My Favorite Albums of the Second Half of 2012, in Haiku Form
[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, "Bizarre Ride," appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. His archives are available here.]
Kendrick Lamar attributed L.A.'s primacy to the women, weed and weather. He was quoting Biggie, who consecrated the left coast via song, despite his long-standing enmity toward Tupac, the city's patron saint. And both rappers were (very) loosely paraphrasing 19th-century civic booster ads attempting to convince Iowans to move to Pasadena.
Music has contributed to the self-perpetuating mythology. As I type this sentence, there are hundreds of disgruntled, winter-weary artists preparing to move to L.A. -- a response to mild climate and milder drug laws.
And in 2012, L.A. music might have achieved its most psychedelic apogee since the Lizard King (Jim Morrison) croaked.
The truth is that it's reductive to distill a year in music to 10 superior records. It all depends on your perspective or preferred panacea. But through purple-tinted lenses you can make a case for L.A. as a modern mecca of kaleidoscopic soul (Frank Ocean, Miguel), hallucinogenic rock and electronic music (Ariel Pink, Peaking Lights, White Fence, Flying Lotus [aka Captain Murphy], Gaslamp Killer) and kush-clouded rap (Freddie Gibbs, Schoolboy Q, Madlib, Alchemist, Roc Marciano.)
That's not to say that drug use necessarily makes for better music. But the surfeit of sunshine and sativa seems to mesh well with the institutions in place that foster creativity (Dublab, Low End Theory, the Smell, the Alchemist's lab, the myriad taco stands).