Category Archives: Another All-Time Best List?

Brittani – The Girl You Want: My Favorite Albums of 2012

Say what you will about this year in music, but I enjoyed it. While there were many “artists” whose hype I could never get with, I discovered new bands, reconnected with some old faves and danced like an idiot in my car to a couple of pop hits. PAY ATTENTION: These are my favorite albums of the year. Not saying that any of these the best of the year, just ones that I genuinely enjoyed and I hope you check them out if you haven’t already.


Garbage, ‘Not Your Kind of People’ Released May 14. After a six year hiatus, Garbage returned with a solid but nowhere near as perfect as their self-titled debut album. It took me a couple of listens to really get into it, and while the music is definitely there, the lyrics are pretty uninspired. Still, I enjoyed it and I didn’t really expect Shirley Manson to be singing about depressing downpours at 46. Best Songs: “Automatic Systematic Habit,” “Felt,” “Man On A Wire” and “The One” from the deluxe version.

Ty Segall Band Slaughterhouse’ released June 26 and Ty Segall Twins’ Released October 8. San Francisco rocker Ty Segall has released many a solo project, but ‘Slaughterhouse‘ was the first to feature his touring band. His 60s surfer and psychedelic influences are especially evident on ‘Twins‘ but both albums produce enough fuzzy, low-fi goodness to make you think Ty was born in the wrong decade. I first discovered his music back in late 2010 and have been enjoying it ever since, and I look forward to another 2 or 3 albums he could release in 2013. Also check out his collaboration with White FenceBest Songs: From ‘Slaugterhouse’ The Tongue,” “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” and “Wave Goodbye.” From ‘Twins‘ “You’re The Doctor,” You’re The Doctor” and “Love Fuzz.”

Deftones Koi No Yokan’ Released November 12. In case you were wondering, ‘Koi No Yokan’ is Japanese for “Premonition Of Love.” This quickly became one of my favorite Deftones albums and made me revisit their three previous ones and reignited my love of the band. Singer Chino Moreno‘s dark, romantic lyrics are prevalent throughout with lines like Tonight the stage is yours/I’m hypnotized by your name/I wish this night would never end. It’s the perfect album to try to get over that person you hate to love. Best Songs: “Swerve City,” Romantic Dreams,” “Leathers” and “Goon Squad.”

The Hives Lex Hives’ Released June 4. These Swedish dandies returned with a new look, tuxedos and top hats, and an amazingly rocking album. They survived that early 2000s garage rock revival to be one of the most fun and in your face bands out there. This was one of those albums that I decided I only liked a couple of songs, but later came back to give it another chance, and i’m really glad I did. Best Songs: “Wait A Minute,” “Take Back The Toys” and “My Time Is Coming.”

LadyhawkeAnxiety’ Released May 25. I almost passed on listening to this because the name Ladyhawke didn’t instantly register with me, even though Phillipa Brown has been at this since the early 2000s. What happens on ‘Anxiety’ isn’t complicated, it’s just a well produced, thanks to some help from Pascal Gabriel, piece of electronic pop rock. Lyrically it feels like a little something is missing, but the songs are good enough to lose yourself in and definitely get stuck in your head. Best Songs: “Girl Like Me,” “Sunday Drive” and “Vaccine.”

Blood Red Shoes In Time To Voices’ Released March 26. Blood Red Shoes have really progressed as a group, so much so that i’m convinced they have a secret bass player somewhere. The much harder sound of ‘In Time To Voices’, and upcoming EP, could draw comparisons to another boy/girl duo The White Stripes, and that isn’t a bad thing. Laura-Mary Carter said the band’s approach to this ones that they “wanted to make a really ambitious record” and I think they succeeded. Best Songs: “Cold,” “Lost Kids” and “Down Here In The Dark.” 

Alpine A Is For Alpine’ Released August 10. I still don’t know much about Australian band Alpine, except that it’s two lead singers Phoebe Baker and Lou James have incredible, harmonious voices that lend an almost ethereal feel to their songs. They’ve been compared to bands like The XX, so if you like them then you should give ‘A Is For Alpine’ a listen. Best Songs: “Hands,” “Soft Sides” and “Gasoline.”

Diamond Rugs Diamond Rugs’ Released Diamond Rugs is an indie super group of sorts, made up of John McCauley from Deer Tick and members of Los LobosDead Confederate and the Black Lips. I won’t tell you how I discovered them, but I can best describe this as dirty alt-country that conjures up images of over the hill strippers and long drives down dark, back roads in a beat up truck that is almost out of gas. Best Songs: “Blue Mountains, “Big God” and “Gimme A Beer.”

