Best of 2012 – Celtic Bob
1. Automan.ca – Backseat Surprise
It was an easy choice for my Top Album of 2012 this year. I received my copy last December although it wouldn’t be released until Feb 14th and it has been in constant rotation ever since. From my first listen on the train from Toronto to Ottawa I was hooked, instant classic. For those that don’t know, Automan.ca is Darrell “Dwarf” Millar of Killer Dwarfs new band. Darrell was the drummer for KD but he now takes the frontman spot. An amazing disc from start to finish.
2. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
Finally after nearly a 30 Year wait we get the follow-up to 1984. Dave is back in the VH band where he belongs and this new album doesn’t disappoint. Yes it would have been great for a full reunion but we cannot complain.
3. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
The New Slash solo album and the first with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. A phenomenal record from beginning to end and vastly more focused than his prior solo release.
4. Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
My love for Lacuna’s last album SHALLOW LIFE was enormous. It was my album of the year for 2009 so my expectations were high. This album delivered in many ways.
5. Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
Mille and Co. return with their best album since 89’s EXTREME AGGRESSION. Yes they have had some good albums since but those earlier albums were the best and this ranks up there with them just ahead of COMA OF SOULS.
6. Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway
A much more focused release from Lita and possibly her best yet. A very enjoyable album from start to finish. Another big surprise as expectations were low after 2009‘s WICKED WONDERLAND.
7. Ministry – Relapse
Never thought I would get to hear a new Ministry album since the passing of Paul Raven in 2007. This album proves Uncle Al still has a lot to say. This ranks up there as one of their best.
8. Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension
Aerosmith has been my favorite band since I first saw the “Let The Music Do The Talking” video on Much Music back when it first came out in the mid 80’s. I wasn’t a fan of all the crappy sappy ballads but their Rock tunes kicked ass. My expectations were hopeful for this new album and it delivered in places but there are too many.
9. Overkill – The Electric Age
The old bands dominated 2012. Overkill was no exception as THE ELECTRIC AGE is a killer disc that all Metal fans need to own.
10. Accept – Stalingrad
The second disc with new singer is almost as equally as good as BLOOD OF NATIONS. Another example where older bands prove that they are better than many newer ones.
11. Kiss – Monster
This is much better than SONIC BOOM and miles past PSYCHO CIRCUS but it is far from Klassic Kiss. Some elements of old Kiss are there naturally but something is still missing. There are a few good tunes on here but unfortunately not a full LP’s worth.
12. Black Country Communion – Afterglow
This ‘Supergroup’ so to speak released it’s fourth studio album in 2012 and it is their strongest album yet.
Top (Let’s Get Rocked) Releases
1. Joe Walsh – Analog Man
I love Joe Walsh’s music and guitar playing. Despite the title ANALOG MAN was recorded digitally. Joe always injects a bit of humor in his albums usually in the form of poking fun at himself and this is no different. This is THE Rock record of 2012.
2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
PSYCHEDELIC PILL is the first new album of original material from Neil Young & Crazy Horse in nearly a decade. An instant Classic.
3. ZZ Top – La Futura
Easily the best ZZ album since ELIMINATOR.
4. The Beach Boys – Thats Why God Made The Radio
Who would have ever thought that Brian Wilson would ever step into a recording studio with Mike Love again? Not me that is for sure. It was too good to last but we did get one fantastic album from the short lived reunion.
5. Ian Hunter & The Rant Band – When I’m President
The Mott The Hoople vocalist continues to release solo albums that are under appreciated for the most part and WHEN I’M PRESIDENT is no exception. A fantastic Rock n Roll album. If you are a fan of Mott then you definitely need to go an buy this.
6. Jack White – Blunderbuss
Never was a White Stripes fan although “Seven Nation Army” is a catchy tune. I kept reading about how great this album was so I took the plunge and ordered the LP direct from Third Man Records. They were all sold out of the acclaimed Inverted Lightning Bolt pressing so I purchased the regular pressing. It arrived very quickly and well packaged. I put it on and while I wasn’t blown away with sheer awesomeness I was impressed. This was an enjoyable record, especially the song “I’m Shakin’”.
7. Bob Dylan – Tempest
Everyone knows Bob Dylan and some of his music. Like many artists in 2012 his new album TEMPEST is one of his better albums. It does not rank up there with the earlier catalog but it easily surpasses the 80’s output. It takes a few spins to get into but once you do you will enjoy it. It is on par with his latest releases.
