Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #80: Jurassic Park

I was ten when Jurassic Park came out. That fact alone makes me feel incredibly old.

More importantly, this was the first movie that was on the questionable side that my brother and I were allowed to see. My dad screened the VHS prior to us watching it, then said "yeah, that seems alright". I don't know how exactly that happened, but ten year old me thought that it was the greatest thing that ever.

Everything about the movie captured my imagination. People forget the while Jurassic Park was primarily a sort of horror movie, it also had that first half an hour which was as close as many of us would ever come to complete wonderment. Dinosaurs! On screen! Not animated! Honestly, if that first half hour was the movie, and then everyone went home, ten year old me would've been satisfied.

...but then everything went to shit at the most inopportune time. And that's where moment number #80 really comes into play.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #81: Gladiator

Today's scene comes to us from the epic gladiator movie... Gladiator.

I actually just saw the movie again recently, and I think it holds up just fine. I've heard plenty of talk over the past few years that it hasn't, and I'm not entirely certain why. Russell Crowe's performance is good, Joaquin Phoenix's performance is good, the sets looks wonderful, the script is quite good, the cinematography is great - so why the hate?

Anyway, there's lots of great scenes in Gladiator, but only one so quotable as to attain a certain pop culture ubiquitocity...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kickass Movie List #82: Return of the King

I swear I didn't mean for this to happen. Lord of the Rings on back-to-back days? That's just madness. So it goes.

Today's scene is wrapup to the whole shebang. What exactly happens to the Ring? What happens to Sauron? Or Gollum, for that matter?

Let's find out.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #83: The Two Towers

We have our first repeat!

I would agree that The Two Towers is probably my least favorite of the trilogy. The epic battles (like the Helms Deep throwdown that seems to take a majority of the last four hours of TTT), while enjoyable, aren't the reason I like the Lord of the Rings movies. Not that those parts aren't good in their own way, they're just not as interesting to me as the overall quest to destroy the ring.

Luckily, while Two Towers had the most human on orc aggression, it also had its fair share of memorable scenes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #84: Serenity

Serenity is a great movie. It's one of those movies which makes me love the Sci-Fi genre.

But hey, we've got plenty of time to extol the virtues of Serenity. Let's take a look at the ending.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #85: Die hard

Ah, Die Hard. Who doesn't love Die Hard? It's everything a good action movie should be.

This one is obvious.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #86: The Ring

Ah, 2002. For maybe five minutes, Japanese horror seemed like a viable thing. Remember The Grudge? Dark Water? The Ring 2? Yeah, all of those movies sucked out loud. The first time I saw The Ring, though, it was a blast of... something. I wasn't quite sure what it was, but it relied on atmosphere for its scares, and that was different than a lot of the horror that seemed to be coming out around its time.

I probably could've picked the ending, since it's a pretty indelible scene. Instead I went with something a little more meta.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #87: The Dark Knight

Today's moment comes to us from one of my favorite comic book movies ever, The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker allows a ton of great scenes that can be introduced with merely a quote...

"Why so serious?"
"Do you wanna see a magic trick?"
etc, etc, etc.

The best of them all, though, is a scene in which he does practically no talking at all...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #88: The Birds

I remember not liking The Birds at all the first time I saw it. I was promised a scary movie, not... whatever that was. It didn't even have an ending.

Of course, I was a stupid kid the first time I saw it. I'm still not as big a fan of the movie as some of Hitchcock's other stuff, but there's a creep factor here that's hard to put your finger on.

Take this scene, for example...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #89: Prometheus

Scene #89 comes to us from a movie whose reach exceeded its grasp. Prometheus certainly wasn't a bad movie - indeed there are a number of decent performances (Fassbender's in particular stands out) and a couple of memorable scenes (like this one). Overall, the plot was just so damned convoluted.

Still, this scene was pretty great.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #90: Chinatown

We kick off our top ninety (10% of the way there!) with a scene from one of my top five favorite movies, Chinatown.

Yes, it's the one with the famous quote.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #91: Enter the Dragon

Today's scene comes from the martial arts classic Enter the Dragon. Watch in amazement as boards are punched in half!

