I have a right old mixed bag for you. Be prepared for everything from glitter infused glam strut-rock to stadium anthem makers to womanising deathpunk.
Note: I knew this would shoot me in the foot (shitshitshit) as I used my Wolfsbane card up in 2011 (which is when I got my grubby mits on “Wolfsbane Save The World”). However, it has made my colleague’s lists and it has been played to buggery on the Pure Rawk HQ jukebox so I will take comfort in that.
Here are my top picks. Enjoy!
This trio from Belper in Derby are one of the shining lights of rock in the Midlands. This is my album of the year. It’s not aggressive and mental, it’s great, heartfelt song writing. Tracks such as “My Left Hand Waves Goodbye” and “Subterranean” are the top picks on this album for me. On a regular basis, this spins the player in my house. An instant classic. Good with red or white, fish or beef. More please.
2012 has been the year of Ginger et al related; there is absolutely no doubt about it. Ginger and our buddies at AshTV released a video to kickstart their PledgeMusic campaign earlier in the year, not essentially knowing what would happen. Would the public get the pledge concept? How long would it take to fulfil the target? The answer would be yes and in a matter of hours. The result would be the realisation for a lot of other acts that this was a good route to take. The “100%” album, which was put on general release pipped some of the ‘chart toppers’ without the media fanfare – genuinely pushed up into the mainstream by punters and not puppets. Top picks from the triple album “555%” being the stunning singalong “Forget About It”, “Another Spinning Fucking Rainbow” and “You’re The One, You’re The One, Yeah, I Know You’re The One, You’re The One (Yeah I Know You’re The One)”. Pure quality. As I type, Ginger is on pledge number two with his Mutation and Hey! Hello! projects. The man cannot sit still.
3. Foxy Shazam – “The Church of Rock And Roll”
Over-the-top 3rd strutting rock album those mentalists from the US. The name comes from slang at the school meaning “cool shoes”. Foxy Shazam take elements of soul and gospel which was ever present in frontman Eric Nally’s upbringing and inject it in to traditional rock and roll licks. “Holy Touch”, “Last Chance at Love” and “I Wanna Be Yours” are just HUGE rock tunes – this shouldn’t surprise you when Justin Hawkins of The Darkness fame produced the album I feel instantly happy listening to this album and highly suggest you buy it. Audio prozac.
New album, new line-up, same great flavour – noisy, low slung guitar action. From following ZM over the years through my various travels (Mexborough to Croydon via Nottingham and a cheeky stopover in Leeds), I am pleased to say that Lee Wray has consistently churned up quality, catchy material with an evil edge. Top picks are “The Pit”, “Kill Your Radio” and “Cut and Run”. I can’t wait to see them back out on the road, hopefully 2013 will be their year.
5. Europe – “Bag of Bones”
To 90% of people I come across, you mention Europe and you’ll get “oh yeah, THAT song”. They’re a victim of their own success on that note but they have always had SO much more to offer. I thought it would never be possible to top their epic, monster sound of “Last Look at Eden” but somehow they did it with “Bag of Bones”. The album is a mixed selection of bluesy, soulful and hard hitting tunes. Top picks “Not Supposed to Sing The Blues”, “Firebox” and the epic “Demon Head”. Europe have kept up the times, never flogging the proverbial gift-nag and for that, I salute them. I can’t wait for the next instalment.
The difficult come-back album, the difficult third album – let’s face it, despite how good a lot of people think TD are, they haven’t ever had an easy ride of it. Despite the cover, the album’s content isn’t about busty women swathed in syrup on fluffy pancakes (calm down now), it’s a highly catchy affair (not in the style of “Growing on Me”) and very daft. It’s not 100% spandex (maybe a cheeky pair of shiny trunks under some gig-endured jeans), but they’ve still got the tongue in cheek humour. This is a solid rock album. Top picks are “Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us”, “She’s Just A Girl, Eddie” and “Concrete”.
Hackney folk-punkers, The Great Malarkey have just gone from strength to strength in the past year. This debut effort is nothing short of brilliant. It’s got slide, tambourine, fiddles, trumpets, banjos and all manner of assorted gubbins that go into making such a delightful racket. Big tunes such as “Moneybags”, their foot stomping “Merry Profits” and the swaggering “Buckets of Blood” make this a must-have for the album collection. Love it.
Therapy? are one of those bands who have evolved in random directions over the past few years. This is a bit of an odd-ball album but I do love it. Their last release, “Crooked Timber” was a bit of a hit or miss but this effort is most certainly a grower if you stick with it. Top picks are “Living In The Shadow of a Terrible Thing” for a great intro, “Before You, With You, After You”, “The Buzzing” and my favourite, “Get Your Dead Hand Off My Shoulder”.
Ass wigglin’, boot struttin’, whiskey swillin’ devil of an album. This is the first album featuring Tony Sylvester aka “The Duke of Nothing” at the vocal helm and his rough gravely hollers give the band a new lease of life.
Top picks “Shake Your Shit Machine”, “Mister Sister” and “You Give Me Worms”.
10. Rival Sons – “Head Down”
Classic rock influenced but with a modern edge, Rival Sons have been riding high for the past couple of years and long may it continue. Jay Buchanan’s powerful and beautifully soulful voice puts him on the same podiums as the likes of Paul Rodgers and Robert Plant. Top picks include “Keep on Swinging”, “Until the Sun Comes” and “The Heist”. Beautiful, soulful rock n’ roll.
11. The Idol Dead – “Dark Little Hearts”
Solid rock n’ rollers, The Idol Dead jump into the 11th spot for their fan-funded album. The whole pledging / fan funded route is a beautiful way that bands can reward fans for their commitment. It can be a leap of faith as you can’t hear what you’re buying in to apart from the odd video diary or what-not but being aware of what The Idol Dead are capable of; this most certainly was a worth while investment. Top picks are “Blue Skies” and “Vampire”.