Top Sorta Mainstream Records That We Didn't Quite Get To Review But Need To Be Heard of 2012
Bloc Party - Four
Much could be made of the British band's return to recording. Some online shit talk and some people that would love to get attention for missing the point got heard way more than the high points of this record. The band still manages to stick to their propulsive rhythmic skill of discordant Britpop. The hooks remain, Kele's voice is still in top form, while the rhythm section carries the songs along with strong performances.
Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
After being discovered by the mainstream (sort of) with her last record, the ever-intriguing Natasha Khan has returned. While this may scare off some indie diehards, they're the ones who'll be kicking themselves later. The songs remain beautifully driven by the vocals, but allow room for each instrument to give bits of emotion to each song. One listen and it should be easy to find a few favorites.
The XX - Coexist
The XX made quite a name for themselves between their well-reviewed debut and a good swath of remix efforts since the band have let themselves be known. While most bands stretch to make their second album their own and manage to miss the point, the XX refuses to do so. The band remain steadfast to their style: electronic and poppy without being too obvious; beautiful and pained at the same time. This record is a great sophomore release that leads one to believe the band will continue making great records well into the future.
Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
Now that the hype has died down it seems to be as good a time as any to be truly objective about this record. What must be said is this record is gorgeous, allowing for different genres without ever forgetting where it actually sits genre-wise. The vocals and lyrics are arresting, allowing for all of Mr. Ocean's fears and anxieties to be on full display. It's a thing of beauty when the hype of a record and the truth aren't that far apart.
Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
For all of the critics that choose to reference Prince, this is one artist where the comparison is far from unfounded. While not the instrumental virtuoso that the purple one is, Miguel does a great deal in making a case for the reference. His voice wilts and blooms throughout. The lyrics are at times emotional and dirty. There's nothing tawdry within the course of the record, just beautiful songs that should be heard.
- Jon E