Wellllllll, as has been my tradition since I was but a wee musical tot, here is my list of the albums that moved me the most in the past calendar year. It is, I notice, not as musically diverse as some years, what with most of the soundtrack being provided by Guys with Amped Guitars, but I guess it was from the overwhelming Pre-Apocalyptic Angst. Anyway, these are in loose order, with the only definite being that Rush is by far my favorite album of the year.
Rush - Clockwork Angels: It shouldn't be right for a rock band of this vintage to make one of its absolute best albums this far into its career, but here's Exhibit A.
The Darkness - Hot Cakes: Rock n' roll should always be this fun.
Foxy Shazam - Church of Rock n' Roll: Rock n' roll should always be this fun
Dead Man's Tale - Missgeburt: Lovely, lovely album. Proof that hard work and perseverance can make great art, even if you are making the painful transition from noisy punkiness to something different. Either way, were I king, these guys would be the House Band at my castle.
The Cult - Choice of Weapon: see "Rush"; here's Exhibit B
Valentine Wolfe - Musick Most Dark: the title says it all, and the album is brilliant.
Kamelot - Silverthorn: Usually new singers create "Sammy/Dave"-type division in the fan ranks, but Kamelot's transition after Roy Khan left the band is pretty darn seamless: Tommy Karevik sounds so close to Khan that if you weren't paying attention...
Soundgarden - King Animal: I always respected Soundgarden for quitting while they were ahead, so to speak, and not flogging the proverbial dead horse. Needless to say, I was wary of The Big Reunion, but KA proves it was a worthy musical step. These guys are meant to be in This Band.
Danko Jones - Rock 'n Roll is Black and Blue: Not my favorite Danko album, but still Danko.
69 Eyes - X: Outta left field, this album that I debated even buying became a favorite. 69 Eyes aren't the most creative band in the world (witness the title of the song "I Know What You Did Last Summer"), but they pulled together a collection of memorable, catchy songs that I found myself singing along to many times (in my best goth rock voice, natch).
Van Halen - Different Kind of Truth: I had very low expectations for this album, and it burned early for me, then faded a bit. Still, it's Van Halen as they (Almost) Should Be, and enough of this sounded like The Old Days to make it the best album since Fair Warning, in my opinion. Even "Tattoo" grew on me over time. Favorite song is "You and Your Blues".
LA Guns - Hollywood Forever: LA Guns will ever be my favorite Hollyrock band, as long as it's the version with Philip Lewis singing. Classic era sounding stuff from a classic band.
Lindi Ortega - Cigarettes and Truckstops: We saw Lindi with Social Distortion a bit ago, and we were totally taken with her performance and that VOICE!! This is the kinda country I like.
Soul Asylum - Delayed Reaction: The best SA album since Grave Dancers Union.
Turbonegro - Sexual Harassment: Turbo also went through the dreaded "vocalist change" (this one has likely produced the "Sammy/Dave" effect). The only band that could write a song called "Shake Your Shit Machine" and have you sing along.
Testament - Dark Roots of the Earth: I hadn't even heard any of this album when I bought it, but I'd been listening to Testament since...'87?...so I took a chance. They too, have produced one of their best albums way past their "sell-by date".
There were many more good albums I came across this year. Some probably should have made this list, but I've prattled on enough for this post. I hope that I never lost my passion for new music, and that as I and the bands I love age, there is still new music for me to be passionate about. The good stuff is out there, but sometimes it takes a bit of effort and "six degrees of..." to find it.