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Soundcheck's Best Of 2012 Survey

Where are you from?

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January 17, 2013 01:05:23 AM
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Etienne Frossard

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Brroklyn, NY

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"Nights en Earth" Vince Mendoza
Embrassing many different styles-influences while being unique and personal and deeply emotional

January 02, 2013 01:10:17 PM
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Julie

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Brooklyn, NY

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Fiona Apple's "The Idler Wheel…" won hands down this year. It just nailed it from all angles, and hit me on a personal and emotional level. I was captivated from the second Fiona snarled "Look at, look at, look at me" in "Daredevil". The lyrics read like poems in a journal, but they're beautifully sung and orchestrated. Honesty has never sounded so good.

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Kishi Bashi's "Bright Whites", simply because The first time I heard and saw Kishi Bashi perform, I was completely floored. I wish his brilliance could be completely transparent in his recordings, but alas, it's not immediately obvious that he's stacking sounds all over each other with a loop pedal. "Bright Whites" is a gorgeous illustration of Kishi Bashi's ability to transcend the conventional uses of voice and instrument and fuse the two to create what is simply beautiful noise.

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Kishi Bashi (see above)

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Bobby Womack! Until I listed his 2012 album, "The Bravest Man in the Universe", I only knew him as the guy who sang "Across 110th Street". Suddenly, his aged raspy was coming out of my headphones and I felt like my heart was getting squeezed. The album is beautiful as a whole, and most of the songs are tinged with sadness and longing. I like that Womack is a musician who isn't afraid to have his music age with him (see counter examples in Madonna and Rolling Stones). Hearing Womack's album was the most pleasant surprise of the year for me.

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Usher, you *almost* nailed it. Usher is so talented, and "Climax" is an amazing song, but he's still making those mindless dance songs that pander more to pop radio than progressive R&B. He's more talented and experienced than Frank Ocean and Miguel, but their albums were so much better. Also, can someone tell Usher that it's sacrilege to auto-tune a voice like his?

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Tune-Yards at Terminal 5. I'm completely in love with Merrill Garbus. She owns the stage with her voice and her drums. She's such a knockout performer.

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Hand-clapping was at its apex this year. So much so that a band called "Phenomenal Handclap Band" became an actual thing. Now, I love a good handclap song, but maybe it's time to move on from this trend and its cousin, the group sing-along. Examples of this trend: the popularity of bands like Imagine Dragons, Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, and F.U.N.

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Seeing as how The Black Eyed Peas did not come out with a song or album this year, I'll go with "Moves Like Jagger" by The Maroon 5. First of all, it doesn't make ANY sense. Second, it's a less than mediocre song with a dance beat overlaid on it like an afterthought in an attempt to make it somewhat compelling. Third, in spite of all this, it's popular and overplayed.

December 30, 2012 12:16:56 PM
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Kate

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Reno, NV

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Alt-J's An Awesome Wave. I love how the tempo and mood change with every track as they flow into one another. It is a fresh new sound that I really appreciated.

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Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. If that song doesn't make you dance, then not much will.

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Shovels and rope!! The thought of the two of them traveling around the country in their Winnebago playing music and being madly in love with each other makes me so happy. Her voice is amazing and it's just a solid country-tinged, bluegrass love fest. Lay Low is a great sad love song that beautifully captures the pain of long distance love.

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Japandroids! Not as much rock and roll this year, definitely more pop. But Japandroids knocked my socks off. I just love their anthem rock quality. As NPR music's Stephen Thompson says, 'Celebration Rock' is an extremely accurate name for this album.

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I absolutely fell in love with the song I Love it by Icona Pop, and then it became the theme song to Jersey Shore's 'Snooki and Jwoww' spin off and it just ruined it for me. I didn't really have any disappointments beyond that. 2012 was a great year for music.

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One of the best things about moving to Reno is that concerts hardly ever sell out. I decided to buy a ticket to see Wilco about an hour before the show in the spring. They opened with my favorite song of theirs, One Sunday Morning, and it was just perfect. Tears were shed.

Also, I saw THEEsatisfaction at a small venue in Sacramento. There may have been 20 people in the crowd so we got to meet them afterwards. They were so humble and really great live. QueenS is another great dance song of 2012.

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More blues and more electronic beats. Not in the same song, however.

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I hate fun. I love The Format, but I can't get behind fun. Nate Ruess' voice always had that whiney quality, but for some reason when you mix it with poppy beats instead of an acoustic guitar it's just unbearable.

