From Frank Ocean to Dirty Projectors, 2012 welcomed a number of new artists to the music scene. After compiling lists of top albums in 2012 from multiple WUTK disc jockeys, one final list was created to rank the best albums of last year.
James Burke, WUTK music department assistant, said music popularity changes tend to sway each year.
“I think the independent scene kind of goes in cycles,” Burke said. “Maybe last year and the year before, there was a lot of influence of ‘80s stuff, and now we might be seeing some influence of another decade.”
DJ Graham “Dr. John Zazu” Smith, assistant general music director and senior in communication studies, said that indie rock and electronic music were the most popular genres of 2012 at WUTK and were reflected in the top albums of the year according to UTK student listeners.
And now without further ado, the 2012 top ten albums of the year:
10. Grizzly Bear – “Shields”
9. Kendrick Lamar – “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”
8. Death Grips – “No Love Deep Web”
7. Alt-J – “An Awesome Wave”
6. Yellow Ostrich – “Strange Land”
5. Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Cobra Juicy”
4. The xx – “Coexist”
3. Dirty Projectors – “Swing Lo Magellan”
2. Metz – “Metz”
1. Frank Ocean – “Channel Orange”
Both Smith and Burke agree that these artists had the most plays on the station and the most positive listener feedback in 2012. From number 10 to one, the albums encompass every emotion from passion to perseverance. Each album brings something different to the table in terms of genre and mood. Frank Ocean, whose album “Channel Orange” topped out this list at No. 1, is a blend of sensual hits about estranged lovers and spoiled rich kids, whereas Metz’s self titled album is more upbeat indie with lots of energy.
The Dirty Projectors came in at number three because of the versatility they produced in “Swing Lo Magellan.” With its jazz feel, the album is similar to a time charter to the ‘60s and ‘70s. The xx’s “Coexist” has a laid back mood that sets it apart from the others on the list. “Cobra Juicy,” on the other hand, is an album complete with catchy electronic jams. Black Moth Super Rainbow, who is known for their psychedelic music, becomes more lyrically inclined in this particular album, putting them at number five on the list. Yellow Ostrich and Alt-J land at six and seven, respectively, with a similar feel in their albums.
Alt-J’s “An Awesome Wave” is a folk indie album, but parallels with Yellow Ostrich’s alternative album, “Strange Land,” in that both albums tell a story in each of their songs. Death Grips make the ranking for their new age hip hop. Their album, “No Love Deep Web,” incorporates dub step-like beats and a distinguishable voice that has been well received by WUTK listeners, said Smith and Burke. Kendrick Lamar blew up the scene in late summer of 2012 with “Swimming Pools” off of his album “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” where he raps about drinks, struggles and perseverance. Last but not least, Grizzly Bear’s “Shields” rounds out the list with an easy going alternative feel with folk elements.
“(This list would appeal) mostly to (the) college age group who are looking for new music — mainly eighteen to thirty,” said Smith.
As for music fans not familiar with the indie scene, these albums, as well as the artists, are anticipated to grow in popularity nationwide just as they have on UT’s campus.
“Putting those albums at the top have proven to be most popular with a lot of people,” Burke said
.What can listeners expect in the coming months? Smith said the electronic side of indie has “died down quite a bit” and that listeners can expect a more acoustic, easygoing element to reappear in 2013.