1. MAry Margaret O'Hara Apartment Hunting (MapleMusic)
Although Mary Margaret O'Hara will tell you this is a film score, not a proper studio album follow-up to her Miss America debut, we'll take it.
2. DANKO JONES Born A Lion (Universal)
Rock 'n' roll, baa-bay!
3. ARCEE Stripes EP (ABB)
With vocal support from Kardinal Offishall, BrassMunk and IRS, Arcee steps up with a rapid rhyme rip over a righteously rugged Jake One joint that makes Stripes the T-dot-posse cut of the year. Bring on the album!
4. JANE BUNNETT Cuban Odyssey (Blue Note)
Havana Jane takes the rural route through Cuba and hooks up with, among others, the great Los Naranjos and Haitian vocal choir Desandann.
5. DO MAKE SAY THINK & Yet & Yet (Constellation)
The instrumentalists get elaborate with their arrangements and even bring in a vocalist!
6. K-OS Exit (EMI)
Hiphop rebel squares up against industry stereotypes on his thoughtful, long-overdue debut.
7. the henrys Joyous Porous (Trainrec)
Slippery slide guitar, wheezing pump organs, Mary Margaret O'Hara and a peculiar Mingus cover. Strange, yes, but it works magnificently.
8. The Backstabbers Let The Sunshine In (Run Mountain)
Unconcerned by the lack of label interest, the Backstabbers continue building on the country string band tradition with great original compositions like Right Out Loud and Prayer Line - the best Internet-referencing old-timey tune ever.
9. NQ Arbuckle Hanging The Battle-Scarred Pinata (Six Shooter)
Guest appearances by Luke Doucet, Sarah Slean and Carolyn Mark flesh out NQ Arbuckle's growly back-of-the-bar confessional. Crank it up on the darkest heartbreak nights.
10. Brian Borcherdt Brian Solo (Dependent)
The By Divine Right guitarist's solo venture is an achingly bittersweet tribute to a fallen comrade and collaborator. Barely-there wisps of songs with staticky, filtered vocals, stripped-down acoustic guitar and watery electric atmospherics will shiver your timbers.