Exclaim!'s Best Albums of 2012:

Groove Page 3

> Dec 13 2012

Exclaim!'s Best Albums of 2012: - Groove Page 3
By Exclaim! Staff9. Dr. John
Locked Down
(Nonesuch)

Where many of Dr. John's contemporaries are still cruising on autopilot — or no longer cruising at all — the 71-year-old night tripper proves with Locked Down that age, ego, fame and Baron Samedi did not do him in. His most recent opus on Nonesuch confirmed that the spirits who channelled the aural delights and heavy shakers he signed during the late '60s are still as manic as they were 40 years ago. Production-wise, Locked Down is the work of avid music fans first and foremost. Similar to what the folks at Daptone have accomplished for the likes of Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, Dan Auerbach has applied his flair for soulful musicians (Max Weissenfeldt, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Brian Olive and the McCrary Sisters) and his love of juke joint boogie to these ten timeless songs by the voodoo priest of hoodoo blues. But how much of Dan Auerbach is on that record? How much of Dr. John is in Dan Auerbach? How much of Professor Longhair is in Dr. John and how much of New Orleans, Nigeria, and the entire history of the shamanic use of music is there on the album? Not finding a definitive answer is perhaps central to appreciating this exercise in cross-pollination that is sure to tickle pink even the most aching purists of the genre.
Ralph Elawani

8. A Tribe Called Red
(Masalacism)



A Tribe Called Red had a phenomenal year. Having released one single prior to this year, albeit with an authoritative and frequently refreshed Soundcloud library of further tracks and remixes, 2012 saw them achieve a status unique in Canadian music and also in the world at large. "Popular" doesn't even begin to describe their global significance; they are connecting with a potentially gigantic audience who appreciate the international aboriginal perspective the group upholds. They are an audio-visual, cultural phenomenon. In releasing a conventional full-length album, minus the visuals and their Red Bull-approved mixing wizardry, they invited people to judge them solely on their intense pow wow step and moombahton constructions. (That's right, moombahton — remember six months ago? Good times.) The fleeting nature of cool might have sunk an album of mashups and flavour-of-the-moment rhythms. But there's so much more to their method, their meaning and the global implications of their musical philosophy, which keeps revealing the substance behind their constructions even months after release. These aren't just disembodied samples over hype beats. ATCR's album is an expertly paced one that starts strong and builds to a barely controlled frenzy before dialling back ever so slightly. This is world music from a Canadian Aboriginal perspective, where familiar sounding pieces are put together in a way that makes them sound less, not more, homogenous. The sky's the limit for these guys.
David Dacks

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Not a big fan of the #1 choice, but I am glad to see BBNG on a year-end list!
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Enough with the stupid Frank Ocean already... It's really not that impressive. Miguel, also nothing much to speak of. But, yeah, after the first two, the rest of the list is great. Much love for BADBADNOTGOOD and Georgia Anne Muldrow.
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I'd love to hear a more detailed description of why you think Channel Orange isn't that impressive. I get the hype fatigue, but on a musical level, it's a very accomplished piece of composition and performance. I really don't care for that Miguel record though...
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Same, HankPond. I already addressed the Ocean overkill -- but aside from the hype, what's your aversion to the music?
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I don't think it's bad by any stretch. It's even good occasionally, "Pyramids" in particular. I just didn't find it to be all that revolutionary or cathartic, let alone consider it to be the greatest album of all-time, which its amount of #1 EOTY list placements would suggest. The album seems to be more of a success of marketing than actual music, which makes me sad for all the other artists being left off lists like this because they chose to keep their heads down and make good music rather than hone their social media skills. From where I'm sitting, Frank Ocean isn't that much different from Al Walser, though Ocean's music is clearly better.
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Fan of both the Ocean and Miguel albums and have no issue with either's placement at the top of this list but wish the Slakadeliqs album had been ranked higher. Was deeply disappointed and bored by Santigold's album though and question its worthiness to even be charted. Also thought Glasper's album was a tad overrated but it had its moments. Wasn't even aware that Neneh Cherry had put an album out last year but after checking out that meandering avant garde-jazz nonsense, can't say I was that impressed tbh.
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