December 2012 Staff Picks

It was hard to keep up with the fantastic releases hitting our offices in 2012. Premier Guitar editors and Andy Timmons share what they spun the most. Here’s hoping the Mayans were wrong, 2013 actually happens, and we can keep on rockin’ in the free world. Enjoy!

Rebecca Dirks -- Web Content Editor
What am I listening to?
Getting melancholy with Regina Spektor’s Begin to Hope, then bringing myself back up again with MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular. With some alt-rock-meets-hip-hop jams by local band Limbs sprinkled on top.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
I got into a range of new music from Frank Ocean, the Shins, Jack White, the Killers, Beach House, and Frightened Rabbit, but nothing really grabbed me as a “favorite.” Guess it’s time to dig deeper!


Andy Ellis -- Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Los Straitjackets, Jet Set. Twangy, reverb-drenched instrumentals infused with growling baritone, shivering wang bar, and weedy Farfisa. Viva ’60s surfspace- spaghetti-spy guitar!
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
It’s a tie: Michael Landau’s Organic Instrumentals and Rick Holmstrom’s Cruel Sunrise. Landau’s chimey voicings and tripped-out solos and Holmstrom’s stinging riffs, dusky grooves, and haunted lyrics push all the right buttons.


Shawn Hammond -- Editor in Chief
What am I listening to?
Bad Brains, Into the Future. The inimitable masters of hardcore return with a 14-song set chock-full of stomping, lock-step rhythms augmented by reggae/dub stylings, jazzy interludes, electro effects, and wild, metal-ized solos.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
Alberta Cross’ Songs of Patience, Bad Brains’ Into the Future, Baroness’ Yellow & Green, Dot Hacker’s Inhibition, Early Graves’ Red Horse, Field Report’s self-titled debut, Floratone’s Floratone II, and Ponderosa’s Pool Party.


Tessa Jeffers -- Managing Editor
What am I listening to?
Instrumental fusion, drummer/guitarist duo El Ten Eleven, Transitions. It’s a refreshing trifecta of compositional prowess, intricate riffage, and experimental pop melodies.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
For my musical multiple personalities: Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania and its throwback epic-rock feel, the in-yo-face raw passion of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Meat and Bone, and Yeasayer, Fragrant World, which speaks to the overarching freak in me.


Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
West End Motel, Only Time Can Tell. Mastodon’s Brent Hinds’ showcases his softer side with country-tinged guitar riffs drenched in reverb and delay. I imagine Hinds writing these songs while on acid and cruising dirt roads in northern Georgia, trying to avoid bat country as Pink Floyd plays in the CD player.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
Jack White’s Blunderbuss, Nas’ Life Is Good, Every Time I Die’s Ex Lives, and the Sword’s Apocryphon.


Rich Osweiler -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Tamaryn, Tender New Signs. Not bashful with the reverb by any stretch, this duo drops a trippy batch of haunting pop that’s perfect for a long session of levitating. With standout tunes like “Transcendent Blue” and “Heavenly Bodies,” this is lo-fi space rock at its finest.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
The Sea and Cake’s Runner has been getting a ton of play, but I’m going with Jens Lekman’s I Know What Love Isn’t for my fave o’ the year.


Andy Timmons -- Andy Timmons Band, guitarist
What am I listening to?
The Ventures (live albums), new Aimee Mann, Dean Martin, David Bowie, Rush, Joe Walsh, and Adele.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
The Adele record, 21, is one of the few recent releases that moves me. I want her phrasing and tone! The new Mike Stern is also getting a lot of spins—the ballads are sublime!


Charles Saufley -- Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
Fushitsusha, Hikari to Nazukeyo. Keiji Haino delivers a mindscrub agent of Coltrane Om-level potency.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
Six Organs of Admittance’s Ascent, Rangda’s Formerly Extinct, Baird Sisters’ Until You Find Your Green, White Fence’s Family Perfume Vol. 1 & 2, Ty Segall’s Twins, Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s Big Moon Ritual, Fushitsusha’s Hikari to Nazukeyo, Allah-Las’ S/T.


Jason Shadrick -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Kurt Rosenwinkel, Star of Jupiter. He is simply pushing the boundaries of modern jazz guitar with this great album full of inventive improvisation, unique compositions, and that signature Rosenwinkel falsetto.
What are your favorite albums of 2012?
Jimmy Herring’s Subject to Change Without Notice, Anders Osborne’s Black Eye Galaxy, Umphrey’s McGee 6/8/12, and Zac Brown Band’s Uncaged.

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