Also, watch the damn movie (you know, if you like the genre... which almost certainly would mean that you have watched it... erm... never mind)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #92: Memento

I was going to do some sort of ridiculous "post-in-reverse" gimmick for this post, since it's for Memento, but it would've been lame, so I nixed it.

The movie ends up being remembered far more for its unorthodox narrative structure than its actual narrative. I suppose that's fair, but as far as gimmicks go, it's an interesting one, and I was able to watch the movie again - knowing what happens - and enjoying it all the same.

I could've picked the "I'm chasing him/no, he's chasing me" part, because that part always makes me laugh. I could've gone with the ending/beginning. Instead, I went with Leonard and Natalie having a very uncivil disagreement.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Not 100:The Cornfield Flare

As I go through my list proper, I'll continue to mention scenes that didn't make the list. A vast majority of these will be from movies that I watched after I solidified the list. A couple will just be scenes that are interesting, but not necessarily 'Top 100' worthy.

Today's moment is one of those moments.

In 1998, my two cousins, my brother, and I got together with a video camera and a vision - beat boredom by making a movie. We decided that the movie would be about a resort owner who was also a serial killer. We all took turns writing, directing, shooting, and acting. All was done on the fly - we'd get done shooting a scene then plan what to do with the next scene. The final product was terrible. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing. Out the fifteen or so scenes in the final product, there were maybe two times where we decided that a scene was so incredibly awful as to require a second take. We could've probably used more.

The 'best' scene was set by our family's barn. Everybody was getting bored of the whole process by then, so it was agreed that an extended (and extremely nonsensical) shootout scene was needed. We had toy guns, but we decided that wasn't good enough, so for special effects, we put bottle rockets into the barrels and aimed them at each other. Suddenly, our murder mystery was interrupted by five minutes of continuous people shooting bottle rockets and throwing smoke bombs at each other. We meant it in at least semi-earnest, but the entire thing plays out hilariously. There one point where my brother tries to throw a lit smoke bomb into an opening in the hayloft window while saying something badass. He fails three times, before looking directly at the camera with a defeated glance. There's even a moment where I take footage of my cousin and brother lighting one of the bottle rockets with them trying to shoo me off. The entire scene is one big, extended special effects failure. It's awesome.

Of course, we showed our families our wonderful movie, they laughed constantly, but noted that it was probably not a great idea to be shooting bottle rockets and lit smoke bombs into a barn filled with hay.

Sadly, the only copy of The Cornfield Flare is on VHS, and my brother has not as of yet delivered on his promise to put the whole 18 minute affair on DVD and YouTube, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #93: The Sting

Two programming notes: first off, I had this scheduled for 11:30PM for some reason, you get it a few hours early. Second, I realize that the titles of these entries was a little misleading - this isn't a list of my favorite movies, it's a list of my favorite movie scenes. Carry on.

This week's final scene comes to us from the classic Newman/Redford con movie The Sting. If you haven't seen it, do so now, it's easily in my top twenty.

We good? Okay, let's proceed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kickass Movie List #94: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

I'm a pretty big fan of the Harry Potter series. It's got some classic hero's journey action going on, and each segment has a self contained story that ties quite well into the larger story arc. The first half of the movie adaptation of book seven is probably my second favorite of the movies (behind Prison of Azkaban). The mood and cinematography are great, and it does, after all, feature #94 on the list.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kickass Movie List #95: Taken

Taken is kind of a terrible movie. I mean, I like it, but for all of the wrong reasons. THe unrealism of the movie abounds from scene one to (especially) the finale.

It does have an absolutely fantastic badass boast, though...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kickass Movie List #96: Punch-Drunk Love

I'm not even a big fan of Punch-Drunk Love. I certainly like parts of it, and obviously I'm a fairly large fan of today's scene, but overall, the movie left me kind of... not cold, just sort of "yup, that's a movie I saw". I can appreciate that Adam Sandler puts out a hell of an effort, though, and this scene between Sandler and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kickass Movie List #97: Seven

Today, we have Seven, the cheerful story of a dude who murders people to prove a point. Basically, it's the movie Saw was trying to be, before Saw decided Hostel was cooler.

How about we just skip to the endgame, hmm?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Kickass Movie List #98: Return of the Jedi

Until 1999, Return of the Jedi had a reputation as the weakest movie in the Star Wars series. It's fairly hard to argue with that. There's a lot of fun in the movie, but it's nowhere near as good as Empire Strikes Back, and I'd have a hard time ranking it alongside A New Hope as well. There is, however, one thing that Jedi did better than any of them.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kickass Movie List #99: Psycho

Okay, so this one is obvious.

You see, there's this motel... and in this one particular hotel room, there's a shower.

You'd be forgiven for not wanting to venture much further.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Year in Music 2012: Top 30 Most Listened To Songs

Due to my obessiveness, we all get to check out the "top 30 most listened to songs of the year" list a little sooner than we might have otherwise expected. Simply put, I ripped the hard drive out of my ailing computer, used a IDE-to-USB adapter and connected the drive to my netbook, where I grabbed the file and manually opened it.

This is my annual "shit I listened to a ton" list. Basically, for the uninitiated, I keep track of every listen to any song that's actually in my music library (about 14,000 songs). This includes plays on CD, iPod, and Radio. I generally count incidental music if I'm out and about, as well. Like I said: obsessive. Here are the top 30.

I'll make a Spotify playlist when I'm on a computer that is running Spotify again.

30. Lost Lander - Cold Feet

"Cold Feet" benefited greatly not only from being the first track on DRRT, but also from being the second best song on the album. I queued up this one and "Wonderful World" back to back multiple times, leaving the rest of the album for another day.

29. Sleigh Bells - Comeback Kid
(21st favorite song of 2012)

The advance single and most immediate song from an album I was (rightfully) anticipating.

28. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)

I'm always up for a good, catchy Kelly Clarkson song. Call her a guilty pleasure, she just makes good pop songs. While I wasn't a huge fan of Stronger, the album, Stronger, the title track was tasty enough to rack up the listens (plus Lindsey plays them all the time).

27. Beach House - Walk in the Park

I'm a little surprised that this is so high on the list. This year was the first year I really got into Beach House (through Teen Dream), and this is the song I kept coming back to. The only strange thing is that, much as I loved Bloom, this was the only Beach House song to crack the top 50 in playcount.

26. Mutemath - Prytania

The "We Are Hunted" Spotify app was huge in finding music, from Sharon Van Etten to Ghost Beach to a revisit to a band I hadn't listened to in a long time. I knew of and listened to Earthsuit, the fairly bad band that a few of the members of Mutemath originally played in, and I own the first EP and album by Mutemath, so I'm quite familiar with them, but for some reason, I slept on Odd Soul. If this song is any indication, I should probably go back and fix that.

25. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Niggas in Paris

This song was number one on this list as of April, but fell off quite a bit as the year wore on. Shit is definitely cray, though. Hell of a video, too.

24. Cloud Nothings - Stay Useless

This spot could've easily gone to 'Fall In' (which finished just out of the Top 30), this one just happened to last a bit longer on the Hotlist.

23. Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

This is the only Skrillex song I like, which is weird, because pretty much all of his stuff sounds the same to me. I think it has something to do with the way the calmer parts lead in to the drop? Maybe? I never said it was going to make a lot of sense.

22. Lana Del Rey - Off to the Races

It's embarassing how much I enjoy the chrous to this song. "I'm your little harlot starlet" is a line that wedged itself in my brain for days on end. I don't really want to think about what that says about me.

21. Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know

Of course this song was inescapable long after I tired of it. It would've been top ten easily if I liked even one or two more songs on the album.

20. Clint Mansell - Leaving Earth

There's something to be said for piano ballads interrupted by massive bassoon blasts. There also something to be said for keeping your immensely listenable song right around the two minute mark.

19. Coldplay - Paradise

I like Coldplay. That sometimes seems like a bit of a guilty admission, but I don't see why. They excel at making friendly, well-meaning pop-rock songs, and this is another huge winner. It's not going to change the world, but sometimes, a catchy radio song is what I want.

18. Purity Ring - Fineshrine
(5th favorite song of 2012)

My wife would occasionally wonder why I listened to a song where the hook was "Get a little closer/let it fold/Cut open my sternum and pull/My little ribs around you". Come to think of it, I wondered the same thing myself sometimes. Then again, it was the most darkly catchy thing I heard all year, hitting on all the right centers in my brain. That sort of thing covers a multitude of creepy.

17. Neutral Milk Hotel - The King of Carrot Flowers, Part One

It's a little embarassing to me how many times I heard this song over the last decade without it ever really sinking in. I do like the rest of In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea, but it's no hyperbole to say that this is one of my twenty favorite songs ever, and that the part where the acordian comes in after he sings "what each other's bodies were for" is probably only rivaled by the end of ( ) for "favorite music moments ever".

16. The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day
(most listened to song of 2011)

This song had staying power. I knew it would, it's just that kind of song. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it stuck around next year, too.

15. The Shins - Simple Song
(10th favorite song of 2012)

I love the way that James Mercer sings the lyric "feels like an ocean being warmed by the sun".

14. Sharon Van Etten - Serpents

Sharon's "rock" song. Actually, strike those quotes... this song really does rock. When she angrily/incredulously/disgustedly sings "I had a thought you would take me...seriously", it gives me shivers.

13. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die

The detractors can say what they will - the album might not have lived quite up to expectations (though the first half was killer), but when this girl hit a good song, it made you stop and listen. ..or in this particular case, listen, and listen, and listen.

12. Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built
(2nd favorite song of 2012)

It feels like I listened to this song a million times, so I'm a little surprised that it's this low on the list. It was the kind of song that felt like a classic the instant I heard it.

11. The xx - Angels
(4th favorite song of 2012)

The clattering drums that punctuate the second verse of 'Angels' just barely missed the top 20 moments list. This song completely captivated me, and racked up a huge number of plays in a very short period of time.

10. Ghost Beach - Miracle
(15th favorite song of 2012)

Another 'We Are Hunted' find. I love the chorus, but I love the end of the second verse, where he sings "I was born in this house/now I'm burnin' it down" like that was the most joyful thing he could possibly think of at that moment.

9. Ramona Falls - Spore

It seems that I somehow left this song off of my "favorite songs" list. That's a fairly embarassing mistake, as it probably sits somewhere in the 6 or 7 spot. Oops.

8. Burial - Loner
(3rd favorite song of 2012)

Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, it's the longest song on this list by quite a bit. The song's ebb and flow made it feel half that long.

7. Lost Lander - Wonderful World
(7th favorite song of 2012)

I've mentioned this song's weirdly math-themed music video (one of my favorites of the year), I've mentioned the little five note segment that caught my ear so. There's not a whole lot else to say, this song's sad sort of beauty had me coming back time and again.

6. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
(18th favorite song of the year)

Okay, I do unironically like this song (I think it's quite easily the best pure pop song of the year, maybe of the last two or three, though trying to delve into that would probably be better done on a later date). However, the playcounts this song received had a lot more to do with the fact that 'Call Me Maybe' was pretty much inescapable. A friend of mine and I were at a bar one night, and someone played it on the jukebox. We sheepishly admitted to each other that we actually enjoyed it, then listened in horror as the girl who had played it queued it up another three times that evening. I heard it five times on a trip to Fargo and back. IN-ES-CAP-A-BLE.

5. fun. - Some Nights
(25th favorite song of the year)

Another song that I like that was buoyed by the fact that it was played every twenty seconds on the radio (I'm pretty sure that if that's an exageration, it's on the low end). Also, Lindsey loved this song/CD.

4. Mind Spiders - You Are Dead
(12th favorite song of the year)

It's not even two minutes long, and it begs you to play it back to back. The only thing that kept it from being ven further up the list was the fact that the rest of the CD was pretty awesome, too.

3. fun. - We Are Young

Before 'Call Me Maybe' and 'Gangnam Style' came along, this song looked like it was going to be the ubiquitous song of the year. I liked it for a while, but not many listens past April were of the voluntary variety.

2. Cinnamon Chasers - Luv Deluxe
(18th most listened to song of 2011)

I didn't expect this. I guess it never left the Hotlist, which meant that anytime I was listening to that playlist (fairly often), I listened to this. I was definitely never not in the mood for it. Then there's the video, which I watched anther ten to fifteen times this year. Yeah, I guess I should've seen it coming.

1. Sharon Van Etten - Give Out
(favorite song of 2012)

It's a great song that I wanted to be listening to no matter what I was doing at the time (though night listening was the best). It's not particularly rare for my favorite song in a given year to also be my most played song for that year. This one was really close, though. This song just sort of stuck with me all year, as other songs came and fell by the wayside.

...and that concludes my self-indulgent "music of 2012" lists. Thanks for reading however much of them that you may have. On with the movie list!

Kickass Movie List #100 - The Two Towers

Today we begin our list with a great scene from the end of the second movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. The whole trilogy is packed with epic fights and wizardry aplenty, but the lifeblood of the story is still two hobbits, and their attempt to handle a task that is way over their heads.

In moment number 100, Samwise elaborates...

Top 30 Most Listened to Songs - DELAY

I know you all want to see the list. Hell, I want to see it, too. It's a tradition.

Unfortunately, my computer's motherboard died on Sunday, and despite my best efforts, I've not been able to revive it. Since the results are all kept on said computer, the big 'Top 30' post is delayed until I can bring it back to life.

Since the movies were all queued up anyway, we'll go on to them with no delay.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Year in Music 2012: Top 20 Albums

20. Aesop Rock - Skelethon

RIYL:  Tasty word salad, literate rappers, videos about ninjas and deceased cats

A new Aesop Rock album (first in five years!) is always cause for celebration. An album where Aes gives up just a little bit of his word salad in favor of some lyrical depth is cause for extreme jubilation. Mr. Bavitz did not disappoint.

19. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

RIYL: Paranoia, Someone looking over your shoulder, "them" being out to get you.

I've heard that I need to listen to R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike. That remains to be seen (though I trust everyone who has told me that this needs to happen), but El-P's production is always fascinating to me. Combined with his ever paranoid lyrics, this ended up being one of the treats of the year.

18. The xx - coexist

RIYL: Lovers awkwardly whispering to each other in a crowd.

I wanted to dislike this album. The first few times I heard it, I was unmoved. Over the next couple of months, it just kind of.... moved me. It's got stronger songs than I gave it credit for, and it's got more emotion, depth, and character than I would've given it credit for.

17. Metz - Metz

RIYL: Hitting your head against a wall of guitars and drums.

Sometimes all you want out of an album is a hammer to the face. Metz' self-titled album provided that hammer, along with enough melody and interesting rhythms to stand up to multiple listens.

16. Sigur Rós - Valtari

RIYL: Old School Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós turned back the clock in 2012, sidestepping the pop stylings of their last album and Jónsi's solo work in favor of the laid back, beautiful post-rock arrangements of their earlier albums. It's definitely no step back, though. Rather, it's a marvelous (and underrated) step forward.
15. Swans - The Seer

RIYL: Demon dogs haunting your sleep

This album feels completely inscrutable. It's exhausting (I'm usually only able to listen to one of the sides at any given time), and it's the furthest thing from a "catchy" album.

It's also completely awesome.

14. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (III)

RIYL: Dark, brooding electronic beats, non-traditional female voices

I'm constantly underrating this album. Whenever I thought of my favorite albums of the year, III was never on the radar. Then, when I was constructing this list, I looked over the tracklist and found that it's absolutely packed with solid songs. There's scarcely a weak track to be found. Song for song, it might be their best to date.

13. ...and you will know us by the trail of dead - Lost Songs

RIYL: Source Tags and Codes. Yeah, I went there.

It's got to be tiresome to have everything you do compared to some previous work of yours. Ever album that Trail of Dead ever puts out will be compared (unfavorably) to their magnum opus. This one actually brings the goods, scaling back the proggy stuff from their last three albums, and ramping up the rock.

12. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

RIYL: Rock music, part one.

Attack on Memory was an early indicator this year that rock was back. I had heard their debut, and found it to be completely unimpressive.This one, though, was ferocious. It blazed and snarled and bit - exactly what music needed to start off the year.

11. Clams Casino - Instrumentals 2

RIYL: Lil B...without all the Lil B

I've always said that I liked the idea of 'cloud rap'. The aesthetics are great - all atmosphere and woozy bass. Unfortunately, every time I queued up Lil B or A$AP Rocky, the rapping just irritated me.

Problem solved.

10. Purity Ring - Shrines

RIYL: Creepy as hell songs sung by enchantingly attractive women

When I heard Grimes earlier this year, it left me with a distinct "this is close to an album I'd really like to hear".Shrines is the album I was hoping that Visions was going to be. It's darkly, catchily awesome.

...even if half its track titles sound like Pokemon names.

9. Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror

RIYL: Cheerleaders with brass knuckles

Treats was such a volatile maelstrom of pop, arena rock, and hip-hop that a follow-up seemed like an impossible task. A carbon copy wouldn't have the same fresh feeling; a radical change in style would almost certainly be doomed to fail. Somehow, Reign of Terror ended up being a true step forward, without losing the special edge that made the first album so much fun.
8. P.O.S. - We Don't Even Live Here

RIYL: Chilling on the dancefloor enjoying a few (molotov) cocktails.

This album is different. At times, the 'throw it in' approach feels like it's going to overwhelm the flow and feeling of the project. So then, it's to Stef's credit that it never flies completely out of control. It's more of a "collection of songs" than Never Better was, but it's a damned good collection of songs.

7. Kendrick Lamar - g.O.O.d kid, m.A.A.d city

RIYL: Storytelling hip-hop

It's easy to see why everyone lost it over this album. I bought it having only heard Swimming Pools when it first came out, and it didn't leave my CD player for a solid month. The stories enhance the songs (and vice versa), and everything does nothing but grow on me with each subsequent listen.

6. Beach House - Bloom

RIYL: Beach House.

The joke is that Bloom is "Beach House, part four", and it's more than a little true. There's no great leap here. If you're buying this, you know what you're getting into.

Luckily it's well worth getting into.

5. Ramona Falls - Prophet

RIYL: Really weird album covers that are oddly fit with the music inside

Prophet is an easy album to like. It's got immediate song that still manage to have a lot of depth to them. Nearly every song has lingered throughout the year.

4. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

RIYL: Angry, but resigned women

I doesn't seem like Sharon Van Etten would really make my kind of music. I've not been incredibly fond of female singer-songwriters in the past, nor was I this year. The thing is, she imbues her music with more than she has to. Whether it's the barely contained anger of 'Serpents' or the resigned weariness of 'Ask', she makes every song worth hearing again and again. Plus it does have my favorite song of the year.

3. Mind Spiders - Meltdown

RIYL: Jay Reatard.

I didn't ever appreciate Jay Retard properly while he was alive and making music (more of a Coachwhips guy, I guess), and if I have any enjoyment of his work now (and I do), this is the album that I can thank. Bizarre final track aside, it's a short, punchy set of songs that illuminate every there is to like about lower-fi punk-inspired music.

2. Burial - Kindred EP

RIYL: Burial, with a kick.

Whenever Burial is discussed, everything always seems to revolve around a couple of talking points: "is he going to make another album" and "if he does, will it sound exactly like everything else he's done?". Well, sort of and... sort of. Kindred is 40 plus minutes long, so even though it's an EP, it's longer than a number of the albums on this list. Content-wise, it's not a radical step forward, but it does have the most focused and forceful music he's ever made. It might even be better than Untrue. William Bevan might never come out with that third proper album, but even if he does, I don't know how he'll top this.

1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

RIYL: Rock Music... part two

Just last year, I lamented that rock had fallen heavily in my listening habits. Then 2012 came around. Cloud Nothings lit the fuse, but Japandroids ended up being the explosion I kept coming back to. There are only eight songs on this album - and one's a cover, and one's a song from 2010. That doesn't really matter, in fact, the lean running time gives Celebration Rock a bite that it otherwise would've lacked. The back half of the album is completely loaded. 'Younger Us', 'The House That Heaven Built' and 'Continuous Thunder' make up one of the strongest three song cycles I've ever heard to close an album.

Most importantly, though, whenever I listen to Celebration Rock, it's an excuse to just lose myself to the "whoa-oh-oh-oh's" and forget about the idea that rock music could need saving or ever be anything less than a life-affirming thrill. Not a bad legacy to leave.