BlunderbussIn one sense, the rock of 2012 was all about looking back to the past, with new bands and veterans alike finding inspiration in the sounds of old. There were the celebrated newcomers Alabama Shakes, who happily revived classic '60s and '70s sounds on their debut, Boys & Girls, a move not so dissimilar to what White Stripes leader Jack White did on his solo debut, Blunderbuss. These modern-day rockers, joined by similarly minded classicists Gaslight Anthem, were overshadowed by legends reconnecting with their roots: Bob Mould returned to his signature molten power punk on The Silver Age; the Beach Boys reunited for the remarkably effective That's Why God Made the Radio; Van Halen defied the odds and delivered a satisfying comeback with David Lee Roth; Graham Parker joined forces with the Rumour to re-create the feel of Howlin' Wind on Three Chords Good; Peter Buck turned in his solo debut, which sounded like an excavated gem from 1985; Donald Fagen focused on groove on Sunken Condos; and ZZ Top got down and dirty on La Futura. Amidst this retro-ism, some old pros continued to look to the present, whether it was Dinosaur Jr. slyly expanding their vistas on I Bet on Sky or Paul Weller indulging his fashionable side on Sonik Kicks.

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Lost Songs
Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
Asia - XXX
The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made the Radio
Peter Buck - Peter Buck
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill
The Darkness - Hot Cakes
Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky
Donald Fagen - Sunken Condos
The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten
Green Day - ¬°Dos!
Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge
Ian Hunter & the Rant Band - When I'm President
James Iha - Look to the Sky
JEFF the Brotherhood - Hypnotic Nights
Bob Mould - Silver Age
Graham Parker & the Rumour - Three Chords Good
Rush - Clockwork Angels
The Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania
Soundgarden - King Animal
Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth
Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks
Jack White - Blunderbuss
ZZ Top - La Futura

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Rock albums of 2012 in this playlist: