You may already know this, depending on your awareness of your surroundings, but Connecticut enjoyed another great year of music in 2012. Here are my favorite songs of the year by Connecticut artists:
On the first single from their debut album, “Victory,” New Haven beatsmith Max Heath and his cousin, Boston singer/keyboardist Sedgie Oglivy, surround listeners in a thick fog of bubbly synths, dubby guitars and spacious beats. Oglivy’s silky voice perfumes the track, adding yet another captivating component to this otherworldly R&B jam.
Following up on their self-titled debut album from last year — a collection of sonically-diverse, psychedelic soul songs — the Bridgeport trio busts right out of the gate in 2012 with the excellent “Sweet Salvation,” a track that fuses a chugging funk groove with the band’s trademark vocal harmonies and spacy guitar effects.
On her latest project, a collaboration between a bevy of Connecticut artists (Mates of State, The Stepkids), prolific Bridgeport musician Meredith Dimenna delves into previously uncharted territory — in this case, 60s-era country psychedelia in the vein of Nancy Sinatra. Think that song from the scene in “Kill Bill” when Black Mamba is buried alive.
The self-described “Hood Hippie” and gravel-voiced emcee details a deeply emotional narrative about a woman weighed down by personal struggles on this track, the first single from his excellent 2012 LP. The song features a smooth, soulful hip hop instrumental that gives way to a swelling, heart-stirring hook from Portland native Brendan D’Amico.
On the first single off his debut solo album, “Roc Paper Scissors,” the Danbury emcee and Phentiks member delivers an ode to underground hip hop over a breezy, string-infused beat by fellow Antfarm Affiliate Dirt E. Dutch. It is at once a criticism of the grimy state of the music industry and an inspirational message to all the independent emcees out there.
Last year, New Haven “dirty soul” outfit Fake Babies showed they were one of the most innovative — and noisiest — bands in the state with their debut album, “We Started Blues.” On this track (from their self-titled EP), the band continues their sonic experimentation, albeit with a nod to their mellower and more melodic impulses.
AJNLF [WW8] – “Bad Motha”
I don’t know much about the Bridgeport hip hop duo behind this late-in-the-year find, but I do know this much — this stripped down party rap anthem is permanently ingrained in my skull. “When I hit that switch I’m bouncin,’” goes the chorus. That’s for damn sure, and I have yet to flip it off.
David Van Witt begins his debut LP, “Hard On Romance,” with a punch to his own grill, exhorting himself over his carelessly lustful ways. But on “Honey Bee,” a hazy, intoxicating number, he turns his wobbly, alcohol-drenched attacks to an anonymous woman: “My little honey queen, how many have you killed? Do I ever want to know?”
The Norwalk emcee has rapped a lot about drugs, girls and parties, but don’t be mistaken — those vices have hardly distracted him from his craft. That shines through on “Wait A Minute,” an epic, Sap-produced banger that finds Webby proclaiming that no woman (save for his mom) will get between him and his money stacks.
The Nantucket-New York City-Hartford group kicks off their latest album, “Zookeeper,” with “Cars,” a dance-worthy electro rock anthem that moves steadily into overdrive, unleashing layers of fuzzed out guitars, a propulsive baseline and Giorgio Moroder-esque electronic effects. This is one song I would love to see performed live.
I also liked: