The Buzz About 2012 - Our Favorite Music

We have listened to many strong records in 2012, and been in awe of powerful live performances.

First, we present a list of our contributors' favorite records of 2012.

Second, a group of our reviewers and contributors, with fifteen to twenty years of individual music industry experience voted on their favorite new artist of 2012. Highly debated, but a welcomed surprise.

We look forward to the great music of 2013!

The Buzz About Staff

Our Contributors' 2012 Favorites:

Regina Spektor - What We Saw From the Cheap Seats

Avett Brothers - The Carpenter

The Lumineers - The Lumineers

Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts in Snow

Shovels and Rope - O' Be Joyful

Brandi Carlile - Bear Creek

Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...

Cat Power - Sun

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - The Lion The Beast The Beat

Beth Orton - Sugaring Season

Rose Cousins - We Have Made a Spark

Adrien Reju - The Lucky Ones

Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America

The Buzz About's Favorite New Artist of 2012:

Hailing from Broken Arrow, OK, JD McPherson, a former art teacher, released Signs & Signifiers in 2012. JD traveled to Chicago to record Signs & Signifiers at Hi-Style studio, which is housed in the attic of producer/bassist/studio owner Jimmy Sutton’s home and is 100% analog.

Lauded as “a sound that is vibrantly reminiscent of 50s after hours dancehall hits mixed with angsty tunes to appease the most brooding bluesman,” (Yahoo! Music) JD and his band have blazed the country this year with his “timeless, forward-thinking rock & roll” (Rolling Stone). His self-directed video for “North Side Gal” has garnered over a million views to date.

JD McPherson is our favorite new artist of 2012. In addition to live performances that have audiences dancing in sold out standing room only venues, it turns out McPherson is a nice guy. Humble and gracious with his time, he is seemingly in awe of his success. "I wasn't sure anyone would come over to the stage," JD shared with us as people filled the grounds to hear him perform at the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival.

We include the aforementioned YouTube clip of "North Side Gal," from Signs & Signifiers, but encourage listeners to take in the project as a whole. Perhaps summed up best by Patrick Doyle for Rolling Stone, "McPherson may sound like a purist, but he's a sharp songwriter, and his punk spirit and wry wordplay make this more than just a time trip."

Ingenious lyrics and skillful musicality are at the heart of Signs & Signifiers, and the heart and humility of JD McPherson make his infectious melodies resonate.

For more information:

"North Side Gal"

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Bee Well: In Support of Honeybees

A friend of The Buzz About, Melissa Brodeur, wrote a book supporting healthy honeybees. It is a non-profit effort. Melissa reached out to a unique group of artists, including Pearl Jam for lyrics and local Vermont photographers to craft an intriguing collection of pages that make up The Bee Well Book.

From Melissa:

The Bee Well Book is a collection of bee-ish art, recipes, interviews, music, educational pieces, and much more all put together in a beautiful, one of a kind book. The Bee Well Book is a non for profit book, 100% of the proceeds go to support healthy honeybees!

In this book you will find submissions from local Vermont artists, as well as artists from all over America, and interviews with rural and urban beekeepers. Popular musicians and artists such as Pearl Jam and Emek contribute to the book.
All of these contributors were asked by me to be in this book for a specific reason. They all came together because they believed in the project and the cause. We hope you enjoy our tribute...

For more information on the book, please visit

Thank you and Bee Well,
Melissa B

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Ten Random Pop Culture Musings


I have failed at updating my Little Hens here at

Life gets so busy sometimes and muddles my already scattered brain. It's not an
excuse for neglecting you...but, an explanation of sorts.

On that note, I hope this update finds you all happy, healthy and prepping for
the holiday season.

I have some random thoughts (big surprise, I know) that I want to share.

Hang on to your knickers, folks.

1. GLEE...Meh.

As one of Glee's (self-professed) biggest fans, I am underwhelmed with this
season. I miss the "old gang" and honestly can't stomach having Finn lead New
Directions. Having everyone break up in one early episode this season almost did
me in. However, this past week's Thanksgiving episode did bring some
satisfaction. The opening song, a perfect mash-up of Home/Homeward Bound, was
the highlight of the episode. And, I must confess, that I sort of love SJP
( is our little secret). Am so over whiney Blaine and (spoiler alert)
the promo for the NEXT episode was a shocker...can you say, "Blam"?

2. The Girl Who Knew Too Much

A gal I know through's fan community is the web developer/master
for and she told me about a cool Kickstarter campaign to help fund final production of The Girl Who Knew Too Much, a documentary by Scott Squire and Amy Benson. As I watched the video explaining this documentary
I was overwhelmed with a sense of sadness...and then a sense of duty.

Take a few minutes and watch the video and please spread the word (and even
donate a couple or more bucks to show your support if you are able):

The mind-blowing statistic that suicide is the #1 killer of young girls and
women of child bearing age in Nepal (and other parts of South Asia) was more
than I could bare. This documentary did not set out to shed light on this
epidemic initially. However, when one of the featured young women, Shanta,
committed suicide with only one year remaining before she'd graduated from high
school, the focus of this film changed. Shanta's story NEEDS to be told and this
film must be seen. Knowing that young girls and women are dying by their own
hands at such an alarming rate hurts my heart.

Please consider backing this campaign. You can certainly donate financially,
but, there may be more power in spreading the word. Use your social media super
powers to tell your friends/family about this project.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Twitter): @GirlKnewTooMuch
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (FB):

Thank you.

3. Pickled Okra - An Aquired Taste

In late September we stumbled upon a "new-fashioned, old-fangled" bluegrass band
called Pickled Okra. They were playing at a wedding we attended. Their authentic
clothing and sound captured my attention and drew me in. Check them out at and give them a listen

We'll be catching their Holiday Hoedown in Seattle on 12/5 - featuring our pal,
Brandi Carlile. Can't wait!

And, for the record, I don't like pickled okra (the food) more of a "fried
okra" gal.

4. She's Back!

That's right! Jonatha Brooke, my all-time favorite singer/songwriter, is back.
She's got a new website and a new project called "My Mother Has Four Noses". She
started a PledgeMusic campaign (with some pretty cool items for those who
donate) to get her new musical workshopped in NYC, the cast album recorded, etc. 

Read all about it here:

In the three days since the start of the campaign her fans have come out
full-force to help fund it. 146 backers have funded 39% of her project so far.

Please consider donating your time (share info through social media) and/or your
money. Jonatha is a sweetheart with the voice of an angel and one of the
wickedest senses of humor around. Thanks.

5. Wits

We listened to the live taping of a Minnesota Public Radio show called Wits
online Friday night. Maria Bamford (damn funny lady) and Brandi Carlile were the
guests. If you've been to radio show tapings or listened to "old school" radio
hours you can imagine how this all played out. The comedic skits and improv bits
were brilliant. And, who knew Brandi could hold her own against one of the best
funny ladies around.

Listen to the full podcast here:

Watch a video of the Wits Game Show segment "None of Us Can Relate to That" with
Brandi and Maria here (IT IS HYSTERICAL):

6. Silver Linings Playbook

I am dying to see this film. Love Jennifer Lawrence. I plan on reading the book
during my travels to/from Seattle next week. Have any of you seen this film?
Read this book? Thoughts?

7. iPhone 5 (Yes. Please. And. Thank. You.)

I am eligible for an upgrade via AT&T now and I am dying to get an iPhone 5. I
am addicted to my smartphone. It's a problem...a blessing, but also a curse.
And, I am finding that this "smart" device is actually making me "dumber" in
some ways.

What did I do before I got a smartphone? The answer is...paid more attention to
other things, other people, to myself and my needs. Granted, without the
interwebs and technology I wouldn't know all of you lovely folks and wouldn't
have met people from around the world. It would be much more difficult to stay
in touch with my family and friends down in GA and SC. Still technology is
eating away at many of us...actually DISCONNECTING us on many levels.

Finding the balance between technology/the interwebs and being present in the
"here and now" is no easy task. How do you all find a balance between the two?

8. Gangnam's that.

9. Let's Have a Kiki...huh? Had no idea this was even a song.

10. Happiest of holidays to you all wherever you are.

Start thinking about your resolutions for 2013 and we'll chat about them soon.

 I'll start...

In 2013 I resolve to focus (HARD for me to do) on being present and invested
more fully in those who are in my life....oh, and to floss regularly.

P.S. - Hugs are the best

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Ani DiFranco at The Keswick Theatre

It’s just a few days after election day, and Ani DiFranco opens up her 10th show at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania with “Which Side Are You On?,” the classic protest song popularized by Pete Seeger and seriously re-worked into the title track of her last album.

Ani windmills her right arm, striking strings on each bass beat like a clock, then slides the guitar up and over her body, revealing a bulging belly beneath a black empire shirt tied into a prim bow in the back. “Yes,” she says, smiling. “I am getting fatter.”

DiFranco’s pregnant. She cracks wise about overpopulation and teases that at least she’s not bleeding anymore. They’re just jokes of course, but the point rippling just beneath the surface fins through: Of course the personal is still political. But shit, this about love--and what could be more personal or political than that?

Ani plays a mixed bag of old and new songs, one song so fresh that she requests forgiveness should she mess up, because she just wrote the last lyric an hour earlier. (She doesn’t mess up.) But she doesn’t hold back on giving us the sing-along golden oldies like Untouchable Face, Fire Door and Shameless—though they’re prefaced with playful comments about how many years she’s been fulfilling the same old requests.

I imagine that for Ani, playing songs written so many years ago feels like unfurling a garland of paper dolls, eternally linked silhouettes of earlier and earlier incarnations of herself, each version faithfully clasping the hand of the one behind her, pulling her toward today: the brilliant, relaxed woman with a second husband, a five-year-old daughter, a round belly, fading tattoos and a head of loose curls, baring her teeth into the white light for a theater full of adoring gender-punks, a few holding babies with bellies full of warm milk.

Watching her scratching into the guitar like it’s a poison-ivy itch, falling backwards from the mic and jerking her body to the rhythms doled out by cohorts Todd Sickafoose on upright and Terence Higgins on drums, I’ve never been more convinced that she’s still doing it for the joy it brings.

Her fans have changed too, of course. For us, those opening notes are aural constellations that twist open the universe of our pasts, delivering glimpses of who and what we’ve left behind, but haven’t forgotten.

And then just before the encore, she sings Overlap: “I build each one of my songs out of glass / So you can see me inside of them I suppose / Or you could just leave the image of me in the background, I guess / And watch your own reflection superimposed.

We all keep moving forward, and it’s a gift, these presents she gives us so graciously.

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Biweekly Album Picks

From Vincent:

Martha Wainwright ~ Come Home to Mama


From Sara:

The Raveonettes ~ Observator


From Holly:

P!nk ~ The Truth About Love


From Ben:

Corin Tucker Band ~ Kill My Blues


From Katie:



From Jen:

Julie Kathryn ~ Broken Love


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