The Ting Tings Sounds From Nowheresville’ Released February 24. I almost forgot about this one because it came out so early in the year, but for me it was a long awaited follow up to their hit debut ‘We Started Nothing.’ It doesn’t feel as fun and carefree as that, and I agree with some critics that it seems too short, but the beats are easy to dance to even if it is a little overproduced. Best Songs: “Hands,” “Hang It Up” and “Soul Killing.”

Sleigh Bells Reign Of Terror’ Released February 21. ‘Reign of Terror’ also came out early in the year, but left a bigger bruise. I know a lot of people were excited about this one, and while I don’t think it lived up to their 2010 debut ‘Treats,’ it is more polished and the guitar riffs are just as noisy but more listenable. I didn’t feel like I was going to bust an ear drum listening to this one. Gone are the musings of a high school rebel with boy problems, it’s more of a reflection on how too real life can be. Best Songs: “Demons,” “Comeback Kid” and “Born To Lose.”

Bloc Pary Four’ Released August 20. After lead singer Kele Okereke went solo, there were rumors that the band could continue on without him. It just isn’t Bloc Party without him, and luckily we got what is one of the best albums of the year. This is heavier, and even a bit political, than their previous offerings, and they do return to confessional like lyrics that made me love them in the first place. Russell Lissack‘s amazing guitar skills are also on display here. It’s just one of those albums that i’m glad exists. Best Songs: The whole damn thing.


Marina & The Diamonds Electra Heart’ Released On April 27. When Marina Diamandis released her first, ‘The Family Jewels,’ it was passed to me by our friend Michael from PopBytes, but I wrote it off and even perhaps called it “terrible.” Well I was wrong, and with the hype surrounding ‘Electra Heart’ I made the wise decision to give Marina another chance. Like many a pop chanteuse, she adopted a persona for this one, which was kind of unnecessary but I guess it drove home the concept of the whole thing. It was one of the most complete feeling pop albums of the year, and one that i’m sure others will try to top. Best Songs: “Primadonna,” “Bubblegum Bitch” and “Homewrecker.”

No Doubt Push  and Shove’ Released September 25. I reviewed the album here, and as you can tell I was a little nervous about it. It’s certainly not a perfect album, and I didn’t know whether to put this in the Rock or Pop category, which may be people’s biggest issue with it. No Doubt did used to really “rock,” but that was a different era.  Gwen still struggles with “having it all,” but it’s mostly sand filled dreams and reminiscing about the good old days on this one. Best Songs: “Looking Hot,” “Sparkle” and “Heaven.”

Dragonette Bodyparts‘ Released September 22. I also reviewedBodyparts,’ a step in a different direction for Dragonette. They were doing the whole electro-pop dance stuff before it became big, but I was disappointed that their new stuff sounded too much like what is going on with pop now, but they didn’t delve too far into dubstep territory. I guess a missed some of the low-key tawdriness of their previous albums, but it’s fun to put on while you get ready for a night out on the town. Best Songs: “Live In This City,” “Let It Go” and “Rocket Ship.”

Nelly Furtado The Spirit Indestructible’ Released September 14. Nelly returned to her roots, but also kept the sexy playfulness she brought out for ‘Loose’ back in 2006. The album failed to make as strong of an impact as that did, but I think it was a solid effort, just maybe a bit ill timed. A couple of beats from her old friend Timbaland wouldn’t have hurt either. Best Songs: “Big Hoops,” “Parking Lot” and “Something.”

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour ‘Out Of Frequency’ Released January 31. The AGT are a Danish band fronted by enigmatic singer Mette Lindberg, whose very high voice perfectly goes with swinging 60s horns and grooves the band produces. You’ve probably heard them in a number of commercials, here you can get a full taste of their sunny pop-funk. Best Songs: “Dollars In The Night,” “Major” and “Cloak & Dagger.” 

Noisettes Contact’ Released August 26. The Noisettes are another very funky overseas act fronted by an amazing singer, Shingai Shoniwa. It melds the indie-soul they’ve become known with more acoustic and somewhat Country fare that showcases Shingai and Dan Smith‘s vocal abilities. It is strikingly different than their first two albums, and maybe it’ll take a couple of listens to really get into but it’s wroth the effort. Best Songs: “That Girl,” “Winner” and “I Want You Back.”