December 27, 2012 11:18:20 PM
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Landa Medici

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Rahway, NJ

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"The Idler Wheel"-Fiona Apple

As a huge Fiona fan I was anxious and slightly nervous for her new album. She takes such time between albums I feared the Fiona I know and love may have been lost since. I WAS RIGHT!!! But, in the best way possible. This album is so, 'earthy' and 'raw'. She doesn't care how great a song will song, just sings what she feels, which I give so much credit for. Fiona fan for life.

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"My Heart with You"-The Rescues. So, not released in 2012, but is new to me and has been my obsession since I first heard it in June of 2012. The vocal harmonies are SO FANTASTIC I was convinced it was machine produced at first. The lyrics are heart-wrenching and honest. I'm so sad I didn't hear this when it came out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8y0w91ehIo

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"Fun." Although I suppose I have been a fan for years of "The Format" which draws the same lead singer. Pretty catchy, just enjoyable music.

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That people still care about Dr.John! I've always been a big fan of the mumbling, old stride piano player with his gritty New Orleans style, but didn't realize anyone else cared. Glad to see I was wrong!

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Lenny Kravitz Half-Time show. Good god, how the mighty have fallen. That was the single most BORING thing I have seen since Bush's Inauguration Speech.

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Rufus Wainwright on the PBS series "Artists' Den". I was not fortunate enough to have the funds to attend myself but his voice is a national treasure.

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Strained female vocals on top of ANY generic Dance beat. For examples, see any David Guetta song.

Apparently the sound of the vocal cords holding on for dear life is the new thing.

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"Gangnam Style". The music is terrible and the stupid dance...oh god, that dance. I'm a dance teacher by profession and I cringe when my trained dancers are doing their generations version of "the Macarena". This song is so terrible.

I just don't get it.

December 27, 2012 09:49:52 PM
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A. Bank

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Midwood Brooklyn

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Iris Dement > Sing The Delta > Authenticity and soulfulness still are alive and reign.

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Early Roman Kings > Forever Dylan!

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Pierced Nipples

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Sensation > discovered the kool-Aid drinking, white brigade youth blocking the entrance to the B train in front of the Barclay Center.

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Going home checking out Sensation and becoming a bit frightened > hearing 1933 in the opening soundtrack > "You Don't Need To Think"... thump thump thump... "are we hip mo tized yet"?

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No question and wanting to "get this out there" "open my big mouth was the reason I chose to answer this survey.

The Rascals at The Capital > The Soul! The Rock n' Roll > NOT an oldies show. Beautiful, rockin' yes > so so relevant.

...and then there was Dino > Dino man!!!

Thanks Steven.

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Of course not new; but seeming endless > Entertainment posing as music. Talent, authenticity, soul and heart was hard to find...

...but was found at the Capital > see most memorable concert.

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Anything by cute young blond girls wearing pretty pink dresses "bopping" behind big guitars.

December 27, 2012 09:48:13 PM
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A. Bank

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Midwood Brooklyn

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Iris Dement > Sing The Delta > Authenticity and soulfulness still are alive and reign.

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Early Roman Kings > Forever Dylan!

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Pierced Nipples

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Sensation > discovered the kool-Aid drinking, white brigade youth blocking the entrance to the B train in front of the Barclay Center.

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Going home checking out Sensation and becoming a bit frightened > hearing 1933 in the opening soundtrack > "You Don't Need To Think"... thump thump thump... "are we hip mp tized yet"?

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No question and wanting to "get this out there" "open my big mouth was the reason I chose to answer this survey.

The Rascals at The Capital > The Soul! The Rock n' Roll > NOT an oldies show. Beautiful, rockin' yes > so so relevant.

...and then there was Dino > Dino man!!!

Thanks Steven.

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Of course not new; but seeming endless > Entertainment posing as music. Talent, authenticity, soul and heart was hard to find...

...but was found at the Capital > see most memorable concert.

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Anything by cute young blond girls wearing pretty pink dresses "bopping" behind big guitars.

December 27, 2012 09:42:26 PM
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Pamela Council

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New York, NY

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Flying Lotus - "Until The Quiet Comes"

This genre-bender is electronic and soulful at the same time. That makes it wondrously futuristic. This album has given me the ultimate focus while making my artwork.

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Carly Rae Jepson - "Call Me Maybe"

I love a song that everyone knows and can sing along to. It becomes a familiar reference point at the bodega, with my little cousins, my mom, or a stranger on the subway. This song is a built-in flash mob!!!

