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Best of 2012

M&T Grew Some Robot Ears in 2012

Posted on by Trevor in Best of 2012 | Leave a comment

We’re not the biggest fans of this whole EDM craze, but hey everything in moderation right? That’s why we compiled a Spotify playlist to get your robot ears tingling with some of our favorite electronic tunes from 2012. Grab your pacifier, put in your headphones, and press play.

M&T Best Albums of 2012

Posted on by Eric in Best of 2012 | Leave a comment

The moment you have all been waiting for is finally here– Maimed & Tamed’s Best Albums of 2012. We labored long and hard with this list, but in the end we’re happy with how it turned out. You can check out a Spotify playlist with a track from each album (those that are on Spotify at least) here and read on below for the full list including our take on each of the albums in our Top 10. Here’s to some more great music in 2013!

30. Sharon Van Etten- Tramp

Essential Tracks: “Give Out”, “Serpents”, “Leonard”

29. Dirty Projectors- Swing Low Magellan

Essential Tracks: “Gun Has No Trigger”, “Dance For You”

28. The Wooden Sky- Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun

Essential Tracks: “Bald Naked and Red”, “It Gets Old To Be Alone”

27. Alcoholic Faith Mission- Ask Me This

Essential Tracks: “Running With Insanity”, “Into Pieces”

26. Kishi Bashi- 151a

Essential Tracks: “Manchester”, “Bright Whites”

25. Sydney Wayser- Bell Choir Coast

Essential Tracks: “Atlas”, “Dream It Up”, “Wolf Eyes”

24. Howlin’ Rain- The Russian Wilds

Essential Tracks: “Self Made Man”, “Can’t Satisfy Me Now”

23. Friendly People- Shake

Essential Tracks: “New York”, “A Lot of Work To Do”

22. Bad Books- II

Essential Tracks: “It Never Stops”, “Forest Whitaker”, “Friendly Advice”

21. Heartless Bastards- Arrow

Essential Tracks: “Marathon”, “Only For You”

20. Titus Andronicus- Local Business

Essential Tracks: “Still Life With Hot Deuce On Silver Platter”, “Ecce Homo”

19. Plants and Animals- The End of That

Essential Tracks: “The End of That”, “Lightshow”

18. Wild Cub- Youth

Essential Tracks: “Thunder Clatter”, “Shapeless”, “Colour”

17. Howler- America Give Up

Essential Tracks: “Beach Sluts”, “Back To The Grave”, “Back of Your Neck”

16. Cloud Nothings- Attack On Memory

Essential Tracks: “Fall In”, “Stay Useless”, “Wasted Days”

15. Mean Creek- Youth Companion

Essential Tracks: “Evel Knievel”, “Young and Wild”

14. Hop Along- Get Disowned

Essential Tracks: “No Good Al Joad”, “Some Grace”

13. You Won’t- Skeptic Goodbye

Essential Tracks: “Three Car Garage”, “Who Knew”, “Television”

12. Rah Rah- The Poet’s Dead

Essential Tracks: “Art & A Wife”, “Prairie Girl”

11. Grizzly Bear- Shields

Essential Tracks: “Sleeping Ute”, “Yet Again”

10. Father John Misty- Fear Fun

Father John Misty took the cake for our top song of the year, but Fear Fun was no one-horse-show. Josh Tillman teamed up with producer Jonathan Wilson to create a witty, unrelenting record that is inspired by both traditional folk music and psychedelia. Tracks like “Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2” and “I’m Writing A Novel” have that country twang to them, but Tillman works to keep things interesting with songs such as “Nancy From Now On” that create an upbeat, danceable tempo.

Essential Tracks: “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”, “Misty’s Nightmares 1&2”

9. Japandroids- Celebration Rock

There was a lot of pressure on this Canadian duo to follow up 2009’s Post-Nothing, but Japandroids’ Celebration Rock certainly did not disappoint. There’s still the distorted guitar, nostalgic lyrics, and rigorous drumming that we remember from their last release, but with Celebration Rock Dave and Brian take it to the next level. Most other publications had “The House That Heaven Built” as the standout track from this record, but for us “Continuos Thunder” is the perfect representation of Japandroids.

Essential Tracks: “Continuous Thunder”, “Fire’s Highway”

8. Wooden Dinosaur- Spaces

Vermont’s Americana outfit Wooden Dinosaur was one of our early favorites for our “Best of” lists, and their record Spaces certainly held its own against everything else that came out this year. Lead singer and songwriter Michael Roberts covers some dark and weighty topics in his lyrics, but still finds a clever way to incorporate hopeful melodies and elegant harmonies. Start with “Good Winter” and you’ll be hooked.

Essential Tracks: “Good Winter”, “Hey You”

7. Fantasy Rainbow- Bos Taurus

I’m not even quite sure who first told me of the UK’s Fantasy Rainbow, but their 2012 release Bos Taurus quickly became one of my favorites when I heard it in early November. From track 1 to track 11 it may certainly be one of the most diverse sounding records of the year as each song has it’s own distinct identity, which is sure to keep the listener on their toes. From the upbeat tracks like “Condominium” to the darker songs such as “Bread Biscuit,” Bos Taurus states its case for one of the strongest records of the year.

Essential Tracks: “Condominium”, “Bread Biscuit”

6. David Wax Museum- Knock Knock Get Up

I’ll admit it, I wasn’t sure what to expect from David Wax Museum’s follow-up to Everything Is Saved, but what they delivered with Knock Knock Get Up definitely exceeded any expectations that I may have had. David Wax and Suz Slezak have added even more instrumentation and boisterous sounds to their repertoire while still staying true to their Mexican inspired style. You’ll be addicted from the first listen and if you’re anything like us, it’ll be on repeat for a solid two weeks after that.

Essential Tracks: “Will You Be Sleeping?”, “A Dog In This Fight”

5. Big Scary- Vacation

You know when you’re listening to a record and one songs ends, but you know exactly how the next song starts since you’ve listened to it so many times over and over again? For us that’s Big Scary’s Vacation. Although it may have been released in the duo’s native Australia in 2011, it is just too damn good to not include it on this list following its worldwide release in October. Much like Fantasy Rainbow’s Bos Taurus, this album takes a group of songs with their own individual identities and compiles them into a masterpiece of varying sounds and emotions.

Essential Tracks: “Gladiator”, “Mix Tape”, “Falling Away”

4. Alabama Shakes- Boys & Girls

It should be no surprise to see this record so high on our list. Brittany Howard and co. delivered one of the most passionate, energetic and flat-out fun records of the year with Boys & Girls. Of course everyone has heard “Hold On”, unless they have been living under a rock for the past year, but the rest of the album is equally as strong. Everyone thinks of Brittany when Alabama Shakes comes to mind, as they should, but like we mentioned on our best songs list, the guitar work of Heath Fogg is ridiculously underrated on this album.

Essential Tracks: “Hold On”, “Rise to the Sun”

3. Dry The River- Shallow Bed

Some of the tracks from Dry The River’s Shallow Bed were released prior to 2012, but this full-length effort brought everything together for the boys from East London. Epic doesn’t even begin to describe the songwriting and singing of frontman Peter Liddle. His voice is heavenly, but not in the sense of being soft or gentle, rather like a preacher who has come to deliver the sermon of epic folk-rock. With the majority of the band’s members coming from post-punk and hardcore groups, these guys certainly are not your typical folk troubadours. “Lion’s Den” gives a window into the band members’ former lives while “Weights & Measures” and “No Rest” will simply make you want to stand up on your chair and sing along to the choruses. Rumor has it that the group is heading back to the studio in early 2013 to record again, and rumor has it that the M&T crew is ridiculously excited about that.

Essential Tracks: “No Rest”, “Shaker Hymns”, “Weights and Measures”

2. Two Gallants- The Boom and the Blight

When a friend who hadn’t heard of Two Gallants and who had never listened to The Boom and the Blight asked why it was one of my favorite albums of 2012 I replied, “So much double bass in your face.” It’s true that Tyson Vogel’s work behind the drums on this record is masterful, but I explained further to my friend what makes this album so special. There’s the deft guitar playing and raspy vocals of Adam Stephens, and the fact that just the two of them are capable of making so much noise. Throughout the record, each guitar riff is so fluid and the drums unfaltering, all while Stephens’ signature howl permeates through your speakers. We waited five years since the duo’s self-titled release back in 2007, and oh man was it worth the wait.

