Sup, internet? We like music, reviewing music, and making lists of our favourite music.
This is the first year we’re putting our year-end lists online, and not in the magazine. Because, you can’t really right-click text that’s in a magazine, now can you?
Har har har har–CUE THE LISTS!!!

Jesse Blackman
– Current Swell – Long Time Ago:

I was lucky enough to review this album for Stylus and I just could not get it out of my head while I was writing about it or since then. There’s something unexplainable about Long Time Ago that just pulls me back every time I search for something to listen too, no matter the situation. The album combines great songs that are creative and exciting musically and lyrically, and is diverse enough that any given song could be a favourite for a different reason. The whole album is playable as something to get into, and as want a background beat to life; the variance in songs and musical abilities of Current Swell make Long Time Ago my favourite album this year. (Warner Music Canada)
– Imaginary Cities – Temporary Resident (Hidden Pony Records)
– Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune (Dan Mangan Music)
– SoCalled – Sleep Over (Dare To Care Records)
– Austra – Feel It Break (Paper Bag Records)
– Tasseomancy – Ulalume (Out Of This Spark)
– The Once – Row Upon Row of the People They Know (Borealis Records)
– Twilight Hotel – When the Wolves Go Blind (Twilight Hotel Music)
– Steve Dawson – Nightshade (Black Hen Music)
Jóhann Jóhannson – The Miners’ Hymns (Fat Cat Records)

Sheldon Birnie (Stylus’ Assistant Editor)
1. Fred Eaglesmith – 6 Volts:

Fred Eaglesmith is one of Canada’s greatest songwriters and hardest working performers. Grinding out over 200 shows a year, and cranking out new releases every 18 to 24 months, Fred is the fucking MAN. His latest is a short, gritty affair that doesn’t stray far from his trademark territory, but it does offer refreshing insight into the life and times of a hard-luck troubadour in his fifties. If you don’t know who Fred is yet, you’re missing out. Pick up this disc and get into it. (Independent)
2. Deep Dark Woods – The Place I Left Behind (Six Shooter)
3. Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots (ATO)
4. Magnificent 7s  –  All Kinds of Mean (Transistor 66)
5. Scott Nolan – Montgomery Eldorado (Transistor 66)
6. Greg MacPherson – Disintegration Blues (Disintegration Records)
7. Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose (Oh Wow Dang)
8. Ron Hawkins – Straightjacket Love (Independent)
9. Hayes Carll – KMAGYOYO (Lost Highway)
10. Bog River – Hands in the Ground (Independent)

Taylor Burgess (Stylus’ Editor)
– Fletcher Pratt – Dub Sessions Vol. 1:

In terms of Winnipeg noise music, there was a lot of hair-brained shit that went down this year. Srsly, I’ve seen a lot of mics brutalized, caressed, dragged, and whatever else you can think of. But, Pratt’s Dub Sessions Vol. 1 is definitely the odd release out of all them, even compared to his preceding and following releases Deathdubs and Pulsar, proving Pratt to be one of the most versatile and prolific musicians around. (Honourable mentions to this title definitely include White Dog and Kram Ran/Mark of Alpha Couple.) Here, “dub” is a misnomer, as the tape’s entirety is really cranked-down hip-hop which could be snuck into any kind of witchy playlist. An entire C40 of this might sound daunting, but every “dub” has got its own flair and personality for you to get lost within. (Dub Ditch Picnic)
– Alpha Couple – Stalingrad (Independent)
– White Dog Family Band – Escape the Mystery II (Prairie Fire Tapes)
– Ford + Lopatin – Channel Pressure (Software)
– Tonstartssbandht – Now I am Become (Arbutus)
–  Aunty Panty – AP EP (Independent)
– Microdot – Lamps Not Amps (Dub Ditch Picnic)
– Mallory Knox – Pus Crunk Luv (Independent)
– The Men – Leave Home (Sacred Bones)
– Panda Bear – Tomboy (Paw Tracks)

