Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 10 Country, Folk & Blues Albums

2. The Sadies
Internal Sounds

The Sadies are one of those rare bands where every album only gets stronger as the members put on more mileage. Having formed nearly two decades ago in Toronto, the group developed a reputation for their incendiary live performances, whether it was in a dingy bar or the expanse of a plush-seat theatre. With Internal Sounds, the band's 16th full-length album (including live and collaboration albums), the Sadies' live prowess has finally caught up to them in the studio.

Helmed by the Good brothers, the Sadies once again take country-noir influences and fuse them with a smorgasbord of styles, including reverb-heavy surf instrumentals, alt-country and power pop. Call it roots-Canadiana or whatever; the Sadies are currently one of the country's most distinct acts.

Even with the tense, oft-droning parts — check out the sitar-infused track "We Are Circling" featuring vocals from Buffy Sainte-Marie — Internal Sounds is still the Sadies at their most ferocious, as psychedelic garage punk guitar riffs abound amidst slow-burning rhythms, balanced by the inclusion of harrowing spaghetti western flourishes.

The band's legion of diehard fans will have already made up their mind which album is their favourite, but Internal Sounds is a clear high point in the Sadies' catalogue. (Chris Morin)