Archive for December, 2012

BEST SONGS OF 2012: #1-10

Posted in MUSIC on December 28, 2012 by Keyvon


10. St. Lucia – “We Got It Wrong”

St. Lucia embodied the 2012 Indie Dance sound more than any other group. This year they released an EP and a few singles that blew me away. The mixture of electro-pop and indie rock has grown dramatically this year, and I thought this was the best example of how great that sound can be. It’s already in the mainstream, so St. Lucia isn’t reinventing the wheel or anything, they just have the flyest rims on the block.

9. Friends – “I’m His Girl”

This band kept growing on me all year. I first took notice with their single “Friend Crush” and then I heard this gem. Dancey, funky, and a message I think most guys can get behind. Apparently the sexy lead singer of Friends will let you run around and sleep with other chicks as long as you come back to her eventually, and let everyone know that she’s “your girl”.

8. Viceroy – “Sunny Daze”

Viceroy takes a dope Evelyn Champagne King sample from the 80’s and couples it with doper production. The SF producer really started to make a name for himself in 2012. I started to see him travelling all over the country spreading that growing Frisco Disco sound.

7. Future Islands – “Balance”

This song sounds like something that came straight out of the 80’s. This New Wave-lite track reminds me of, dare I say, Mr. Bowie. But there’s also remnants of other 80’s  greats like Talking Heads, A-ha and even Rod Stewart. I didn’t hear much buzz this year surrounding this band with one of the wildest, strangest lead singers I’ve ever seen. But this track is beautiful and I hope to hear more of this Nu-Wave hit the radio on 2013.

6. Niki & The Dove – “The Fox”

Niki & The Dove were one of my favorite discoveries this year. You may all know about my intense love of female singers and dope electronic beats, something I call Slow Girl. Well, what more could I have asked for? In a genre where the prototype is Portishead, a lot of wanna-be’s are making a name for themselves and expanding the genre greatly. Like Phantogram being on Big Boi’s new album for instance. Their quality production and terrific lead singer lead me to believe that Niki & The Dove  have a lot more up their sleeve to wow us with.

5. Beach House – Myth

After only seeing 20 minutes of their set at Coachella in 2010 and hearing “Myth” earlier this year, they became the only band to make my must-see list this year. You can see the photos and read my review of their September show at the Wiltern HERE. Lead singer Victoria Legrand has a voice so sexy and haunting that I can’t really compare it to anyone else. Its more of a mixture of some contradicting styles like Hope Sandoval meets Beth Gibbons. “Myth” is just another great track from Beach House, whose music all sounds pretty much the same, but the arrangement and lyrics on this track makes it a standout.

4. Yuna – “Live Your Life”

The last couple of years I’ve had a handful of folk tracks on my countdown. But this year there was definitely a lack of folk to emerge, with the exception of Fiona Apple’s baroque-esque release. The closing thing to folk rock on my list is this Pharrell produced track from Yuna. The Malaysian singer had a solid year getting a lot of love from KCRW, MTV and playing a slew of shows in LA. Her album slipped when the production wasn’t tight, so here’s to hoping Pharrell decides to produce her entire next album.

3. AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It”

AlunaGeorge produced a sound so good I had to create a word to describe it. I landed on Boom-Snap. A way to describe that beautiful mixture of R&B and Electronica that sounds like Aaliyah and Diplo are making love in my eardrum. The UK is leading this revolution right now, but LA’s own J*Davey may have been the creators. I thought Miguel released the only good, true commercial R&B track this year, but if R&B begins to sound more like this, I’m definitely not complaining.

2. Major Lazer ft. Amber Coffman – “Get Free”

Speaking of Diplo, the producer was oh so close to pulling off the hat trick and producing the #1 track on my countdown for 3 years in a row (Major Lazer, Chris Brown). What can I say, the man makes magic, and is quietly running the pop and indie scene harder than anyone else in the world. Amber Coffman of the Dirty Projectors provides a voice so beautiful that I will be demanding a solo record from her in the new year.

