By Steven Graham
2012 is all wrapped up and it’s time to look back on a pretty fantastic year in music. This is a list of my favorites in the last year. My 10 favorite albums, favorite song/music video, favorite live performance and what I expect will be my favorite in 2013.
Topping my list of favorite albums are two local artists and it’s not just because they are local. These two albums meant more to me than anything I have heard in a long while.
1. Damien Jurado’s “Maraqopa”
This is one of the most beautifully crafted works from start to finish that I have ever heard. Every single song means something special and haunts me in its own way. Each time I listen to this album I fall in love all over again and somehow feel sad at the same time. The first time I heard it I was distracted by something else and then ‘Working Titles’ came on and I stopped what I was doing and gave it my complete attention. Maraqopa has had my attention ever since. It isn’t just my favorite album of 2012, but easily one of my favorites ever.
2. Macklemore &Ryan Lewis “The Heist”
I want to start by saying that even though I have the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis debut album “The Heist” at #2 their song ‘Same Love’ is my favorite song of the year for so many reasons, but I will get into that song a bit more later. The first full length effort from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is somehow both packed with feel good party anthems like ‘Thrift Shop’ as well as very serious and personal songs like ‘Starting Over’ which deals with Macklemore’s relapse.
These boys shot to No. 1 overall on iTunes with this release and did it as independent hiphop artists. That is pretty incredible.
3. alt – J “Awesome Wave”
4. Ben Gibbard “Former Lives”
5. Purity Ring “Shrines”
6. Reptar “Body Faucet”
7. Tan Lines “Mixed Emotions”
8. Metz “Metz”
9. River Giant “River Giant”
10. The Soft Pack “Strapped”
Video and song of the year: Macklemore &Ryan Lewis ft Mary Lambert – “Same Love”
The first time I heard this song I cried. Then I saw the video and I cried some more. The timing of the release of this video couldn’t have been any better. In the middle of a huge election that would decide the future of marriage equality in their home state of Washington, Macklemore, Lewis, and Lambert released their video for ‘Same Love’ and put a very real face on same sex marriage and made it easy for people to stand up and say “this is what I believe in” just by posting the video on Facebook or sharing it with their friends. Once you press play the video speaks for itself in a very powerful way.
Performance of the year: Motopony in the Yoga Studio at Doe Bay Fest
Seeing Seattle band Motopony perform in the Yoga Studio at Doe Bay Fest this year was hands down the best show I saw all year (and I saw Radiohead this year). Being in a room that only held maybe 60 people with another 200 or so dancing outside the building felt pretty special. I had seen Motopony several times before this but for some reason, Doe Bay magic maybe, this show was on a whole different level from anything I had experienced in a very long time and it cemented front man Daniel Blue as my current favorite Seattle rockstar.
Excited about in 2013:
• Anything Reignwolf does. This guy is bringing dirty, sweaty rock back to Seattle.
• The new Moondoggies album. After spending some time in the studio with these guys I can pretty much promise they are next level bound with the release of their next album.
• Everett boys I Will Keep Your Ghost is wrapping up a new EP and the very short samples they have shared with me sound amazing.
• Pickwick is going to be releasing an album in 2013 and I am very anxious to get my hands on it after falling in love with their live performance.
• Still waiting on that new Modest Mouse album that Big Boi helped out on. Not sure why it didn’t come out in 2012 but I just have that much more to look forward to in 2013.