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Heems (from Das Racist) put out 2 amazing solo mixtapes this year. I always enjoy hearing what a breakout solo album sounds like from a group I enjoy. Himanshu Suri did not disappoint! Wild Water Kingdom has quirky sounds and seriously good raps.

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I listened to the best of Kelly Clarkson album, and I knew 80% of the songs from front to back. I was shocked! I was listening because I thought I didn't know her work.

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I saw AVAN LAVA in concert at the Wassaic Project Summer Festival. They wear all white on stage and have a projection show onto their bodies. There's dancing, a ton of band members, and more energy than I could have expected.

December 27, 2012 09:15:45 PM
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Jan

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NYC-Inwod

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RYAN SHAW - Real Love. BIGGEST Grammy Nomination 'oversight' of the year.

December 26, 2012 10:06:53 PM
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Jessica

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Astoria

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Channel Orange

Fantastic from start to finish.

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Time to run by Lord Huron

Melodic and beautiful. 2012s answer to Bon Iver

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Lord Huron. Hands down. Their sound has unique qualities with a variety of layers from folk to melodic.

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Lianne LA Havas. Beautiful voice.

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Rick Ross

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Florence at Radio City. She belted to high heaven.

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60s throwback retro. Nick Waterhouse, Bruno Mars, Michael kiwanuka

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Gang am. Just awful.

December 26, 2012 09:59:41 PM
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Chris

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Brooklyn

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"Babel," Mumford & Sons. Simply because I played it over and over and over. It's an album that I never got tired of hearing.

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"Heartbreaker" The Walkmen. Just a brilliant, pop-rock gem with such sweet, perfect hooks.

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Cold Specks. I haven't heard such an arresting, haunting sound since Joanna Newsom's "Ys." Every track is captivating and demands repeated listens.

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1) Borknagar. I've never been a fan of Sweedish death metal, so I was surprised when a friend suggested I listen to this album and I loved it.

2) Godspeed You Black Emperor's "Allelujah!" Out of nowhere (to me, at least) they put out a brilliant album. Who knew they were even still around?

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Frank Ocean. I've tried and tried, but I can't see why there's all the hype. Its fine, but that's it.

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"Sosa," Chief Keef. Represents everything I hate about contemporary rap, particularly the hyper-local gang and drug references. I'm sure most of your listeners haven't been inundated with this track, but as a high school teacher in East Flatbush, I'd been sick of this song for a while before the album came out.

December 25, 2012 10:51:22 PM
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Oliver

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Queens

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Channel Orange by Frank Ocean. Channels old Prince and new swag to form a cohesive, moving, and memorable album. Playfulness, honesty, vulnerability, and untouchable cool all wrapped up in unbelievably sick production.

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Tie:

Crack Rock by Frank Ocean. My favorite example of all the qualities mentioned above in question 1.

Bloody Knuckles by High on Fire. This song is undeniable proof that my favorite stoner metal band is again firing on all cylinders.

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Brendon Small's Galaktikon. He's the creator of Metalocalypse, and has released three albums under the guise of the show's protagonist metal band Dethklok. His new Galaktikon project is more interesting than (and just as fun as) the Dethklok albums, and shows off a wider spectrum of Brendon Small's musical tastes and talents.

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A pleasant surprise! The album Bloom by Beach House was amazing... probably their best yet. Not to knock them, but I didn't think they had it in them. With lots of bands, you can maybe imagine what they would sound like "fully mature"; whether or not they get there is another story (see The xx). Beach House definitely exceeded all expectations on this one.

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The album Port of Morrow by The Shins. Disappointed me for many reasons... some people praised the fact their sound as a band has evolved/filled out a bit, but at best it adds nothing to James Mercer's normally wonderful vocals (and at worst, it distracts). It didn't help that I waited almost 5 years for this.

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Gojira @ Santos Party House on Aug. 9th. This was the first time I saw them live, and I was stoked to see them at a small venue as opposed to the huge ones that they normally play these days. Their live sound is incredible... every bit as heavy, nuanced, and "OMG did they just do that??" as their recordings.

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Hip hop and RnB that breaks away from the monolithic homophobia that's characterized most of hip hop musical culture. Maybe I'm making too much of the fact that Frank Ocean came out, but it's a big (and thankfully very visible) step in the right direction. Let's hope it continues so we can have more meaningful, resonant, and honest lyrics/concepts/content in hip hop.