1. Kanye West ft. Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz – “Mercy”

This may have been the most played out song of the year, and there’s good reason for that. It was the best. Kanye has firmly planted himself as THE guy. Not just the best rapper, not just the best producer, but THE BEST. He is the Madonna, the MJ, the Elvis of the 10’s. Everyone complains about his ego, but when you are legitimately the best can we even call it an “ego” anymore? Another great thing about this track was each of the guest spots. Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz; all member of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. music, all had huge 2012’s. But as I said earlier, this was Pusha T’s year. Not 2 Chainz as I’ve been reading everywhere. Pusha T combines experience, an impressive flow, great produced tracks, and now, commercial success better than anyone else, and he’s only beginning to shine.


Posted in MUSIC on December 27, 2012 by Keyvon

 10. Electric Guest – Mondo

 Every year it seems like I can find less and less quality albums. And by albums, I mean a complete story from the first track to the last. All the albums on this list have more than a couple good tracks. They’re full albums. And starting off the list are Indie-pop rockers Electric Guest. With the help of producer Danger Mouse they created some of the most fun tracks by a new artist I heard all year. They made me dance with “This Head I Hold” and they slowed it down and had me feeling emotions Mariah Carey-style with tracks like “Amber” and “Troubleman”. A solid debut from a band with all the right industry connections.

  9. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

One of the most talked about albums of 2012. One of my female friends from Ohio just doesn’t get Frank Ocean. I tried to explain to her that unlike other R&B lame-o’s, like Chris Brown and Ne-Yo, Frank Ocean talks to me. Not just sing some silly chorus, he actually talks to me. Like how soul singers in the 70’s would have interludes in the middle of their songs and literally talk to the listener. It’s a welcomed departure from the cheese on the radio. One of the most imaginative commercial R&B releases I’ve ever heard. Good shit Franky. And having John Mayer play guitar on a couple tracks doesn’t hurt your credibility.

 8. Tame Impala – Lonerisms

If this album would’ve came out earlier this year, it might be higher on the list, cuz every time I give it a listen it climbs one notch higher. The psychedelic Australian rockers once again enlisted the help of super producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, MGMT) to help them deliver a solid Sophomore release. Lonerisms immediately garners comparisons to early Beatles and Beach Boys. Their sound is poppy, but experimental, rocking, yet electronic. It is one of the my favorite experiments in sound this year. Bridging the gap between an MGMT and sample-loving turntablists like RJD2 or DJ Shadow.

7. Poolside – Pacific Standard Time

LA’s own Poolside definitely wins the crown of most talked about Socal DJs this year. Poolside was on everyone’s lips all year. KCRW’s music director Jason Bentley called their sound “Daytime Disco”, which is unbelievably fitting as they tore up every Rooftop Pool Party this summer. Their entire album fits in that space between dancey and loungey, which of course is one of my favorite moods when I’m lounging by the pool or behind the decks. One half of the group used to be in Guns N’ Bombs, so you know these guys can crank it up when they need to.

 6. Santigold – Master of My Make Believe

I’m a huge Santigold fan and I’m hoping her sophomore release firmly plants her in the pop zeitgeist for a long while. She started as a talented A&R/Songwriter/Producer and has evolved into one of the most fun female artists on the block. She perfectly mixes dance, R&B, and indie the way no one else can. And has a sense of humor and style that I’ve only seen on Roisin Murphy. The only female ahead of her in the game right now would have to be M.I.A. I also have to tip my hat to former Major Lazer member Switch for doing a bang up job with producing a lot of this album. Here’s wishing that those two have a long, beautiful relationship.

 5. Friends – Manifest!

I am very happy I got to see Friends play at the Echo earlier this year, because now I know they are a little bit more than a group of Friends making silly songs together. They want to make you dance. They want you to have fun. And they do it with great pop tracks that are only indie by association. Their music is so accessible, I’m surprised I haven’t heard it on 3 commercials yet. I tried to help them get placed on Ray-Ban’s last mixtape, but apparently they drive a hard bargain. I hope their stubbornness doesn’t prevent them from being the pop superstars I think they can be. Their debut reminds me a lot of CSS’s first effort, which seemed to work out pretty well for those Brazilians funksters.

