Best New Artists Of 2012: Swimming Pools, Cemetaries And Too Much Blood
As the year comes to a close, and the holiday stress puts your therapist on speed dial, why not take a moment from your debilitating rage against the department store cashier to reflect upon the last calendar year of music—we sure have. 2012 has brought us tripped out folk singers, potty-mouthed mermaids, indie super groups and jams hot enough to boil a waterbed, just to name a few.
While some of these artists have been around for longer than a hot second, we're selecting them based on their debut studio or major label albums dropping in 2012. After all, how can you choose a "Best New Artist" without hearing a completed effort? So let’s take a look at the artists we think gave this year a real good shakedown.
Kendrick Lamar: Certainly not a new face to the game, but this year marks the beginning of Kendrick Lamar’s journey into the hip-hop stratos as a full-fledged star. Following in the footsteps of other Dre protégés like Eminem and Snoop Dogg , the LA-based artist’s first major label album good kid m.A.A.d city peaked at #2 in the US after having already worked with the top names in the industry. Lamar doesn’t need million-dollar cars and a mouth full of diamonds to blow you away; just a mic, a stage, and a moment of your time. This one will be around for a long time, trust.
Alabama Shakes: As their name suggests, the Georgia born-and-bred rock band came out with a truly seismic debut album accompanied by rousing stage shows has music fans praising them to the high heavens. The band’s blend of Southern rock, blues, soul and flairs of classic rock paired with frontwoman Brittany Howard’s wailing vocals (as if possessed by the grittiest of bluesmen) makes one think they’ve sold their souls to the hungriest, most dapper demons of the deep South. But what landed the Alabama Shakes on our Best Of list this year is their ability to attract fans whom would normally be disinterested in roots rock.
Father John Misty: Former Fleet Foxes member Joshua Tillman fell off his rocker, off the porch and into a puddle of mind-altering, sadomasochistic inspiration with his newly formed persona Father John Misty. The musician had been releasing indie folk solo albums as J. Tillman for years that were, well, pretty all the same, but nothing compared to the charmingly wicked, utterly random, and sometimes confusing (but funny) body of work in his 2012 release Fear Fun. With lyrics like, “pour me another drink / And punch me in the face / You can call me Nancy” and singing about running down the road with his pants around his ankles, Tillman somehow made bad mushroom trips sound fun and beautiful.
The Lumineers: Most times it’s harder to tell a story in a sentence than in a novel—that’s the genius of the Lumineers. Their rootsy, stripped down folk is a refreshing antithesis to intricately produced popular music, but the band was still able to sell over a million records. With acts like Arcade Fire and Bon Iver winning top awards at the Grammys, the Lumineers may prove to be next year’s underdogs. Better register that parody Tumblr now.