Favorite Rock Albums of 2016
As we're coming to the end of 2016 it's time to sum up the best of all the new albums released over the past twelve months. One thing I can say right off the bat is that rock is certainly alive and well! There were so many great albums that came out this year it's hard to pick favorites, but I've managed to narrow down the five new albums I've listened to the most over the past year. So here they are, in no individual order - my favorite rock albums of 2016!
Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation
Joe Bonamassa released his second album of all original material earlier in the year. Judging by the quality of the material it's hard to understand why he didn't do it sooner! Although it's called Blues of Desperation, the album is much more of a rock album, opening up with the anthemic piano-driven “This Train,” followed by “Mountain Climbing" which is a classic Bonamassa rock tune, and let's not forget the title track where Joe gets to play around with guitar effects. But blues fans needn't worry - check out tracks like “No Place for the Lonely” and “What I’ve Known for a Very Long Time” and you won’t be disappointed.
Standout track: "Blues of Desperation"
Band of Skulls - By Default
Ever since releasing their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey in 2009 Band of Skulls have been putting out a solid rock album every couple of years. Just in time for summer this year they released album number four - By Default. It continues in the same blues rock vein as its predecessors, kicking off with "Black Magic" with guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson singing some great harmonies during the chorus. "Back of Beyond" shows a previously unseen pop sensibility in the band's catalogue, while "Killer" is a straight up heavy rocker that sounds just in line with something from the band's second album Sweet Sour. The sort-of title track "In Love by Default" feels like it might be the most ambitious song by the band so far where they step outside of their usual mold and just have fun - and it shows!
Standout track: “In Love by Default"
Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ eleventh album The Getaway was the big surprise of the year for me. As a huge fan of John Frusciante, I will freely admit that I haven't really been paying attention to anything they've done since John left. But on The Getaway it really feels as if the band has found their groove again. First single "Dark Necessities" and the title track is right up there with their best work. I really love how Flea seem to have taken on the role of bandleader, with some stellar bass work, but also playing the piano on a few tracks.
Standout track: "Dark Necessities"
Blues Pills - Lady in Gold
Swedish/French/American rockers Blues Pills released their second album a few months back. Lady in Gold is the follow-up to their excellent self-titled debut, and continues in its footsteps with some great rock that easily would've worked even four decades earlier. Singer Elin Larsson has a great voice for rock, and guitarist Dorian Sorriaux plays a mean Gibson Les Paul. The album is a well balanced mix of all-out rockers like the title track as well as more introspective material like Elin's piano ballad "I Felt a Change." Go check out Blues Pills music today - more people need to hear this fantastic band!
Standout track: “Lady in Gold"
Purson - Desire's Magic Theatre
Purson's sophomore effort Desire's Magic Theatre came out in the spring and although it got some attention in the press initially it sort of disappeared among all other releases at the time. The British rockers certainly deserve more attention as Desire's Magic Theatre is a great album full of well written songs and great guitars with its roots in psychedelic rock. You can hear influences from bands like Jethro Tull and Velvet Underground all blended with Purson's own unique style.
Standout track: “Electric Landlady”