MNDR Feed Me Diamonds’ Released August 14. MNDR is technically a duo, but the face and voice of it is Amanda Warner, a very unlikely popstar. I’ve followed her, or their, music since they released their EP in 2010 and have enjoyed Warner’s collabos with super producer Mark Ronson. This is their first full length album, featuring pulsating beats and lyrics paying tribute to Patty Hearst and artist Marina Abramovic. This might not sound any different than the electronic driven music of late, but I much prefer this which is like Bjork meets The Jungle BrothersBest Songs: “Faster Horses,” “Blue Jean Youth” and “Fall In Love With The Enemy.”

Ellie Goulding ‘Halcyon’ Released October 5. Can I just say that I feel strangely proud of Ellie? She had been on many a “up and coming” and new artist spotlight lists but I feel like she finally made it. Thanks in large part to ‘Halcyon’ which shows off her soft but aggressive voice and shifting her into a more edgier mix of songs. Definitely more commercial, and I think she has a ways to go before she’s really at the top of game, but this is a huge step in the right direction for someone who has seemingly been out forever but is still quite new. Best Songs: “Anything Could Happen,” “Only You” and “Don’t Say A Word.”


Santigold Master of My Make-Believe’ Released May 1. Santi hit up some familiar friends for this one, including Diplo, two thirds of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Dave Sitek. This earned her some top spots on the Billboard charts and maybe some new fans that missed her the first time around. While I love her, her music is an acquired taste, straddling the lines between rap, new wave, punk and dub. MoMM-B is a perfect blend of all four as Santigold continues to be the master putting her luscious monotone over sleek production. Best Songs: “Disparate Youth,” Fame” and “Look At These Hoes.” 

Elle Varner Perfectly Imperfect’ Released August 7. I first heard of Elle on her mixtape ‘Conversational Lush’ and she continues the theme of “just needing a drink after a hard day” on her official debut. Varner waxes poetic about hangovers and missed connections on this sultry and honest album. Her voice isn’t the best, it cracks and her notes are never carried away the out but that’s why I like it and it makes her not all that serious lyrics even more relatable, and easy to sing along to. Best Songs: “Refill,” “Sound Proof Room” and “Oh What A Night.” 

Lianne La Havas Is Your Love Big Enough?’ Released July 9. Another ingenue making waves this year is Brit Lianne La Havas. This isn’t traditional r&b, but more folk-soul with a very sweet twist. Lianne’s voice is sensual and soft, adding a cool, sleepy quality to her songs. She reminds me a bit of Sade Adu on this, and I know the words “folk music” scare a lot of people but you won’t be disappointed by this album. Best Songs: “Is Your Love Big Enough?.” “Au Cinema” and “No Room For Doubt.”

Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city’ Released October 22. If you haven’t heard, Kendrick is rap’s newest savior, a title i’m sure he doesn’t mind because he sort of lives up to it. People got really excited about this guy, and for good reason, but it took me a minute to get into him because I have to discover things on my own. So did Kendrick put out one of the best rap albums of the year? Yes, yes he did. He was thrown under the wing of Dr. Dre and worked with Just Blaze and Pharrell Williams. Even without the magic touch of Dre and all the fancy production, Kendrick would have presented one of the most real efforts from a rapper in a while. Best Songs: “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “The Recipe” and “Backseat Freestyle.”

Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox‘ Released December 6. Bruno quickly established himself as this generation’s soul man, taking stage after stage on awards shows with his amazing band delivering performances that frankly, other artists are just too lazy to do. This album isn’t as poppy and doesn’t have any tailored made radio singles, which is good, but there is an odd mix of raw sex and undying love. But well, what r&b album doesn’t have that? He addresses past issues upfront, all while giving a Prince-like swagger to his “not giving a f***ness.” It is a slightly more grown up Bruno, and I appreciate that. Best Songs: “Locked Out Of Heaven,” “Young Girls” and “Gorilla.”

Big Boi Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors’ Released December 11. I went from thinking I would maybe just be pleasantly surprised by this to absolutely loving it. I know people think Andre is the more “creative” half of Outkast but Big Boi presents something not only ambitious but different and incredibly inspired. I don’t feel like he worked with indie blog faves like Little Dragon and Wavves because it would get him attention with Brooklyn dwelling musicphiles, it’s because he really likes these artists and perfectly used them, even if some songs do just sound like experiments. Best Songs: “Objectum Sexuality,” “Mama Told Me,” “In the A” and “Shoes For Running.”