Essential Tracks: “Halcyon Days”, “Winter’s Youth”, “Song of Songs”

1. Tango In The Attic- Sellotape

I said it back in the summer and I’ll say it again now, this album is incredible. For me the ultimate test of a good record is how many times you can listen without getting sick of it. When talking about Tango In The Attic’s Sellotape, the answer is infinite. Even after hundreds of listens over the last six months, I don’t think that any track from the Scottish group’s 2012 release will ever grow old for me. Each song flows into the next so seamlessly, yet the individual tracks are still powerful and memorable on their own. I’m not sure how to concisely describe the band’s sound or compare them to other contemporary artists because I’m not sure that there is a genre to place them in or a band to compare them to. It’s rock, it’s experimental, it’s alternative, it’s avant-garde, it’s all of the above and more. I was worried that it would be difficult to recreate such a sonic masterpiece in a live setting, but after catching Tango In The Attic at CMJ this year, all of my worries were put to rest. The band cruised through tracks from Sellotape, bringing the album to life with ease, much to the pleasure of yours truly. 2012 has been an incredible year for music, but to us Tango In The Attic’s Sellotape was the clear choice for the best record of the year.

Essential Tracks: “Paw Prints”, “Suncream”, “Swimming Pool”

M&T Best Songs of 2012

Posted on by Eric in Best of 2012 | Leave a comment

Here they are, our Top 30 Songs of 2012. Some you’ll recognize, some maybe not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen. Check out each individual track below (with a note on each song in the Top 10) and the full Spotify playlist of all 30 tracks here. Let us know what you think!

30. Kishi Bashi- “Bright Whites”

29Jake Hill & Deep Creek- “Talkin Fuckin Steve Earle Blues”

28. The Ballroom Thieves- “Loose Lips”

27. Patrick Watson- “Into Giants”

26. The Cribs- “Come On Be A No-One”

25. Chairlift- “I Belong In Your Arms”

24. Fantasy Rainbow- “Bread Biscuit”

23. Bobby Tank- “Afterburn”

22. Delta Spirit- “Tear It Up”

21. Hospitality- “Liberal Arts”

20. Alcoholic Faith Mission- “Running With Insanity”

19. Young Jesus- “Family and Friends”

18. Peter Peter- “Une version améliorée de la tristesse”

17. The Lumineers- “Ho Hey”

16. Two Gallants- “Halcyon Days”

15. Hop Along- “No Good Al Joad”

14. Tango In The Attic- “Swimming Pool”

13. Shovels & Rope- “Birmingham”

12. Wild Cub- “Thunder Clatter”

11. Freelance Whales- “Spitting Image”

10. Rah Rah- “Art & A Wife”

Our neighbors to the North produced some great music in 2012 including this perfect little piece of indie-pop which can be found on The Poet’s Dead by Saskatchewan’s Rah Rah. This sextet was one of our favorites at CMJ this year (especially the animatronic cats placed on top of their amps) and they will certainly be a band to watch at SXSW next spring.

9. Houndmouth- “Krampus”

We sang the praises of Houndmouth in our Top EPs of 2012 so it should come as no surprise that “Krampus” made its way into our Top Songs of 2012. Like we said before, the song is liberating, it’s powerful, it’s magical, and it’s just one of those songs where you want to turn it up to 11 and sing along to every word.

8. Sky Ferreira- “Everything Is Embarrassing”

Produced by Dev Hynes (aka Lightspeed Champion and Blood Orange), former fashion model Sky Ferreira’s Ghost EP is as haunting as it is sexy. That may not make sense before you listen, but as soon as you turn on “Everything Is Embarrassing” you’ll know exactly what we mean.

7. Typhoon- “Common Sentiments”

Even though Typhoon’s LP White Lighter isn’t due out until 2013 we couldn’t resist putting the first single on this list. Released back in October, “Common Sentiments” is another great example of lead singer Kyle Morton’s masterful songwriting capabilities and the rest of the band’s ability to fill the space around his words with layers of vocal harmonies and horns. To say that we are excited for White Lighter would be a vast understatement and after listening to the track below and watching this trailer we think you will feel the same.

6. Jeff The Brotherhood- “Sixpack”

Brothers Jamin and Jake Orral returned in 2012 with the Dan Auerbach produced Hypnotic Nights. This LP is just as much, if not more, in-your-face and tongue-in-cheek than its predecessor We Are The Chanpions. Only the Orral brothers could turn a song about with a line like this into a serious hit– “It’s pretty hot out. It’s only 50 miles. I wanna cool out, and get wasted.” Same here boys, same here.

5. Alt-J- “Fitzpleasure”

Although these Brits may take the prize for most pretentious band name of 2012 (spelled ∆ but pronounced “Alt-J” for the keystrokes used to produce the symbol), they also made a damn good record in An Awesome Wave. Highlighted by lead singer Joe Newman’s distinctive vocals, “Fitzpleasure” is a three and a half minute sonic journey through layers of synth, distortion, and percussion. It’s no surprise that these guys came away with Britain’s Mercury Prize as they are another band that we expect big things from in 2013.

