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The YDP 2012 Top 10 Album List!!

28 Dec

Play Me The Hits!

Another year in the can, and with the uneventful pass of the Mayan Apocalypse (which was of course just the end of their long-count calendar), we here at Yuppie Dance Party have come out of our long hiatus to do the kind of thing we’ve long dreamed of: a giant YEAR END COLLABO!

Even in our break from the blog, we’ve done our best to stay hooked into the year’s hottest releases, including some of those that may have slipped under the radar.  Together, we felt that this year’s offerings, whether artist debuts or follow-ups, was a strong year in music.  2013 will have a LOT to live up to.  It wasn’t easy to pare down, to so few.  To satisfy our own sensibilities, and provide you with more delicious tastes of the year, we’re also tacking on an abbreviated list of honorable mentions.  But let’s get to the good stuff.  Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our top 10 albums of the year!

1. Twin Shadow, Confess

Confess is a record I gush about to everybody I meet. Drenched in synth, big 80’s guitars, and beautiful vocals, this is an new (and incredible) album full of old sounds. I loved the debut Forget when it came out in 2010, but this album is much more pop – in a good way. Let’s just say if you took Prince, the Top Gun soundtrack and the The Lost Boys soundtrack, shook them up in some sound machine and listened to the product – you’d have Confess.  –TKSama

2. Fiona Apple, The Idler’s Wheel…

My only regret is that I didn’t come across Apple’s latest offering until early December. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do,  is a mouthful of a title, but is comprised of relatively minimal instrumentation. This simply allows Apple’s strengths as a songwriter and vocalist to stand out. Her raw, bluesy voice runs the gamut of emotional tones, culminating in a rousing duet with her lesser known but very talented sister.  Apple proves her staying power once again. -Lord_B

3. Heartless Bastards, Arrow

The Heartless Bastards make incredible bluesy indie rock. Arrow is their latest and strongest effort to date. Erika Wennerstrom’s vocals are given enough free reign to deliver some wonderfully poetic lines while being properly balanced by pure rock n’ roll. If the American Rock revival actually existed, these guys would be riding the wave. -TKSama

4. Lana Del Rey, Born to Die

Perhaps one of the most polarizing albums of the year, the newly fabricated Lana Del Rey (stage name, persona and affectations) had an early misstep with a less-than-stellar SNL performance.  If that was your first encounter with her, the good news is that she more than redeemed herself.  This album grows on you with each successive listen, exposing you to a soulful and retro, albeit highly produced, piece of spectacle that garners more than a few plays in the process. -Lord_B

5. Beach House, Bloom

Listening to Beach House is like going on an aural journey in a fantasy land. Victoria Legrand’s vocals dance effortlessly across a synthy dreamscape and you’re absolutely certain that something magical could happen at a moment’s notice. This album is more than a worthy successor to Teen Dream (2010) and one that I think everyone should own. -TKSama

6. Four Tet, Pink

Four Tet’s follow-up to 2011’s There is Love in You is no less of a good time.  Looping and mixing elements of funk, acid jazz and electronic beats together in new and exciting ways, Tet time and again builds impressive and complex layers of sound.  This album offers an excellent listening experience – let the music guide you through one of 2012’s best offerings. –Lord_B

7. Japandroids, Celebration Rock

Please drop what you’re doing and turn on “The House that Heaven Built.” Crank that bitch to 11 and let it shake you in the loins. If it doesn’t move you, it’s not loud enough. This is Celebration Rock. This is the Japandroids’ sophomore “slump.” This is 8 tracks of raw emotion and energy buttoned with lyrics that move beyond hollow sounds for fans to sing back at live shows. Is this the greatest album of all time? No, but who cares. This is rock n’ roll. -TKSama

8. Grizzly Bear, Shields

A true evolution from their debut album, Shields shows us what happens when you smooth out the rougher edges of their indie sound.  This is a sonically adventurous lineup of rock-riffs meeting orchestral swells, invested with a chorus of simple, hopeful lyrics.  –Lord_B

