Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2012 Mix Collection


It's time, once again, to present our annual, multi-volume look back at what Nancy and I found best in rock, pop, and hip-hop in the year that just transpired.

And as will quickly become apparent, the mix titles and the songs may have changed, but the themes remain the same.

You've got Nancy's Favorites, my Best Of The Best, the rap/soul mix, the Coachella newbies mix, the straight-up indie-rock and indie-pop mixes, the weird, creepy art-rock mix, the old timers mix, and so on and so on.

As always, should you chose to download and burn some of this material, each mix is designed to fit on a single 700 mb burnable CD, but this year, you can play all twelve mixes right here on this home page.  Just fire up Spotify, then return here, click on whichever mix interests you most, and start to explore.

But for those of you that still like the additional info on the songs and albums, the printable track listings, and/or the links to iTunes, Amazon, and youtube, click on a mix title here and and it will link you to that mix's dedicated home page.

And that's it.

It was a bear to put this collection together this year given how busy it's been for my family and I, but hopefully, each of you will discover something new here you hadn't heard before that makes it all worth the wait.

So without further ado, I give to you McQ's Best Of 2012 Mix Collection.


Volume 1 - Best Of The Best:
Once again, we start out with my top choices for 2012  (at least those Nancy didn't swipe for her annual mix).  This year's set includes favorite 2012 singles from Passion Pit, The Shins, Django Django, John Talabot, and Redd Kross, and excellent cuts from favorite 2012 albums by Death Grips, Japandroids, Liars, First Aid Kit, The Men, Killer Mike, Cloud Nothings, Anais Mitchell, Gotye, Frank Ocean, Allo Darlin', and Swans.

Volume 2 - Coachella Starters:
My annual celebration of the up-and-comers (and a few late-career veterans) who impressed me most at the previous Coachella is, as always, a lively, eclectic affair. In addition to cuts from 2012 breakout acts Death Grips, Gary Clark Jr. and First Aid Kit, this mix also includes tracks from Sleeper Agent, Fanfarlo, Les Butcherettes, Other Lives, The Sheepdogs, Wolf Gang, Seun Kuti, Gardens & Villa, The Black Angels, Greg Gin & The Royal We, Fitz & The Tantrums, Honeyhoney, Oberhofer, Housse De Racket, The Vaccines, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Volume 3 - Ghosts In The Machine:
The first of this year's two electronica-oriented mixes is the more experimental and mellow of the two, emphasizing the heavy use of ghostly, processed vocals that has taken over the genre in recent years. Along with Monsters In The House, the most unique of this year's mixes, but this one's a lot easier on the ears.  Includes tracks by Liars, Grimes, The Chromatics, Andy Stott, Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, School Of Seven Bells, Matthew Dear, Arrange, John Talabot, Frankie Rose, The XX, How To Dress Well, Crystal Castles, and Peaking Lights.

Volume 4 - Rock's Eternal Flame:
2012 saw a segment of the indie world make a much desired swing back to traditional rock 'n' roll styles, with some fantastic results. This mix focuses on a few of the best straight-up efforts of the year in the punk, hard rock, bar band, and blues rock niches.  Led by Japandroids, Cloud Nothings and The Men, and also including efforts by Screaming Females, Alabama Shakes, Craig Finn, Gary Clark Jr., Titus Andronicus, The Menzingers, Les Butcherettes and Low Cut Connie...this one is a ton of fun, and along with Volume 8 - 50 Shades Of Pop Part I, the highest energy mix in the collection.

Volume 5 - Good Queen Carole, Good King James, Good Queen Joni, Good King Paul:
This year's mellow acoustic mix has a decidedly more 70's singer/songwriter slant than past editions, hence the ungainly singer/songwriter honor roll mix title.  Includes cuts from Fiona Apple, Anais Mitchell, Sharon Van Etten, First Aid Kit, Kelly Hogan, Andrew Bird, Sera Cahoone, Laura Marling, Father John Misty, Perfume Genius, Matthew E. White, Tindersticks, Soap & Skin, The Lumineers, The Tallest Man On Earth, and Lost In The Trees.