4. Night Moves- “Family Tongues”

This group from Minneapolis had an eventful 2012 which saw the release of their LP Colored Emotions along with a tour alongside fellow 2012 buzz band Lord Huron. “Family Tongues” is a window into Night Moves’ style, which Spin put quite perfectly when they called the band’s sound, “cosmically expansive and yet twangily intimate.”

3. First Aid Kit- “Emmylou”

An ode to their idols, First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou” is certainly one of the most beautiful songs to be released in 2012. From the slide guitar intro to the gorgeous harmonies of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, this one is sure to produce some goosebumps. Produced by Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, The Lion’s Roar was a triumph for the Swedish duo that took them on a world tour including a stop at our beloved Newport Folk Festival. What makes these two so special is their ability to re-create these incredible harmonies in a live setting with such ease. Case in point.

2. Alabama Shakes- “Hold On”

In 2012 you would have been hard-pressed to go more than a day without hearing the impassioned vocals of Alabama Shakes leader singer Brittany Howard. “Hold On” was one of 2012’s most passionate, energetic, and raw songs with much thanks to the spirit and power of Ms. Howard. Not be to overlooked though is the prowess of guitarist Heath Fogg, whose smooth, intricate riff on “Hold On” lays the backbone for our No. 2 song of the year.

1. Father John Misty- “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

Joshua Tillman aka J. Tillman aka Father John Misty had quite a year for himself in 2012. He gave up his seat behind the drums of Fleet Foxes, he got into a Twitter feud with Pitchfork, he released quite the peculiar YouTube video that I think may be poking fun at Justin Vernon, he danced erotically here in Boston, but most importantly, he ate a shitload of mushrooms and recorded an amazing album produced by Jonathan Wilson. And lucky for us, Fear Fun produced our favorite song of 2012. With its witty lyrics, simple guitar melodies and huge bass drum sound, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” is just what we needed in 2012– a song with no frills, lots of sass, and one weird dude behind the mic.

M&T Best Concerts of 2012

Posted on by Eric in Best of 2012 | Leave a comment

Like we said last year, this is by no means the decisive list for the best concerts of the year. We know that it’s impossible to make a definitive claim for the “best shows of 2012,” but we also know that these were the best shows that we went to this year. The M&T crew saw 200+ bands perform live this year, so with plenty options to choose from, we settled on these shows as our favorites from 2012. Click the green links to read full reviews we wrote at the time of each show–

5. Joy Kills Sorrow 1/31/2012 @ Club Passim (Cambridge, MA)

I still can’t find a live clip from this show, but we did find this set which was recorded a couple weeks prior to the Passim show at The Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles.

 

4. Howlin’ Rain 3/15/2012 @ Valhalla (Austin, TX SXSW 2012)

Each song from this set was regularly hitting the 10 minute mark so unfortunately my memory card filled up before I caught the end of “Can’t Satisfy Me Now,” but you can still enjoy four minutes of shredding and harmonies.

 

3. Liam Finn’s Murmuration 1/9/2012 @ Rock Shop (Brooklyn, NY)

We caught a few videos of our own this night, but YouTube user mfc172 (who got a bunch more videos of this show) captured what we thought was the highlight of the night– Liam’s “I’ll Be Lightning” into The Beatles’ classic “Dear Prudence.”

 

2. My Morning Jacket @ various venues

We were lucky enough to catch some of MMJ’s biggest shows of 2012 and will also be attending their New Year’s Eve bash here in Boston in just over a week. Earlier in 2012 though we caught them at their hometown Forecastle Festival, in Newport for their special guest filled set at the Folk Festival, and at Red Rocks for their absolutely epic show with Band of Horses and Trombone Shorty that was broadcast on television. All in all a great year to be an MMJ diehard, and here’s to hoping they play our dream setlist in 2013.

 

1. Middle Brother 7/28/2012 @ Newport Blues Cafe (Newport, Rhode Island)

After releasing our favorite album of 2011 what could have been better in 2012 than a Middle Brother reunion (and possibly their last show ever) at a tiny club in Newport, Rhode Island during our favorite festival of the year? It doesn’t get that much better than this people, not to mention sets from Jonny Corndawg, Sharon Van Etten and Deer Tick all in the same night.

