Some parts of 2012 definitely weren’t awesome. Hurricane Sandy blew. Literally. Recent school shootings have the entire nation up in arms about whether we should be up in arms. On a personal level, I almost died in New Jersey via sun poisoning, and I learned the hard way that OKCupid isn’t the greatest idea. But all that shit aside, 2012 was pretty great thanks to the growth of NY Social Status and the soundtrack to that amazing experience.
An extensive number of musicians made this year outstanding, but a few of them put the rest to shame. Lots of writers might do a top 10, but I’m way too cool for that. Also, and more importantly, there are really only 9 bands that deserve this level of my love this year. Whatever my reason for only choosing 9, I’m exhausted with leading up to this. So have at it, in order of appearance.
Whether or not they set the trap, Jessica Rose, Doug Atkins, Swinny and Daniel Bradley definitely caught this wild child. Thank God they didn’t try to tame me. Admittedly I was resistant to Jess, because she’s a hot, talented woman, and damn…it’s hard enough to find a man around here, but she’s such an awesome, passionate performer that I couldn’t resist her charm for long. Amazing songwriter, beautiful woman and legit rockstar, Rose has it goin’ on. Pair that with an awesome band of dudes who are equal parts rock and equal parts gentlemen and you’ve got the New Jersey powerhouse that is Catch Wild.
With a primary output that can best be described as a mashup of hip-hop and rock with an emphasis on lyrics, PushMethod can take some getting used to. That said, it’s totally worth putting the time in, and once you’re hooked, you won’t look back. I, Miss Banana, am a prime example. Interviewed initially as a favor to a publicist and a chance to kickstart my dream, PushMethod was just an average band for the first few times I heard their album, PushMethod: Volume 1. However, once I got to know the guys and started to really listen to their lyrics, PushMethod became much more than just another four guys making music. Now New York Social Status is front row at every single local show, and when their new material hits, best bet I’ll be the first to listen.
Even if I hadn’t seen Everest on the gorgeous rooftop of The McKittrick Hotel, I can’t imagine I would love them less. These guys have captured the essence of pure rock with perfect precision. Everest’s old school approach and immaculate riffs are proof that real rock never dies, and true musicians can’t forget their roots. Exactly what I need to strip me down to square one and bring me back to center.
Kinetics and One Love
Absolutely my favorite hip-hop, underground or above it. Broken in at the release party for their most recent album, You Are Not Alone, I’m one fan who isn’t going anywhere fast unless Kinetics and One Love are driving. I would also accept hot-air ballooning. If there is a more legit combination of hip-hop lyricism and dope beats I’m not aware of it, and I’ll fight you for lying.
I mean the dude’s moniker is Upgrade. Do I really need to say more? Short? Yeah, he is. Weird as shit? Abso-freakin-lutely. Blessing hip-hop with his talent? Bet your shiny red ass. Not only was Upgrade one of the most down-to-earth interviews I did this year, he’s a voice to be reckoned with (see what I did there?) in the world of rap. His album, Written on Scraps, is a collection of upbeat tracks characterized by his unique cadence and über swag, and his upcoming Free Music for Paid Listeners promises to share those traits. Can’t fight it. Don’t try.
This year’s CMJ gave me a few gifts for which I am very grateful. One of these is Ambassadors. Their Arlene’s Grocery performance of Unconsolable had me mesmerized, then I saw the music video. What’s the next emotion up from mesmerized? For a girl who doesn’t generally watch music videos, I’m rather taken with this one, and for good reason. There’s just something about Ambassadors that grabs you and won’t let you go, although I’m admittedly not fighting too hard to escape. Just…just listen to them. Ok? Please? Ok?
Even if I weren’t a huge fan of badass chick-fronted bands, manicanparty would be the shit. Comprised of vocalist and songwriter, Jessica Corazza and musical producer Patrick Morrissey, manicanparty is a duo to redefine the style. Corazza’s near-angelic vocals over Morrissey’s clean, electro-futuristic beats create a dynamic combination that meshes perfectly with Corazza’s method of composition. The only disappointing characteristic of manicanparty is that I never managed to interview them. Here’s to 2013!
If ever a woman captured my heart and held it, it would be Erin Barra. Seemingly effortlessly, Barra uses her powerful, magnetic voice to cut straight through all my layers to the very soul beneath. I doubt I’m the only one she has this power over. Old school through and through with the technological skill of a long-lost Jobs child and musical talent we rarely see the likes of, Barra masters any genre she touches and sends a number of inferior songwriters home with their tails between their legs. Go on with your bad self, Erin.
Never one to lie, I won’t hide the fact that Vagina Panthers’ name reeled me in. Vagina Panthers? Had to know what that was all about. Verdict? It’s all about vocalist/guitarist Dead June leading her boys in a session of rocking the fuck out. June lays her raunchy siren voice down across a plethora of disgusting metal guitar grinds to pull her audience into an inescapable storm of tunage. Maybe the band’s name draws listeners in, but their sick output keeps them around.
Maybe parts of 2012 were the pits, but don’t say this year didn’t bring us some nasty good music. If you say that, you’re a liar. And we don’t associate with liars. So kindly GTFO.
Happy New Year, people. See you in 2013.