Year Candy: The 10 best local records of 2012

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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.

Review: Father John Misty flies the freaky folk flag on Fear Fun

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.

Listen: Sample Flavr Blue’s debut ‘Pisces’

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.

Ten must-own local records from 2012: Part 1 | Part 2

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.”

Review: Maldives get lean and mean on ‘Muscle for the Wing’

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”).

Interview: Macklemore talks fashion, sobriety, Ben Bridwell and haters

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.”

Review: Lemolo’s ‘The Kaleidoscope: A dynamic and moody debut

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

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.