Broke with Expensive Taste
Label: Prospect Park
Azealia Banks synthesizes sounds with panache. Hearing this "Harlem girl from the block" riff over salsa-fied post-punk ("Gimme a Chance"), techno ("Soda") UK garage ("Desperado") and house ("Luxury") is a fantastic thing. She can be a lazy party rocker, though, when she settles into a muttered growl that turns her lines into run-on sentences. When she breaks out of her torpor and explores different vocal techniques on "Miss Amor," it drives her performance to new heights. The 2011 single "212" remains a wonder, and it's a shame that her former Interscope bosses didn't know how to exploit it.