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Best of 2012

See You in 2013... Check Out Our Best of 2012

Well, as the year comes to a close, it seems like we've just about covered everything possible, all of the ups and, yes, even the downs of 2012. So it's time for XLR8R to take a little sabbatical. While we're away for the holidays, make sure to peruse our myriad of Best of 2012 features from the past two weeks. You'll find links to each of the lists—including Best Releases, Best Tracks, Best New Artists, Best Labels, Most Overrated Releases, Top Downloads, and others—after the jump. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Readers Poll

This is it, the final installment of XLR8R's comprehensive Best of 2012 coverage. Over the past two weeks, we've tackled a myriad of categories—podcasts, features, tracks, releases, labels, and more—each time utilizing the opportunity to spell out our opinions on the past 12 months of music. For this final year-end feature, we've decided to flip things around by unveiling what the XLR8R audience has to say about 2012. Interestingly enough, after tabulating all the votes from our Best of 2012 Readers Poll, it appears that the tastes of the XLR8R faithful don't actually veer that wildly from our own. While the choices don't perfectly align with those made by our editorial staff, there's definitely some overlap. Furthermore, it appears that our audience can't quite make up its collective mind, as certain artists and releases have been tabbed amongst the year's best while simultaneously being labeled as overrated and/or underwhelming. Of course, there's no definitive answer about these things, but that doesn't make pouring over the results any less interesting. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Releases, Part Two

After nearly two weeks of Best of 2012 mania, we've finally arrived at the proverbial grandaddy of them all—XLR8R's picks for the top 20 releases of the year. Yesterday's selections, which included #40-21 in this category, already compiled a whole lot of quality material, but in our minds, the releases listed below are the absolute cream of the crop. Even better, we've invited the artists behind each of our picks to chime in with a few thoughts about their music, giving us a small peek behind the curtain at what went into some of the year's best music. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Releases, Part One

XLR8R's Best of 2012 coverage has admittedly included a lot of lists this year, but it's a safe bet that today's feature kicks off what is likely the most anticipated round-up of them all. Following a whole lot of year-end-list foreplay, we've finally arrived at our picks for the top 40 releases of 2012. Furthermore, keeping in line with our list of the year's top tracks, we've asked all of the artists selected to jot down a few of their thoughts about the record's we've picked. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Tracks, Part Two

Yesterday, XLR8R offered up the first half of our picks top 50 tracks of the year, a list that we've concluded below. Honestly, after hearing solid tunes just about every day in the XLR8R office, it's difficult to narrow things down, but these were the 25 tracks that burrowed the deepest into our psyche during the course of the year. Once again, we've enlisted the artists themselves to speak about their creations; in the process, they shed some extra light on various aspects of the music-making process, outlining their inspirations or songwriting techniques, or simply offering some other detail that we didn't know before. Given that we enjoyed these songs so much, the extra tidbits of information are all the more enlightening. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Tracks, Part One

After a full week of Best of 2012 content, we imagine that some of our readers may be hitting list overload. That said, the time has arrived for XLR8R to really start getting into the good stuff. Later this week, we'll be unveiling the results of our Readers Poll, along with what we think are the best releases of the past 12 months. But first, we're jumping into today's feature, a compilation of our picks for the best tracks of 2012. Selecting our favorites was no easy task, as we are quite literally inundated with tunes on a daily basis, but after taking everything into account, these were the songs that we kept coming back to again and again. We've selected 50 in total, the first half of which are listed below. (Come back tomorrow for the top 25.) For an added twist, we've elected to spare everyone from having to read our own thoughts about each track; instead, we've asked the artists themselves to speak about the songs in question. The vast majority of them were happy to pass along a few thoughts, and though their words range from what might be categorized as "incredibly thorough" to "weirdly brief," they all shed a bit of extra insight on the tracks we loved the most this year. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Underwhelming Releases

Admittedly, we here at XLR8R spend a lot of time focusing on upcoming releases. While we're honestly just trying to spread the word about music we're excited about, we realize that things like news stories, music videos, and MP3 downloads all feed into the hype surrounding records that most people haven't heard yet. It's a tricky business, and one that's only made harder by the fact that many releases simply don't live up to the hype. Frequently, the level of excitement surrounding a forthcoming piece of music is a completely inaccurate indicator of its actual quality, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, a new artist simply fails to live up to their potential. Other times, an established act with a solid pedigree loses the plot and turns in a surprisingly subpar effort. That being said, regardless of the reasons why, when a record fails to live up to the music world's collective expectations, the disappointment is palpable. This list is our attempt to document that phenomenon, as we've put together a list of the 10 releases that left us feeling the most underwhelmed in 2012. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Overrated Releases

XLR8R has been around a long time, and although we do hold a certain level of influence, we're ultimately just a single voice amongst an ocean of opinions. As such, no matter how strongly we feel about a particular piece of music, our take on something can easily be overwhelmed, especially once online groupthink begins to set in. The following list includes 10 releases whose praises were generally sung far and wide, and although we certainly don't hate everything here (in fairness, we definitely hate some of it), we simply felt that these releases didn't merit all of the acclaim that was thrown their way in 2012. Many of these records were wildly popular; some of these selections are from artists we really like, have supported in the past, and might very well support in the future. There are things here that have already (and will likely continue to) appear on other publications' year-end lists. (Hell, there are records here from artists who have already appeared on some of our Best of 2012 lists.) But this isn't about playing favorites or following trends; it's simply an effort to point out the releases that weren't as good as advertised. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: New Artists

Electronic music has always been a lightning-fast genre, and the pace certainly didn't slow down in 2012. Throughout the year, there was a constant barrage of new—new songs, new sounds, new labels, new scenes, and, of course, new artists. Supporting new acts is a bit of a tricky business, as the annals of electronic-music history are filled with producers who suddenly emerged with an exciting tune or two, only to fizzle out and disappear just as quickly. Nevertheless, we pride ourselves on being able to spot the quality newcomers, and now that the year is coming to a close, we've put together a list of 10 new artists who were not only impressive in 2012, but seem poised to continue making an impact in the years ahead. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Hi, Doctor Nick!

For the past several months, NY street shaman Nick Hook has been working as our resident advice columnist, stepping in every Thursday morning to assist our readers with their questions about music, production, DJing, travel, romance, and living life. That said, this week we're letting Doctor Nick take a break from helping the masses, as we've asked him to put together his thoughts on the Best of 2012. Fear not, he'll get back to doling out wisdom in 2013, so keep sending your questions to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Yooooooooooo. Year-end lists suck. Superlatives suck. Everything sucks. No, I'm just kidding. It's been the wildest year—so dark and so bright at the exact same time. I saw more things than ever before, watched so many of my peers take strides that I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams, and somehow, it all felt completely normal. I feel like Forrest Gump every day. Anyways, this year has been so exciting and inspiring, but in many ways, it was the year of strength, holding on, and not being afraid of anything. I'm looking forward to an amazing 2013. Be safe for New Years. Don't do too many drugs and wrap it up if you find a pretty lady. … Read more »

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