 4. Niki and the Dove – Instinct

I listened to a lot of the burgeoning Indie Dance that Empire of the Sun and the like have helped crossover to the mainstream. And of all the albums that I heard, Niki and the Dove’s debut was the most complete. The Swedish trio is blessed with a chameleonic lead singer who can channel Stevie Nicks or Heart and then go do her own thing like on the tracks “The Fox” or “The Drummer”. It makes sense that a band from Sweden would make the best indie dance album of the year, their country damn near specializes in female-lead Indie pop (that and meatballs). Like Robyn, the Cardigans, and Little Dragon before them, Niki and the Dove show everyone else how it’s done. I’m sure the US is paying close attention.

 3. Oddisee – People Hear What They See

EASILY my favorite discovery of 2012. If Oddisee would have put all his best work on one album, there is no doubt he would have been #1 on this list. But unfortunately most of his best songs were on his Odd Renditions EP. And I get it, those samples would have been too expensive to clear and put on an album. But what we get is still a very solid album from my favorite newcomer this year. People Hear What They See is a better Common album than Common has been able to put out in the last 5 years+. His flows are clever and carefully crafted. He might only have the #3 album of the year, but he made more great music than anyone else in 2012.

  2. Pusha T – Fear of God II

Yeah yeah, this came out in 2011, but I missed it ok! It got released late last year and I didn’t give it my full attention until after I made my Best of 2011 list. But I’m glad I missed it because 2012 was the year of Pusha. He did all his hard work in 2011 (appearances on MTV, Coachella w/ Kanye, and cameos on HBO’s How to Make It in America) and got to sit back and watch as everyone marveled at how great he is. After dropping his twin brother Malice and going solo, Pusha found a new best friend in Kanye West and can be found all over Ye’s G.O.O.D. Music mixtape Cruel Summer. He’s also found himself atop the rap Totem Pole in my opinion. Yes, I am saying that right now Pusha T is the best rapper out! He comes with a scorching hot verse every time he steps up to the mic. Even his one off “Exodus 23:1” had people buzzing earlier this summer. CRS is the super group of Kanye, Pharrell, and Lupe Fiasco. I would love to see Lupe get the boot and be replaced by Pusha mother fucking T. No one would be able to knock that group off the Throne.

 1. Usher – Looking for Myself

I’m as shocked as you are, but I’ve always been an Usher fan. I can go back to the days of “Call Me a Mack” from the Poetic Justice Soundtrack in 1993. He did kind of lose me along the way with cheesy tracks like “Moving Mountains” and “Burn”, and though there are some love ballads on this album, they are few and far between. Usher’s well-documented love of electro is in full force on this album as he enlisted the help of Diplo and Swedish House Mafia. The entire album is a great listen all the way through with singles like “Climax”, “Scream”, and “Lemme See”, and the hidden gem “What Happened to U” which has been my theme song all damn year. Maybe this is coming in at #1 because I am just impressed to see a pop artist deliver something so impressive. Not since JT’s FutureSex/LoveSounds have I felt so satisfied with a mainstream pop album. And I thought pop was lacking big time this year. But Usher is here to save the day.

“Now do that dance I taught you.” – She’s All That

BEST SONGS OF 2012: #11-30

Posted in MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on December 26, 2012 by Keyvon


Honorable Mention: Miguel – “Adorn”

I had to make sure I got some real R&B on this list. I could even use the word soul for this track. Miguel brings some much needed, and much lacking, adult love-making music to the radio. We desperately need some more of this. Makes me miss Aaliyah just thinking about it.

30. Cam Meekins – “Cut Me Off”

This year I discovered the biggest abomination to Hip-Hop called Frat Rap. It’s a bunch of BMOC’s who are still actually in College, touring together and playing at other colleges. It’s like a legion of Marky Mark’s. It’s terrible. Cam Meekins, who may actually have coined the phrase, swears to be quite the opposite. His effortless flow, and siick sample of Gotye, definitely stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it and separates him from those Bro Frat Rappers.

29. 14th – “Hide Yourself”

14th are kinda indescribable. I made up the fun title of Boom-Snap to try and describe that sound of R&B and Electronica that the UK seems to be churning out so brilliantly right now. As a blogger sometime I have to try and make the indescribable, describable.

28. Grimes – “Genesis”

Everyone seems to love Grimes this year. Especially most women I’ve talked to. I thought she became a little overhyped as the year went on, but I can’t hate, I was spinning this track all year. This a slightly strange, yet pretty song, much like Grimes herself. We are all caught in her mysterious web. But through all of her weirdness I thought this was the most accessible song on her album. Which is why I guess it was a single.

27. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Baby”

There’s a long story behind this song which can be found HERE. The bottom line is Ariel Pink covered a great 70’s song. And I can’t separate it from the remix, so I’ve included both.

** BONUS: 

26. Kendrick Lamar ft. Drake – “Poetic Justice”

That sexy ass Janet Sample is what made this the song that made me buy the album. But, Kendrick is someone else who I thought was a little over-hyped this year. People get a little carried away sometimes. Like ‘Kendrick is the rebirth of LA Hip-Hop’ and ‘who needs Pac or the new Dre album’…. CALM THE FUCK DOWN! Dude’s good. Good production and smooth flow. Not a revolution

25. Disclosure – “What’s In Your Head”

After the over-saturation of hard electro at Coachella and on the radio, I’m hoping and predicting that we see a lot more Soulful house in the new year. Disclosure seemed to lead the pack of a slew of producer/DJs that include Soul Clap and Azari & III

24. Bonde Do Role – “Kilo”

The band that made me pay attention to Baile Funk came back with a funky, Diplo-produced banger that always put me in a good mood. And that video is crazay.

23. Amine Edge & Dance – “Going to Heaven With the Goodie-Goodies”

This track is the most recent discovery on the list. Amine Edge & DANCE are twins (I believe) from France who make what they call Gangsta House. After you hear what they did to a line from the Notorious B.I.G. you’d have to agree.

22. Flight Facilities ft. Grovesnor – “With You”

Flight Facilities released their Singles EP which includes this, a ton of remixes and their earlier hit “Crave You”. I really dug Crave You, but gave it no love when it dropped. It kinda just fell through the cracks. But their newest single “With You” is a worthy follow up. Not as uobeat as Crave but injected with that dope ass Flight Facilities indie-dance sound.

21. Electric Guest – “Troubleman”

Electric Guest are lead by a charismatic frontman and make great pop songs. But their tour de force is this ambitious 8 and a half minute epic that an 80’s prog rock band like ELO might make. Also their track “Amber” got me a kiss from a girl of the same name after I shared it with her. So hell yeah Electric Guest.

20. Frank Ocean – “Pyramids”

Franky might be the break out star of the year. SNL, Coachella, etc. Maybe this year’s male Lana Del Rey. Of course there’s the confusing controversy of him being a gay guy who pals around with a crew who is criticized for using homophobic slurs. But all that matters is that his 9 minute plus lead off single is a banger that takes you on an aural adventure.

19. IconaPop – “I Love It (Solidisco Remix)

This is the first remix on the list. Obviously, if I put the remix instead of the original that must mean the remixer made the song better. IconaPop wrote a really catchy, fun dance track, but their drop was a little off. It was too heavy, and even slightly annoying. Then Solidisco comes in and is like naw y’all gotta make it more ready for the club. And I’m like yes. Perfect. True story.

18. Danny Brown – “Radio Song”

The definition of minimal. This makes the Neptunes sound like a 20-piece orchestra. It reminds me of making lunch table beats in Jr. High. I love what Danny has to say. If I’m listening to Hip-Hop the lyrics are VERY important, which is why Tyga didn’t make the list. Danny’s got some funny lyrics, but nothing is as funny as his appearance. That’s a weird looking dude.

17. Azealia Banks – “212”

The first of a few Vagina centered tracks from some lady rappers on this list. Azealia snuck up on me. I know I’m late if I discover you on the Coachella poster, and everyone else is telling me who you are. But this beat is infectious. Let’s see if she has some more fire in her arsenal.

16. Lady – “Yankin”

Subtlety? Lady knows not of such things. Her pussy be yankin. What else do you need to know? The usage of this song in HBO’s Girls was my favorite TV moment of the year. Truths.

15. Oddisee – “Ain’t That Peculiar”

Oddisee was easily my favorite discovery of the year. Only coming in at #14 because he only blesses us with one verse on this Marvin-laced track. He produces, he raps, he performs with a live band. Dude is a genius. He is getting love in the UK but nowhere near enough in his homeland.

