What To Watch For in 2012: Oscar’s 2012 Best Original Song

A lot of criticism has been made on the interwebs about this years Oscar’s. It’s either complaints about Drive’s measly Sound Editing nom or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close sneaking its way into a Best Picture nom. The real travesty is the depressing category of “Best Original Song”. This is a category that at one time truly meant something to America, and to the music industry as a whole. Those days seem to be somewhere over the rainbow now, as with this year’s 84thAcademy Awards there stands only two contestants.

First up:

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What To Watch For in 2012: Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding is scheduled to release her fourth album on March 20th, titled “Radio Music Society.”  The album will include a DVD featuring conceptual music videos for its 12 tracks.  It is sort of like a sequel, or companion, to her 2010 album “The Chamber Music Society”, which earned her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

“Originally, I thought it would be fun to release a double album…One disc with an intimate, subtle exploration of chamber works and a  second one in which jazz musicians explore song forms and melodies that are formatted more along the lines of what we would categorize as ‘pop songs.’  Those are the two things that really interest me, and it intrigues me to think about different presentation approaches while writing each kind of song.” – Esperanza Spalding

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What To Watch For in 2012: Grimes, Odd Future, The Beach Boys & More!

If you thought 2011 was a great year for music, 2012 is only going to raise the ante. In the indie realm, Grimes‘ Claire Boucher, an under-the-radar hero of 2010 and 2011, will release her new album Visions on March 12 via 4AD. Expect it to be awesome as well as “post-internet,” whatever that means. The Weeknd got quite a bit of attention from the indie community in 2011 with his trifecta of impressive R&B albums, and in 2012 he will compile and remaster the three discs for physical release with numerous bonus tracks. New albums are also forthcoming from Memoryhouse, Sharon Van Etten and the XX. If the Flaming Lips will operate in half as impressive a manner as they did in 2011, expect some more amazing things from their camp, including collaborations with Yoko Ono and her Plastic Ono Band, Nick Cave and Bon Iver. The Magnetic Fields will release Love At the Bottom of the Sea in March, and are accompanying the release with a tour, and based on personal experience, you won’t want to miss when they hit up your town. Hear their new tune “Andrew in Drag,” over here.

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What To Watch For in 2012: Portlandia – The Tour

Amongst innumerable exciting tidbits of music news in 2012 (Black Keys & Arctic Monkeys tour, the rise of Gotye, Radiohead headlining Coachella), Season 2 of IFC’s hit comedy series Portlandia shan’t be ignored, though it’s not exactly music-specific.  The show pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies of Portland, Oregan, where “young people go to retire.”  The comedy sketches target everything from organic farming to cyclists to feminist bookstores and often include hilarious cameos (Steve Buscemi, Aubrey Plaza, and Sarah McLachlan, to name a few).  One of the show’s stars, Fred Armisen, was already famed for his spot-on Obama impersonation and other hilarities on SNL.  But what many fans may not realize is that Armisen started performing as the drummer in Trenchmouth, a Chicago-based post-hardcore band that gained some minor attention in the 90s. He met his female counterpart, Carrie Brownstein, former guitarist in Portland’s own Sleater-Kinney and now playing in Wild Flag, through mutual friends.  Armisen told Washington City Paper that the two hit it off immediately and started making videos “that would make us laugh.  After a while we had a bunch and put them online.  Soon we had quite a few and we decided to pitch it as a TV show.”  And, thus Portlandia was born.

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What To Watch For in 2012: Lapalux

“Gutter Glitter” by Lapalux

Happy belated holidays, readers. We’re going to start the new year off by writing posts about artists, albums and events that we’re looking forward to in 2012. So, here’s mine.

Lapalux makes tunes that are all about balance – between melody and texture, flow and mood, catchiness and challenging…ness. His previous EP, Many Faces Out of Focus, was released on Pictures Music, a European label that houses some really forward thinking dance music (see: Dauwd, Koreless). I’ve been constantly spinning those older tracks since I had first came upon them, but recently heard he’d signed to Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’ cornucopia of flow(endtheory). This track from his upcoming EP, When You’re Gone, plays in the same field as his previous work – this unclassifiable, esoteric blend between hip hop, UK garage, and R&B. The beats stuttery and disjointed, vocals pitch shifted and sampled into something beyond voice. He’s going to have a great year, and I’m excited to see what everyone else from Pictures Music has in store as well. When You’re Gone is out on Brainfeeder Feb. 7th. Below is one of my favorites, the closing track off Many Faces Out of Focus, titled “Time, Patience, Everything.” Hope you enjoy.

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