Guitar World Staff Picks: Brad Tolinski's Top 10 Albums of 2012
Usually, this is where I bitch about the horrible state of the music industry and what slim pickings there are for true guitar hounds … but this year was actually jolly good fun.
A lot of veterans stepped up to the plate (Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Edward Van Halen), and so did a few new, impressive hot shots (Periphery, Gary Clark Jr., HAARP Machine).
The following list name checks some of the obvious guitar delights, but I also tossed in a couple things that kept reappearing on my iPod because I just enjoyed listening them.
Be sure to check out two other lists, namely Guitar World's Top 50 Albums of 2012 and Guitar World's Top 15 Blues and Roots Rock Albums of 2012.
Brad Tolinski is the editorial director of Guitar World.
Over the past 20 years, Brad Tolinski, editorial director of Guitar World, Revolver and Guitar Aficionado magazines, has interviewed Jimmy Page more than any other journalist in the world. Those interviews have led to a new book, Light & Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page, which was published October 23. Get your copy here!
01. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill
The enormity of Neil Young’s guitar sound is nothing short of astounding, and he lets it run rampant like a T. Rex on bad street drugs on this hippie metal masterpiece.
02. Periphery - Periphery II
On their second outing, Periphery crams in enough awesome progressive riffing to fuel at least six albums, which is not a bad thing in these economically challenging times.
04. The Shins – Port of Morrow
No flashy licks here, but if you like great songs and impeccable arrangements, this Port’s for you.
03. Donald Fagen - Sunken Condos
Steely Dan singer Donald Fagen makes being an old fart seem sorta cool, especially when he surrounds his words with some of the slickest fusion guitar licks his money can buy. And apparently he’s pretty loaded.
06. Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day
The legends lifted their swords for one last test of strength and emerged victorious. All praise Valhalla!
05. Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu
Yes, he lives up to hype. Clark is one of the rare talents that can actually catch on fire in a studio session, and when he does on tracks like “When My Train Pulls In,” you feel the burn.
08. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
A worthy successor to the band’s amazing Diamond Eyes. Fewer hooks but more texture.
07. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
What can you say? David Lee Roth on vocals and Edward Van Halen on the guitar—it’s a combination that works. And that’s the real truth.
09. HAARP Machine – Disclosure
It was a great year for progressive metal, and the Middle Eastern-influenced sound of the HAARP Machine is one of best examples why.
10. Kurt Rosenwinkel — Star of Jupiter
If you are not familiar with Rosenwinkel, he is one of the fastest-rising stars in jazz guitar. This atmospheric double disc showcases his many sides and rockers will appreciate his incredible ability to construct intricate solos that weave inside and outside the harmonic borders.