Nonesuch Artists Make Year's Best Lists from Rolling Stone, NPR Music, American Songwriter
Following last week's insight on the year's best in music according to Uncut, Mojo, and Paste, which featured several Nonesuch artists, come three more noteworthy year-end lists from Rolling Stone, NPR Music, and American Songwriter. They tip their respective hats to artists including Amadou & Mariam, Dr. John, Randy Newman, Fatoumata Diawara, Jeremy Denk, Lianne La Havas, and Punch Brothers.
Rolling Stone has published its list of 50 Best Albums of 2012, and coming in at No. 15 is Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack)'s Nonesuch debut album, Locked Down, produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. (The album also made the aforementioned Mojo, Uncut, and Paste lists.) Rolling Stone originally gave the album four stars upon its release in April, calling it "the wildest record Rebennack has made in many years.”
Amadou & Mariam's latest album, Folila, is included among Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2012 as well. The Malian duo's first studio album since 2009's acclaimed Welcome to Mali, Folila was helmed by longtime producer Marc-Antoine Moreau and epitomizes the duo's embrace of collaboration, with contributions by Santigold, TV on the Radio, Nick Zinner, Theophilus London, Bassekou Kouyate, and others.
"The ideas swirl and sparkle," says Rolling Stone of this cross-cultural collaboration, "but the trademark blend of West African vocals, groove and electric guitar is the musical sun around which all else revolves. Check Bagayoko and Zinner on 'Dougou Badia,' which may permanently reshape your notion of a guitar jam."
See the list at rollingstone.com.
Rolling Stone has also published its list of the 50 Best Songs of 2012, and coming in at No. 23 is Randy Newman's "I'm Dreaming," a politically-themed single Newman offered as a free download via Nonesuch.com. With lyrics from the viewpoint of a voter who casts his ballot solely based on skin color, the song draws attention to something Newman has noticed and written about for 40 years: racism in America. "It's classic Newman satire in the 'Short People' mold," writes Rolling Stone, "a very funny, deceptively breezy take on a painful truth about a segment of the American electorate."
Read more at rollingstone.com.
Speaking of great songs that were released this year, NPR Music has posted an alphabetical list of its 100 Favorite Songs of 2012, and on it are three Nonesuch albums that also happen to come from Nonesuch debuts.
Fatoumata Diawara, whose debut album, Fatou, was released on World Circuit / Nonesuch Records in the States this summer, is on the list for the album track "Bakonoba." "The French-Malian actress and dancer with a smoky-sweet, Sade-like voice glides atop a West African groove on her debut album," says NPR. "More, please."
Also on the eclectic list is pianist Jeremy Denk's Nonesuch debut album Ligeti/Beethoven, which pairs Ligeti’s Piano Études, Books One and Two, with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111. Citing the Ligeti etude "Automne à Varsovie," says the motif "slithers down the keyboard and under your skin." Ligeti/Beethoven has also made NPR Music's list of the Top Classical Albums of 2012. "His performances of terrifyingly difficult music—like Ligeti's finger-crushing Etudes—seem as natural as the weather, but with a decidedly personal stamp," writes NPR's Tom Huizenga. "This coupling of Beethoven's final, forward-looking sonata with Ligeti's Etudes is fascinating."
British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas released her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? on Nonesuch in August and has had quite a year since. NPR Music picks the album's title track for its list, explaining: "Like a lost gem from the fusion-frantic early-'70s soul era, this epic exploration of one young woman's creative process sweeps you up with its girl-group handclaps and African guitar line, as the young British singer lays her Nina Simone-loving heart on the line."
See the complete list at npr.org.
Back on the album front, American Songwriter has published its list of the Top 50 Albums of 2012, and on it is Punch Brothers' latest album, Who's Feeling Young Now?. After lauding the album's take on Radiohead's "Kid A," American Songwriter goes on to say of the album as a whole: "[Chris] Thile plays the wry, jaunty, elastic-voiced narrator, and, with aggressive precision, the entire band frequently locks into taut grooves punctuated by boldfaced backbeats. The result is an exhilaratingly unpredictable, and never impenetrable, album. And that’s not an easy tension to get right." Read more at americansongwriter.com.
To pick up these "year's best" albums, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CDs and LPs are 34% off SRP as part of the store's fifth anniversary sale and include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout.
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