In no particular order as they’re all winners:
The Men – Open Your Heart
I saw these guys three times this year and each time rocked more than the last. No posing, posturing or other typical rock star bullshit, just straight-up, RNR to the bone without the filler from track one to ten. If you get a chance to see them play live in 2013 you have no excuse. They tour constantly.
Favourite track:The Men – Oscillation
Japandroids – Celebration Rock
The following is a short list of two-piece bands that are currently making music: Matt & Kim, Sleigh Bells, Crystal Castles, The Kills, and The Black Keys (although I’ve yet to see them play without a backing band). Also in this group is Vancouver’s Japandroids. They stand out as a duo that could potentially beat the snot out of the aforementioned competition if the game was to see how hard a twosome could rock. The best part is that the last three songs are the most infectious on the album instead of the first three usually found at the beginning. Ballsy? Mmm hmm. The album starts and ends with fireworks.
Favourite track: Continuous Thunder
Beach House – Bloom
Too clever to be played on radio but odds are one of their songs will end up on a Hollywood film soundtrack or Apple commercial one day and then we’ll all be sick of them but for now, who cares? There were at least five tracks on this little masterpiece that I’ve played for the last nine months as they never get old. Oh yeah, they’re another two-piecer.
Favourite track: Beach House – On The Sea
Titus Andronicus – Local Business
Titus Andronicus is what would happen if fellow New Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen and his All-American, working-class song-writing was paired with DIY, classic punk from the ’80s. This album makes sense. It sounds real, almost raw, like it was recorded straight off the floor with the little errors and inconsistencies we rarely find on so many heavily produced albums around today.
Favourite track: Titus Andronicus – My Eating Disorder
Diamond Rings – Free Dimensional
I’ll start off by something very troubling and I apologize for this in advance but with all the interviews and promo shots/advertising that came out in preparation for this album I saw two other individuals that I was reminded of: Max Headroom, and ahem, Luca Rocco Magnotta. What? Am I wrong? Saturated media attention is what our society is made of these days so sometimes my mind tends to wander. Anyway, now that we’re past my justified explanation for my terrible comparison, this album is lovely and although I’m usually not in to poppy, new wave, glam rock kind of music, both the music and lyrics make up for it.
Favourite track: Diamond Rings – All The Time
GY!BE – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
One of my favourite Canadian bands it was nice to have them record and release two expansive and mind-bending songs that they previously played during live shows almost ten years ago. Oh, the nostalgia of my youth!
Favourite track: Umm, they’re both twenty minutes long so you pick. Allelujah!