The Indie Beats section is a point of pride and originality for LessThan3. In the wake of the imploded dubstep scene, this year has witnessed a rise in more abstract, avant-garde electronic music from Kanye’s adoration of Hudson Mohawke to the explosion of labels like Brainfeeder and FriendsOfFriends. As more producers fall off the beaten path, 2013 looks as bright and innovative as ever. Here are 15 of our favorites from 2012.
Flosstradamus – Lana’s Theme (Original Mix)
Flosstradamus - Lana's Theme (Original Mix)
2012 was a break out year for both trap-tastic duo Flosstradamus and seductive indie starlet Lana Del Rey. The pair took cuts from Video Games off Del Rey’s Born To Die album and crafted a bass-heavy anthem worthy of the title’s name.
Kill Paris – I Do Love You (Original Mix)
Kill Paris - I Do Love You (Original Mix)
Kill Paris is really starting to get noticed, and for good reason; he has a style of his own that combines ’60s soul with amazingly pungent basslines. I Do Love You is a perfect example of colliding eras, desrvedly landing itself on this list.
Koreless – Lost In Tokyo (Original Mix)
Koreless - Lost In Tokyo (Original Mix) [Vase]
The introspective Scotsman graces us with yet another farfetched way to create 808-driven beats. Lost In Tokyo croons in the pitch-shifted fashion of many UK producers, while maintaining Koreless’ distinct sound, owning up to feeling disconnected in a cramped city.
The Gaslamp Killer – Breakthrough LP
The Gaslamp Killer feat Dimlite - Seven Years Of Bad Luck For Fun (Original Mix) [Brainfeeder]
Long story short, it was hard to choose just one track off the incredible debut album of GLK. With a set of originals that match GLK’s complex and troubled mind perfectly, the album should definitely be taken as a whole. Top choices include the spastic 7 Years of Bad Luck For Fun featuring Dimlite and the worldy sitar sounds of Nissim.
Giraffage – Feels (Original Mix)
Giraffage - Feels (Original Mix)
Relatively new to the blogosphere, San Francisco based Giraffage lands on this list with Feels, a dreamy slice of trap-like hip-hop. The crooning vocal sample on this one is heart warming.
Shlohmo – The Way U Do (Original Mix)
Shlohmo - The Way U Do (Original Mix) [FoF]
You know that really warm, crumbling twig sound that some producers use as beautifully crafted, natural percussion? Yeah, Shlohmo does that perfectly. The Way U Do off of Vacation rounds out our top 10.
Groundislava feat. Baths – Suicide Mission (Original Mix)
Groundislava feat Baths - Suicide Mission (Original Mix) [Friends Of Friends]
The FriendsOfFriends collective has totally hijacked our speakers in 2012. With vocal help from Baths, Groundislava’s Suicide Mission off his Feel Me LP is nothing short of amazing. This is what we’d imagine a friendly extraterrestrial sighting to sound like.
Crystal Castles – Sad Eyes (Original Mix)
Crystal Castles - Sad Eyes (Original Mix) [Polydor]
Alice Glass may be one of the most beautifully tortured souls to grace the world of indie dance music. Sad Eyes might be seen as a sleeper on the latest CC album, III, but it is undeniably an overpowering echo in an icy tomb of emotion.
Three Loco – Neato (Original Mix)
Three Loco - Neato (Original Mix) [Mad Decent]
Random for this list? Maybe. But it would be foolish to deny the fact that the Holy Trinity of hip-hop has arrived in the form of Three Loco. Consisting of Andy Milonakis, RiFF RaFF and Dirt Nasty, Three Loco delivered some shenanigans back into hip-hop on Neato.
Ultraista – Small Talk (Four Tet Remix)
Ultraista - Small Talk (Four Tet Remix)
Ultraista, the Afro-Cuban indie project of Radiohead’s Nigel Godrich takes on a garage-y feel thanks to the prolific Four Tet.
XXYYXX – About You
XXYYXX - About You (Original Mix)
While everybody else is harping on XXYYXX’s age, I’m more concerned with the timelessness of About You and the producer’s transcendence of dope musicality. About You is the best of minimalistic hip hop, UK vocals, and the pay-off of an overpowering synth.
Jets – Lock Lock Key Key (Original Mix)
Jets - Lock Lock Key Key (Original Mix) [Leisure System]
Jets, the new project from experimental bass producer Machinedrum and the funky Jimmy Edgar, is a sonic treat for audible palettes everywhere. Lock Lock Key Key is a track that is both smooth and spastic, with detailed rhythmic patterns and one of the nicest snares we’ve ever heard.
AlunaGeorge – You Know You Like It (Original Mix)
AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It (Original Mix)
Anticipating a February release for their debut full length, future-pop duo AlunaGeorge find themselves on the tip of every journalist’s tongue. You Know You Like It is an invigorating take on pop music, merging a classically beautiful voice with synth stylings of the future variety. 2013 is sure to be a big year for the pair.
Shlohmo – Rained The Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix)
Shlohmo - Rained The Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix) [Friends Of Friends]
With a slew of releases and a reputation for churning out original, emotionally riveting tunes, it was only a matter of time before the East and West Coast met by way of Shlohmo and Nico. Shlohmo’s original take could have landed on this list by itself but Nico’s remix really takes it to the next level.
Grimes – Genesis (Original Mix)
Grimes - Genesis (Original Mix) [4AD]
It’s no secret that indie songstresses have a soft spot in our hearts (hi Lana Del Rey), so it should come as no surprise that Grimes‘ Genesis landed the number one spot in this chart. With a fat synthy bass, a whimsical lead, and a ghostly ethos, Genesis was plucked from the heavens of dream-pop and delivered to us by one of the best acts to emerge in 2012: Grimes.