16 of the Best Local Releases of 2012 1/2

Blessed Isles
Caroline EP

There's a lot of shoegazing going on with Toby Pipes and Nolan Thies, who have performed with Little Black Dress for several years. Former Hourly Radio singer Aaron Closson enlisted the two for his Blessed Isles project. Their initial offering is a five-track collection of uptempo shoegaze-inspired songs, tipping the hat to Cocteau Twins. Archaic drum loops and trebled-out guitars and keys coat Closson's songs like a hard candy shell. If anything, this EP whets the appetite for the full-length album set to come out on St. Marie Records later this year. - Daniel Hopkins

Jerrod Medulla
Speak Easy

A slick country album that never feels overly polished. The smoky rock that Medulla folds into his honky-tonk recipe has a satisfyingly robust flavor. Also, it's not a small deal that he landed a duet with the hotter-than-sin Lindi Ortega. Their duet, "How Bad," is a jazzy, noirish number that would be tough for many pseudo tough guys to pull off. - Kelly Dearmore

Mind Spiders

Has Mark Ryan ever had hook-writer's block? The local linchpin has been pumping out high-octane riffage for over a decade now, first with the Reds and Marked Men, and now with Mind Spiders, who've released their second great album in as many years. In a weird way, Meltdown might be the most accessible batch of songs Ryan's ever put together, drawing inspiration from beach pop and surf to complement its proto-punk roots. Ultimately, though, it's an album overflowing with nervous energy, and a gripping statement that should only sound better with age. - Zach Hale

Jay Fresh
"Diamonds" remix by Blue Collar Prophet

Jay Fresh emerged late last year with "The Delta Project," a mixtape with Pretty Lights. He's followed that up with the Jus-Stone the Great-produced remix of "Diamonds," executed with precision and clarity, as Conception Crafters continues to polish this rising star. - Austin Staubus

Sarah Jaffe
The Body Wins

Sarah Jaffe could have played it safe. Instead, the songwriter dove into uncharted waters, knowing damn well she may never make it out. The Body Wins is the dynamic manifestation of Jaffe's creative arsenal, a far cry from the endearing, if somewhat callow folk for which she made her name. With studio sensei John Congleton at the helm once again, she sounds right at home in her new skin. - Zach Hale

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Jerrod Medulla rocks country in a smooth and laid back kick ass fashion. 


No disrespect to any bands listed but any poll that doesn't include The Roomsounds in this category can't possibly be taken seriously. Good thing Dallas music fans know better.


What about Brand New Machine, or Revengeance? 

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