2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story’ Released August 14. I think 2 Chainz’s many guest appearances on other people’s singles might have overshadowed his solo work some, and he has many on his debut. Look, you can go on and on about how “ratchet” you think 2 Chainz’s music and videos are, but damn it if he isn’t fun. He’s not the best lyricist, but his personality makes up for that for me. I can’t think of the last time I really liked a rapper, so I welcome 2 Chainz and elbow dancing. Best Songs: “I’m Different,” “Birthday Song” and “No Lie.”

Rye Rye Go! Pop! Bang!’ Released May 15. Another artist who is just fun, but also quite skilled when she wants to be, Rye Rye finally released her debut after some label issues and a pregnancy. Not letting diaper duty stop her, she presents an energetic trip through clubs and parties, never breaking her b-girl stance along the way. She’s joined by M.I.A. and Robyn, who add their signature touches to a couple of cuts. Overall, it’s as colorful as Rye Rye’s hair and the album cover.

Some honorable mentions:


Christina Aguilera Lotus,’ La Sera ‘Sees The Light,’ Magic Wands ‘Aloha Moon,’  Usher ‘Looking 4 Myself’ Melanie Fiona The MF Life,’ Sarah Jaffe The Body Wins’ and Keyshia Cole Woman to Woman.’

Give us your list of favorite albums of 2012 !!

10 Not So Jolly Christmas Movies


I am one of those Grinches that doesn’t enjoy this time of year anymore. Too much holiday cheer and people complaining about how to greet one another during the holidays. The cookies are always welcome, though. So because movies like ‘White Christmas’ and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ make me ill, here are 10 that will make you scream, laugh and forget that you got another sweater from your Great Aunt again this year.


Christmas Evil‘ (1980) Like many of the films on the list, Christmas Evil wasn’t a hit when it came out, but gained a cult following due to home video. Also known as ‘You Better Watch Out,’ the movie is about the deeply troubled Harry, who because he witnessed his father groping his mother while dressed as Santa Claus as a kid, develops an odd obsession with St. Nick. As an adult, he suffers a nervous breakdown and begins to believe he’s the real Santa, hacking people to death while trying to deliver toys from the factory he works at. It’s an odd movie, and I can see why it wasn’t successful when it was released, but it’s kind of fun to watch.

‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ (1984) This one caused a lot of controversy when it premiered during the holiday season of 1984. Our friend Roger Ebert condemned the movie along with partner Gene Siskel, and the PTA fought to have it have it removed from theaters. Still, the movie outgrossed ‘A Nightmare On Elm Stree’ which opened on the same day, and spawned four sequels. The only one remotely worth watching is #2, which features the famous “Garbage Day” scene of an adult Ricky, the little brother of SNDN’s antagonist Billy, reeking havoc around his neighborhood. All of this could have been avoided if Grandpa hadn’t told Billy about Santa punishing the “very naughty,” and then poor Billy helplessly watches as his parents are offed by a crazed man dressed as Mr. Claus. A remake starring Malcolm McDowell was released earlier this month simply titled ‘Silent Night.’ 

‘Black Christmas’ (1974) A true classic, the original Black Christmas was inspired by a number of murders that took place in Canada at the time. A killer, whose identity is never revealed, stalks a couple of sorority sisters, including Margot Kidder and Olivia Hussey, who are getting ready to depart college for Christmas break. Director Bob Clark produced the 2006 remake, which you should skip because it doesn’t keep the haunting ending of the killer coming down the stairs for one last kill as we hear another telephone ringing.

‘Tales From The Crypt’ (1972) The anthology film, based on stories from EC Comics, features five segments, the first of which is “… And All Through The House.” Joan Collins kills her husband on Christmas Eve, but also has to deal with a maniac dressed as Santa Claus. She can’t call the police without revealing the murder, so she tries her best to pin the crime on the escaped serial killer. The story was also adapted for the television show in it’s first season.


‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993) Moving on from slashers in Santa costumes, to a kidnapping of Kris Kringle. Tim Burton‘s stop motion hit sees Jack Skellington wanting to bring all of the magic of Christmas to his native Halloweentown. When his friends don’t get what he’s trying to do, he decides to take over the role of Santa, which means bringing the real one to Halloweentown. His plans don’t go over well, but in the end he realizes the real meaning of Christmas, and his true feelings for his friend Sally. This is still a delightful movie to watch as an adult, whether it be during Halloween or Christmas.


