Well, well, well. We have a little catching up to do. Lucky for all involved, the latter half of 2017 presented us with no shortage of musical gifts, making the closing playlist for December a true “home run.” Usually when using a sports metaphor you should carry it throughout the rest of the piece, however I do not enjoy playing by the rules and also we have serious bases to cover in short order. Batter up B words: it’s time for the year’s final #twelveon12.
(December’s 12 is now in the archive playlist below:)
1. PAUL CHERRY – “Like Yesterday”
Paul Cherry makes music to shake your a$$ to. This groovy little ditty is the excellent 1st single off the Chicago-based musician’s debut Flavour LP, due out spring 2018. The bouncy percussion and delectable production suck you into the #groove vortex, traveling through each instrument’s peaks all while sneakily reinforcing the catchy melody. In late 2017 I was lucky enough to catch Cherry alongside his excellent 5-piece band in support of local Minneapolis sweethearts Rupert Angeleyes and Joey Joey Michaels. At risk of sounding absurd, it was truly one of those sets you feel a collective, unspoken magic in the room where everyone understands what they’re sharing is something special. Also, plenty of a$$ shaking. That helps.
2. BULLY – “Feel the Same”
3. BROCKHAMPTON – “SWAMP”
4. LEXIE – “Piss”
Social media has opened up an entire new realm for picking up dropped hints and reading between the lines about projects in the works. On Twitter one lazy summer afternoon, I caught wind of a supposed Frankie Cosmos/Warehouse collaboration, later to be revealed as Lexie. (Warehouse à la October 2016’s #twelveon12.) In the genius “Piss,” Kline’s quivering, matter-of-fact storytelling is in full force (which you can’t help but crack a smile at.) On surface level the delivery reminds us not take things too seriously, although mulling over the mastery of which she delivers each word and crack, you realize it’s in fact anything but nonchalant. In a year of necessary, yet weighty musical offerings, Record Time! was a splash of water to the face with its unapologetic, unvarnished honesty and undeniable DIY charm (see on-brand merch below.)
We play at 8 at Brighton Music Hall in Boston tonight 🍩 pic.twitter.com/GNp5iLkLqD
— Lexie (@Lexie_exile) June 7, 2017
5. MIGUEL – “Sky Walker ft. Travi$ Scott”
For a much anticipated follow up to the sultry 2015 Wildheart, Miguel’s War & Leisure came through a surprisingly anti-climactic release in quiet December. “Sky Walker” rose to the top as not only as my favorite single, but after getting cozier with the album, likely a top 3 track altogether. While the songwriting depth and growth illustrated throughout the record isn’t painstakingly obvious here, the irresistible production reminds you that Miguel still has (and will always have) a certain slice of dominance over our hearts (see: loins.)
6. KINTARO – “Mk ft. Anderson Paak”
7. TWIN PEAKS – “Tossing Tears”
8. CENDE – “What I Want”
It takes mere seconds into this track to reveal that Cende has written a perfect pop song. The inherent conflict and longing so effortlessly intertwined through the lyrics sets the anticipation – “And it isn’t the fact that I know who I want to be, I don’t know how” – the vocal delivery and crashing down of the chorus providing a satisfying echo of emotion. The pop mastery is solidified with harmonic riffs and polished off from a surprise answering verse from Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline. In true Cende fashion, the song doesn’t escape without some time-signature shattering: a closing instrumental break unfurls into a chaotic discord that finally surrenders to the collecting tension, giving the song a sweep of resolution. Although #1 Hit Single was Cende’s first and last endeavor – it was a cohesive stake in the ground and a must-listen from 2017.
9. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE – “Hug of Thunder”
10. GIRL RAY – “Don’t Go Back at Ten”
11. CRUMB – “Plants”
12. BRONCHO – “Get in My Car”
That’s a wrap for now and as always, thanks for following along. I’m looking forward to a new year of reimagining ways to bring my favorite new music to you all. Swing for the fences out there in 2018!!!