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Irene Trudel's 2012 Music Survey

Soundcheck's technical director shares her favorite music and moments of the year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:52 AM

Clare and the Reasons (Courtesy of the artist)

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:

  • John Schaefer
  • Katie Bishop
  • Gretta Cohn
  • Alex Abnos
  • Mike Katzif
  • Joel Meyer
  • 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


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    Comments [2]

    Gerry Farley

    I hope you know the answer to my question. Just yesterday, Tuesday Dec. 26, 2012, John Schaefer played a few sound clips from an up and coming male singer from Seattle, Washington. I believe his name was Michael Agis? I know that is probably not the correct spelling of his last name. Do you know the artist's name? I hope so. I loved this guy's sound. I really would love for you to e mail me your answer, so I can download some of this guy's songs. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my request. Sncerely and with much anticipation, Gerry

    Dec. 27 2012 08:51 AM
    Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

    Since my childhood at age 10, when on WNYC I heard the Rhine Journey and Siegfried's Funeral Music from Gotterdammerung with Toscanini conducting his New York Philharmonic version before the Symphony of the Air much later recorded version, I have been an ardent fan of Wagner's oeuvre. I started vocalizing with my child's voice on the music I studied from the Wagner partiturs [full orchestral scores] and piano vocal scores of Wagner's operas that were donated to the Jersey Avenue Main Library of Jersey City by the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration as part of their Works Project Administration. Wagner's music convinced me that I JUST HAD TO COMPOSE AND SING. Because of that ALLADIN'S LAMP inspiration, I have made a career as a Wagnerian heldentenor and an opera composer. My cousin MICHAEL BLANKFORT wrote both the books and screenplays for the 1953 film THE JUGGLER Hollywood film made in Israel starring KIRK DOUGLAS and the 1950 Hollywood film BROKEN ARROW starring JAMES STEWART and JEFF CHANDLER [Cochise]. The music for THE JUGGLER was composed by opera composer GEORGE ANTHEIL, in whose opera VOLPONE I sang the tenor leading role [Mosca] in its professional world premiere in NEW YORK in 1953. ANTHEIL, famous for his opera TRANSATLANTIC and BALLET MECHANIQUE looked exactly like Peter Lorre. I am a romantischer heldentenor. I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I opened my three hour concert with the Invocazione di Orfeo from Jacopo Peri's opera EURIDICE composed in 1600, the first opera, composed in the same year as Shakespeare wrote HAMLET. Also, at this same three hour long solo concert are my singing of Florestan's monologue "Gott! welch dunkel hier!' from "FIDELIO" and "Sound an Alarm" from Handel's "JUDAS MACCABAEUS." They can be heard from my live performance on my three websites,, ,, and They received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. My voice teachers were the legendary MET OPERA singers Alexander Kipnis, Friedrich Schorr, Frieda Hempel, Martial Singher, John Brownlee, Karin Branzell and Margarete Matzenauer. As an opera composer myself ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] I fully comprehend the assumed urgency of recognition of the still living. However, it's important to revere and enjoy the MASTERPIECES of art, music, literature, architecture and science in its multiple formats . I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ where I train actors in all the Shakespeare roles and big-voiced singers in all the Wagner opera roles. On my websites one may download, free, at "Recorded Selections" my singing of Siegfried, Gotterdammerung Siegfried, Tristan, Siegmund, Parsifal, Lohengrin, Rienzi, Walther von Stolzing, Otello, Eleazar and Florestan.

    Dec. 24 2012 05:26 PM

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