Thursday, December 28, 2017

Top 20 Albums of 2017

20. Slowdive-Slowdive

After a 22 year absence, Reading's Slowdive returns with yet another late night, chill out dream pop masterpiece.

19. Pwr Bttm-Pageant

This band could do quite well in the early 1980s. The whole record is just fun!

18. Kasabian-For Crying Out Loud

Leicester's own turn out another great record. This one is even stronger than the last one. A real foot stomper!

17. Ride-Weather Diaries

I thought Ride was done 20 years ago. They weren't. Thank God. Their music is fucking beautiful.

16. Alvvays-Antisocialites

Toronto's Alvvays are a most welcome breath of fresh air to the music scene. This entire record is pop bliss. "Dreams Tonight made my Top 20 tracks of the year. Here's another cut that reminds me a great deal of Suzanna Hoffs.

15. The Charlatans-Different Days

The West Midlands of the United Kingdom can claim this gem of band that has brought us over 25 years of fab music. They started with baggy pants music, coasted through Brit Pop, and are still around churning out a new record every couple of years. Here's the title track.

14. Fazerdaze-Morningside

Amelia Murray from Auckland, New Zealand is the brain child behind this dreamy music. This is her first full length record and it's perfect for summer days at the lake.

13. Bruno Mars-24K Magic

Ah, are so awesome with this Morris Day kissed record. Kick it out, brother!

12. Run the Jewels-Rtj3

Killer Mike and El-P produced the track of the year with "Hey Kids." The whole album is an instant rap classic. Here's my other favorite track from the record.

11. Strand of Oaks-Hard Love

Timothy Showalter has proven that there are indeed good things that come from Indiana. This is his fifth record and it's an absolute gem. Here's a dreamy track that reminds me a great deal of Ryan Adams.

10. San Cisco-The Water

I wish this band from Freemantle, Western Australia could see massive success here in the United States. They had a decent shot back in 2011 and 2012 in my hometown in Minneapolis but they just didn't quite make it. They still are all the rage down under, though, and enjoy an indie following in the rest of the world.

Their latest record is just as good as their previous two. Here's a track.

9. Ryan Adams-Prisoner

Ryan Adams is the best artist from North America today. No one even comes close. His music deeply evokes the soul of the United States. He's a total and complete fucking genius and I cherish each release of music that he offers to the world.

His latest effort, a deep lament over his breakup with Mandy Moore, is yet another stunning achievement. The whole album is amazing and that's why I couldn't pick just one track for my Top 20 tracks list.

8. Beck-Colors

The new Beck album starts off sounding like the third Friendly Fires album that doesn't exist yet. As the album progresses he gets into more familiar territory but this new direction is most welcome.

7. Thundercat-Drunk

Thundercat is the stage name for LA's Stephen Bruner. He obviously spent a lot of time listening to Todd Rundgren because this album feels a lot like "Wizard, A True Star." I also hear some King Crimson in there as well as Smile-era Brian Wilson. And then, of course, his own unique oddness which is bloody magnificent.

6. Liam Gallagher-As You Were

Liam goes solo! And guess what? It's MEGA! Beady Eye was a nice band but Liam works well on his own just like his older bro. Here's a very Beatles-esque track....

5. Blaenavon-That's Your Lot

Next to The Blossoms, Hampshire's Blaenavon are the best new band in the UK. What a stellar debut record.

4. Stereophonics-Scream Above The Sounds

Kelly and the lads from Cwmaman, Wales return with a triumphant record that is their best since Language, Sex, Violence, Other. The music is cinematic in nature with a plethora of new stories set to strike deep in your soul. Here's one of them....

3. Noel Gallagher-Who Built the Moon?

Noel's third release is the finest of his now 5 year old solo career. What an epic piece of work! It's easy to recognize that he took a great deal of care with each track.

2. BNQT-Volume 1

What kind of album do you suppose Fran Healy (Travis), Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Eric Pulido (Midlake), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) and Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), backed by other members of Midlake (Jesse Chandler, Joey McClellan and McKenzie Smith) might make?

A fucking great one!

I'm always a little wary of supergroups but this one really worked. They had two tracks that made my Top 20 Tracks of 2017.

1. Childhood-Universal High

I've always been a sucker for soul music. It's so hopeful and stirs great optimism in me for the future. This is exactly why Nottingham's Childhood get the nod for album of the year. When their first LP (Lacuna)  came out in 2014, I thought it was great. They sounded like another great British Dream Pop band.

For their second album, front man Ben Romans-Hopcraft decided to take the reins and drive the project. The result is a 70's inspired soul album that evokes nostalgia for a bygone era. The only fault I can find in the record is that it's only 10 tracks and I wanted more. But that's just how many cuts would have been on a 70's soul album, right?

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