Kent Davies‘ top 10 local albums

1. Crooked Brothers – Lawrence, Where’s Your Knife (Transistor 66)
2. Mallory Knox – Pus Crunk Luv (Self Released)
3. Rock Lake – Rock Lake (Eat Em Up)
4. Smoky Tiger – The Flood of Tigrzlove (Self Released)
5. This Hisses – Surf Noir (Transistor 66)
6. Romi Mayes – Lucky Tonight (Self Released)
7. Greg Arcade – In Hawaii (A1)
8. Zrada – Ethnomachina (Self Released)
9. The Magnificent 7s – All Kinds of Mean (Transistor 66)
10. The Thrashers – Make a Splash (Transistor 66)

John Iverson
1. Secret Garden – Winter Poem:

The long-awaited new album from Secret Garden was easily the musical highlight of the year for me personally.  The duo of Norwegian pianist/composer Rolf Lovland and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry, and their ensemble, have once again created a musical tapestry of beautiful melodies that truly define the phrase “heartfelt music at its finest”.   If you are a fan of Secret Garden you will be delighted to add this album to your collection.  And if you have never heard Secret Garden’s music before, this would serve as a great introduction to their artistry, just as all of their previous albums have.  Bravo Rolf and Fionnuala on another masterpiece! (Hearts of Space)
2. David Lanz – Here Comes the Sun  (Independent)
3. Fionnuala Sherry – Songs From Before  (Hearts of Space)
4. Steve Bell – Kindness  (Signpost Music)
5. Josh Johnston – The Shape of Things  (Shandon Records)
6. 2002 – Damayanti  (Galactic Playground Music)
7. Michael Stribling – Safely in the Arms of Love  (Leela Music)
8. Bill Wren & Frank Ralls – Journey Around The Sun: A Mayan Odyssey  (Independent)
9. Emerson String Quartet – Mozart: The Prussian Quartets  (Sony Classical)
10. Amy Lauren – August  (Independent)

Kristel Jax
1. Tearist – Living/ 2009-Present

Not surprised that my top two albums and shows match up. I’ve been searching for urgency and the manifestation of furious, primal, yet deeply intellect-based emotional release in music, and Tearist and Kram Ran lived it hard this year. Living is a patchwork of frenzied live shows; Idiot Prince is a patchwork of two years of poverty, geography, cello samples, crashed computers, mental torment in the form of the feminine half of Alpha Couple, Russian novels, broken electric pianos sold for one dollar, old guitar, new guitar, and guilty, clutched, sleepless night hours. I am close to it in the way I demand to be close to artists now. Facebook, and then when I am looking at you I expect to be confronted – I could be looking at anything or anyone, in 2k11 my options are endless – and so, often I am at a show and I leave disappointed: emotions turned ugly, angry at performers. Not Kittles and Strangeland. Not Kram. Sometimes Kram. Good shows and bad shows – this year he played good once and that was enough. The Idiot Prince soars to places I can’t go and I appreciate the effort and the way it, and Living, devastate me. Living succeeds because it gives as Kittles gives, alive, and if it looks easy I doubt it is, knowing Kram and knowing myself, and Kram’s sadness mixes with disappointments in a way that comforts and gives life as Tearist’s something – is it rage? is it doubt? – does, too, and together they felt like nothing else this year. A live album at number one, think about that in 2k12. [Thin Wrist]
2. Kram Ran – The Idiot Prince [Steak Au Zoo]
3. Pictureplane – Thee Physical [Lovepump United]
4. Angels in America – Narrow Road To The Interior [Ehse]
5. SSION – Bent [self]
6. Солнцецветы – Когда на пути оленя распускаются почки, его [self]
7. LA Vampires Goes Ital – Streetwise [Not Not Fun]
8. Natural Snow Buildings – Waves Of The Random Sea [Blackest Rainbow]
9. Destroyer – Kaputt [Merge]
10. Grouper – A I A [Grouper]

Victoria King
– Samantha Savage Smith – Tough Cookie:

Hey friend. Ya know, you’re lookin’ a little rough these days, all mopey-eyed and slump-shouldered, crying in corners at parties and stuff. . . What’s wrong bud? Someone stealing your lunch money? Ah, I get it. Love did a number on you, right? Took your heart for a drive then curb-stomped it? Well, looks like whatever happened she really did a number on you. Whatta bitch. Well here, from me to you, please enjoy – Better than any bar of chocolate, cheap Danielle Steele, or bottle of wine, here’s Tough Cookie, Samantha Savage Smith’s debut album. It’s personal and as honest as a diary, recalling high notes of hopefulness and exuberance as well as bitter regrets, anger and lamentation. ‘Tomorrow’s a new day’, and  ‘there’s plenty of fish in the sea’, but she says it all so much better, and even shares a bit of her own junk (hey, we’ve all some). It’s simple and straight foreword, and it seems like you could use it right about now. Feel better bro. (Western Famine/ Arts & Crafts)
– The Liptonians – March into the Sea (Head in the Sand Records)
– Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune (Arts & Crafts)
– Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Bros. Records/4AD)
– Group Sound – Secret Girlfriend (Totally Disconnected)
– The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)
– TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light (Interscope)
–  Bon Iver – Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
– Pat Jordache – Future Songs (Constellation Records)
– Bryn Rieger & the Burning Kettles – The Big Fysch (Self-released)

Kyra Leib

– Starfucker – Reptilians (Polyvinyl)
– Tonetta – 777  (Black Tent Press)
– War On Drugs – Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)
– Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know (Ribbon Music)
– Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming (Daptone)
– Cousins – Secret Weapon (Noyes)
– David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time (PIAS)
– Lumerians – Transmalinnia (Knitting Factory)
– Extra Happy Ghost!!! -Modern Horses (Saved by Radio)
– Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Fat Possum)

Andrew Mazurak (Stylus’ Artistic Director)

1. Panda Bear – Tomboy (Paw Tracks)
2. John Maus – We Must Become the Pitiless Versions of Ourselves (Upset the Rhythm)
3. Nicholas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise (Circus Company)
4. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
5. Austra – Feel It Break (Paper Bag)
6. Kendrick Lamar – Section.80 (Top Dawg Entertainment)
7. Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 (Kranky)
8. The Weeknd – House Of Balloons (Self)
9. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse (Drag City)
10. 13 & God – Own Your Ghost (Anticon)

David Nowacki:

– Zomes – Earth Grid (Thrill Jockey)
– Moon Duo – Mazes (Sacred Bones)
– KEN Mode – Venerable (Profound Lore)
– The Jesus Lizard – Peel Sessions (Independent)
– Grails – Deep Politics (Temporary Residence)
– Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light Pt. 1 (Southern Lord)
– St. Vincent – Strange Mercy (4AD)
– Skull Defekts – Peer Amid (Thrill Jockey)
– Russian Circles – Empros (Sargent House)

Stu Reid
1. Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones:

It’s nice to think that music can change the world. It’s certainly changed mine. But music that seems to exist specifically to do just that, more often than not winds up an embarrassing pile of self-importance. Fortunately Frank Turner knows all that and polices himself well. How else could a former hardcore punk get away with sincerely covering songs (live) by Wham and Queen? You can’t help but think “Billy Bragg” when you first hear the solo/electric/Cockney accent/lefty politics, but that goes away as soon as you realize this guy is the real deal. (Epitaph)
2. Wussy – Strawberry (Shake It)
3. Foster & Lloyd – It’s Already Tomorrow (EffinEll Records)
4. Hayes Carll – KMAG YOYO (Lost Highway)
5. The Warped 45s – Matador Sunset (self)
6. Terry Anderson & the OAK Team: More Smooth Jazz & Sweet Sweet Jams (Doublenaught)
7. Kevn Kinney – A Good Country Mile (self)
8. Scott Nolan – Montgomery Eldorado (Transistor 66)
9. Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings For My Halo (Matador)
10. Deer Tick – Divine Providence (Partisan)

