Top Ten Local Albums of 2012.

With an amazing amount of music released from Vancouver bands this year my list could have easily been a top 20, and with 10 releases in the honourable mentions it basically is. What a great year for Vancouver music, and if you find the time I suggest checking out all the links below. I don't think I've ever had a list of such incredible range. Some might see this as getting old, but I see it as broadening my horizons. And here's the list:

10. Bison bc - Lovelessness - When dealing with Vancouver music you can not leave out the monolith that is Bison bc. These heavy metal rockers have seemed to come full circle and are back to their roots, so if you loved Earthbound you will definitely dig what they have to offer on their new album. Personally I was enjoying watching this band grow and evolve, but the main thing that has evolved here are the lengths of the songs. You can be listening to this album for close to half an hour and you'd still be on song 3. Not highly recommended for those with A.D.D.

9. Ladyhawk - No Can Do - I never got into Ladyhawk before, but through the joys of bandcamp I found myself listening to their new record, and really enjoying it too. It's a slow starter, but by the time you make it to track 6, 'You Read My Mind' all the cards are out on the table and you know you're listening to something special. Also if there was a prize for album cover of the year (there isn't) Ladyhawk would be the winner.

8. Systematik - Demo - These guys simply make the list based on their live show. I randomly stumbled upon them playing at Iron Road one night and fell in love instantly. Not to say that their 4 song demo isn't great too, I was able to find it on the internet when I got home that night, how accessible! This is the heaviest punk I've heard in a long time that still manages to stay coherent. Don't get me wrong, it's as crusty as fuck, but it's not power violence or anything scary like that. Would this be an appropriate time to mention that the singer is black?

7. Previous Tenants - Rare Form - As a huge dbs fan I'm also a huge fan of Jesse Gander fronting a band again. And this band rocks it kind of the way you thought dbs would be one day, but they got crazy as all hell, nobody could have guessed where that was going to go. However for Previous Tenants it's the simplicity of their songs that drew me in. Classified as alternative punk or indie rock, I call it road trip music.

6. Kiel Ross - High Fidelity - It's not often that some rap shit would ever make it into the top ten. Only because I mainly listen to rap from the 90s. But Kiel Ross' album brought the funk and good vibes. No stranger to add a funky horn to a sick beat, this is music to smoke weed by. This is music to turn on at a house party and see how long it takes until somebody raises the roof, then be sure to kick that asshole out because nobody raises the roof anymore.

5. Crystal Swells - HarshSide/SludgeFreaks - If this was a full length it would rival the top spot, but it was only a 7". Only a 7"? Listen to me! This was easily the best 7" I heard all year, and I don't even have a record player! Surf rock grunge garage fusion something or other. I hate the word fusion, take that out of there. It's just fuckin' punk man, but some of the best punk of this style coming out of this city since Timecopz. Seriously though, when you listen to Crystal Swells you will want to dance.

4. Johnny de Courcy and the Death Rangers - Killer jams man. The first time I saw this band they played in a shed on a farm and it couldn't have been better. Crisp rock songs with perfect structures it's no secret that JDC can write a great tune. If I was ever to go camping again I would really hope that Johnny and a guitar were coming too. He'd serenade the moonlight by the campfire and calm down that one kid who ate too many mushrooms. Then we'd put wieners on sticks and have a sword fight.

3. Rad Disaster - vs. Man - Once I tried out to be the singer of this band, and I told those guys they didn't need a singer, and they didn't end up getting one! Rad Disaster is a punk rock power trio that often teeters on the brink of pop punk with an album draped in vocal and guitar melodies that will make you bounce on the balls of your feet. This is the feel good album of the year with an underlining message to never grow up or stop having fun. "I don't want to use common sense, if it destroys my happiness!"

2. Boogie Mantra - The Philosopher Is Stoned - It shouldn't be any surprise that I really liked this album, but it is surprising how much I love some of the songs on here. Between 'Awakening' and 'Give Me Another One' and 'Nothing Without Nature' these were easily some of the best songs I heard this year. There might be one or two songs on the album that I now skip through, but based on the strength of the above songs alone is why this album rates so high. Hopefully this will help explain to you how damn good they are and you check them out post haste!

1. White Lung - Sorry - This was the album I listened to most this year. It's unrelenting anger and speed from three girls and one guy made me truly respect the female musician. Punk rock used to be a man's game and every once in a while a band will come along to change that outlook and White Lung are rewriting these books again. After this album they released a 7" that featured 2 songs that were just as good as some of the best songs on 'Sorry'. Can nobody stop the fire that is White Lung?

Honourable mentions:
Needles//Pins - 12:34
Haggatha - IV
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
No Sinner - Boo Hoo Hoo EP
Jesse LeBourdais - I Go By The Sound
Mete Pills - Ill Feet EP
Dylan Rysstad - Halfway Houses
The Ballantynes - Misery/Stay 7"
Indian Wars - Songs From The North
Weed - Gun Control

For a couple weeks Vancouver band Precursor released their new EP onto bandcamp and it was really stellar, but they've since taken it down and not yet officially released it so I felt like I couldn't list it. Also Anchoress have since pulled their release from this past year down off of their bandcamp to focus on their first EP, so I failed to list that one either. Both great pieces of work though and I'm sure we'll be hearing them in the new year!

Most anticipated local releases of 2013: Baptists, Black Wizard, Depressing, Tobeatic & LEGS.

Well there you have it. Stay tuned as I'll be posting a couple more blogs soon with my top ten shows of the year listed.


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