1. Born Ruffians, "Say It" (2010)

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Songs of Note: “Oh Man”, “Retard Canard”, “The Ballad of Moose Bruce”.

Born Ruffians are a four piece combo of indie rockers that play with an unholy fusion of nerd rock, the clarity of 1960s surf rock, and the off-colour verbal nature of Modest Mouse. Their sophomore album reminds me of a stripped-down version of Cold War Kids’ Robbers & Cowards, with warmer guitars and approachable vocals that lack the typical indie-rocker pretension.

Say It is a strange hybrid. It is very much a "modern" indie record, with trendy off-key vocal lines and 1980s’ inspired bass lines and keyboard riffs. Yet, it is also a throwback to even earlier times, with warm – almost jazzy – guitar lines and rock and roll drum beats. This is an album that channels surf music, pre-Beatles rock, and surf in nature, and pop. This all ties together to create a sound that is both part of this decade’s “sound” while also being “timeless”.

After all, the album references the Ink Spots in “Retard Canard”, singing a line from the 1940s that is most well known these days as the refrain from Fallout 3. I’m pretty sure when Luke Lalonde was singing about not wanting to “Set the world on fire”, he was channelling a least a little bit of Three Dog (Awoooooo!)

I have no doubt that if Quentin Tarantino’s kid grows up to make movies, we’ll be hearing music like this playing in the background. Probably while Bruce Willis’ kid kills a gimp with a samurai sword or something.

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