December 24, 2012 08:19:16 PM
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Arthur Khoan

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Parsippany,NJ

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"Perilous" by Glass Hammer.

Great prog-rock band from Tennessee. Who would have thought that such cool musicianship in a prog style could come from the land of boring you-all country music?

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"Caravan" by Rush

Incredible opening song from "Clockwork Angels". Now that's how you make a rock record. You don't bore the listener like Indie rock does.

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Mystery. Check out "The World is a Game".

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Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I had to know what was so great about her. She can SING. Also, Lana Lane.

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I hate to say this because I love Van der Graaf Generator, and they performed a great show in NYC in June. But I was disappointed they did not play the song "Killer".

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Wishbone Ash at the Ukrainian center in NJ. Lots of great playing, double-lead guitars. Got to meet them after the show.

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I love progressive rock and it is being conveniently ignored by stations other than Q104.3 FM. Some terrific albums came out this year, and they get ignored, no reviews, etc. Critics and stations like WFUV and even WNYC are really missing out. Why do You all discriminate against marvelous musicianship? There Are other things out there besides folk, folk-rock, singer-songwriter, low-fi, alt bullcrap.

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The Cloud Nothings "Attack on Memory". WTF? How can anyone like this crap? Boring garbage! The songs drag. The vocals drag. Pitchfork loves this stuff? They have no integrity.

Artists that are also over-rated >>> Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Dirty Projectors, Regina Spektor, Alabama Shakes.

December 24, 2012 07:02:06 PM
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Terrible Tim

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Staten Island

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Neal Morse "Momentum".

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"Seven Cities of Gold" from Rush.

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Holy Grail.

Power metal band.

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Ingrid Michaelson came out with another album. WHY? She's bland, horrible, and doesn't deserve any of the attention.

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Levon Helm died. Sad for his family, but I never liked his kind of music. Never got into The Band. I tried. Same thing with Van Morrison. I can't take it.

Also, Terrible Tim's house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

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The Who at Barclay Center in Nov. 2012.

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More guys with beards and girls who play ukuleles. This must be stopped!

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Dirty Projectors

Pretentious garbage. They don't know how to play.

December 24, 2012 02:18:00 PM
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Frank Giallombard

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Staten Island

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Ian Anderson
Thick as a Brick 2

great progressive rock, flute, lyrics, story.

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Headlong Flight
by
Rush

heavy progressive metal song, totally keeps your attention.

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Flying Colors

Its has Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, and Steve Morse.

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more interesting power metal; bands like The Sword.

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The death of Michael Dunford of Renaissance. My 12-string guitar hero.

WNYC should do a tribute to him.

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Rush at Barclay Center.

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More stupid folkrock, guys with beards, banjos and mandolins and cellos in rock bands, girls with ukuleles.

Utterly annoying trends.

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Fiona Apple newest with the stupid long title "Idler Wheel..." or some bullcrap like that. Pretentious horse manure.

December 24, 2012 02:01:37 PM
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12-String Frank

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Staten Island

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Clockwork Angels (Rush)

heavy progressive rock

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Headlong Flight (Rush)

heavy progressive rock

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Alabama Shakes

horrible!

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Ian Anderson

Thick as a Brick 2

Prudential Center

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More folkrock, guys with beards, girls with ukuleles. Horrible!

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Anything by Fiona Apple.

Pretentious bullcrap/

December 22, 2012 02:00:08 PM
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Jobic de Calan

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A 8-year new yorker from Paris

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No albums stood out but Cat Power's Sun, Grizzly Bear's Shileds or Michael Kiwanuka's Home Again are solid contenders to be remembered in 5, 10, 15 years.

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We are young by fun. Maybe because my wife played it over and over again. And I barely felt pop fatigue.
Taylor Swift's We are never ever getting back together perfectly captures teenage girls' psyche "like ever". And it's a damn good pop song.

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Maybe I'm getting old but I can't name one.Promise, in 2013, I will listen to Soundcheck every single day.

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The ability of musicians to find ways to create and celebrate, despite never ending plunging sales.

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More than a disappointment, a confirmation: Madonna's performance at the Superbowl. After two minutes on stage, she was looking more tired than the combined Giants and Patriots team at the end of the game.
On paper, it was a match made in heaven. In real life, Rufus Wainwright's Out of the games produced by Mark Ronson never leveraged Rufus' generous sense of melody and Ronson's post-modern art of music production.

