Best Music of 2012 Featured in Exclaim!'s Current Issue

Best Music of 2012 Featured in Exclaim!'s Current Issue
We've declared that Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city is the best record of the year. We've revealed the best EPs, reissues, rap mixtapes, NSFW videos and worst album art. Starting Monday (December 10) we'll be rolling out the very best albums of the year in pop and rock, electronic, soul, metal, country and folk, hip-hop, and experimental music.

But featured in the current print issue of Exclaim! — and not yet online — is a wealth of insight and analysis that looks into the big picture of 2012 in music.

Some of the features include:

• A look inside Kendrick Lamar's Black Hippy collective, including Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q.

• The arrival of hip-hop's "classic rock" period: the canonization of classic '90s albums; the return of the concept album; fashion cycles and ongoing scene diversity.

• The apocalyptic year in metal: in the Mayan spirit, albums from Nachtmystium, Old Man Gloom, Goatwhore, Gaza and Dragged Into Sunlight were notably eschatological. We rank them based on just how you should prepare for the end of days.

• It was the year of doom metal. No wait, it was the year of grindcore. Our two experts battle for genre supremacy.

• The brain drain of electronic musicians in recent years has become a cliché. (Is Berlin now 40 percent Canadian DJs?) We look at four artists — Jacques Greene, Zodiac, Nautiluss and Max Ulis — who are playing here and, we hope, staying here.

• Breaking the sound barrier: dance floors were inundated with fresh sounds this year, not from within the dance community but from without: R&B and hip-hop provided more inspiration for artists like Flying Lotus, Purity Ring and TNGHT than ever before.

• Following in the wake of Jack White and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, 2012 marked a significant return for blues rock by artists like Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr., the Heavy, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and more.

• Singer-songwriters remain a chief Canadian music export. This year, Kathleen Edwards, Rose Cousins, Cold Specks, Whitehorse and Amelia Curran all proudly waved the red and white.

• PSY Versus Snoop Lion. Standing at the juncture between 20th century tradition and 21st century innovation were two notable figures redefining world music.

• Frank Ocean was one of the most talked about cultural figures of 2012. So what can we learn from his coming out, his performance style and his near-silent approach to promotion?

• This year saw plenty of performers shoved out of their comfortable home studios and into the stage spotlight: Lana Del Rey, How To Dress Well, Lotus Plaza and Grimes all had to adjust to the attention.

• Remember when music was dominated by pleasant, friendly collectives of 20 people or more? (Of course you do, it was only last year.) Well, turns out a lot of artists — Cloud Nothings, METZ, Titus Andronicus, Japandroids — were itching to pump up the volume.

All this, plus unappreciated albums, trends that were heating up and cooling down, and all the news highlights of 2012, all to be found in our print publication at a Canadian location near you. If you're in Canada.

Stay tuned for our Best Albums of 2012 Lists starting next week.