M&T Best EPs of 2012

Posted on by Eric in Best of 2012 | Leave a comment

As our Best of 2012 coverage rolls on, we look today to the Best EPs of the year. The EP is a wonderful and underrated thing, and is something that is slowly becoming more popular as artists feel the need to be constantly releasing music to satisfy the short attention span of our collective culture. Below we ranked our 10 favorite EPs of the year, hopefully you will find some of your favorites as well as something new to enjoy and share. Grab a Spotify playlist with a track from each EP here.

10. Punch Brothers- Ahoy!

The Punch Brothers have seemingly covered it all, from Radiohead to The Strokes and even The Cardigans so it’s no surprise that their most recent EP includes three covers. Ahoy! also brings a traditional folk tune, and an original instrumental to go along with re-workings of songs by Josh Ritter, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, and Welsh post-hardcore group Mclusky. For us the standout track has to be their take on Ritter’s “Another New World” which is transformed into a seafaring epic on Ahoy!.

9. Blonde Summer- Slow Daze

Much like San Diego natives Dirty Gold caught our ear with “California Sunrise” last year, Los Angeles’ Blonde Summer delivers that same bright summertime tuneage this year with their EP Slow Daze. Blonde Summer turns up the distortion a bit more than their San Diegan counterparts, which makes this EP perfect for a poolside day-drink (trust us on this one). The lead track, “Slow Days Fast Company” will pull you in right away with its catchy melody and from there you’re in for a listening experience that will make you wish it was July already.

8. Blessed Feathers- Peaceful Beasts in an Ocean of Weeds

After getting a tip from a friend who saw this duo perform in their home state of Wisconsin, we were very impressed by the performance that Blessed Feathers put on at CMJ this year. With just a guitar and a banjo Jacquelyn Beaupre’ and Donivan Berube were able to recreate the thoughtfulness and full range of emotion found on their EP Peaceful Beasts in an Ocean of Weeds. Many of the EP’s songs draw on inspiration found in different geographical locations, from small town Wisconsin down to Florida with plenty of stops between. It’s the EP’s second track though, “Holyoke/Springfield,” that will grab your attention and have you coming back for more.

7. Rubblebucket- Oversaturated EP

It’s no secret that we are big fans of Rubblebucket here at M&T, so when we heard there would be a 5-song follow-up to last year’s Omega La La, we were beyond thrilled. Needless to say the Oversaturated EP did not disappoint. It is filled with the trademarks of Rubblebucket’s sound from the undeniably catchy whistling (see “(Focus) Oversatured”) to the bouncing melodies and danceable horn arrangements (see “Pain From Love”). After a year full of touring and two releases in a 15-month span, let’s hope that Rubblebucket can keep up the breakneck pace in 2013.

6. Lake Street Dive- Fun Machine

Much like the Punch Brothers did on Ahoy! the dynamic quartet of Lake Street Dive was able to cover a handful of songs from a wide range of genres and make them all their own. Fun Machine covers lots of ground in 6 songs (pun totally and shamelessly intended) from Jackson 5 to Wings and a soulful original track to boot. After seeing the band at Club Passim earlier this year, we would highly recommend that you grab up your tickets for their four night January run at Lizard Lounge while you still can.

5. The Last Bison- Inheritance

Ok we cheated a little bit with this one, as the majority of The Last Bison’s Inheritance also appeared on their 2011 debut album Quill. That’s not to say that this 4-song nugget of alternative folk music shouldn’t have a place on this list as each of the three recycled tracks were re-recorded for the EP to go along with the brand new song “Distance.” One thing is still true on Inheritance as it was on Quill and it’s that “Switzerland” is an absolute monster of a track. If the epic arrangement and frontman Ben Hardesty’s impassioned vocals don’t give you goosebumps you better go check your pulse. 

4. Black Light Dinner Party- B.L.D.P.

Ok we may have cheated a bit here too, as some tracks on Black Light Dinner Party’s B.L.D.P. emerged before 2012, but who is really counting? This New York via Boston electro-pop quartet blends catchy choruses with unforgettable synth lines that will have you humming each song long after you have stopped listening (if you can actually even stop listening). “Older Together” and “Gold Chain” are the standouts on B.L.D.P., both radio-ready tracks that are perfect for your party playlist or a long drive on a summer night.

3. Dr. Dog- Wild Race

With a full-length release and an EP in the same year, these boys from Philly have certainly been busy in 2012. After the jangling 12-song LP, Be The Void, Dr. Dog returned in late 2012 with Wild Race. Not to say that Be The Void wasn’t a wonderful exploration of varying styles and sounds, but it was quite refreshing to hear the straightforward rock ‘n roll found throughout Wild Race. Still, each song develops its own identity and is just as memorable as the last, a quality that made Wild Race an easy choice for the top EPs of 2012.

