Best of rock in 2012

You can find the Spotify playlist for this article here :

 

Foster the People – Call It What You Want

I started 2012 with a road trip through California, and this song was always playing in the car. I love it for the same reason I’ve always loved OK Go’s first album: it’s what pop rock should be, with just the right touch of surrealism and cynicism. You just have to look beyond their MTV clone image.

The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling

The Black Keys have White Stripes syndrome : not enough people look beyond their (excellent) singles. I just love how they blend minimalist raw bluesy rock with an old-time soul feel. It’s all about that saturated rock organ and a wicked sense of groove :

Divine Fits – Would That Not Be Nice ?

remember Spoon’s single, I turn My Camera On ? What a great bass line. Well, Spoon has mated with Wolf Parade and their mutant baby is on a rampage. You’ve read that right, it’s Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Divine Furs looking all Nick Cave in this video.

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines

Ex-altar boy Jack White surprised us with The Dead Weather, showing a much darker side of his personality. For Blunderbuss, he’s even filmed a live show, the AMEX Unstaged, where he’s playing the Motown-era bad boy, all pinstripe suits and chorus singers, and seems proud of his dirty Detroit roots. I like this grungy video better.

David Byrne & St Vincent  – Who

Recorded in a New York basement studio with a real horn section, this project is a collaboration between David Byrne (of Talkig Heads fame) and folk genius St Vincent ( aka Annie Erin Clark). Love This Giant is one of the most original albums of 2012 and a very nice surprise. The funky horn playing reminds me of The Ex & Getatchew Mecuria. The incredibly creative songwriting is everything I like about Talking Heads. Clark’s voice is just delightful. I hope to hear more from them soon.

Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour 

When these Brits from Southampton released their first album in 2009, Baby Darling Dollface Honey, I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s the perfect mix of hard rock and british songwriting finesse. I just love Emma Richardson’s singing (and man, can she rock that bass!). Just amazing. Their single Sweet Sour  is no exception, and has a nice smoky Led Zep flavour to it.

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft orchestra – Want It Back

is it rock ? Is it cabaret ? Does it matter ? the amazingly talented Amanda Fucking Palmer is back for the second chapter of her post-Dresden Dolls career with a new band (The Grand Theft Orchestra) and an album she entirely independently funded with Kickstarter after telling her label to fuck off (fans will remember the stupid things those corporate morons said when she released the Leeds United video). Less zany and raw than her first solo album, Theater is Evil is a step away from Dresden Dolls Brooklyn punk energy, and more like a pop hommage to Broadway musical culture (although you can’t really tell by this catchy single):

Dead Sara – Weatherman

While I wouldn’t vouch yet for the quality of the whole album, I just love this song, as so should you. A promising debut, that reminds me how much I miss Queen Adreena. Play it loud.

Slash – You’re a Lie (featuring Myles Kennedy)

Who needs Axel Rose ? unencumbered by fat redneck vocalists, Slash gives us a single with the blend of energy and melody that Chris Cornell has been failing to achieve with his latest efforts. Amen !

You can find my remix of this track here .

Deftones – Tempest

I had never heard of producer Nick Raskulinecz but he has quite a résumé, having worked with bands such as Foo Fighters and Alice in Chains. The very peculiar ambiance of Deftone’s Koi No Yokan says a lot about the creativity and dedication of this band that could have easily taken the easy road after the enormous success of White Poney. The Wall of Sound approach and layering of sound remind me of Devin Townsend’s best workOne of the best albums of 2012.

Puscifer – Telling Ghosts

Talking of White Poney, remember The Passenger ? Although a late 2011 album, I wanted to include it here. Deranged alchemist Maynard James Keenan (from TOOL and A Perfect Circle) is still performing the dark arts, master of haunting vocals and cryptic time signatures. Sure, all his projects sound a bit the same. So what ? It takes time to fully explore new continents, if you travel only by night.

Baroness – March to the Sea

You know you’re dealing with a real prog band when one of the members is doing all the psychedelic artwork and they’re signed on the label as Mastodon. Oddball geniuses Baroness were a real surprise discovery to me this year. A delight for shredders and drone-heads :

And on that note check out Dinosaur Jr.’s  Watch The Corners off their album I Bet On Sky. Granted, the band is stuck in the 90’s. Nothing very new, but they’re doing what they know best, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

 

 

 

 

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