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Even if, according to the biggest wagnerian authorities, the Met's Ring disappointed, few experiences beat 20 hours of live music in a week performed by one of the best orchestras in the world. Richard from Bayreuth is the ultimate rock star.
The Olympics opening and closing ceremonies reminded us why we must, no matter what, love the English. Because for them, popular -as in popular music- rhymes with quality.

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The virality of memes. Now anyone can snap the latest song, change it, and share it with the world (cf. Jimmy Fallon's and NPR crew's version of Call me maybe).

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Gangnam Style, a song that uses the most tired cliches of dance music. How do you say Max Martin in Korean?

December 21, 2012 03:53:58 AM
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Jonas

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Boulder, CO

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Jacob Garchik's The Heavens. This music sounds ancient. It reaches into your chest and pulls out your soul and shows it to you. It sounds like it was just waiting for Garchik to come along and write it.

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Jacob Garchik "Creation's Creation" contains more in its 80 seconds than most songs do in eight minutes.

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Irene Diaz. Alt.Latino played snippets of a version of "I Love You Madly" that won't be released in full until February, but was enough to win me over.

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Jacob Garchik. I grew up playing two instruments--the piano by choice the the trumpet by force. Since childhood, then, I've been biased against brass. Occasionally, a musician would do something to accent a song with a trumpet or trombone and I would like it. But it's only been recently that I've slowly started to warm up to this category of instruments. Even with this recent warming, I hardly expected my favorite album of the year to be entirely brass.

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Sufjan Stevens' addition to his Christmas project. I've liked what he's done with it up to this point, but this "let's play around in the studio and release whatever we come up with" was awful.

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Erik Sundman playing at the Salvation Army.

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Why would I pay so much attention to music I don't like that I remember the song or album's title?

December 20, 2012 10:16:25 PM
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David

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New York, New York

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"The Lion's Roar," First Aid Kit. It's beautifully spare, ethereal, lyrically stylistic, and just lovely. Two sisters from Sweden who evidently grew up on American country and folk music, and their contribution to the genres has been impressive.

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"Fading Listening," Shiny Toy Guns (III). It sounds a bit yacht-rock-y at times, I concede, and it definitely makes thorough use of production values (and a falsetto), but there's something just wonderful about this song. It's simultaneously one-dimensional and complex; there's not a chorus but instead an assortment of different bridges connecting just two verses, and the combination of keys and guitars is just perfectly balanced.

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Lord Huron. Comparisons will be made to The Tallest Man on Earth, and even that high praise is insufficient.

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I'm ashamed, but I would not have believed a pop song could be as irresistibly catchy as Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me (Maybe)." I realize I have to hand in my hipster card.

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Taylor Swift is evidently using Avril Lavigne as a role model. That "We Are Never Getting Back Together" song makes me think her parents need to ground her.

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First Aid Kit at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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EVERYONE IS DOING AN UNFORTUNATE IMPRESSION OF LMFAO. This was not good news.

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Insane Clown Posse---that's still a thing, right? There's really very little point in having a contest so long as they still exist.

December 20, 2012 03:27:23 PM
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Kevin McIntosh

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Hillside/Newark, NJ

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Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts
I feel like I've grown with Norah Jones. I fell in love with her voice when I first heard 'Don't Know Why' while in High School and have been her biggest fan since. My musical palette has changed and so has hers.

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John Mayer - Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967
I felt a personal connection to Walt Grace. He does the unconventional without care and so do I.

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Alabama Shakes
I visited Adele's website earlier this year and she had posted a YouTube video of an Alabama Shakes performance on her blog and I've been hooked ever since. I love their sound and I'm intrigued by Brittany's (lead singer) voice.

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David Guetta feat. Sia - Titatnium
I was never a fan of dance music but this song opened me up to a long list of dance songs released this year.

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YOLO! I'm a fan of Drake and I don't have much of anything bad to say about him (besides the company he keeps) but YOLO went too far!

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Norah Jones live in Tarrytown, NY.

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A long list of 'Jersey fist pump' songs but I enjoyed it.

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None! I love much too much to pick one song that I hated. Sure there are a few that got annoying but nothing that I hated.

December 15, 2012 01:24:27 PM
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Kanda Nevile

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Portland, OR

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cobra juicy

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Bulldog Bats/Mona Ozone by Pocket

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Pocket- that girl who wrote bulldog bats. She records and performs all her own work. its crazy

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dr dog be the void- I love their older work but they are going down hill, and this album was not as great as their past work.

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Grandaddy at outside lands or R steevie Moore

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purple hair, antichrist symbology.ukeleles

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Lana Del Rey