2017 is (almost) over, and so it’s time for my Album of the Year list. Usually limited to ten records, this time around I have 50 top LPs. I’ve listened to a lot this year. It’s been hard work.
There was a lot of “worthy” music this year. I’m not against records that make me think, but it’s important that they also make me feel. There was also insincerity, lack of personality, frankly anonymous releases… Why use a vocoder in 2017? It was old hat when Victoria Beckham used it. Literally anybody could be at the mic, and what’s the point in that?
I complain, and I apologise. I’m clearly too old to understand all this modern stuff. I do think the following albums are wonderful, and I hope you like them too.
Cody ChesnuTT – My Love Divine Degree
Fabiana Striffler & Quique Sinesi – Mahagoni
Mexican Institute of Sound – Disco Popular
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet
Oddisee – The Iceberg
Nick Grant – Return of the Cool
Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
Neil Young – Hitchhiker
Lower Slaughter – What Big Eyes
Lizz Wright – Grace
Flat Worms – Flat Worms
Sumie – Lost In Light
Rainer Maria – S/T
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim
Will Sessions – Deluxe
Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Adiós Señor Pussycat
Almirante Ackbar – Sonidos Ultrasónicos y Audibles para Callar al Perro del Vecino
Mise En Scene – Still Life on Fire
The Horrors – V
Ratboys – GN
Mammút – Kinder Versions
Strand of Oaks – Hard Love
The Stargazer Lilies – Lost
Logic – Everybody
The Dream Syndicate – How Did I Find Myself Here?
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers
Anna St. Louis
An apparently cassette-only release, although it should be available on your favourite streaming service. A gorgeous, chilled out folky psychedelic sound with a Mazzy Star vibe.
Annie Hardy – Rules
Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta
Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee
Jen Cloher – Jen Cloher
Menace Beach – Lemon Memory
Froth – Outside (Briefly)
Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother
The Rural Alberta Advantage – The Wild
A lovely experimental affair. Second track Last Night penetrates the brain in an alarming way, but then soothes it better again. It’s an experience I won’t forget in a hurry!
Pictures of Saint Paul Street
There are hints of The Kinks / Country Joe and the Fish / The Lovin’ Spoonful / The Monkees on this delightful record. Traditional songwriting with a psychedelic bent.
Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 2
The Velveteins – Slow Wave
His Electro Blue Voice – Mental Hoop
Bardo Pond – Under The Pines
Billy Strings – Turmoil & Tinfoil
EMA – Exile In The Outer Ring
Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Vol. 1
Dion Lunadon – Dion Lunadon
A wonderfully bonkers affair, but I fear the first song will lose many potential fans (and perhaps that’s the idea?). Please persevere, because the cover of Merle Haggard’s Silver Wings is chaotic country, and from then on it’s off on a lovely rollercoaster of oddness. DLATUMF Blues sounds like early Blur doing their Syd Barrett Appreciation Society business, which is obviously marvellous.
Every new Sparks release is apparently a “return to form”, but they’ve never been anything other than, ahem, sparkling (I’m so sorry). Album number 23 and they sound fresher than most new bands today. Ron and Russell have always ploughed their own furrow, and I love them for it. Hippopotamus is musically and lyrically brilliant, and I want you to go and listen to it right now! Well, finish this countdown first and then go and have a listen!
Album of the year 2017
Out of the Lights and A Place Up In The Sky are sublime, original creations. Dub bass and oddness. This Chilean outfit have gone from shoegaze copyists (they list their most important influences as The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive) to purveyors of their own Trementina Sound™. What was once a raw (and beautiful) avalanche of guitars is now an all-encompassing, heavenly narcotic cocoon of sound, uplifting and fulfilling. Recently I’ve found a lot of new music to be overly worthy and lacking in entertainment value. Trementina happily tick all the boxes that other bands have decided to neglect, and I adore them utterly. It’s been a while since a group has been so unabashedly fantastic. A joy to behold! They are flying miles above everybody else and are runaway winners of my album of the year. Check out the video for Oh Child: