1. Grace Potter – Mother Road
Grace Potter made the best album of her post-Nocturnals era. In her own unique way, she meshes heartfelt and sometimes racy storytelling into her distinctive blend of Neo-Classic Rock. As a vocalist, no one is currently better. The keyboards rip a la 70s Elton and Faces. Favorite track – the Tarantino score-esque “Lady Vagabond.”
2. The Struts – Pretty Vicious
The Struts have always been one of the best live touring bands to emerge in the last ten years. They have made great singles, but finally they have made an album that hones their greatness from front to back. The band knows how to craft a Queen-loving pop hook, but they also fuse in 1980s Stones dance grooves and guitars with a tasteful use of comeback era Aerosmith horn orchestrations. Favorite track “Do What You Want.”
3. The Hives – The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons
Sometimes I get frustrated why it takes so long between Hives records, but then the album arrives, and it is perfect, and I forgive them immediately. The Hives like AC/DC and the Ramones before them stumbled upon a magical recipe early on and delightfully have stuck with it. Favorite track “Countdown to Shutdown” (but they are all delightful).
4. Alex Lahey – The Answer is Always Yes
In terms of indie rock singer-songwriters, Alex Lahey is one of the best out there. She’s a great lyricist and the guitar production of this record makes it a cathartic and uplifting listen. Favorite song “You’ll Never Get Your Money Back.”
5. Blink-182 – One More Time . . .
The reunited classic Blink lineup did not disappoint. It is an album for their fans. They’ve grown up, learned some things, but still appreciate a good dick joke. It’s a satisfying reunion. Favorite song “Fell in Love.”