Yes, I know there is a lot of list-o-mania out there right now (Phoenix pun, pretty bad) but I wanted to add one more to the pile. Earlier this month, NPR Music asked Jason Bentley to share his Top 5 LA Albums of the Year.
I think everyone agrees it was an INCREDIBLE year for music in SoCal. KCRW plays music from all over the world, but our playlists were consistently topped by local artists all year. And, let’s be honest, there is a little bit of a pride thing too – we are always especially happy to help boost bands that start in our backyard. Here are Jason’s picks (in random order):
Best Coast, ‘Crazy For You’
Best Coast’s slacker anthems are short, sweet and wildly infectious. Topics range from boyfriends to stoner boredom and youth angst, but each song is set to garage-rock bliss and a sun-bleached state of mind.
Flying Lotus, ‘Cosmogramma’
Born out of the Los Angeles underground, Flying Lotus is charting new directions in modern music with his avant-garde fusion of hip-hop, jazz and psychedelia. Cosmogramma is an invigorating listen that’s challenging to the ear, yet strangely funky.
Fitz & The Tantrums, ‘Pickin’ Up The Pieces’
The current retro-soul revival may have started with the likes of Gnarls Barkley and Amy Winehouse, but L.A.’s Fitz & The Tantrums excelled this year with great songs and energetic live shows. The classic themes of heartache bring this band to life, while the chemistry between Fitz and female vocalist Noelle Scaggs is palpable.
Ozomatli, ‘Fire Away
Fire Away was a return to form for one of L.A.’s great bands. The band celebrated 15 years together this year and continues to blend myriad influences. Check out our Ozomatli vs KCRW Soundclash project, if you haven’t already.
Autolux, ‘Transit Transit’
Autolux’s new album is enormously compelling, with Beatles-esque song styling, Sonic Youth-style guitar and a brooding atmosphere. This is a great album for the occasional gloomy, gray days we get in L.A.