You may have noticed many "Best of" lists have shown up through popular websites and blogs over the last couple of weeks. We asked our own staff if they could give us some of their favorites. Here's what they came up with.
Feel free to comment below with your favorites or disagreements.
Kat Maudru-My new favorite...dont' judge... Mumford & Sons – Babel. Love the quirky uniqueness.
Chris Rice-While 2012 brought excellent new music from 2 bands I love - Muse and Soundgarden - I'll turn my attention to 2 new artists that really impressed me: Gary Clark Jr and ZZ Ward. Gary Clark Jr is an Austin, TX kid who's been hyped for some time as the next young blues savior. His debut album "Blak & Blu" finally surfaced this fall and delivered on its promise, with a diverse mix of blues, rock, soul, and R&B, including a scorching Hendrix cover. ZZ Ward also has a decidedly retro sound, and while she draws some comparisons to Adele and Amy Winehouse, personally I hear a bit of Johnny Cash in her. Her debut album "Til The Casket Drops" gives a bit of a pop sheen to a heavy dose of blues... tracks to check out are "Put the Gun Down" and "Move Like U Stole It". Also feel I should mention an older album that was definitely one of my best purchases of 2012: Cheap Trick's classic "Dream Police"... I've always loved this band but for some reason had never bought this album... really glad I finally did, as it's now my fave of theirs.... vintage power-pop with a dark edge is always a winning combination for me.
Bob Keller-The Doors 40th anniversary edition of LA WOMAN
Man who hasn't cruised down the road with the Doors LA Woman blasting out of the speakers? LA Woman is the final album from Jim Morrison and the Doors. It was a beauty. The sounds of the title track blasting out of car speakers in 1971 was one of the joys of that year. In a way, it was one of the first indie albums. The Doors decided to produce it themselves and recorded in tight quarters in Ray Manzarek’s house. It was done in the same way their first record was done, up close and lots of breathing on each other. The 40th edition came out this year and it contains two DVD’s. Disc 1 is the original studio album, disc 2 is alternative takes, studio chatter and a rare glimpse into the creative process of one of America’s most original units. I love the comments Jim makes, like just before recording the song The Changeling..”This is my favorite song boys, let’s really rock it”…If you are a Doors fan, check out this 2 disc set. It’s the final farewell of a truly great band. There is a little pamphlet with some pictures of the studio and the guys actually working, plus pictures of the other two players on the record…legendary bass player Jerry Scheff and guitar virtuoso Marc Benno.
Tom Nakashima-One of the up and coming blues men of the last few years was Michael Burks. He could play some incendiary guitar… and if you closed your eyes, you would swear it was Albert King. I recall how excited Mike Balma was when he brought the then-unknown Burks out here to play. Sadly, Michael Burks died suddenly in May of 2012, cutting short what would have been a marvelous career. In his memory, I’ll select his final album… 2012’s “Show Of Strength.”
James Jobe-The Lumineers (self-titled) was released on April 3, 2012 on Dualtone Records. Wesley Keith Schultz - vocals, guitar, Jeremiah Caleb Fraites - drums, percussion, mandolin, vocals, and Neyla Pekarek - cello, mandolin, piano, vocals. Rustic, folkish, AAA material, a lot of charm. Their single Hey Ho went to #5.
Brian Lopez (Assistant Program Director)-There wasn’t a bigger musical event from the rock world than Van Halen’s return with David Lee Roth, “A Different Kind Of Truth.” Yet, beyond a couple of songs that sounded like depth tracks from their hey-day, I found a good chunk of the CD to be uninteresting. To my ear, there wasn’t a GREAT release from start to finish in 2012, but I liked Joe Perry’s playing on Aerosmith’s “Music From Another Dimension.” Honorable mention to the Scorpions “Comeblack,” specifically their scorching cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.”
Derek Moore-I loved the Alabama Shakes record Boys and Girls, and yes that's a woman singing. There's some great soul with a modern twist on that album. On that same front, Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton approved Gary Clark Jr.'s "Blak and Blu." It's loaded with great riffs and some nice guitar work. There's even a Hendrix cover.
Honorable mention for you Foo Fighters fans, Bob Mould's Silver Age. A power house of a record.