It’s that special time of year where I blow the dust off RadCulture.com, share my personal top 10 favorite albums of 2012, and then everyone comments and complains in outrage about what is missing and how it doesn’t match up enough to Pitchfork. Let’s get started!

#10.  Matt & Kim-Lightning

Have you ever seen a musical duo have more fun together (nude or not) than Matt & Kim? The amount of energy those two put into their music, shows, and music videos is seriously one of a kind and it’s contagious as hell. When I learned early in 2012 that they were releasing their fourth LP I got a big grin on my face. Every album is such a good time and I really think at this point when they are writing music they are just picking shit that would be really fun to dance to live. Many hate on Matt and Kim for having music that all sounds the same, but I really don’t think it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. I had the opportunity to catch them earlier this fall and it was easily the most fun show of 2012. Botox related or not, I really don’t think Kim stopped smiling the ENTIRE show. Throw in some electo keyboard covers of Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” with a shit load of confetti and a close up a Matt’s nostril and you have yourself a fucking ball.

“Shouting out of my windows rolled down

because I don’t care anymore

said I don’t care

Let’s go Let’s go Let’s go Let’s go!”

Must listen: ”Let’s Go”

#9. Freelance Whales-Diluvia

This was high on my list of highly anticipated albums of 2012. Their debut album Weathervanes had such a strong impression on me. It was packed so full of youth, depth, and creativity that I couldn’t wait to see what this band came up with next. Three years later my prayers were answered in the form of Diluvia, and honestly it was exactly what I was hoping for. Weathervanes in my opinion sounded too youthful for some of its mature themes and I think Diluvia brings the big boy sound the band has been searching for. The album is full of polish and the wide assortment of instruments you’d come to expect from Freelance Whales, but by the time the album comes to a close I realize I kind of miss the catchy upbeat tween tunes that make me want to go make out in my parents basement.

“Dig into the waves
Cut out all the ways we used to be
Dig into myself
And pull out all the organs i don’t need”

Must listen: “Dig into Waves”

#8. DIIV-Oshin

From some of the first songs released on Pitchfork from DIIV’s debut I was concerned this band would just be a Beach Fossils cock tease. However, after giving the side project a full listen I have to admit that it pulls it’s own weight. The vibe is still very much beachy tunes, but the album carry’s enough unique sound to make it its own and in some areas even surpassing Beach Fossils in pretend poolside foot tapping.

“Bleached black from the smile
on a glimpse of your face
yeah I ran to her
blame it on me
that inevitable date”

Must Listen: “Follow”

#7. Passion Pit-Gossamer

My expectations were so damn high for this album there’s no way it would deliver, there was just no way. Manners was so good, it was the biggest gift to 2009 no one knew it needed. Even though Gossamer doesn’t live up to that standard you can’t help but bow to Michael Angelakos for truly putting his heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into this album. The guy’s life isn’t as peachy and full of glow sticks as you would imagine. After Manners his life went into a complete spiral and what better way to push it out all than via a catchy indie album. Gossamer may sound cheery, but listen again, this guy went through some shit in about every crappy department you can think of and aren’t we lucky that we get to hear all about it.

“Love, love, love, love is just greed

It’s almost taken me

But now I can see

Love, love, love, love is just greed

It’s selfish and it’s mean

You follow or you lead

If we really love ourselves

How do you love somebody else”

Must Listen: “Love is Greed”

#6. Miguel-Kaleidoscope Dream

Drake and the Weeknd changed hip hop, and for the better in my opinion. No longer do artists want to spit out their love for drugs, feuds, or lame interests by yelling into a microphone. Nope, instead they just want to make music that people can bang to. Who knew Craig David had it all figured out in 2002? Anywho, here comes Miguel who released the best hip hop sexy music this year. The album is full of class and flows really well, not that your paying attention to that anyway though.

“Use me. Wanna give you control

With the lights on

If I could just let go…”

Must Listen: “Use Me”

#5. Pinback-Information Retrieved

Pinback deserves a round of applause for Information Retrieved. In a single week it took them from being the band that people liked in high school to a modern day hit. These two are so good together and it’s good to see them get some more mainstream recognition. When “Proceed to Memory” showed up on my Sirius radio I was happy for these dudes. They have so much good music in their catalogue and the world should hear it. I had the chance to catch this duo in Ann Arbor this fall and they work so well together, so in sync and really set the standard for what a good show is (even though the bassist kind of plays like his trying to hide a pit stain). Listen to this album, you’ll like it for reals.

“And when the seasons get you down

I’ll come running to tuck you in

And out the window looks like all of the colors, all of them melting down

I hate escaping, barely keeps you awake, shivering in your clothes

My frosty glasses cracking into the shades,

Tryin’ to forget you, no”

Must Listen: “Proceed to Memory”

#4. Tanlines-Mixed Emotions

Listen to the Tanline’s song “Real Life” and I’ll give you 20 bucks if you can sit still. These guys have come a long way from their debut EP. Their first full length is as much fun as it should be, and will have you toe tapping, to dancing ,to head bobbing, probably all at the same time. Tanlines, fuck yeah.

