As we wrap up 2012, it's time to take stock of the year in music and select our favorites. Team Soundcheck is presenting some of our favorite and least favorite music and moments from 2012, and to help, we've crafted a series of questions including favorite album, favorite song and most memorable concert of 2012.
Here are the picks from the Soundcheck staff:
Today Soundcheck technical director Irene Trudel gives us her list for 2012.
We also want to hear from you! Fill out Soundcheck's 2012 Music Survey and tell us your picks!
1) Favorite Album Of 2012 -- Clare And The Reasons, KR-51
This album from Clare And The Reasons kept popping up on my player for several months. A sweet melding of Kate Busch-style vocals, hints of Debussy and Kurt Weill, and an overlay of melancholia without sounding maudlin, KR-51 is the band's best effort to date. The tunes are at times fragile and powerful, yet with really memorable hooks and harmonies.
2) Favorite Song Of 2012 -- Sharon Van Etten, "Leonard" and "Give Out" from Tramp
Both "Leonard" and "Give Out" from Sharon Van Etten's fine album Tramp have been rumbling around my head a lot this year. Van Etten's voice sweeps through the melodies and choruses to a grand climax, inviting me to sing along. The chorus to "Give Out" also reminds me of meeting my husband 20 ago, especially the line, "You're the reason why I'll move to the city / you're why I'll need to leave."
3) Favorite New Band Or Artist Of 2012 -- Daniel Bachman
This young, primitive-style guitarist is a charming, gangly guy and a jaw-droppingly amazing fingerpicker. Bachman's playing takes you on an intense string-fueled journey to towns and places he's internalized over time. Bachman started playing in his young teens and sounds like he was born with an instrument in his hands. He's put out a few releases on his own under the name of Sacred Harp, but for fans of fingerstyle guitar, I consider Bachman's debut Seven Pines a "must have."
4) Biggest Musical Surprise Of 2012 -- David Bromberg Interview
Interviewing David Bromberg and finding out that he lived on the diagonal corner to my building in the 1970's, and his regret at giving the apartment up, and that knew my father-in-law quite well.
5) Biggest Musical Disappointment Of 2012 -- The Death Of Robin Gibb
I loved Robin Gibb's quavery voice and great pop sensibility, especially on pre-Saturday Night Fever albums. Gibbs ' and the Bee Gees' early pop music was a huge influence on me as a young music fan listening to Top 40 radio, and I was saddened to hear he'd lost his battle with cancer just after his Titanic Requiem was recorded.
6) Most Memorable Concert Of 2012 -- Lionel Loueke, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival
Sublime! The collaboration was a brilliant choice, with intertwining, acoustic instruments and vocals that produced several "Aaahhh" moments to my ears. Loueke, Parlato and Stevens each took turns fronting the songs, none stepping on each other musically and seeming to know each others' musical strengths: Loueke with an African/world to his rhythmic ringing and guitar playing; Gretchen following that path with a more traditional jazz vocal style; and Becca adding a touch of pop-folk to the music. Definitely a show I'll always remember.
7) Music Trend Of 2012 -- Discovering Music On Soundcloud And Online
I'm always stumbling onto something great and unexpected and following links to suggested listening. Being able to listen online in a very accessible format is really a blessing for me, who also hosts weekly radio shows because I can quickly decide if a track is to my taste or if I should move on. And it's so easy to buy tracks that I love. I have almost entirely stopped buying CDs because Soundcloud also offers higher quality files in many formats to suit my listening preferences.
8) Worst Music (Song or Album) Of 2012 -- None.
I couldn’t think of any. If it’s not something I like, it’s off my radar.
9) BONUS: Best Reissue Of 2012 -- Michael Chapman, Rainmaker