This is one in a series of year-end stories that look back at the most memorable pieces KPCC reporters worked on in 2012 and look ahead at a key issue that will be the focus of coverage in the coming year.
What better way to celebrate the arrival of 2013 than with the best sounds of 2012? We've got the best indie, world and alt-latino music from the past year. Our regular music critics Steve Hochman, Josh Kun and Drew Tewksbury gave us their top picks for 2012.
Drew Tewksbury's Picks:
"I think it was a pretty good year for music, because there was a really wide variety of things that happened. You had very big pop things coming out, but also experimental music, there were a lot of interesting things happening. One of my favorite albums from the year that probably no one likes is by this band Swans, they made a beautiful, noisy, kind of grimy album. That's what I thought was so cool about this year, that there was some really grimy stuff, but some high-end pop stuff that came out that sounded really great too.
Lianne La Havas, "Forget" Tame Impala, "Apocalypse Dream" Quakers, "Fitta Happier" Trends: "I saw a lot of return to Blues with "Alabama Shakes" and a lot of other bands that were starting to get back to roots music. One thing we didn't see a lot of is Rock & Roll. Rock & Roll has, for the last couple of years, kind of taken a back seat to pop. So that's something that I hope for next year, that we get some more basic, some gritty rock back in there."
Steve Hochman's Picks:
"Looking on the global perspective, on the one end you had the huge phenomenon with Pussy Riot, the punk female collective from Russia getting jailed and becoming this big protest icon, then on the other side you had Psy from Korea, a whole new global phenomenon. And most people around the world don't even understand the words to either of these things, but they've become the icons."
Ondatrópica Malawi Mouse Boys, "He Is # 1"
Dr. John, "Revolution"
Josh Kun's Picks:
"Judging by the fact that I can't keep up with just how much stuff is out there and how much good stuff is out there. Every single day you can start the morning and not finish throughout the day listening to all the new stuff…for me, personally, the ongoing death of genre is a beautiful thing. The more and more that people are just making music for the sake of making it, and not worrying about where its going to fall, how its going to sell. It's a beautiful place when we can have all of that diversity being produced every single day."
Natalia Laforcade, "Aventurera"
Ana Tijoux, "Saca La Voz
Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas, "Helicopteros"
Trends: "I'm hoping it's the last year for Euro, techno dance sythwashes to infect all manners of hip-hop and R&B in this country. I'm hoping its the end of LMFAO, I'm hoping its the end of David Guetta's sound. I think it's time to move on."