If you couldn’t tell based off my picks for the best local hip-hop and rock records of the year, there was a lot of great music made in Seattle in 2012. Of course, there was more than just great hip-hop and rock coming out of the Emerald City. This year was filled with excellent albums from every genre ranging from Americana to electronic dance music, proving once again that Seattle is home to the best music scene in the nation.
The below list isn’t meant to be definitive, as I’m sure there were plenty of excellent local albums that didn’t make it to my ears this year, but it is a list of local records that I returned to multiple times throughout 2012 and I will likely return to multiple times in years to come. So here, in no particular order, are my selections for the 10 best local albums of 2012.
Father John Misty Fear Fun
Josh Tillman has been making music in Seattle for years both as a solo artist (J. Tillman) and as drummer for Fleet Foxes but it’s his debut as his alter ego Father John Misty where he manages to shine the brightest. Also, he gave Guerrilla Candy the ringing endorsement above, so he’ll always have a special spot in my heart.
Erik Blood Touch Screens
Erik Blood may best be known for his production skills and his relationships with Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction, but he’s no slouch with his solo work. Touch Screens is a collection of songs about pornography from various perspectives, ranging from the people who watch it to those who create it. It might sound like a conceptual stretch, but it is one of the best local albums of the year.
Year Candy: The 10 best local rock records of 2012
The Flavr Blue Pisces
An electronic dance music record out of Seattle? Yup. And it’s really good too. I loved this record the first time I heard it and chances are you will too. It gets bonus points for making me dance every time I give it a listen.
Damien Jurado Marqopa
Damien Jurado has been around the block which is why it’s a little surprising that Maraqopa is one of the best albums of his career. The album is part folk, part psychedelic and all genuinely enjoyable. If you decide to pick up one album out of Jurado’s canon you can’t go wrong Maraqopa.
Don’t Talk to the Cops Let’s Quit
The evolution of DJ/producer/MC/b-boy blesOne continues with Don’t Talk to the Cops’ second full-length album. It’s filled with witty pop culture jabs, speaker-warping beats and plenty of humor.
Year Candy: The 10 best local hip-hop albums of 2012
Maldives Muscle for the Wing
From Brent Stecker’s review: “Muscle for the Wing is an apt reflection of their amped-up live shows … That’s not to say the twang is gone — not in the least bit. Banjo, southern-fried guitar licks, plucky barroom piano and Jason Dodson’s drawling vocals all still get their time to shine, they just happen to arise from burlier arrangements than in the past.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist
The first full-length from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is humorous (“Thrift Shop”), serious (“Starting Over”) and it features one of the most socially and culturally important hip-hop songs released in the past decade (“Same Love”).
Lemolo The Kaleidoscope
From Brent Stecker’s review: “The biggest asset of The Kaleidoscope is Lemolo’s use of dynamics — rarely are more than three or four musical elements running at the same time, adding more weight to each part, whether it be the intricate drums of “On Again, Off Again,” the spacey guitar lines of “Who Loves,” or each secondary vocal track.”
Deep Sea Diver History Speaks
Jessica Dobson’s band, Deep Sea Diver, is one of the most refreshing new arrivals on the local scene. She put her experience playing with The Shins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Beck to good use by honing her songwriting skills which resulted in this stellar nine-song debut.
THEESatisfaction awE naturalE
The ladies of THEESat delivered a stellar Sub Pop debut filled with wonky beats, killer grooves and one helluva single with a standout hook/life mantra in “Queens.” Whatever you do, don’t funk with their groove.
Honorable mentions: Soundgarden King Animal, Alessandra Rose You Are Gold, Ben Gibbard Former Lives, Brandi Carlile Bear Creek, Lindsay Fuller You, Anniversary