Kevin Strang
– Self -interest – Blooming:

Self-Interest is currently the best band in Winnipeg and this record is proof of that. More people should go to their shows and buy this record as it combines all that is good about grunge, punk and hardcore into a perfect mix for any ear. Self-interest has gotten progressively better and better since they started a few years ago. This record completely kills it and you should give the band money for it. (Pass Judgement)
– Condominium – warm home (Self Released)
– Brian Webb – the provider (Idee Fixe)
– Tom Waits – Bad as Me (Anti-)
– Grouper – Alien Observer (Grouper Records)

David Tymoshchuk (CKUW’s Music Director)

– Brazilian Money – This is Not A Dream (Totally Disconnected)
– Odonis Odonis – Hollandaze (Daps)
– Bass Drum of Death – GB City (Fat Possum)
– The Blisters – Gloves (self-released)
– Gardens – Gardens (Alive)
– Mind Spiders – Mind Spiders (Dirtnap)
– Hypnomango – Hypnomango EP (Nene)
– Les Sexy – Les Sexy (Self-released)
– Various Artists – Thai? Dai! (Finders Keepers)
– Wax Museums – Eye Times (Trouble in Mind)

Nicholas Van Doeselaar

– Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix (Island)
– Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Fat Possum)
– James Blake – James Blake
– Bass Drum of Death – GB City (Fat Possum)
– Foster the People – Torches (Columbia)
– M83 – Hurry Up Were Dreaming (Naive)
– St.Vincent – Strange Mercy (4AD)
– Yacht – Shangri-La (DFA)
– The Vaccines – What did you expect from the Vaccines? (Sub Pop)
– Mother Mother – Eureka (Last Gang)

Scott Wolfe
1. Frank Turner
England Keep My Bones

Every album finds Frank Turner improving his craft even though after every album fans are left wonder how the hell he could possibly do so. This album offers a great diversity of songs, from a cappella, punk, rock and even a little folk, making it a refreshing and fun listen each time you hit play. The music is full of passion and maturity but yet remains fun and enjoyable, Frank has found the perfect balance to make (in my opinion) the best album of year. (Epitaph)
2. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life (Matador)
3. Mastodon – The Hunter (Roadrunner)
4. Chad VanGalen – Diaper Island (Sub Pop)
5. Red Fang – Murder the Mountains (Relapse)
6. Shooting Guns – Born to Deal in Magic: 1952-1976 (Teargas Recording Tree)
7. Protest the Hero – Scurrilous (Vagrant)
8. KEN mode – Venerable (Profound Lore)
9. Black Keys – El Camino (Nonesuch)
10. Coliseum – Parasites EP (Temporary Residence Limited)

Adrienne Yeung
– Beirut – The Rip Tide:

I remember the time I first tried hummus. It was an insatiable, raging instant favourite that made its way into every meal until my taste buds fell just as madly, suddenly, and finally out of love with it. This is what I felt like when Beirut’s The Rip Tide was released in August, listening to it every day for a month, while riding my bike, on the bus, and going to sleep. I had to actually delete this album off my iPod for a while, because I knew I was getting close to that crucial point between bliss and revulsion that would determine if I’d be physically able to listen to it within the next year. What I’m saying is, if you haven’t yet, give this incandescent record of measured, tightly composed songs a listen! The Flying Club Cup’s tipsy gypsy lover has grown up now and calls an old and beautiful European city home. He writes a column on social issues and one on art appreciation, and gets his gorgonzola next door, but still plays his ukulele in the sun and surf as passionately as ever. (Pompeii)
– Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers – Hans My Lion (Head in the Sand)
– Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (Atlantic)
– Say Hi – Um, Uh Oh (Barsuk)
– Feist – Metals (Arts & Crafts)
– Hyperpotamus – Delta (El Molino Music)
– Young the Giant – Young the Giant (Roadrunner)
– tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l (4AD)
– St. Vincent – Strange Mercy (4AD)
– Greg MacPherson – Disintegration Blues (Disintegration)

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