Well, the Mayans were wrong, and mankind isn’t “Audi 5000”—their words, not mine—so we say goodbye to 2012 with the inevitable year-end list-mania. For all of the great local acts that our city’s had to offer this year, we had to mention some of our noteworthy favorites. And although it’s hard to quickly sum up the entire Philly music scene, we’ll try to do our best. (This includes almost certainly leaving out some of your favorites.)
Of course, there’s the big shots: The Roots, Diplo, Dr. Dog, RJD2, War On Drugs, Lotus, Man Man, Free Energy, Pissed Jeans, The Disco Biscuits, etc. But for a bunch of artists, 2012 put them into the next level of popularity. Rick Ross protege Meek Mill has been doing big things for a while, but his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape, appearance on Maybach Music Group’s Self Made, Vol. 2 and homecoming at Made In America pushed him over the edge. Same goes for rap duo Chiddy Bang, with their hit Breakfast, hardcore-punkers Title Fight’s Floral Green and Gem from U.S. Girls (whose single, “Jack” is still stuck in our heads).
As for rock ‘n’ roll, there was all kinds to be had: blues punkers TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb, scuzzsters Spacin’, country-outlaws Levee Drivers, rough folk from Toy Soldiers, heavy sax weirdos The Love Club, indie-pop by Cheers Elephant, synth-goofsters The Bad Doctors, party funk from Prowler, retro-garage by The Eeries, the always-fun Dangerous Ponies and dozens more. Philly also remains a hotbed of variety, from hip-hop (Ground Up, Lushlife) and psych-prog (Out of the Beardspace) to avant-jazz (Sonic Liberation Front), roots-rock (Hoots & Hellmouth) and electronic (Sun Airway), not to mention, of course, incredibly specific cover bands (like the filthy Neil Diamond tribute crew Dirty Diamond or all-female Metallica coverers Misstallica).
The fact that there were too many artists to name should tell you something about our musical landscape. Let’s hope 2013 is just as good.
And now, a moment of silence for our beloved Ween, who, as of this year, are no more. Let them forever be in our hearts.
PW's Music Issue 2014