With the deadline to lock in my votes for LA Music Blog’s top albums of the year list looming, I’ve spent the last ten days listening almost exclusively to a playlist I’ve unceremoniously dubbed “Need to Hear.” This list is comprised of all the albums that came out in 2012 that I know are worthy of consideration based on recommendations from friends, the artists’ previous releases, and good ol’ fashioned industry buzz, but that I’ve somehow overlooked this past year (blame it on the slew of amazing albums that have consumed the last 40-something weeks of my life).

As this playlist repeats itself on a seemingly endless loop, my ears have figuratively perked up every time one particular album finds itself up in the rotation: Santigold’s Master of My Make-Believe. The influences on the effort are varied, from the poppy girl groups of the ’80s to the laid-back beats of the Caribbean, and if like me, you somehow glossed over Master of My Make-Believe, do yourself a favor and check it out (insert fifty-billionth recommendation that everyone download Spotify because it’s the best thing ever here). Not sure yet where the album will eventually land on my list, but I can tell you one thing: it’s climbing higher with each subsequent listen.

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