9. Tanlines, Mixed Emotions

Perhaps I’m more smitten by this record because I’ve seen these guys live and the music just pops that much more. Or maybe with Twin Shadow I’m assembling the greatest contemporary 80s soundtrack for a nonexistent John Hughes flick. Whatever it is this album has me shakin’. Yes, Mixed Emotions is another danceable synth pop release in the vein of YACHT and many other DFA releases (though Tanlines is not from DFA). But that’s not a knock. This is a damn good record.  –TKSama

10. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Wow…this is the best new rap album to come out in some time. Young Kendrick, mentored by Dr. Dre, and no doubt influenced by the good Dr’s timeless portrayals of South Central, brings a depth of compelling, inner city storytelling to bear with an interesting vocal style. Can it be that the West Coast is once again the best coast? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but it certainly marks one of the more important shifts to the genre: a change in tone of today’s popular rap, that has become less about describing the struggles of youth and poverty, and become bombastic treaties on opulence, materialism, and la dolce vita.  This is a must listen.  -Lord_B

Honorable Mentions

On a list filled close to bursting, here are 10 more of our favs of 2012!

  1. Poolside, Pacific Standard Time
  2. Miike Snow, Happy to You
  3. A$AP Rocky, LiveLoveA$AP
  4. Passion Pit, Gossamer
  5. Calvin Harris, 18 Months
  6. Tame Impala, Lonerism
  7. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Cobra Juicy
  8. El-P, Cancer 4 Cure
  9. First Aid Kit, The Lion’s Roar
  10. Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan

Teriyaki Boyz ft. Kanye – I Still Love H.E.R.

21 Jun

Sometimes, when YDP listens to good new stuff, it reminds us of good old stuff – and some stuff in between.  With Kanye recently leaking the super-hot track “Power” from his upcoming LP “Good Ass Job,” it got me looking at his old stuff too.  This cut, from the mixtape “Graduated,” is a play on another equally awesome and even older track by Common (I smell bonus video!)  Not to mention the fact that the heavy lifting is done by a Japanese B-Boy group, the Teriyaki Boyz, all within a really meta music video riffing on YouTube.

So here’s Kanye and the Teriyaki Boyz – I Still Love H.E.R.

And the bonus, Common – I Used to Love H.E.R.

OK Go – End Love

19 Jun

OK Go is genius.  I think we all learned that when they busted out the treadmills and showed us that while low and budget, they were really high on creativity.  Well, they’ve done it again and lit up the interwebs with this piece of art, a video for their single “End Love.”

What makes this extra sexy (along with their signature single-shot format), is the fact that it was edited with varying shutter speeds.  You get everything from a stop-motion camera look, to the super slo-mo that only a high-speed camera can give you.  Except instead of seeing it used to watch plants grow, or a frog snatch a fly out of the air, we get to see a bunch of guys in pastel sweatsuits cavorting through a park.

Cavorting…yea, I know what you’re thinking.  Just watch the video and enjoy seeing 4 days of shooting compressed to 4 minutes of musical whimsy.  You’ll enjoy it.

Birthday Explosion!

4 Jun

We’re hitting the time of year when a LOOOOT of birthdays crop up.  “Why now?” you might ask.  Well, just think back 9 months, to when most of the country is snowed in, days are shorter, people huddle inside together and are forced to find ways to…entertain themselves.

The end result of this is a ton of summer celebrations, and smack dab in the middle of prime vacation time.  To commemorate, YDP is proud to share an original production created by a few of our friends, scored with the dulcet tones of thumping 80s style techno: Birthday Explosion.  You’re all invited!

[note: music is “Birthday Dance (Techno Mix)” by the Revelers Band]

Trackadaday – Faded Paper Pictures – Invent it All Again

23 May

Today’s track popped up on YDP’s radar recently – apparently Faded Paper figure’s follow-up album, New Medium.  Don’t know much about the group, but I like the feel of electronic backing and these light vocals over top.  The chimey sound of synth keys reminds me of a music box.  At any rate, I like it.  Here is the obligatory PR blurb:

In their much-anticipated second album, New Medium, Faded Paper Figures return with a richer, fuller sound, even as they maintain all of Dynamo‘s indie-tronica charm.  Fans of the band will be happy to hear all of the familiar blips, harmonies, and intellectual pop-references, but with even more life and energy this time around. Striking melodies, lyrical images, and classic pop forms–New Medium‘s lush electronica feels both intimately familiar and astonishingly new.

