In a year when many genres seemed to reinforce themselves—indie folk got folkier, retro soul more soulful and so on—December's Antenna recognizes some acts that have made late 2012 that much weirder and wilder, from electronic eccentrics to acid rock purveyors to less categorizable artists.
Gary Clark Jr. is one such hard-to-pigeonhole artist: a superb blues guitarist with pop tendencies (he's worked with Alicia Keys) who also lets loose with raucous riffs, as on the fuzzed-out "Numb." There's also plenty of heaviness in Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' "I'll Cut You Down." Comprised of monster guitars and menacing vocals, it's rock 'n' roll fried, melted and psychically distressed.
Contrast that with Sweden's El Perro Del Mar's sweetly melancholic "Hold Off the Dawn," which equally balances modern indie pop with '80s synth undertones, while polished R&B vocalist Mikky Ekko's "Pull Me Down" draws you in with confident hooks.
Hip-hop is firmly represented by Long Islander Roc Marciano's meticulous metaphors and by razor-sharp Detroit combo Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson, who've been heard on Stones Throw releases from J-Dilla and Madlib.
There's a psychedelic aspect to both Prince Rama and Black Moth Super Rainbow's engaging takes on idiosyncratic electronic music. Prince Rama's "Those Who Live for Love Will Live Forever" employs mystical, cultish chanting over elastic, exercise-ready dance beats. Black Moth Super Rainbow, the live band of Anticon producer Tobacco, go somehow even further out there on "Windshield Smasher."
Lastly, funky rockers Deep Cotton and post-dubstep electronic producer Starkey round things out for an Antenna set as fresh and eclectic as the year just gone by. Visit Google Play now to download more free tracks from this playlist and discover new albums by the artists. – Eric Grandy, Google Play
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