Favorite Rock CDs of 2012: My Top 10

My Favorite 10 Rock/Pop CDs of 2012

(in alphabetical order)

David Byrne & St. Vincent, “Love This Giant” (4AD/Todo Mundo) — Left-of-center pop, with the two combining their individualistic voices against quirky brass-rock textures

 

Dr. John, “Locked Down” (Nonesuch) — Ever-deeper NOLA grooves and distinctive wordplay from the First Physician of Funk, filtered through a raw indie-rock vibe via producer-guitarist Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys

 

Galactic, “Carnivale Electricos” (Anti) — Bracing jam-slammed NOLA funk, a hyped-up Mardi Gras party from the veteran Crescent City quintet with guests including Cyril and Ivan Neville, Shamarr Allen, Corey Henry, and the immortal Al “Carnival Time” Johnson

 

Gov’t Mule, “The Georgia Bootleg Box” (Evil Teen) — Early Mule (with the late Allen Woody), live at Peach State venues; sounding like an oncoming freight train, the trio revs up its unforgettable blend of Southern-fried blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and jazz-tinted fusion   (my review for Relix)

 

Sonny Landreth, “Elemental Journey” (Landfall) — Louisiana slide-guitar scorch in full effect, with support from fellow six-string masters Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson, as well as the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra

 

Betty LaVette, “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” (Anti) — The hard-scrabble soul singer’s toast to five decades behind the mic, with rugged takes on tunes by Bob Dylan, Sly Stone, Neil Young, Tom Waits and others

 

Mumford & Sons, “Babel” (Glass Note) — More lessons on turning hard-strummed string jams into acoustic anthems invigorating enough to forego any temptation to plug in

 

Bonnie Raitt, “Slipstream” (Redwing) — New tricks, including a breezy reggae-fied remake of “Right Down the Line,” from the veteran blues belter and guitar slinger, older, wiser and still in the game

 

Tedeschi Trucks Band, “Live: Everybody’s Talkin’ ” (Sony Masterworks) — Sweet soul, deep funk, and steep grooves from a two-fer group combining Trucks’ slide-blues majesty with Tedeschi’s blues guitar wizardry and gritty vocals

 

Neil Young with Crazy Horse, “Psychedelic Pill” (Reprise) — Mr. Young to you, still ragged and glorious — sporting acoustic rock & electric strangulations — after all these years. Nice companion to his appropriately titled “Americana” CD, also this year.

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