I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness
Label: Secretly Canadian
The formula: take Joy Division's transition into New Order (tribal drums and chiming, angular guitars tempered with bruised, re-emerging emotion); add some Echo and U2; name-check the less accessible Wire and earn some rock-nerd street cred (can street cred where glasses?). While there are other bands that do exactly what I Have Chosen Darkness do, this 2003 debut E.P. proves that our boys just do it better than just about anyone outside of the National. The key isn't ILBIHCD's (phew!) sound, but the high quality of the songs themselves. These guys had it right from the start.