14. Pusha T ft. French Montana – “Everything That Glitters”

I don’t think this was ever released as a single or got a video, but Pusha T was everywhere this year and I burned a hole in my stereo playing this track, so I’m counting it. And Pusha’s Pete Rock and CL Smooth pun wins quote of the year.

13. Iggy Azalea – “Pu$$y”

Oh Iggy where to start. Definitely the hottest newcomer of 2012. The track is called “Pu$$y” and if you know me well, you may know that I love raunchy lyrics over dope beats. I was raised on Luke and 2 Live Crew. She’s hot, can actually wrap, and has a dope sense of style. To say I’m crushing is an understatement.

12. Chet Faker – “No Diggity”

To be honest I was never a big fan of the original version by Blackstreet, so I am always happy to play this version at the lounge because everyone else loves the original and it gets them hyped. Besides a cool name, Chet Faker has a low, breathy voice that reminds me of Bon Iver, with a bit more soul.

11. Usher – “Climax”/ “Climax (Just Kiddin Remix)”

Usher’s album came in at #1 on my Top 10 Albums of the year, and this song was a very large part of that. The Diplo produced “Climax” had both pop and dance fans clamoring earlier this year. Diplo’s original is slow and sexy, which I hope is the future sound of EDM. Just Kiddin came thru with this amazing house remix. It was Usher and Diplo’s original hard work that made Climax banging, but it was Just Kiddin who made this one of the best club tracks of the year.


Posted in MUSIC on December 22, 2012 by Keyvon



I’m constantly looking for new music and thus discover new genres all the time (I posted on the new genre Trap recently). My favorite genre discovery of 2012 was Kwaito. Though, definitely not a new genre, it’s new to me. Kwaito, or South African house music, is actually the pop music for black people in South Africa. And I fully understand because a lot of it sounds like Usher and some other American R&B artists. The sound is a nice mix of 120 BPM house grooves and R&B, but theres also some African and Caribbean sounds like steel drums going on there.  It’s perfect, sexy dance music. And the lyrics always seem to be on point. Very simple, beautiful love ballads. If you like house and R&B, this is the best of both worlds.

And look out for me spinning at Wurstkuche in Venice tonight. I’ll be playing my favorite songs of 2012 and celebrating my birthday. Come thru for some good tunes.


Posted in MUSIC on December 12, 2012 by Keyvon

This is a remix of a track by new artist Daughter that I received in my inbox last month. I dropped this during my DJ set at Wurstkuche on Sunday, and someone asked what it was. That’s when you know you got a keeper. Daughter is an indie rock trio from London, and their original track is nowhere near as pulsing as this. I gotta give Alle Farben props for his slow, but funky remix. But Elena Tonra’s airy, dream-like voice would sound good over anything. Slow Girl (girl-tinged electronica) is one of my favorite genres, I probably have more female vocalists in the library than anyone I know. This, along with Polica, is some of the best Slow Girl I’ve heard all year.


Posted in MUSIC on December 10, 2012 by Keyvon

This is one of my favorite songs of the year. I just discovered it a few weeks ago on a Satin Jackets Mixtape. These French producers Amine Edge & Dance have taken a great sample and turned it into a sick, dancey house track. I love a heavy minimal drop, and I love this build up. I asked a few friends what the sample was and no one knew. They are no longer my friends. For those still uninformed it’s a line from the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Suicidal Thoughts” from his Ready to Die debut. My two favorite loves, 90s Hip-Hop and Electronic music, coming together on a jaw-dropping track.


Posted in MUSIC on December 7, 2012 by Keyvon



Trap music is blowing up. I get Trap remixes and reworks submitted to me everyday, and even read an article in the LA Weekly that mapped out the evolution of Trap. But there’s so many sub-genres it gets annoying. Trap is just more electronic music, Dubstep meets Hip-Hop I guess. It uses slowed down samples with heavy basslines. Its a nice sound, but I’m not sure it’s different enough to be it’s own genre. It seems like anytime someone adds a new chord it becomes a sub-genre, see Bro-step and chillwave, and slew of other pointless sub-genres that have emerged in the US in the wake of the EDM boom over the last few years. But I think these songs below are party starters. How about we call it dance music. That I can wrap my head around.