When we asked you what you thought the most exciting artist of the year was, the results came flying in fast and furious. Sorting through the diesel selection you gave us, one thing became clear very quickly: you guys really like Trust. Robert Alfons’ goth-drenched synthpop project dominated the list, something we’re happy to announce as we loved his debut TRST as well. How many summer nights we spent popping it to “Chrissy E” is somewhat less easy to count.
Mykki Blanco was a close second. Industrial-tinged, experimental hip-hop was a big thing this year (as our fourth place selection further proves, but more on that in a minute) and Blanco’s drag-draped, in-your-face personality of the poet-turned-rapper has pushed her ever closer to stardom. While her mixtape Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss was something of a mixed bag, her debut EP Mykki Blanco & The Mutant Angels is a pitch-perfect selection of sounds that put Mykki in the eyes of the world.
Third place goes to Grimes, again not much of a surprise; her esoteric pop masterpiece Visions is showing up in most of the Year’s Best lists we’ve seen, and for good reason. It’s been a very big year for Claire Boucher, and it’s been a pleasure to watch her garner ever more attention, all without compromising her own vision and sense of self. Legitimate weirdos making legitimately weird music will always be very much our thing.
Death Grips commanded a respectable fourth, thought there’s nothing respectable about the duo of Stefan Burnett and Zach Hill—aside from how much they thrash the skin off our bodies whenever we see them live. The Money Store established them as a force to be reckoned with early in the year, but it was the penis-covered No Love Deep Web, released online for free by the band allegedly in an effort to bypass perceived stall tactics from their label Epic Records, cemented their place as modern punk heroes for many.
At fifth place is rapper Azealia Banks, whose debut 2011 single “212” blew up in Europe and led to Banks being signed to XL Recordings. Though the relationship between the UK label and the NYC songstress would ultimately dissolve, Banks’ work in 2012—the 1991 EP and its timely ’90s-referencing video, her well-received Fantasea mixtape featuring collabs with Machinedrum, Hudson Mohawke, Diplo and other heavy-hitters—kept her head and name high.
The third prize—your favorite albums of the year (in vinyl, CD or digital, whichever you prefer)—goes to Bakos Zsolt, Szeged, Hungary.
Your favorite song of 2012 will be following on Sunday, December 30th. Find all poll results in here.
Published December 28, 2012. Words by Daniel Jones.