I know you don’t care, but here are
My Favorite Albums of 2017
Reaching for Indigo
by Circuit Des YeuxReaching for Indigo is a strange and beguiling record about transformation, based on an event in the singer’s life that left her seeing painfully intense colors. Haley Fohr guides you through the story with her 4-octave baritone, which can go from subtle and sweet to nearly unhinged on a dime, which is just as intense in person as on the recording. It’s not lay-back listening, it takes some work — it’s abstract at parts, ceremonial at others, and has a touch folk-rock at its most approachable — but the reward is worth it.Brainshift
Party Naked Forever
by Bethlehem SteelParty Naked Forever is close to being a perfect rock-n-roll record; it’s short, punchy, and a lot of fun. The music is riffy without being proggy and heavy without losing the melody, which makes it both approachable and deep. Rebecca Ryskalczyk presents socially conscious lyrics without being preachy, and judiciously deploys harmonies and the occasional slip into a yell.Fig
Cigarettes After Sex
by Cigarettes After SexGreg Gonzalez sings about love, relationships, and flings in this hazy and dreamlike debut full-length. His almost-androgynous voice is reminiscent of Julee Cruise, and his lackadaisical delivery manages to nearly cover up his extremely dirty lyrics. The album manages to stay engaging from start to finish, which is impressive given its distinct sound.Flash
by DeerhoofOn this, their 14th album, Deerhoof blows their past practices out of the water by inviting a wide range of collaborators into their creative process, including favorites like Juana Molina and Jenn Wasner. The result is astonishing: catchier-than-ever rock that both is fresh, and undeniably Deerhoof. The lyrics are also a change for them; they are more straightforward than the lyrics of yore, and perfectly capture the malaise of the liberal US in 2017.Aye That’s Me
by Kendrick LamarIn DAMN., Kendrick Lamar settles into a nice groove after some of the more experimental experimental moments of his previous works, and shows that he can compete on a more traditional album’s playing field. He raps about humility and his personal journey, and talks politics without being a drag.Loyalty.
This Old Dog
by Mac DeMarcoIn between Mac’s last record and this, he moved from New York City to Los Angeles. I’d say that this new record shows a new, sunny outlook, but he is really just the same lovable goofball as ever. He does cover some new emotional ground on a few tracks, though, as he talks about his father — an addict who abandoned their family when Mac was 5, and who was recently diagnosed with cancer.For the First Time
by Washed OutThis new record wildly updates Washed Out’s previous formula of almost-too-cool downtempo electronica. Now we find ourselves in an Avalanches-esque fever dream of samples and interludes, with Earnest Greene’s dream-state vocals floating throughout.Burn Out Blues
by Alt-JAlt-J’s third record takes a gentle step away from the sound of their first two albums, and ends up in a strange new place. Oddly enough, they’ve taken a classical turn: besides some historically-minded melodies, they use the brass and string sections of the London Metropolitan Orchestra on a few tracks, as well as a chamber group of 20 classical guitarists. This leads to a record that feels cohesive through its expansive production and disparate vibes.3WW
For Organ and Brass
by Ellen ArkbroOn this 3-piece album, Arkbro investigates intonation and the timbres common to both the organ and brass instruments. She recorded the record with a renaissance organ in Germany that uses the historical “meantone temperament” tuning, which allows the brass and organ to drone in ever-so-slightly-different pitches.Three
by Tomas BarfodBarfod, the drummer of perennial favorite WhoMadeWho, keeps my traditional inclusion of a Scandinavian electronic act going this year. The album is split between instrumentals and songs featuring guest vocalists, which shows his range — from darker electronic musings to upbeat club pop.Things That Matter
The Days We Had
by Day WaveThe Days We Had is a fun, easygoing pop record — it doesn’t make any grand statements, but it is so enjoyable that it deserves mention. The upbeat tempos and catchy hooks make it great for summertime listening.Ordinary
That’s it. Thanks for reading.
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