Remember when people asked what music you liked and you answered, “Pretty much everything, except for country and heavy metal”? Or maybe you still say this.
I confess that I used to be one of those people. Then I bought a Portishead album and everything changed. Shortly afterward, I acquired an Elastica record, and a few years later a Dixie Chicks CD. I shook myself free of silly musical restrictions and, thanks to the privacy of headphones, discovered that I actually do love different genres: hello, Dolly and Hole! Now I’ll listen to anything as long as it makes me feel something, and in 2012 I challenge you to do the same. Let’s take a big sledgehammer and pound preconceived musical tastes to dust.
I’m not asking you to go and buy a Megadeth album or fall for Toby Keith, but this year, open your ears a little wider and you might discover some new things about yourself.
According to west end DJ/promoter and Wrongbar kingpin Nav Sangha, disco is going to make a big return in 2012. Last year was very dancy, so this seems very possible. Now a partner in the revamping of Toronto’s legendary Great Hall on Queen West, Sangha promises that disco-influenced favourites such as Com Truise, Gesaffelstein and The Revenge will all be stopping in Toronto this winter.
The members of New York’s She’s the Queen — named after an episode of Wife Swap
called “King Curtis” — agree that dance music will continue to be king (or queen). Their anthemic and addictive tune “Waiting Game” is a highlight of the Electronic Rumors Volume 1
compilation. Vivacious vocalist Emily White says she and bandmate Andrew Kuryloski “judge how good a song is by how much it makes us want to get up out of our seats and move around.” They’re big fans of Robyn — “Have you seen her eat a banana onstage?” exclaims Kuryloski — and believe that electronic music will run rampant in most every genre. Thanks to an overload of new synth and sequencing apps, and the internet’s ability to connect listeners across the globe, these dynamos confidently predict that 2012 will be dominated by dance music.
Another trend from late 2011 will burn its way into 2012: dream pop. You know that sound of AM radio, that summery, syrupy drone that oozed its way onto the new Drake album? Waterloo’s SolarSolar is a great local example of the sound. The husband-and-wife duo creates sexy synth-pop on their debut, Pilot
; they believe we’ll be hearing lots of “apocalyptic party music” this year. As much as people want to dance, we all need room to space out and watch the world crumble, right?
Dream pop is also steeped in ’90s grit. Grunge, goth and dark synth-pop continue to lurk around the blogosphere, and Portland, Oregon, trio Blouse is one of the cooler bands leading the pack. Charlie Hilton’s fembot vocals float effortlessly above the chugging bass lines that drive the band’s post-new-wave electronic numbers. Bass player Patrick Adams claims that things are going to get odd in 2012: “I mean, music will continue to become less conventional. You have to go that route in order to get attention. Either that or you have to be really sexy. So really sexy people playing weird music is gonna be big.”
Music lovers, take note.