As a lover of music who has seen his tastes change and evolve over the years, I expected more out of myself. And yet, as Yoda would say, failed have I. Man oh man(!) do I feel dumb but I’ll get to that…
2012, at least musically, was a magical year. There was the wonderfully unexpected from beat-based artists like Macklemore, Woodkid and Le1f to the pleasingly expected from powerhouses like Muse, Kanye West and Jack White. And though hip-hop had so many breakthroughs with true breakouts like Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Meek Mill etc. etc. etc., that is not what 2012 was really about. Nor was it about the Mumford and Sons inspired bands like The Lumineers or Of Monster and Men; no. It was something else entirely.
When I look, and definitely listen, back to 2012, I will remember it as the year of the synthesizer, the electronic, the club-fuzed layered, interesting tracks. The Deadmau5es, David Guettas, Calvin Harrises and Skrillexes amped it up to mass public levels of appeal but they are not who I am referring to. Though great stylistically and pleasing to the ear, Will.i.a.m. excluded, there was much, much more.
I am speaking about bands that combined the electro with the Radioheadesque touch that really stepped it up. Bands like Metric, Grimes, Beach House, The xx, Crystal Castles and even Passion Pit (!?!) that lifted music to another level. This transformative, at times harsh and at others as peaceful as a babbling creek, was truly magical. Beauty as apparent as that of Diane Kruger, the bar has been raised.
And yet, 2013 is already proving itself to be ready. With eagerly anticipated albums from Hilly Eye, Christopher Owens, Yo La Tengo, Toro Y Moi and the Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory’s NPR First Listenable “Elements of Light” slated to release this year, 2013 is already off to a stylistic bang. Maybe this isn’t an Adele break-up album or System of a Down getting back together but it is special. Which brings me to why I’m dumb.
The album I’m most looking forward is “Amok,” the debut album from Atoms for Peace. In a way only Radiohead can, the Spotify-able “Default” serves as a promise to continue the electro, beat-layering, uber-interesting can’t stop listening that 2012 delivered. The thing is, this debut is in fact Radiohead, or the closest thing to it, in that it is headed up by Thom Yorke. How I didn’t know this is unforgivable and discredits my words fully so stop reading and just bask in the glow of the track below.