“Take a chance, make a choice, you couldn’t not look.

Indecision overload is only chance figures.

Chang my mind, make mistakes, and put it past them.

Raise the bar, set the course.”

Must Listen: ”Real Life”

#3. Japandroids-Celebration Rock

Having a slumber party with all your bros? Don’t open that Bud Select just yet. This album is a must. It’s dripping with testosterone and is fun as hell. So fun that you’ll def want to dance, but to avoid embarrassment around your boys you’ll probably just end up shaking, punching and kicking the air like you just won a car on Oprah. Fist pump.

“There is no high like this

Adrenaline nightshift”

Must Listen: “Adrenaline Nightshift”

#2. Wild Nothing-Nocturne

Listen to this album and just try and tell me you aren’t in the best mood ever. Wild Nothing had set the bar pretty high w/ their previous album Gemini and just blew it out of the water. Nocturne provides a much more concise experience, a better one that belongs on the chillest of lazy rivers. Album quality like this really makes me feel proud of the genre I music I listen to and hold so dearly. First round of Bud Light Lime’s on me bra.

“Counting days ’till you come in

I haven’t lost you

I’ve just misplaced you”

Must Listen: “Counting Days”

#1. Sun Airway-Soft Fall

Holy crap was I excited for this album and holy crap did it deliver. Sun Airway showed up out of nowhere  in in 2010 and was all like “hey ya’ll we’re the shit and super catchy what’s up” and have had my undivided attention every since. You know that fuzzy feeling you get when you first listen to a really awesome song and then you listen to it like 40 more times in a row til the feeling fades away? Their last album did that to me like 20 times. Well if Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier did that to me 20 times, Soft Fall did it to me 50 times. This album is SOOO good. It came out October and I’m still feeling fuzzy. Let’s also take a second to discuss how great the music video for “Close” is and how we all wish sometimes the love of our dreams would just pop out of the ground after an epic and really cool sounding deserted island adventure. Sun Airway (handclap emoji x5).

“I think you want it to come down

you put an end to an empty sky

and say you’ve never known love like this before

I say I’ve never known loneliness like this

you’ve never known loneliness before

because you’ve never been alone with my love my love”

Must Listen: “Close”

Coo but not coo enough:

Bloc Party-Four

The xx-Coexist

Tame Impala-Lonerism

Willow-We the Young

Stars-The North

Sigur Ros-Valtari

Pomegranates-Heaven

Kendrick Lamar- good kid, m.A.A.d city

Frank Ocean-channel ORANGE

Two Door Cinema Club-Beacon

Crystal Castles- (III)

Beach House-Bloom

The Antlers-Undersea

 

Fanfarlo: Rooms Filled With Light

First I want to apologize for the delay in posts, as much as I would like to frolic and blog all day…sometimes dental school calls, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you guys or groovy tunes any less.

Meanwhile, since we last hung out a very special piece of indie pop has dropped. One of my personal most-anticipated of 2012 albums:  London-based Fanfarlo’s sophomore album!

Rooms Filled With Light is just as special if not more than what I anticipated it to be. This band’s level of class and is unlike anything I’ve heard in this genre. One thing that shined in their first album Reservoir was their choice of instruments…violin and trumpets dance over each other so seamlessly to create a smooth as butter sound. Rooms Filled With Light does just that except this time around sounds a little more polished with stronger sense of direction. Songs like “Dig” have hands down the most joyful violin solo I’ve ever heard. “Tightrope” has contagious trumpet moments that give Beirut a run for their money.

Lead singer Amos Memon is the 2nd piece to this band’s “why we are awesome” puzzle.  The energy he brings this time is much stronger, “Shiny Things” demonstrates this perfectly with it’s 1 minute slow build to Fanfarlo’s catchiest moment yet.

Rooms Filled With Light is simply a pleasure that will put a jolly grin on your face from start to finish.

Look for Fanfarlo to tickle us pink with their instruments later this month March 29th @ Skullys.

Must Listen: “Shiny Things”

Runner-Up: “Dig”

Hypem Link

 

Every wonder what it would sound like if Taio Cruz and Foster the People hooked up? Well Mash-up DJ Duo The Hood Internet can make that happen.  They have a simple formula of “Indie+Rap=Awesome”, and it works. Just about everyday on their website they post a new free song for download, and honestly not one has ever really disappointed me.

Their Hypem page can be found HERE and will provide hours of indie rap mash-up fun.

Their latest “Move Up” Featuring Wiz Khalifa x Phantogram is a keeper.

