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Sometimes the most promising bands aren’t ones with the most complex riffs, radical song structures, or metronomic timing. Love, after all, comes in spurts. Few bands manage to capture that purity of the early LA punk rock scene. Ever look at a flower and hate it? Ok, we’ll put our Flipper references aside. Dark Times has been one of this year’s most debated bands though we can say with no qualms, from early on at BS, it was love at first sight.

We present you with Dark Times’ lead singer/guitarist AK Traaen’s Best of 2012!

1) Merchandise – “Become What You Are”

Merchandise has captured me this year. Their sound is often referred to as post punk (which ultimately doesn’t say much). They mix a lot of different genres, but end up sounding refreshingly original compared to most other bands of 2012. Their latest album Children of Desire is…awesome. Enough said. Download album legally & free or stream below.

2) Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

Best pop song and best concert of 2012! Bringing out the clichés for this one: “Yet Again” is so beautiful and sad that I’m about to cry every time I listen to it. I saw them live this fall, and they blew my mind – yet again. I tend to get restless at long concerts, but Grizzly Bear always manages to spellbind me and keep my attention for hours on end. Amazing.

3) Ramones – “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”

Ah, Ramones! You give me happiness, you give me dance, you even give me love. Ask my BF.

4) White Lung – “Take The Mirror”

One of my new discoveries of 2012. White Lung is a band from Vancouver who plays cool, melodic punk. They released their second full length Sorry in May on Deranged Records. Stream/free download of “Take The Mirror”.

5) Cloud Nothings – “Cut You”

Cloud Nothings have been a favourite of mine since their “collection record” Turning On came out in 2009. Attack On Memory is a strong album, taking a step further from CN’s previously lo-fi sound. “Cut You” is a desperate, angry and bitter (anti?) love song. Love it.

6) Grimes – “Genesis”

Grimes’ Visions might be the album I’ve listened (and danced) the most to this year. I was also lucky enough to get to interview Claire Boucher for ENO magazine.

7) Misfits – “Last Caress”

I’ve been listening a lot to Misfits this year, mostly to Walk Among Us and Static Age. There is=was no one better than Misfits to combine catchy punk with grotesque lyrics. “Last Caress” is one of their greatest horror anthems, in my opinion.

8 ) CREEM – “Dweller”

CREEM is a band from Brooklyn who released an insanely catchy hardcore record this year, a self-titled 12” on Katorga Works (same record label as Merchandise). They actually remind me a bit of (early) Ceremony.

9) Ceremony – “Nosebleed”

Dark Times got to play with Ceremony during an unofficial Øya gig this summer – a dream come true. Seeing Ceremony was freakin’ fantastic (always is) and they played a lot of hits/old songs on this show. “Nosebleed” is from their 2012 record Zoo.

10) The Men – “Open Your Heart”

Yet another band Dark Times got to play with this year. I love all their albums, and the title cut “Open Your Heart” (the one with the Buzzcocks-ish riffs) from their latest effort is truly catchy (yeah, I know I use that word all the time – I’m a sucker for catchiness).


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