‘Batman Returns’ (1992) Another one from Tim Burton, this sequel to 1989’s ‘Batman’ was considerably darker in tone, which is what I love about it. The villains, and there are many, really make the movie including Michelle Pfeiffer‘s sexy and scary portrayal of Catwoman. One of the movie’s biggest scenes has The Penguin kidnapping the Ice Princess and having her fall to hear death onto Gotham City’s Christmas tree, releasing hundreds of bats. For a depressing movie, it actually has kind of a happy ending and it’s a must for anyone who prefers their superhero movies actually dark and gritty.

‘Edward Scissorhands’ (1990) Apparently Burton had a thing about Christmas for a good three years. This was the first of Tim’s collaborations with Johnny Depp, and it’s where Depp met future girlfriend and tattoo inspiration Winona Ryder. Edward is rescued from a decaying mansion by Dianne Weist and thrust into a pastel suburbia where he falls in love with her daughter Kim, played by Ryder. Not everyone is so accepting of Edward, even though he can give a mean haircut, he soon becomes an outcast. He does share a sweet moment with Kim, creating snow for her as he carves an ice angel, before he flees back to his home. The Christmas backdrop presents an obvious allegory, but also gives the movie a fairytale feel.

‘Scrooged’ (1988) A fun modernization of Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol,” Bill Murray stars as the greedy and self centered tv executive Frank Cross, who is visited by three ghosts showing him his past, present and eventual future if he doesn’t change. The Ghost Of Christmas Present, played by Carol Kane, insists on berating and beating Frank while she shows him what his little brother and friends are doing without him. Of course everything works out for Frank after he realizes the error of his ways, and the cast ends the movie singing “Put A Little Love In Your Heart.”


‘The Ref’ (1994) The Ref is a little gem I remember watching numerous times as kid on HBO. Even though it was too adult for me at the time, I enjoyed the arguing between Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur, Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis. Burgler Gus, played by Denis Leary, reluctantly becomes the referee during their constant fighting after he takes them hostage. When Lloyd’s family arrives for Christmas dinner, he has no choice but to pretend to be their marriage counselor. You can guess how it ends if you haven’t seen it yet, but it’s definitely worth watching.

‘Bad Santa’ (2003) The most recent movie on the list has three different versions, but it all involves Billy Bob Thornton‘s Willie T. Stokes getting ready to pull his annual Christmas heist at the mall. His plans are foiled by Bernie Mac‘s suspicious Gin Slagel, and a woman he has recently become involved with named Sue. He also becomes something of father to an unpopular and overweight boy known as “The Kid.” He struggles to do right by them,  and does eventually go straight.


Before this, Billy Bob was an Oscar winning actor known for trading vials of blood with Angelina Jolie and being afraid of furniture. This put him on another level, but he hasn’t done anything as good, or funny, since Bad Santa.

GQ’s LEAST Influential People Of The Year – Brittani’s Thoughts


Post Halloween, I don’t really care for the holidays and all the supposed cheer it brings. I especially loathe all of the year end lists, but GQ put together one that I think we can all appreciate.

The magazine states that the list isa collection of people so uninspiring that we should round them all up and stick them on an iceberg. Please note that these folks are ranked in no particular order, because all zeros are created equal.”

Even though the 25 people on it aren’t ranked, Mitt Romney is the first person to pop up.The only successful thing he did this year was embody every black stand-up comedian’s impression of a white person.”  Truer words have never been spoken.



My former “boyfriend”, and thankfully for Diva Julia it was a very short crush, Ryan Lochte may have abs of steel but he has a brain made out of brick.  They described him as “the U.S. swimmer who managed to increase the Ashton Kutcher-ness of the London Games by 80 percent.”



You know, I actually like ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ but the worst part of it has always been Guy Fieri‘s stupid catchphrases (“Duhhh…I’d eat that Velveeta cheese sauce off a FLIP-FLOP! HARRR HARRR HARRR!”), backwards sunglasses, dumb spiky peroxided hair and well, flip-flops in other people’s kitchens. His latest venture, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, was mercilessly skewered by a New York Times food critic which promoted way too many people to jump to his defense.


Even though he won an Academy Award for writing ‘The Social Network,’ Aaron Sorkin‘s dialogue has always left me exhausted and annoyed. He has another successful show under his belt with ‘Newsroom,’ GQ perfectly puts it, Watching an Aaron Sorkin show is like someone force-reading you the Huffington Post.”


Also making the list are First Lady Michelle Obama (who really doesn’t belong on this list–God forbid she get your fat kids to exercise)Madonna, wearing her cheerleader uniform, new Laker, Dwight HowardAmanda Bynes and George Zimmerman. 

Check out the rest of the list here!