2. The Antlers- Undersea

After making an appearance on our Best Albums of 2011 list with Burst Apart, the Antlers released their 4-song EP Undersea this summer. The laid-back, psychedelic vibe of the record takes the band’s sound in a slightly different direction from 2011, one that is more layered and detached yet still highlighting frontman Pete Silberman’s ridiculous vocal range. For all of the records released this year I can’t think of a more aptly titled EP nor one with more fitting cover art than Undersea. Take a look and a listen and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

1. Houndmouth- Houndmouth EP

What else can we say that we haven’t already said about Houndmouth? Their debut self-titled EP is incredible, their live show is just flat-out fun, and like we said this summer, they’re going to be HUGE. Song-for-song Houndmouth is far and away the best EP of the year in our minds. With tracks like “Penitentiary” and “The Big Oil Spill” you can’t help but think of The Band and their ability to so beautifully convey a story through song. The real kicker though is when the vocals of Katie Toupin come soaring in over the chorus at the end of “Krampus.” It’s liberating, it’s powerful, it’s magical, and it’s the moment when we know you’ll agree that this band is destined for bigger things. Music like this is why I’m inspired to keep this blog going and share music with friends, family, acquaintances and you readers. If you aren’t a fan of Houndmouth after even just one listen to their debut EP, I will quit blogging and you can call me a monkey’s uncle.

M&T Best UK Artists of 2012

Posted on by Trevor in Best of 2012 | 1 Comment

The music coming out of the UK recently has just been amazing. I think this year really shows how influential the British music continues to be globally. We have seen major British bands like Coldplay, Muse and even the Rolling Stones release albums and headline major international tours. The appeal British rock has is that it finds its roots in American Blues and Folk which makes it so relatable yet distinct in its own way. This year we have seen 5 bands revive all that is good with British rock, ranging from the the British Pop invasion to British heavy metal.

1. The Cribs – In the Belly of the Brazen Bull

With a brash and bold sound that reminds one of the the punk rock that came out of Camden in late 70’s, The Cribs have released their 6th album to critical acclaim. Tracks like “Come On, Be A No One” and “Chi-Town” have put them in the lime light over in the UK. The ability to play quick catchy songs and then string together a four song finish all on the same album has led to The Cribs headlining NME’s music award show this year.

2.The Vaccines – No Hope

This modern British Invasion Pop Rock band has blown up the British scene by utilizing upbeat tunes like “No Hope”, “Weirdo” & “Teenage Icon” to capture the angsts of being a young adult. Rolling with the momentum of 2011’s “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” and headlining their own tour in the States this year (Boston’s show is at the Paradise the 29th of Janurary) expect them to become a staple of the American scene relatively soon.

3. Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour

Band of Skulls has to be one of the best pure rock bands to release an album this year. This power trio creates a great balance of heavy base lines, power riffs and clean vocals to catch the listener’s ear. Songs like “Sweet Sour”, “Bruises” and “The Devil Takes Care of His Own” ring out clearly on this album as singles and surely are the strongest tracks of the album in my opinion. I would also list their show this past spring at The Paradise as one of my favorite this year.

4.Black Moth – The Killing Jar

I recently just came across this band and they are so good that they instantly jumped onto this list. This heavy metal band clearly has its roots in Black Sabbath and other British heavy metal bands of the 70’s. No song is more Ozzy like than “Chicken Shit” with is electric guitar riffs reminiscent of “Iron Man’s” solo. The heavy effects used by Black Moth is backed up nicely with crisp drumming and a steady thudding bass line. If your looking for a nice diversion from your normal folk rotation and just want to bang your head, Black Moth is your band.

5. Jake Bugg – Two Fingers EP

This kid has got it. Featured as an Artist of the Week by Mary Ann Hobbs on XFM radio in Manchester/London back in late February with his breakthrough track “Lightning Bolt”, Jake Bugg has jumped to the top of the charts upon releasing his EP this past October. Supporting acts like Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Jake Bugg is making waves over in UK. When the US radio stations get ahold of his single “Two Fingers” expect it to be an instant hit. With a Bob Dylan-esque voice, catchy melodies and only 18 years old expect Jake to be an interesting artist to devleop over the next couple of years.

Find these five artists and more on our Spotify playlist of 2012’s Best UK Bands.