8. The Cult – Choice Of Weapon
The Cult return with an excellent new disc and one of the biggest surprises of the year. I was hoping it was going to be a decent album but it exceeded my expectations.
Best New Band
Buck Satan & The 666 Shooters
Al & Mike from Ministry’s side project. Not your traditional country by no stretch of the imagination. Very similar to Ministry. A fun listen.
Best Metal Blu-Ray
Steel Panther – British Invasion
Filmed after their first tour this BD is one killer viewing experience. Crystal clear picture and sound help bring the Panther Experience into the homes of those of us that have never seen them live. All the cheesy 80’s cliches are there and more.
Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day
Hands down this was the greatest Live experience of the year. Seeing this on the big screen was an incredible experience then getting to crank the Blu-Ray up on my home system was equally as satisfying.
Book of the Year
The Rolling Stones – 50
This book was released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in The World. This coffee table book was done with the utmost care and quality. It is loaded with photo’s and information. This book is done chronologically and shows each stage and era of The Stones in a uniform light.
Comeback of The Year
The closest we will probably ever get to a VH Reunion. At least Dave is back on vocals and we did get the first REAL VH album in nearly 3 Decades.
Discovery of 2012
After hearing the name for awhile I checked out a few samples of their music and almost immediately ordered the disc. The music, and especially the vocals were not what I was expecting to hear. I was pleasantly surprised. I hope that their sophomore album INFESTISSUMAM that comes out later this year is as equally as good.
Best Covers Album
Neil Young – Americana
Neil covers old American songs such as “Clemintine” and “Gallow’s Pole” for his first of 2 albums this year with Crazy Horse. Even if you are unfamiliar with some of these songs you will definitely enjoy them done in Crazy Horse fashion.
Kissin’ Time: Canada’s Tribute To Kiss
It is a Tribute album more-so than a covers disc but it is worthy and needs to be noted. You get some of Canada’s best independent artists covering their favorite Kiss songs AND it is for a good cause. West Memphis Suicide’s version of “War Machine” is the highlight of the disc. Heavier than Kiss ever did it. Other notables are Buffalo Brothers, Spiro Papadatos, Gord Prior and Bobnoxious.
Best Live Album
Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day
This release is jaw dropping from start to finish. You have to see it on the big screen or on Blu-Ray to appreciate it fully. The volume has to be at ear bleed level (In a good way). Jason channels his father while Page looks to be having the time of his life. Plant’s vocal’s are not quite what they once were but still amazing and better than many out there today.
Best concert attended in 2012
Early in the year I got too see Deep Purple live. An amazing show from every angle. I have never heard a drum sound so good. Paice has THE BEST drum sound in the world. The only thing missing was Jon Lord on keys. Sadly he passed away later in the year.
Aerosmith w/Cheap Trick
Finally I got to see my all-time favorite band…Aerosmith. I knew this show was going to be killer when I saw that they were opening with “Toys” and “Combination” was in the set. An Aerofan’s dream come true. For me personally I would have liked for them to have played “Let The Music Do The Talking” which was the song that started my love for the band but we all have personal choices. Cheap Trick opened and it was their LIVE AT BUDOKAN that was the first LP I ever purchased. Two of my favourite bands sharing a stage. Words cannot describe how amazing that night was.
ALBUM disappointments of 2012
Steve Harris – British Lion
The Iron Maiden bassist/main-man released his debut solo disc in 2012 and while I wasn’t expecting a Maiden sounding album I wasn’t expecting this either. It is far removed from Maiden which is good but it is boring and lifeless.
Musical Headline of 2012
The passing of Jon Lord was the biggest loss for the music community this year. Jon’s Hammond was an integral part of the Deep Purple sound. Hearing of his passing just left you feeling empty. He is missed. R.I.P. Jon
Greatest hopes for 2013
My greatest hope for this year is that the Led Zeppelin ReMasters will be done properly and sound phenomenal. It is rumored that there will be a boxed set for each album so with some luck we will get some unreleased and vault material as well. Is all Analog too much to ask for?
Similar to the Zeppelin ReIssues that are planned I would like to see many Metal albums get properly ReMastered. Too many reissues suffer from compression and loudness. It is time that artists release higher quality product if they want our hard earned dollars. Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, and AC/DC all NEED to have their back catalog looked at.