For Vancouver duo Japandroids, things almost ended before they got started. Frontman Brian King and drummer-singer David Prowse recorded their debut album in the summer of 2008 with the intention of releasing it independently the following year, but it wasn't long before they decided the band was going nowhere and should just break up. They decided to call it quits after two farewell appearances, but by January of 2009, thanks to glowing reviews from outlets such as Pitchfork, they'd changed their minds.

The album landed on numerous year-end best-of lists, and King and Prowse decided to keep Japandroids together permanently. And it's a good thing: Their latest, 'Celebration Rock,' is among the more critically celebrated discs of 2012.