Whenever I reflect up on the year’s best in music, my criteria inevitably boils down to the songs I consistently cranked up, regardless of the environment where I heard them. Not to sound all OMG and LOL (or even WTF), but these really are the songs that rocked my world…this year, at least.
Yeah, pop was pretty persuasive, not in the ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe” sense, but how acts like Mumford & Sons, fun., and others are considered part of the rock/alternative sphere in this watered-down world of ours. Despite this disturbing trend, there was an awful lot of great stuff produced in 2012 with grab you by the throat guitars and pounding drums at the forefront, a good chunk of it originating out of Canada!
What follows are tweet-length summaries of 24 tunes I kept coming back to this year, compiled in an 80-minute reassurance that there’s more to music than what the Internet has deemed as cool. Rock is far from being dead folks, and hopefully this list will go a long way towards proving this. Feel free to compliment or ridicule me on my choices at email@example.com, or if you’re brave enough, I’d love to know what’s own your personal 2012 mixtape.
Garbage – Automatic Systematic Habit
Nobody has ever melded electronic music with alternative rock as sexily as Garbage, either in the 90s or on 2012’s Not Your Kind of People.
In a world becoming wussier by the second, Celebration Rock is the most anthemic and explosively heartfelt release I’ve heard in years.
If listening to King Tuff play good ol’ fashioned rock & roll on a Stratocaster is a “baaaaad thiiiiing,” then consider me forever damned!
I felt awkward including something from Celebration Day here, but I’ll make room for “Led Zeppelin” by Tame Impala – Dig that awesome riff!
Slamming, new school take on heavy, 1960s power trio blues rock that makes palling around with Beelzebub not seem like such a bad idea.
I wasn’t going to include any songs from reissues or box sets, but then Billy Corgan unearthed this gem from his mid-90s MCIS masterpiece.
Bloc Party’s comeback statement is a rapid-fire barrage of post-punk revivalist guitar that pierces singer Kele Okereke’s smooth delivery.
I don’t care how many times Gary Clark Jr. re-records “Bright Lights”, when that down-and-dirty Texas blues guitar comes in, I’m all ears!
How these moustachio’d friends of the extended Broken Social Scene family weren’t nominated for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize is beyond me.
Montreal baroque pop in the Arcade Fire vein meets dance-inducing doo-wop, with contagious results. Now all I need is a sock hop to go to…
San Fran’s Ty Segall is my new guitar hero, releasing THREE full-length albums in just over 5 months, each one more rocking than the last.
No matter how many shows The Black Keys headlined in 2012, there was always a supercharged energy whenever this crowd favourite was played.
The much loved UK simians sprung this winter blah-beater on their fans back in February, and it quickly became a show closing staple.
If I’m ever in a situation where I’m being chased in the Southern US by guys in a pickup truck, I so want this as my getaway soundtrack.
The brothers Orrall take the notion of a breezy summer pop hit, keep the fun, add a whack of 2-piece garage fuzz, and crank it up to 11.
The sharp-dressed Swedish punkers went indie for their first record in five years, and as it turns out, they still pack a mighty wallop.
The former White Stripe conquered the music world while keeping everyone guessing as to which of his bands would play on any given night.
Sub Pop brought grunge to the masses, and 20+ years later, the legendary label thinks they’ve found some new torchbearers…from TORONTO!
Mysterious, eerie, and very reminiscent of the Jesus and Mary Chain at their noisiest. My ears may hurt, but the shoegazer in me approves!
I have to tip my hat to the ageless Stones, as this new song is worthy of being amongst their greatest rock and roll recordings, i.e. GRRR!
I think it’s safe to say that the world is a much better place when Uncle Neil is galloping wildly with his Crazy Horse collaborators.
If I were giving out a comeback of the year award, it would have to go to this hard-charging, kung fu-inspired barnburner from the JSBX.
Here’s a P.S.: My ears haven’t stopped ringing from the last time I saw this Kingston, Ont. two-piece in concert. Not that I’m complaining!
Saskatchewan’s biggest export since wheat did not disappoint on their big-league follow-up, assisted by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys.