We have reached the end. The Top 10. The best of the best. Cream of the crop. Whatever other cliche you care to use. However you want to look at it, the truth is this: this was a great year for Buffalo music. The scene is growing, and growing stronger every day. New bands are keeping older guys like us fresh and excited for what is next to come. These next ten tracks are a big part of why 2012 was so great here. Take a moment to listen to each track (in addition to the first half of our final list from yesterday) and appreciate the quality and variety of music that this city has to offer. In the blog's nearly three short years, we have seen a lot of these acts emerge, making what we do here not a chore, but actually pretty fun. We hope you enjoy reading this list as we had putting it together.
Essential Vitamin Crew member Dr. Ooo’s teasingly short single “Windstar” was a little about a mini-van and a lot about nothing. His lyrics are hot fire and Ooo’s easy-off-the tounge flow is like a white, rust-belt Snoop Dog. All I have to say is watch out AJ Jordan in 2013. You have some emcees gunnin’ for your “Best Rap Act out of Buffalo” title.
It always boggles my mind how tight these guys are. Between drummer Cameron Rogers’ unpredictable and extremely complicated rhythms, along with Phil Freedenberg's ability to simultaneously tap at two guitars on top of having the ability to stand up and breathe should label the two super human. Like, how do you even do that? Their track “Guy’s Night” is a prime example of why these guys are so motherfucking good.
#8. Canary Girls - "Laser Prom"
One of the blog's favorite new bands of the year, Canary Girls' debut album, Everything is Changing, gave Buffalo a much welcome shot of nostalgia (think M83's John Hughes lovin Saturdays=Youth), and no more so than in the electro pop ballad "Laser Prom." Led by front man Bill Eager's soaring vocals and heavy synths, the tune was tailor made for one of those couples-only, hand in hand skates at the local roller rink on a Saturday night. Despite the clear 80's influences, the song gives off a timeless feeling, turning "1982" into a state of mind.
#7. Space Wolves - "All the Talk"
This lo fi two piece came out of nowhere this fall, releasing two stellar albums of jangle pop, Space Wolves and Space Wolves II, within a month of each other. On the more fully fleshed out II, "All the Talk" immediately grabbed our attention. Sounding like a perfect little slice of 90's college rock, the Pavement esque number featured the duo's laid back vocals, a crunchy opening riff, and swirling melodies. The pair should easily be able to carry this momentum in 2013 with another album in the works and the (hopeful) live performance debut.
Damian's title track off the full-length album Soul Night, another one of Steak and Cake's great releases in 2012, is an ode to The Elmwood Lounge's bi-monthly retro soul night. Call it mumblecore or just plain indie rock, Damian's "Soul Night" holds a special place for anyone that has had a blast dancing carefree to carefully selected Handsome Dan cuts. We at buffaBLOG agree Damian, we can only dance if our rock and roll is played by weirdos.
#5. Floyd & the Nicknames - "Surf Music"
Having played the blog's first birthday party back in March of 2011 with his three piece garage punk band Arctic Death, Steven Floyd has always been one of our favorite guitar players in Buffalo. This past summer, Floyd released his music, his latest musical project through Steak and Cake, under the moniker of Floyd & the Nicknames. "Surf Music," the stand out track from the short EP ten million seventy one thousand nine hundred and ninety, kicks off with a rockabilly-like guitar lick taken right out of the South and dropped down on to Allen Street. Floyd's nasally, Jay Reatard like vocals front the stripped down Stokes like tune.
#4. Aircraft - "Exist"
If there was an award for Buffalo Rookie Band of the Year, Aircraft would have it in the bag. In addition to landing some clutch opening slots for Cavemen, Thee Oh Sees, and Ty Segall, the Buffalo four piece psych rockers released a great 4 track demo, giving everyone a look at what the promising band may be capable of when their proper full length drops next year. On the frantic rocker, "Exist," the band gives a nod to the early days of British Psychedelia, with singer Justin John Smith's howl leading the track while being backed by one of Buffalo's best rhythm sections in James Warren and Ian Be. Plus, anything with a great horn section is good in my book.
#3. Anthony DelPlato - "The Arrival"
It's rare that a local album resonates with the listener as much as Anthony DelPlato's intimate storytelling EP, 8 Old Vines. Released via Steak and Cake Records, 8 Old Vines is a tale of road tripping along backroads of upstate New York to visit a girlfriend. Self-recorded in DelPlato's home studio, "The Arrival" is a beautifully layered third track on the album that channels the great 90s emo bands (Appleseed Cast, Mineral). DelPlato is the total package. He is a wonderful story teller, a talented multiinstrumentalist, and has the ability to reach through the speakers and get to your heart. You can't help but feel the emotion.
#2. Sonny Baker - "Cripple Fantastic"
If you've paid attention to the Buffalo music scene at all for the past seven years, then you know who Sonny Baker is. When other teenagers were going to prom and getting their drivers licenses, Baker was on opening slots for Nietzsche's lineups. After years of performing drums and guitar with various acts (Wooden Waves, A Hotel Nourishing, Lazlo Hollyfeld), Baker finally found time focus on his solo work with Steak and Cake's Brandon Schlia. Baker's first track off of the album Here Are Those Freaks You've Been Asking For, "Cripple Fantastic," is a crescendoing indie rock number that leads into haunting, Jim James-y vocals It's absolutely amazing. Promise you'll never leave, Sonny?
#1. The Tins - "Please Be Kind"
If you are just scoping out this post to get a feel for what is coming out of Buffalo, please look back at all of the previous nineteen artists. Buffalo's music scene is diverse, motivated, and growing. With that said, The Tins' "Please Be Kind" is buffaBLOG's favorite track of 2012. This synth driven indie-pop trio has been around since 2008, playing everywhere from Mr. Goodbar to Austin's Beauty Bar. The single, "Please Be Kind," from the band's first full-length album, Life's A Gas, is perfect. The driving beat, funky bass lines, and keyboardist Mike Santillo's wistful pleas make the track extremely MTVU friendly. If we want an outsider to hear one song from Buffalo this year, this would be it. So, yeah, here's the best track in Buffalo in 2012.
We could not be more proud of the scene in Buffalo and we at buffaBLOG are excited for 2013. It will only get better.