This list is in no particular order…
Milano / Daniele Luppi, Parquet Courts.
An Italian composer brings together Parquet Courts and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and in his own words; creates “fictionalised stories about misfits, fashionistas, outcasts and junkies in mid-1980s Milan. The city that is reborn every morning, that beats like a heart.”
This is New York punk meeting New Wave and making a 21st century alt-classic.
Something to Tell You / Haim
I wasn’t sure if Haim could repeat the brilliance of their first record. I shouldn’t have doubted really should I? Some have said this is maybe too polished but, I reckon it’s close to perfect, full of seventies pop/rock with inevitable nods to music legends.
The coolest sisters in the world right now eh?
Landmark / Hippo Campus
We heard the track Western Kids on some trashy tv show and instantly, I had to know who this band was. The perfect spring/summer soundtrack of easy indie rock, full of great melodies and great hooks.
Kelly Lee Owens / Kelly Lee Owens
Maybe the most exciting discovery of the year for me. The blurry techno atmosphere, beats, strings and deep intense vibes make this such a joy. Here’s what she says about the album; “I had the Yoko Ono mindset, which is just to put good work out into the world and let it do its thing.”
It’s doing it’s thing!
Yesterday’s Gone / Loyle Carner
What a debut album this is. Apparently I listened to more hip-hop and grime music in 2017 than any other genre. If I had to make you listen to one album from this year, Yesterday’s Gone would be the one. Full of courage, passion and a cameo from his mum with great tracks that nod to soul and jazz + his lyrical skills. Sooo Good!
Rationale / Rationale
Every so often my wife puts on some music and it stops me in my tracks. This album blew me away on very first listen. It didn’t have to grow on me, it just booted me in the face. Tinashe Fazakerley aka Rationale has an incredible voice but good grief, he can write an amazing song, both musically and lyrically. Full of techno-pop with African influence, this is a must-listen.
English Tapas / Sleaford Mods
Call it a mid-life crisis, or some kind of awakening toward a need for speaking harsh truth to each other but, over the last couple of years I’ve been a little obsessed with Sleaford Mods. Modern music was boring me. Sleaford Mods had me excited about music again. They are saying something different from every other “artist” out there. The attraction is not just about sweary rants, they have developed and reached beyond the angry rap/poet lo-fi sound and, made a great album, perhaps their bravest and best yet.
Sleep Well Beast / The National
I turned forty years old in October. Sleep Well Beast may be the perfect art accompaniment to my arrival at middle-age. So much of the album is centred around the bleaker elements of middle age. Regret. Relationships. Decay. Slowing down. Matt Berninger’s voice was made for these themes. There aren’t many dramatic differences musically to other albums by The National, but that’s ok. They do what they do so beautifully with more than a hint of darkness.
A Deeper Understanding / The War on Drugs
The first time I heard The War on Drugs, I thought Don Henley had returned in a time machine from the early 80’s and was collaborating with Bruce Springsteen. The complete sound of Adam Granduciel who fronts this project/band is almost pop/rock perfect. Their previous album Lost in a Dream was a thing of beauty, this is like an upgrade. The same but slicker and better, if that’s possible.
Moonshine Freeze / This is the Kit
This is the Kit is Kate Stables, a singer-songwriter with less than traditional folk undertones throughout her music. Her songs are full of interesting stories, intonations and beautiful gentle layered sounds. Banjo, guitars, horns. There’s something deeply infectious about this album.