Volume 6 - Psych-Rock:
For about the third year in a row, music that hearkened back to the sounds and feel of the mid-to-late 60s was a big part of the popular music equation.  This year's mix, equal parts psychedelic head-trips and primitive garage-rockers includes cuts from Tame Impala, Spiritualized, Grizzly Bear, Lotus Plaza, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, The Fresh & Onlys, The Allah-Lahs, King Tuff, The Black Angels, Diiv, The Sheepdogs, Dum Dum Girls, METZ, Wild Nothing, Goat, Django Django, and Royal Headache.

Volume 7 - Monsters In The House:
Focused exclusively on the creepiest art-rock and post-rock of the year, there's a tinge of horror, if not outright madness, to every moment of this mix.  Coming in at only six tracks (with three over the twenty-minute mark), it's intended more as a one-time freak-out experience than a mix to return to time and again, but be sure to give it a try, for in Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Mladic and Swans' The Apostate it holds two of the year's truly astonishing tracks. Also includes efforts from Liars, Bat For Lashes, and the ever-insane Scott Walker.

Volume 8 - 50 Shades Of Pop Part I (Bright, Smart, & Bouncy):
The first half of this year's two disk pop exploration locks in on the lively, quirky, guitar jangling indie-side of the equation.  Featuring buoyant efforts from Menomena, Allo Darlin', Gotye, Fun.,
Alt-J, Django Django, Divine Fits, The Magnetic Fields, Cat Power, Hospitality, Beach House, The Shins, Dum Dum Girls, The Walkmen, Redd Kross, The Dirty Projectors and Of Monsters And Men, I have a feeling this will emerge as many listener's favorite in this year's set.

Volume 9 - Revita-Rap:
The most focused of this year's mixes locks in on the only four rap acts and three neo-soul acts I felt mattered in 2012, but be warned, there's no reconciling El-P's pounding sci-fi paranoia or Death Grips all-on industrial-rap assault with the softer, more reflective leanings of the other artists on this mix, and I didn't try. So expect a fitful, mostly mellow listen here, surprisingly devoid of old-school funk, but one that really highlights the new directions forged in these two genres in 2012.  Along with Death Grips and El-P, also includes tracks by Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Killer Mike, Miguel and The Weeknd.

Volume 10 - Nancy's Favorites:
Nancy went blues heavy this year, latching onto barn burners by Gary Clark Jr, Vintage Trouble, Fitz & The Tantrums, and Dr. John to get things started.  After that it's her traditional combination of playful pop, dad rock heroes, and gorgeous, thoughtful adult contemporary.  This year's set, sure once again to be many listener's favorite, includes songs from the aforementioned artists, as well as Chromatics, Rhye, Andrew Bird, Cat Power, Sera Cahoone, Kelly Hogan, Perfume Genius, Wolf Gang, Suedehead, Jimmy Cliff, First Aid Kit, and of course, Bruce Springsteen.

Volume 11 - 50 Shades Of Pop Part II (Electro-AM Shameless):
Part two of this year's pop collection locks in on the decidedly populist, electro-pop end of the spectrum (so populist, I even included Gangham Style). Might be the cheesiest, most mainstream-disco leaning mix I've ever assembled, but still a number of great songs, including hits from Grimes, Hot Chip, Miniature Tigers, Jessie Ware, Major Lazer, Tanlines, Ellie Goulding, Psy, The 2 Bears, St. Etienne, Metric, Lower Dens, and Twin Shadow.

Volume 12 - Dads (& Granddads) Triumphant:
This year's final mix is a relaxed coast through some of the top old-timer efforts of 2012.  Can't say enough about how much I enjoyed Dr. John's gris-gris-laden Locked Down and Leonard Cohen's presumed final testament Old Ideas this year. Jack White and The Strokes Albert Hammond Jr may not appreciate being lumped in here, but hey, their sensibilities fit.  Also includes strong returns to form from Jimmy Cliff, Bob Mould, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Patti Smith, Amadou & Miriam, Bobby Womack, Neil Young, Mark Lanegan, Superchunk, The Smashing Pumpkins, OFF!, Chris Smither, and yes, The Rolling Stones.

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