The ‘Rock Is Dead’ Argument Is Dead Wrong. Here Are 12 Reasons Why.

It’s late-November, which means it’s just about time for critics to finish putting together their best albums of the year list, and write their trend pieces about what 2012 meant to music in general. (The answer: dubstep.) Meaning, someone will inevitably play the “rock is dead” card, and a million commenters will agree. Because that’s what happens every year — and every year, it’s wrong. It’s just especially wrong this year.

It’s not tough to understand where the “rock is dead” argument came from — the 1960s have always been considered “the best” for music, whatever that means, while post-Nirvana bands turned nu metal bands turned boy bands give us an easy “this is when things were good, this is when things turned bad” dividing line. It’s never that simple, though; claiming that an entire genre of music has sucked since either 1969 or 1995 because Coldplay was technically the top-selling rock band of 2011 is like saying that all TV is awful because Two and a Half Men is a hit. It’s a shame, too, because 2012 has been a great year for rock albums, both underground and mainstream, one that can best described as “F*CK YEAH!” (*shotguns a beer*)

We’ll have our own Best-of 2012 list sometime in December, but until then, give a listen to some of the year’s best rock and/or roll albums. (By that, we mean hewing closely to imperfect vocals, slashing guitar riffs, crashed drums, and steady bass, with a few extra flourishes here and there, meaning no Beach House or Tame Impala or Fiona Apple, for this list at least.) The 12 bands selected didn’t necessarily put out the 12 best albums of 2012, but they did disprove anyone who falsely claims that rock died with Keith Moon.

Description: Anthemic, closed-eyes rock, the kind that can make you feel invincible
Perfect for fans of: the Replacements, fireworks (as in, literal fireworks)
Album: Celebration Rock

Description: Amped-up Springsteen fans raised on punk and “whoa oh-oh” choruses
Perfect for fans of: Bruce Springsteen, Bouncing Souls, fist pumping
Album: Handwritten

Description: New Jersey long-form punk laureates
Perfect for fans of: Thin Lizzy, Ian MacKaye’s voice
Album: Local Business

Description: Brooding, dirty throwback rock with rural flourishes
Perfect for fans of: Um, the White Stripes?
Album: Blunderbuss

Description: Like a band torn between fury and angst (or emo and In Utero)
Perfect for fans of: Killdozer, the Wipers
Album: Attack on Memory

Description: Chaotic noise rock
Perfect for fans of: Sub Pop-era Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu
Album: Metz

Description: Progressive hardcore
Perfect for fans of: The feeling of your throat slashed into a million pieces
Album: All We Love We Leave Behind

Description: Lurching metal that both explodes and soothes
Perfect for fans of: The Smashing Pumpkins, but wish they were heavier
Album: Koi No Yokan

Description: Ambient post-rock
Perfect for fans of: Loud beauty
Album: The Seer

Description: Disheveled garage rock
Perfect for fans of: CHAOS. Also, the Stooges.
Album: Slaughterhouse

Description: Noise rock, perfect for late-night parties
Perfect for fans of: Buzzcocks
Album: Open Your Heart

Description: Sultry blues rock with a dynamo of a lead singer
Perfect for fans of: Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin
Album: Boys & Girls