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Top fifty albums of 2017

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.


The contenders


50
Cody ChesnuTT – My Love Divine Degree

49
Fabiana Striffler & Quique Sinesi – Mahagoni

48
Mexican Institute of Sound – Disco Popular

47
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

46
Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet

45
Oddisee – The Iceberg

44
Nick Grant – Return of the Cool

43
Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

42
Neil Young – Hitchhiker

41
Lower Slaughter – What Big Eyes

40
Lizz Wright – Grace

39
Flat Worms – Flat Worms

38
Sumie – Lost In Light

37
Rainer Maria – S/T

36
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

35
Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim

34
Will Sessions – Deluxe

33
Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Adiós Señor Pussycat

32
Almirante Ackbar – Sonidos Ultrasónicos y Audibles para Callar al Perro del Vecino

31
Mise En Scene – Still Life on Fire

30
The Horrors – V

29
Ratboys – GN

28
Mammút – Kinder Versions

27
Strand of Oaks – Hard Love

26
The Stargazer Lilies – Lost

25
Logic – Everybody

24
The Dream Syndicate – How Did I Find Myself Here?

23
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers



22
Anna St. Louis
First Songs

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.


21
Annie Hardy – Rules

20
Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta

19
Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee

18
Jen Cloher – Jen Cloher

17
Menace Beach – Lemon Memory

16
Froth – Outside (Briefly)

15
Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

14
The Rural Alberta Advantage – The Wild



13
Mary Epworth
Elytral

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!



12
Greg Ashley
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.


11
Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 2

10
The Velveteins – Slow Wave

9
His Electro Blue Voice – Mental Hoop

8
Bardo Pond – Under The Pines

7
Billy Strings – Turmoil & Tinfoil

6
EMA – Exile In The Outer Ring

5
Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Vol. 1

4
Dion Lunadon – Dion Lunadon



3
David Nance
Negative Boogie

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.


The runner-up



2
Sparks
Hippopotamus

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



1
Trementina
810

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:




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