Here’s the track:

Faded Paper Pictures – Invent it All Again

Relation – Optimistic (Cassette Club Remix)

12 May

YDP has been sitting on this track for a few months now, but it’s definitely the right time to share it.  Relation is new to me, and describes themselves in the following way:

“Essex boys Andrew Leary and Oliver Keech have developed an alternative, unique sound by combining meaningful lyrics with synth-pop to create both emotional depth and electronic rhythms. Although the compositions are truly progressive and they embrace a futuristic approach to their productions, their music has brought comparisons to New Order and the Pet Shop Boys as well as a wink to Depeche Mode.”

The track “Optimistic,” off their debut album, “Fear of the Night,” is pretty well nuanced, but if you’re comparing yourself to the heavy hitters above, you’d better bring it.  The track really takes off when masters of electronica Cassette Club get a hold of it and transform it into something AMAZING.  I love where CC goes with the haunting synths over the choral breaks.  Brings in a whole new dimension of sound.  Enjoy them both.

Relation – Optimistic (Cassette Club Remix)

Relation – Optimistic

Au Revoir Simone – Only You Can Make You Happy (PUNCHES Remix)

3 May

I love May – not only is it time for me to selfishly celebrate the anniversary of my birth, its the month when everything starts coming together – if you’re in school, it’s wrapping up.  If you’re unfortunate enough to be gainfully employed (though its better than the alternative), tax day has come and gone.  And for people of all shapes, sizes, and belief systems in the northern hemisphere, summer’s on the way.

This PUNCHES remix is def going to be in my summer mix.  Get on the train.

Au Revoir Simone – Only You Can Make You Happy (Punches Remix)

The Presets – Talk Like That (Miami Horror Remix)

18 Apr

My favorite song of right now is another mix by the Aussie group Miami Horror.  Here they transform what’s already a pretty nice jam by The Presets into a rockin’ disco jam.  Enjoy ’em both as we wrap the weekend.

The Presets – Talk Like That (Miami Horror Remix)

The Presets – Talk Like That

Amanda F’in Palmer Celebrates Label Freedom – With Free Music!!!

6 Apr

I think she's trying to suggest something about the duality of man...

Happened to get steered toward Amanda Palmer‘s latest offering – glad I followed that hunch.  Turns out the former lyricist/songwriter of the Dresden Dolls just managed to be dropped from all obligations to her label, Roadrunner Records, after nearly two years of wrangling. The arc follows one similar to many relationships: a match made in heaven, with the label being great and supportive at the start, before priorities diverged, and one party wanted to leave the other.  Now, 3 records and “endless legal bullshit” later, Palmer celebrates by doing what she was contractually forbidden from while signed to the label: giving away her music for free.

Anyway, here’s Amanda Palmer’s “Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help your black ass.”  Amanda explains the title:

before any of you get up in arms about the title (peoples gettin’ mighty sensitive lately) please know:
the title is a reference to a lyric in a song called “fuck tha police” by a band called Niggaz With Attitude. look it up.

“The Truth…” – Amanda Palmer

Please visit her site to read all the lyrics (which I found stunning), see pictures from the recording session, and, if you like it, download the song (it’s free, but she’ll take donations).

YDP Interviews: LaJo$eph

3 Apr

YDP loves stumbling across great new tracks (email them to us at yuppiedanceparty at gmail dot com), and were lucky to discover LaJo$eph (Facebook Fan Page), a college junior who just started making electro/techno-riffs in the past year.  They’re pretty catchy, so we reached out for a look into the musical mind of this new young artist, whose tracks brim with a feel-good, pulsing, party feel.

LaJo$eph was kind enough to share with YDP two exclusive tracks, “Come Together “and newly-minted “Small Talk,” completed just last night.  “Come Together” was one of my favorites from his rapidly growing track list.  “Small Talk” is very different from his other offerings, with LaJo$eph claiming it as his favorite creation to date.  In it, he really takes down the tempo gives you something to throw in the playlist  for nighttime head-nodding sessions.

