Don't miss our list of top national and local spins and of course the DJ top 10 albums of 2012 lists. And be sure to check out all the KDHX Best of 2012 coverage. There's always more great music to discover.
And feel free to leave a comment with your pick for song of the year!
Nominating DJ is listed below each song.
"Leaders of Tomorrow" (Extended Version) by Rod Anton & the Ligerians, featuring the Congos
Roots, the Night Shift
"What We Lost" by Ben Bedford
Fred Gumaer, Mid-Day Jamboree
"Leaving Eden" by Carolina Chocolate Drops
Keith Dudding, Down Yonder
"Cherokee" by Cat Power
Caron, Wax Lyrical
"That One Thing" by Cookbook featuring UNO Mas & Raquel Rodriguez
"Tell me that one thing in life that's indescribable." I have to steal from the song itself to convey the feeling I had when it first caught my attention. A combination of goosebumps and shivers mixed with an inexplicable rush of tears to my eyes assaulted my existence, and I was absolutely okay with that. Already a fan of Raquel Rodriguez, I was seduced instantly by her voice in the hook, and then further enamored by the verses that followed. Even as I listen to it for the umpteenth time, the only fault I can force myself to see is a slightly repetitive production loop, but that proves to be nearly unnoticeable with a variety of layers that are mixed in and out throughout the piece, particularly evident during the breakdown on the bridge. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for every artist involved in this one.
Wil Wander, Elevated Rhymestate
"I'm a Mess" by Rodney Crowell and Mary Carr
Jeff Corbin, the Back Country
"World to Cry" by the dB's
Rich Reese, Pop! The Beat Bubble Burst
"Old's Cool" (feat. Dr. Ring-Ding) by Dreadsquad
JJ Loy, Ska's the Limit
"My War" by Chuck Dukowski Sextet
The Black Flag song done live in studio with Dukowski's wife delivering a terrifying and angry lead vocal. The other musicians barely keep up with her, and her vocal stamina makes almost every other rock singer sound like a big fat wuss. The 45 rpm came out for National Record Store Day back in the spring.
Nick Cowan, Train of Thought
"Faithful Man" by Lee Fields & the Expressions
Andy Coco, the Rhythm Section
"Emmylou" by First Aid Kit
This song by sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg from Sweden is among the most perfect pop songs I've ever heard. On the surface, it's light years from the pop of current parlance -- you can't really dance to it, it has steel guitar instead of loops, sibling harmonies instead of Auto-Tune -- but it is as singable and fully-realized as the best of Gram Parsons, Simon & Garfunkel and yes, Emmylou Harris. It soars out of the speakers on weightless melody and harmony.
Roy Kasten, Feel Like Going Home
"Jericho" by John Fullbright
"If It Would Only Rain" by Gathering Time Trio
As anyone who listens to my show knows I love stories set to music and I especially like songs from the Civil War era. No song moved me more than this tale of a young Civil War widow and her family, trying to survive in the devastating aftermath of the war. Written and performed beautifully by Hillary Foxsong with Glen Roethel and Stuart Markus.
Ed Becker, Songwriters Showcase
"Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye
Cat Pick, Emotional Rescue
"Plant White Roses" Kelly Hogan
John Wendland, Memphis to Manchester
"Southern Drawl" by Jeremiah Johnson Band With the Sliders
Pat Wolfe, Interstate
"Waves" by Joey Bada$$ (NSFW)
DJ Needles, Rawthentic
"Die Young" by Ke$ha
Jason Robinson, the Mixtape
"Negro Dia" by Kinky
In the past, I've tended to lean on the electronic sounds coming from the Latin music world. I've welcomed a bit of hip-hop to enter my ears; it seems to lay more comfortably now that I gave it more of a chance. This year, one album by the band Kinky lit up my rock 'n' roll world. Kinky was formed in Monterrey, Mexico in the late '90s, and since then they have traveled and spread rock en Español, now known as "Latin Rock" worldwide. It is a pleasure to broadcast the sounds and delights from KDHX so that we can enjoy the mixture of rock with electronic music, elements of dance beats, a tinge of Latin rhythms. It's up-beat happy music, and as strange as it may seem, there is a slight resemblance to the sounds of Kraftwerk.
The album "Sueño De La Maquina" ("Dream of the Machine") was released in July and has been on my mind ever since. The first three tunes seem to be on my mental "repeat" list, but the song "Negro Dia" ("Black Day") tops them all off. It features La Mala Rodriguez (born Maria Rodriguez in Spain), who lends a hand on vocals. She also has a handful of her own releases. I hope you find some pleasure in rocking out to this tune, regardless of the lyrics, mostly in Spanish and despite the cover art that would be much better without the women; the music overshadows this small detail.
Carlos, Latin Hemispheres
"Tell Me A Tale" by Michael Kiwanuka
Nick Acquisto, the Space Parlour
"Make It Rain" by Janiva Magness
Doug McKay, Louisiana Stomp
"Starships" by Nicki Minaj
Steve Pick, Sound Salvation
"When I Was Young" by Nada Surf
Allen Dahm, Bittersweet Melody
"The End of That" by Plants and Animals
Chris Bay, Gold Soundz
"Deeper Water" by Public Image Ltd.
Lydon's voice is great here. He doesn't try to push it too far into high pitch screeching throughout the album. Has a classic PiL sound sending us out into the ocean to sink or swim.
bobEE essay writer Sweet, Uncontrollable Urge
"My Way or Kingshighway" by Rev. Matt
Fred Friction, Fishin' With Dynamite
"Look Around the Corner" by Quantic and His Combo Barbaro, with Alice Russell
The lead single from an album of the same name, this was in heavy rotation on Hip City for most of the summer, and whetted my appetite for the full-length LP. A beautiful, timeless arrangement with strings and a chorus of backing vocals, it was just too much to live up to in terms of the album that followed. While a worthy effort from the uber-talented producer/musician Quantic, it was easily the best track on an otherwise forgettable long player.
Chris Lawyer, Hip City
Also nominated by Christian Schaeffer, Collector's Edition
"Big Fat Dog" by Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars
Mark Perry, Drifter's Escape
"Mellow Meeting" by Sugarman 3
Lindsay, Get Up, Get Down
"Butterfly" by Bunny Wailer, Kymani Marley and Andrew Tosh
2012 is the 50th anniversary of the Wailers (Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer). "Butterfly" highlights the anniversary of them starting on their journey 50 years ago, giving an inclination of what they might sound like as a trio today; featuring the Wailers legacy of today. Bunny, the original Wailer, connects with the legacies of Bob through his son Kymani; and Peter Tosh, through his son Andrew…..and yes! There's that "distinctive" Solomonic baseline! That is the icing on the cake!
Ital-K, Ital Rhythms
"Waiting" by the Whigs
Curt, Music at Work
"Eternally Collapsing Object" by Yowie
Mabel and Joe, Wrong Division
"Uplift Your Spirit" by Zion and the Lion Roots Band
Professor Skank, Positive Vibrations