Clutch are one of very few bands that just might have the power to entice an arena of thousands of fans to bang heads simultaneously—the exact same motion, in sync, hair flying, eyes closed in bliss. An unjustly underrated outfit, the quartet from Maryland have mastered the art of carving a groove and filling it with bruising funk, sweltering guitars, and spittle-drenched harp; they occupy their own self-made stoner-funk-metal-blues genre. In truth, there’s also whomping Southern rock and gut-grabbing arena rock at play, but every single shred of it feels original, infectious, and worthy of both fists pumping. Their best work in 20 years, Earth Rocker runs like a finely tuned muscle car, let loose on a desert highway with no goal other than showing what it’s made of—and there will be roadkill. “Earth Rocker” opens the album with a brutal riff and dumb lyrics (“I will suffer no evil/My guitar will get me through!”), feeling a bit like Black Flag born on the bayou. Exactly midway through, the scruffy soul of “Gone Cold” glistens like a gem. The closing track, “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…,” is a moonlit, white-hot bit of blues. A standout rock ’n’ roll record of 2013.