Best Vintage Rock Studio Albums Of 2013


The idea of making a new studio ”album” is a daunting task these days for many artists in an age of iTunes and Spotify. Still, 2013 saw the release of several excellent full-length, multi-song records by veteran and newer acts. We liked a whole bunch of them, but narrowed it down to the following 10 best Vintage Rock studio albums of 2013. Whether you agree with our choices is another issue entirely.

Deep Purple ~ NOW What?!

Nestled comfortably on the never-ending touring circuit, Deep Purple has not, for many years, felt the tugging obligation to record albums filled with new songs. These days, economic realities coupled with a general lack of interest in the age of YouTube, iTunes, et al, prohibit bands of Purple’s caliber from moving much further. When they eventually cave to the idea of making new music, the motivation has little to do with hit singles and platinum records — for Deep Purple, it had more to do with reclaiming their legacy as one of the world’s greatest hard rock bands. Listening to NOW What?!, their 19th studio album and their first since 2005’s Rapture Of The Deep, you get the sense they really wanted to get it right this time. Read more >

Elton John ~ The Diving Board

Sir Elton John flirted with unprecedented stardom in the 70s. He went on to don a Donald Duck costume, went back and forth regarding his sexuality, made some noble forays on MTV with “I’m Still Standing,” wrote some big songs for Disney, and even recorded an album with Leon Russell. For 2013, he’s released his 30th album, The Diving Board. This is a return to form for the singer-songwriter, employing a basic piano, guitar, bass and drums lineup around songs written with longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin. It’s his first solo studio release in seven years – “the album,” John claims, “I’ve been waiting to make for decades.” Read more >

Black Sabbath ~ 13

There’s a ton of expectation attached to well-known creative entities with big gaps in their working histories. The good news is that living up to a legacy can be dealt with from various angles. There’s the what-the-hell approach where you simply transform into a completely different creative entity and do something…well, completely different. End result: The eclectic hardcores will get it and the masses will scratch their noggins. Whether the public buys it depends on who, when, where and probably why. Then there’s the let’s-do-what-the-backer-wants (if, in fact, they are backer-worthy — backer being the publisher, the record label, the movie studio, etc.). At this point, it’s out of your hands and where it lands is anyone’s guess. The third approach, which zeroes in on classic rock artists for our purposes, is the most novel, perhaps the most obvious. It consists of looking at one’s past achievements and trying to replicate them as much as possible. You know, sort of like what Van Halen did in 2012 on A Different Kind Of Truth — and what innumerable others have been trying to do as well — recapturing that lightening in a bottle. For 13, their first full studio release with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years, this is the path Black Sabbath has taken. Read more >

David Bowie ~ The Next Day

So, guess who has a new album out in 2013? David Bowie…yes that David Bowie! Bowie and his very best producer, Tony Visconti, worked in secret over two years on what could easily be called “sporadic” sessions. Over a three-month period of demoing and recording, a 14-song album took shape with a ‘band’ of players Bowie has known from his past. Pretty much Bowie fan or not, I doubt you’ll be disappointed with The Next Day. Read more >

Paul McCartney ~ New

Master of the melody, Sir Paul McCartney has something NEW for us all…a CD called New. Much ballyhooed of late, with spirited stops to media far and wide, a killer star-studded video for the song “Queenie Eye,” what seems like a constant touring schedule and impromptu concerts in Times Square and Convent Garden with this 14- song collection – McCartney is pretty much on top of his game as ever. Read more >

Pat Travers Band ~ Can Do

Through sheer perseverance and longevity, Pat Travers has maintained a rock-solid role of respected musician with his share of hits and misses (it comes with the profession). Most are familiar with his upward trajectory of the late 70s / early 80s, producing the heavy radio hits “Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)” and “Snortin’ Whiskey.” Since those days, the guitarist has kept himself busy with albums of his own and numerous collaborations. For Can Do, Travers and his band have put together an album grounded heavily in the salad days. Read more >

Eric Burdon ~ ‘Til Your River Runs Dry

As the powerful, gritty lead singer of the Animals in the 60s, Eric Burdon was an inspiration to the likes of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix. In 1969, he broke new ground when he teamed up with the multi-racial band War and recorded the hypnotic “Spill The Wine.” After that, Burdon fronted various lineups of the Animals and made a go at a solo career with marginal success. These days, you’d think Burdon would be spending his golden years reveling in past accomplishments, but that’s hardly the case. He’s stayed fairly prolific as a recording artist, painter and author. When Bruce Springsteen jammed with him in 2012 at the SWSX festival, Burdon’s star received some well-deserved polish. An EP with the Greenhornes in late 2012 and now the sensational solo album ‘Til Your River Runs Dry are all you need to know that the 71-year-old Eric Burdon is ready to rock your world. Read more >

The Winery Dogs ~ The Winery Dogs

It seems Mike Portnoy takes his friendship with Eddie Trunk of That Metal Showfame very seriously. Along with bassist Billy Sheehan, the ex-Dream Theater drummer began a project in 2011 with John Sykes but claimed that Sykes’ schedule was just too lax for him. Trunk suggested Portnoy contact the terribly underrated guitarist Richie Kotzen and suddenly The Winery Dogs trio was complete. And we should all be happy it is. Their self-titled, 13-song debut is truly amazing stuff. Read more >

Leslie West ~ Still Climbing

It’s with that tough sensibility we’ve come to know from the ex-Mountain lead guitarist and singer that Leslie West named his new 11-song CD Still Climbing. West lost a leg to diabetes in 2011 and even thought about quitting music, but man we’re lucky he didn’t. “Dyin’ Since the Day I Was Born” opens with a big chunk, low down bass and simple bass riffery from West, with his growl of a voice up to perfect form, and Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge and Creed on guitar. Read more >

Heaven & Earth ~ Dig

Heaven and Earth, put together by ex-Sweet guitarist Stuart Smith in 1996, have a third outing, Dig, for 2013. The band’s style of music is a pleasant mixing pot of old school/70s arena rock (think Foreigner, Deep Purple, Bad Company), with a heavy saturation of pop and blues. Although Dig presents little musically new or ground-breaking, it has been quite some time anyone has heard a solid album’s worth of this particular style of music — majestic, triumphant, straight forward rock, without any of today’s assembly line, paint-by-numbers blandness. Read more >

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