K La Rock is a founding member of the First Ladies DJ collective, and her writing can be found at The Glass House DC as well as her own website. She is also joining The Couch Sessions team as an editor in 2010.
Name: Kristina aka K La Rock
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Noisettes – Wild Young Hearts
Indie darlings the Noisettes got a musical make-over this year and graduated from the art-punk underground into the Brit-pop big leagues. Combining vintage soul, neo-disco beats, fuzzed-out guitars, and of course front-woman Shingai Shoniwa’s irrepressible afro-boho charm, “Wild Young Hearts” carves out a rock and roll sound all its own.
St. Vincent – Actor
Gorgeous offbeat chamber-pop from singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/erstwhile Polyphonic Spree member Annie Clark. Adorned with ornate arrangements, rich storytelling, and Clark’s nimble vocals, this was my sleeper hit of the year.
Wale – Attention Defecit
Wale’s much-hyped debut may not have been the instant classic some folks were expecting. But it’s still a solid release that proves DC’s rap heir apparent is not only kicking down the doors for the rest of the DMV but for all of hip-hop. Sure, it’s uneven in places and some of the spark from his mixtapes is missing. But this joint still cranks.
Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms
This is what happens when kids born a decade too late for rave but raised on a steady diet of glitch and freak folk discover 303’s and cheap synths. Think Animal Collective-meets-MGMT stuck in a k-hole. Luckily, the lo-fi electro-skronk warbling never feels too gimmicky or pretentious. But it does manage to somehow be mind-meltingly fun in the weirdest way possible.
Dam Funk – Toeachizown
The ghosts of Roger & Zapp and all their 80’s electroboogie brethren have been reincarnated on what is possibly the year’s funkiest album. Stones Throw comes through with yet another winner thanks to LA’s Dam Funk, who mines the past while looking far, far into the future.