“Come Together”:

Download “Come Together” – Click Here

“Small Talk”:

Download “Small Talk” – Click Here

Interview after the jump, where we learn his musical inspirations, discover he’s a raver at heart, and find out why there are no lyrics to his music…yet.

Continue reading

Stuck on Repeat: Joy Division, Phantograms, Penguin Prison

27 Mar

The first person to work gets to pick the song of the day.

Every few weeks or so, I run across music that I can’t stop blaring on repeat.  Not only is this annoying to my roommates, but it inhibits me in the neverending quest to find new music.  I’m one of the better multi-taskers I know, but even I struggle to listen to two songs at once (probably why my attempts to party DJ have been less than successful).

With this in mind, I figure if I get the tracks out into the open, we’ll all sleep better, and I can get on with bringing more new music to light.

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

I stumbled across this oldie-but-goodie, and it struck me with its clean punk-pop beat, good energy, and light feeling melody – despite its somewhat heavy lyrics:

You cry out in your sleep,
All my failings exposed.
And there’s a taste in my mouth,
As desperation takes hold.
Just that something so good
Just can’t function no more.

But love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

The 1979 song was a reflection of lead singer Ian Curtis’ mental and emotional state as he grappled with marital problems.  He committed suicide in 1980.  But I still find the song eerily beautiful, and as such have it in a very short rotation right now.

Phantograms – Mouth Full of Diamonds

Have you ever had one of those moments, when a band/movie/book/show you’ve never heard of suddenly starts coming up in your life all the time, seemingly at random?  This happened to me with The Phantograms, a band from Saratoga Springs, NY.  A DJ friend of mine fired over the tracks, which I listened to late one night.  I earmarked them for posting, but life got in the way.  Probably a week or two later, I was hit with the song again, while giving a long overdue listen to a Podcast of tracks cut during CMJ, October’s college music festival in NYC.  Again, this track came up, but this time I pursued it, listened fully, and upgraded the group from “bands to blog about,” to “bands to see in concert next time they’re on the eastern seaboard.”

Their brand of electropop is pretty breathtaking.  I don’t think I mind a band where the drummer lives in a little box, and keys, guitar and a sultry little voice give life to the music.  Also, I think we’d all do well to find a girl like Sarah Barthel to be best friends with from childhood.  I give you the studio session they filmed for KEXP’s Cutting Room Studio sessions:

Penguin Prison – The Worse it Gets

This one was an almost completely arbitrary internet find – but I couldn’t help but love this track MORE, when it’s apparently the B-side single of his latest release.  Probably because “The Worse it Gets,” is the poppier track, though “Something I’m Not” is a winner as well.  At any rate, thus ends the shortlist I’m working with this week.  Enjoy!

Young Lovers – Love Grenades

8 Mar

Elizabeth Wight, pretty easy on the eyes

Since my dad’s become an avid biker (road biking, not this stuff), he turned me onto this video via @LeviLeipheimer.  I watched it and was struck by a few things: the high stakes MTB, the ridiculous camera work, and the song.  Upon further investigation (thank you Google) I was introduced to “Young Lovers,” by the Love Grenades, an LA based Disco/Electo-funk group on the Modus Vivendi Music label.  Fronted by 25 year-old Elizabeth Wight, this band has got some getup-and go.

Song is great, hopefully we will hear more from this group.  Also hope we can get more finds from my dad.

Ridiculous MTB Video:

Official Love Grenades “Young Love” Music Video:

Sam Sparro remix of “Young Love”:

Your Weekly Shot of Energy: Calvin Harris – Flashback

1 Mar

Hello everyone…you know it’s going to be a rough week when you hit Monday morning and can’t wait to have your next weekend already.  What usually carries me through is thinking back on the chaos that was my last night out.  It’s been a little while since we’ve featured something from Calvin Harris’ second album, Ready for the Weekend, but I think it’s well past time, and extremely appropriate here.  Join Mr. Harris in this “Flashback” to the weekend:

Calvin Harris – “Flashback”