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Top Albums of 2012

Top Albums

0f 2012

 
 
Like most music geeks, I take great pleasure in agonizing over which albums made my year worth living. And while a lot of my discoveries in 2012 were albums released in 2011 (thanks to the JUNOs and Polaris), I did manage to put together a list of the best music made in what could have been our last year on earth.
 
 

fun. Some Nights1. fun. Some Nights

Without a doubt, the soundtrack to my year- from excitement to heartbreak. Every song has a distinct, grandiose arrangement; full of heart. Not to mention lyrics just aching to be tattooed; describing so perfectly how you’re feeling, how you felt at a particular moment.

Check out: Why Am I The One, One Foot, Some Nights
 
 

DB Hawk vs Pigeon2. Dearly Beloved Hawk vs. Pigeon

Shocking, I know,  my dear friends have ended up on a “best of” list. But I assure you, this inclusion is based solely on my continued awe that I’m acquainted with such ridiculously creative and talented humans. Written and recorded in the High Desert, this, their fourth album, focuses on the intensity found in the spaces between sounds.

Check out: To Better Days, Trash, Living Proof
 
 

Cookie Duster- When Flying Was Easy3. Cookie Duster When Flying Was Easy

Daydreamy, space pop from Brendan Canning’s once defunct late-1990s group. Now post Broken Social Scene, Canning’s reunited and re-furbished the band with some seasoned Canadian friends. Sometimes dark and rock-infused, sometimes sweet and sugary; the album delivers substance while satisfying your bubblegum cravings.

Check out: Two Feet Stand Up, Standing Alongside Gone, Cut Me Focus
 
 

Blaqk Audio Bright Black Heaven4. Blaqk Audio Bright Black Heaven

Perhaps being given permission by the success of 2007’s CexCells, AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget’s second side project release, Bright Black Heaven, is ultra brooding, angsty, and flamboyant. Caught somewhere between industrial, goth, and electronic, the lyrics play out like the melodrama you’d expect to see on a teenage Robert Smith’s Facebook page.

Check out:  Ill-Lit Ships, With Your Arms Around You, Bliss
 
 

hunting-season-front-cover5. Hands & Teeth Hunting Season

If I were to do such things, this album would be on my list to fill a certain hipster, super-indie, “recorded it in my basement” quota. Fact is; it’s a solid album with a breadth of sounds, thanks in part to the bands’ multiple vocal leads.

Check out: Missing, It’s Coming Back
 
 


YAMANTAKA-SONIC-TITAN-YT-ST-ytst_BandCamp_Cover-260x2606. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan YT//ST

This epic experimental piece from the two piece Toronto-Montreal performance art group was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. Combining traditional Asian and aboriginal music with opera, synthesizers and rock, this album is more than songs, it’s a soundscape.

Check out: Queens, Hoshi Neko
 
 

Jack White Blunderbuss7. Jack White Blunderbuss

Is Jack White capable of doing anything poorly? That remains to be seen; his first solo album exuding a sense of artistic freedom and just not giving a fuck. Whether you like him or not, you can’t deny that he’ll always be the coolest guy in the room.

Check out: Sixteen Saltines, Take Me With You When You Go
 
 

Ariane Moffatt MA8. Ariane Moffatt MA

Probably not an album that most people were talking about this year (at least in English Canada), but definitely worth a listen. Moffatt infuses 80s synth pop with an Emily Haines sultriness, giving convincing (and almost equally weighted) performances in both French and English.

Check out: Mon Corps, In Your Body, Rules of Legal Love
 
 

Amanda Palmer Theatre is Evil9. Amanda Palmer Theatre is Evil

This Kickstarter-funded album which caused a stir earlier this year has proven its worth (amongst the expected controversy). Staying true to her characteristic brutal honesty, raw vocals, and cabaret style (with the help of the Grand Theft Orchestra), this one will please the fans who’ve been around since the Dresden Dolls days.

Check out: Do It With a Rockstar, Grown Man Cry
 
 

Muse The 2nd Law10. Muse 2nd Law

Muse is known for dabbling with different sounds on each new release, so it’s no surprise that their sixth album comes with a foray into dubstep. While that might sound like an abomination, it’s done sparingly and it works. A few songs even throw back to the Absolution era, so all is not lost. Trust me. Seriously.

Check out: Panic Station, Madness, Follow Me
 

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This You Need To Hear: Cookie Duster’s ‘Two Feet Stand Up’

 
Broken Social Scene may have disbanded, but that doesn’t mean Brendan Canning has resigned himself to a career in real estate. In fact, he’s resurrected his former band, Cookie Duster, and (surprise!) they’ve already pressed an album. When Flying Was Easy drops on June 12th (pushed back from May 15th unfortch.)
 
The first single, ‘Two Feet Stand Up’ shows hints of BSS’ rock arrangements, infused with glittery pop-techno, delivered with a ‘Walking on Sunshine’ type of joyfulness. Sweet, ultra-feminine vocals ride the musical chaos; a throwback to 90s girl-fronted bands like Joydrop and Veruca Salt. If this song is indicative of the rest of the album, we may in fact have the perfect summer soundtrack on our hands.
 

Album Preview: Dearly Beloved – Hawk vs. Pigeon

Better Days Are Coming…

 
What are you going to be doing on May 22nd? Visiting your local record store to pick up Dearly Beloved’s Hawk vs. Pigeon, that’s what. Or I suppose you can purchase it online through one of those newfangled digital media sites like iTunes or Bandcamp…
 
If you were paying attention, you caught the desert-infused ‘World Series of Fedoras’ and ‘Trash’ last fall on the Canadian cop drama, Rookie Blue. Now two more previews have been sent our way. The high-adrenaline ‘To Better Days’ punctuated by Rob Higgins’ frenzied screams, is a perfect driving-too-fast-with-the-windows-down soundtrack (just try to keep those hands on the steering wheel and off the air guitar). Where the former is in your face from the get-go,  ‘Miles Around‘ teases, working up to a head-spinning climax. Both tracks are currently streaming on Soundcloud.
 
The most immediately noticeable aspect of Hawk vs. Pigeon so far is the crapload of guest appearances.  Not because Dearly Beloved rides coat tails; Rob, Niva and Gavin are veterans of the Canadian music scene and make friends everywhere they go. Past tourmates Care Failure of Die Mannequin and Sloan’s Patrick Pentland can be heard on ‘To Better Days’ while Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning appears in ‘Miles Around’. (As if life weren’t hectic enough, Rob has also joined Canning’s Cookie Duster. Their album, When Flying Was Easy drops one week prior to Hawk vs Pigeon, on May 15th).
 
 
Catch Dearly Beloved and Die Mannequin when they hit the road together this May in promotion of their new albums:

11-May-12 Thunder Bay ON Crocks
13-May-12 Winnipeg MB Pyramid
15-May-12 Calgary AB Dickens Pub
16-May-12 Edmonton AB Pawn Shop
18-May-12 Vancouver BC Cobalt
19-May-12 Nanaimo BC Queen’s Hotel
20-May-12 Victoria BC Club 919
23-May-12 Lethbridge AB The Rhythm House
24-May-12 Regina SK The Exchange
25-May-12 Brandon MB North Hill Inn
30-May-12 Ottawa ON Zaphod Beeblebrox