2012 was a tough year for me, for many reasons. But one thing that continued to put a smile on my face and fuel my fire, was music. Refused made a comeback after 14 years of silence. Alexisonfire and Thrice embarked on world-wide farewell tours and went out with a bang, which of course was bittersweet. And there were a bunch of really solid albums released from some of my longest running favourites. Here’s a taste of what had me stoked in 2012…
Propagandhi – Status Update
Perhaps the greatest 1:03 to be recorded in 2012. Propagandhi’s latest album “Failed States” absolutely shreds from beginning to end.
Hot Water Music – Drag My Body
HWM made a triumphant return in 2012, with their first album in 8 years. “Exister” surpassed my expectations, and is easily one of my favourite HWM albums.
A Wilhelm Scream – Boat Builders
Simply put, A Wilhelm Scream are incapable of writing shitty music. They only released this single in 2012, but it’s enough to hold me over until their next full-length is released.
Pennywise – All Or Nothing
Another old favourite who returned in 2012, but this time with a new singer. It could have gone either way, but I absolutely love “All Or Nothing” and feel it’s the best Pennywise album in years.
The Gaslight Anthem – Too Much Blood
I’ve been listening to The Gaslight Anthem for a few years, and have always liked them, but never thought they were a great band. Good, but not great. That changed with “Handwritten”.
Lucero – Like Lightning
That piano! Lucero’s brand of southern rock and roll soothes the soul, and goes down smooth with whiskey neat.
Old Man Markley – Blood On My Hands
I have a hard time sitting still while listening to Old Man Markley. And I can’t say I ever thought I’d be stoked on a band with a banjo and a washboard.
Matt Skiba and The Sekrets – Voices
If you didn’t know better, you’d think this was Alkaline Trio, and that’s not a bad thing.
The Beatdown – Leave Me
I’m still pretty big into ska and reggae, and there’s still some great new bands coming out of Montreal. The Beatdown is one of them.
We Are The Union – Dead End
Even harder to come by than a good ska band, is a good ska-punk band. We Are The Union remind me of late 90s ska-punk, and I absolutely love how they go from straight ahead fast punk to ska a break-down in a matter of seconds.
No Doubt – Push and Shove
Admittedly, No Doubt is totally a guilty pleasure. I loved their earlier ska tunes, and when I saw a checkerboard on their new album’s cover, I decided to give it a listen, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not all good, but the title track is pretty great.
Chuck Coles featuring Chuck Ragan – Bottom of a Well
Chuck Coles is an old friend of mine, and we played in a band together for several years. To see him accompanied by Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music totally hit home, and I couldn’t be more proud of the dude. I’ve always known Chuck to be an amazing songwriter, and it’s great seeing him getting recognized for his talent.