March 31st will mark the end of the first quarter of 2012. It is hard to believe 2012 is already 25% finished. The first quarter is notorious for being a slow quarter but we have actually had some solid singles already this year.
10. Club Des Belugas “Save a Little Love For Me”
Regardless of the list, the last item is always the editor’s sleeper pick. It is no different with this list. German nu-jazz project, Club Des Belugas released their third album, Forward in March. The album’s lead single is “Save a Little Love For Me,” an enchanting mix of Latin piano, hip hop beats, and Lily Allen-esque vocals.
MP3: Club Des Belugas “Save a Little Love For Me”
09. Usher “Climax”
Usher‘s Diplo written single, “Climax” seemingly takes a lesson from Frank Ocean‘s “Novacane.” With a similar feeling of space, the track is a lush, falcetto-filled slow jam.
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08. Sleeper Agent “Get Burned”
I have had a little love affair going with Sleeper Agent so far this year. After missing their debut album upon its release last year, I have been trying to make up for it with covering the crap out of the band this year. The latest single from Celabrasion is “Get Burned,” an uptempo jaunt that features the band’s patented dueling male/female vocals dynamic.
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07. C2C “Down the Road”
While looking at Spotify’s top tracks in France, I discovered C2C’s “Down the Road.” In France, turntablism is a little more mainstream than in America and C2C is one of the best DJ crews around. After winning the Disco Mix Club World Team DJ Championship four years in a row, the group just released their debut single “Down the Road” a mix of dance beats, blues samples, and more cuts than an episode of Nip/Tuck.
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06. Sleigh Bells “Comeback Kid”
Sleigh Bells’ highly anticipated sophomore album, Reign of Terror, was released in February to much acclaim. The album’s lead single, “Comeback Kid” exemplifies what made the album a success: heavy riffs, alternately screamed/sung vocals, and loud distorted beats. But what separates this albums from its predecessor is the pop song structures that give the album a more mainstream appeal.
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05. The Magnetic Fields “Andrew In Drag”
The Magnetic Fields‘ Stephin Merritt has always managed to combine great pop song writing with tongue-in-cheek lyrics without sounding cheesy. The lead single from Love at the Bottom of the Sea is no different. “Andrew in Drag” mixes traditionally taboo subjects like homosexuality and cross-dressing into a humorous tale that I defy you not to get stuck in your head.
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04. fun. “Some Nights”
Of the first quarter, no record review has gotten more views on Surviving the Golden Age than my review of fun.‘s Some Nights. I pretend that it has something to do with my in depth analysis that really draw readers in but it is probably more about the attached mp3 of the album’s second single, “Some Nights.” The Queen-esque harmonies with indie pop songwriting makes for a blogosphere hit.
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03. Lana Del Rey “Blue Jeans”
I have not listened to one album more than I have listened to Lana Del Rey‘s Born to Die. The album’s second single is “Blue Jeans.” While it is not my favorite track on the album, it is perhaps the song that exemplifies what makes the album special. On the track Del Rey mixes traditionally Americana images with her modern hip hop swagger all over lush production.
MP3: Lana Del Rey “Blue Jeans”
02. Schoolboy Q featuring A$AP Rocky “Hands on the Wheel”
Sometimes people think when I do not review an album it means that I “missed it.” That is generally not true. Schoolboy Q‘s album did not get promoted to me so I did not feature it on Surviving the Golden Age but it does not mean I did not enjoy it. My favorite track is the lead single “Hands on the Wheel” featuring last year’s breakout underground hip hop star, A$AP Rocky. The production on the track sounds a lot like something that might be heard on Lana Del Rey’s album but the lyrics are not. My favorite line is “I can’t stand myself/I love drunk driving/I’m somethin else.” It makes me laugh every time.
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01. The Shins “Simple Song”
When the Shins on Saturday Night Live reminded me that I kind of like the Shins. So leading up to the release of Port of Morrow, I listened to their discography and it was a lot better than I remembered. Needless to say, I really enjoyed their new album and loved its lead single “Simple Song.” What always stands out to me is James Mercer’s incredible falsetto but often overlooked is his lyrics. There is something cool about lines like “You sure must be strong when you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun.”
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