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Best of 2012

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Labels

In 2012, it was easier than ever for artists to deliver music directly to their audience. That being said, it's hard to shake the notion that record labels—at least the good ones—are still incredibly important. Simply by providing a steady stream of quality music, a label can be so much more than a vehicle for releasing and selling music. The best imprints operate like a well-curated gallery; they provide a sort of editorial perspective, and watching that perspective develop from one release to the next only adds to the intrigue. Even better, there's no set formula for launching, running, or maintaining a solid label; methods that work for one might be disastrous for another. As such, the idea of selecting the year's best labels is admittedly a highly subjective process. Nevertheless, we've done our best to cobble together a list of the 10 labels whose 2012 campaigns left us the most impressed. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Videos

Do music videos still matter? As 2012 winds to a close, that's not an easy question to answer. On the one hand, the proliferation of video-editing software, coupled with easy access to sites like YouTube and Vimeo, means that just about anyone can make a music video. On the other hand, anyone can make a music video, including lots of people that probably shouldn't. Yes, the past 12 months saw more than their share of lazy video concepts and amateurish execution, but thankfully, the sea of mediocrity wasn't enough to completely disqualify the music video as an art form. Now and again, something worthwhile would appear in our inbox, a piece that built upon its song's original vision and offered something unique, or fun, or at least kept us interested enough to not click through the play bar immediately. After taking stock of the various videos that dropped during 2012, we've put together a list of our 10 favorite clips. Below that, we've also added the year's 10 most popular videos from the XLR8R website. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Features

Each day, XLR8R is populated with all sorts of information, most of which can be consumed fairly quickly. And though news stories, videos, and MP3 downloads are all essential parts of keeping tabs on the rapidly moving world of electronic music, that doesn't mean we've lost our taste for long-form reporting. We make a point to dig deeper in our Features section, making sure to always provide a steady diet of artist interviews, scene profiles, studio visits, festival reviews, and more. The articles may vary in scope and tone, but they all offer something more substantial than a simple blog post. Not surprisingly, we have our favorites from the past 12 months, which is why we've put together a top 10 list. That said, we didn't want our editorial staff to have the definitive final word, so we've also included a list of the year's 10 most popular features. A few articles appear on both lists, but the results are actually quite different. Let's just put it this way: the XLR8R audience really likes our In the Studio series. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Podcasts

Over the past few years, the XLR8R podcast series has become one of our calling cards, something that our audience can always be counted upon to devour with an unparalleled sort of enthusiasm. This isn't all that surprising—after all, each chapter of the series offers an exclusive, brand-new DJ mix from an artist whose work we're excited about. Whether helmed by a veteran producer or a fresh-faced newcomer, the podcast format gives the artist the room to stretch his or her creative legs, which is likely why the results vary so wildly from week to week. Sometimes, the mix will be stacked with exclusive dubs and unreleased tunes. Other times, DJs use the opportunity to raid their record stacks and delve into the past. Regardless of the approach taken, it's fascinating to see how different artists approach the opportunity, especially when they're only allowed to take on the XLR8R podcast once—repeat appearances are not allowed. With so many mixes over the course of the year, selecting our favorites of 2012 was no easy task, but we've managed to put together a list of the 10 that we enjoyed the most. For the sake of comparison, we've also included a list of the 10 most popular podcasts, and it's interesting to see just how much our tastes overlapped with those of our readers. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Top Downloads, Part Two

To kick off our Best of 2012 coverage, we've compiled a list of the 100 most popular tracks that graced our Downloads section during the past year. The first half were presented in Part One, while songs #50-1 can be streamed and/or downloaded below. At the end of the post, readers will also find a link to download all 100 songs in a single ZIP file. Happy listening. … Read more »

XLR8R's Best of 2012: Top Downloads, Part One

As another year rapidly comes to a close, we here at XLR8R have once again put our heads together to evaluate all things we liked—and didn't like—over the past 12 months. In the process, we've also cooked up an entire slate of Best of 2012 coverage, which we'll be rolling out gradually over the days and weeks ahead. That said, we've actually elected to kick things off with something that has very little to do with our own opinions—a list of the top 100 songs from our Downloads section. … Read more »

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