sound, though, from the grinding, poppy, noise-rock of “Briefest Moment” to the slow-and-steady sludge of “Steam of Hercules’”
Most of these songs segue into each other, yet each can hold its own, making this an album you can listen to all at once or in bite-size pieces.
Whichever path you choose, the one everyone goes along or the one less traveled by, you won’t regret listening to this album at all. Trust me. You won’t.
Try out “The Descent”, “Briefest Moment”, “Keep Believing”...who am I kidding? Just hear all of it, and hear it here.

Best Songs

“The House That Heaven Built” – Japandroids
Noisy, poppy, and (annoyingly) catchy, once you hear this song you won’t be able to get it out of your head for a few days. Well, more like a few weeks. Of course, here that’s a good thing.
Watch the music video of “The House That Heaven Built” here.

“Montauk” – Rufus Wainwright
Wainwright played this song during his performance behind Bob Boilen’s desk (for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts) and at the end of it there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Enough said.
Watch his performance of “Montauk” here. (Start at the 11:00 mark.)

“Did Your Broken Heart Make You Who You Are?” – Franz Nicolay
Along with being one of my favorite songs of the year, this also has my favorite song title of the year. Nicolay may have shaved his incredible mustache (in an interview with Bulls Radio, he said that “it kind of overstayed its welcome”), but his songwriting skills have lived on, and let’s hope they continue to do so.
Watch the video of “Did Your Broken Heart Make You Who You Are?” here

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