Archive for December 18th, 2012




Tried to keep the top rock albums of 2012 just ROCK..

However pop music does seem to get it’s way in.

My lists are always in no particular order, but Sambora’s album is damn vital. 

Richie Sambora-Aftermath Of The Lowdown- Sambora digs really deep. His guitar work is incisive. The band is killer.  The songwriting is top notch. This is what ROCK used to be about. Great songs, great playing.

The Smashing Pumpkins-Oceania-Wow, this album was a huge surprise. Not a bad song on the whole album. Many moods, always right

Green Day-Uno-Shorter songs, punchy mix and attiitude. Yep, punk but really smart.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse-Psychedelic Pill-If there is a more honest sound then Neil hooking up with Crazy Horse for 16 and 27 minute tracks let them step up. Young sounds like he is 30 years old but with the wisdom of  his tremendous influence as one of  rock’s greatest songwriters.

Rush-Clockwork Angels-Never afraid to try new areas, this album never rests on the band’s reputation. Bold, agressive and vital.  

Uriah Heep-I know what your thinking. Don’t think, listen. Who would have thought “The Heep” could sound so cool in 2012. B-3 organ, big loud guitars and very catchy riffs and songs. Solid

Rival Sons-Head Down-Classic rock in the year 2012. This is a huge guitar album turned up loud and righteous. 

Colin James-Fifteen-A musician of many talents in blues and roots but this  album is James’ best rock album. You really have to know why I put this album up against all comers. James’ vocal work on here is the best of his career.

Kid Rock-Rebel Soul-Title track is probably the coolest song of 2012. Attitude, and great hooks all the way through

The Killers-Battle Born-Big mixes, big heart and the best songs of their career. Killer? You bet it is.

The Avett Brothers-The Carpenter-I was very surprised at some of the rock n’ roll on here. In the past on Austin City Limits the band are the kings of roots music. There is still tons of roots music here, but the rock out tracks are damn good!

Jack White-Blunderbuss-This album is all over the place, but its never wrong. White has tons of soul and this album is magic at every turn.

Serena Ryder-Harmony-Soulful vocalist and songwriter. A mix between Adele, Amy Winehouse and of course Ryder-This is a pop album. Make no mistake. But damn, it’s good.

Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball- When you release work this good this far into your career your more than allright. Not many artists can take on the issues of the world and make it so passionate.

Here is a short list of some other notable albums

Heart-Fanatic-Some outsanding songs on this album. Passionate work all the way through. 

Norah Jones-Little Broken Hearts-What established artist can take this much of an alt/pop chance on an album and come out smelling roses. Excellent.

Steve Harris-British Lion-Again, a no brainer. Not Iron Maiden. Not always metal. Classic rock by Harris and his solo band.

I have probably missed a few and I may amend this slightly. but this is the best of what I heard in 2012.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio host. Check out John”s worldwide radio broadcast here

December 2012