 

 

Back in 2009, UK-based indie pop band Fanfarlo probably had one of the classiest and most exciting debuts of all my favorite indie bands. Simliar to “Beirut,” Fanfarlo incorporates trumpet, violin, and mandolin in a way that when heard for the first time is instantly special. After a long and agonizing wait, the band is finally back to grace us with new music. Their latest single “Deconstruction” is a small preview to the quality their sophomore album Rooms Filled With Light is about to bring later this month.

By the time the incredible 2 minute intro is over you will forget the song even needs lyrics or the lead singer has a mop on his head.

Fanfarlo will be rocking out at Skully’s March 27th

Probably one of my favorite summer memories is driving to Zoombezi Bay in a convertible and hearing Beach Fossil’s “Wide Awake” for the first time. PBRs were shotgunned in the parking lot followed by a relaxing float on the lazy river. Although I could attribute the day’s success most to (the now bankrupt) Dip’n'dots…I really owe Beach Fossils all the credit. I mean seriously, does it get anymore chill than the stuff this band puts out. As my good friend D. Marley says “This band gets me.”

Now it’s cold as hell, and Zoombezi bay doesn’t open for 4 months BUT we do luckily have Beach Fossils releasing some new material! The band is gearing up for another album, but in the meantime they will be releasing some groovy tracks. The first is “Shallow.” “Shallow” offers a new sound for the band being a little more guitar heavy, but despite its newer sound and time of the year, it’s awesome, chill as hell, and still makes me salivate for those Rainbow Ice Dip’n'Dot frozen morcels.

Thanks to “The Boise” for sharing!

 

If there’s one thing I love about bands from other countries it is that they just pretend that it isn’t Winter and drop super beachy tunes in February. You may remember UK band “Animal Kingdom” from being named iTunes best new alternative artest of 2009! (Yeah, it’s okay I dont remember either). What I do know is their first single “Strange Attractor” off their new upcoming album is one of 2012′s catchiest thus far. Take “Temper Trap”esque vocals and overlay them with “Naked and Famous” beats, and you have one hell of a winner. Looking forward to their upcoming LP and sipping an icy Corona to it on my floaty raft in my pretend backyard pool.

Alright I’ll be the first to say it, the last few months of shows in Cbus have sucked, that is until tomorrow! Wales 8 piece band Los Campesinos! will be gracing us with their instruments tomorrow night at Skullys. I had the opportunity to catch these guys during their start in 2008 at the Wexner Center Black Box and the stage performance these guys are capable of is unprecedented. Having just released their 4th LP Hello Sadness and performing on Letterman last friday, there is no bigger time for these guys. It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow as a band  and cheer them on from the sidelines, but now I’m ready to re-greet them with a PBR congrats cheers in person.

Check out one of my favorite NPR Tiny Desk Concerts featuring just a few of them in a more chill fashion (I wouldn’t want to spoil the dance party surprise that you all are in store for tomorrow evening) Tickets still on sale here!

When I first heard the Brooklyn duo Tanlines it was the freshest indie pop experience I’d ever had. In 2010 the band released a 6 song EP titled “Settings.” (With an album cover that oddly looked like Jim Carey laughing.) It was so incredibly unique I didn’t even know what to make of it at the time, all I knew is it was contagiously catchy and my foot was progressing from a steady tap to a full-on mid air kick. Their song “Real Life” demonstrates this perfectly.

Now it is 2012 and our little Tanlines have grown up so quickly. They are preparing to drop their first full length album Mixed Emotions in March and just released its first single “Brothers.” The song features the Tanlines drums, electro beats, and Delorean’esque hums I have grown to love. Tanlines strongest suite is carried by Eric Emm’s vocals who like LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is just sort of talking, but man it’s super awesome talking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHq8d2EJijs

2012 is only 13 days old and I’ve already discovered one of the most fun albums of the year. Okay technically this album came out last October, but somehow slipped past my dance party music radar. A band from New York who got it’s start doing some groovy remixes, Penguin Prison steps up its game big time with it’s self-titled album. Penguin Prison is one of those albums that on first listen is bursting with so much energy you can’t even sit still. The last time I felt this way after listening to an album was after Passion Pit graced the world with Manners or hearing the vocals of Friendly Fires for the first time. The album has an incredibly 80′s feel, and is in my opinion one of the best modern 80s attempts since Chromeo’s debut. They even put in these Michael Jackson’esque grunts that are kind of weird, but in the end a good time.

It’s refreshing for my first album feature to be a new band because I felt like most of my 2011 favorites were all sophomore albums. What Penguin Prison does so well is it offers an eclectic variety of sounds and vocals, but maintains a very care-free tone that will just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Stop reading, start dancing.

Must Listen: “Fair Warning”

Runner-Up: “Don’t Fuck With My Money”

 

No need to keep rewatching Garden State to get your fill of The Shins because for the first time in 5 years James Mercer has finally released some new material. The first single off their upcoming album Port of Morrow is called “Simple Song/”

The song is classic Shins feel-good tunes and after a first listen makes life “just feel right.” Port of Morrow will be released and our lives changed on March 20th.