ALBUMS OF THE YEAR- 2017
Things can only get better, right? Wrong. Things, it turns out, can get so, so much worse.
I know we mostly share the same tyrants and everybody has their shit to deal with but my 2017 was fucking horrible. It ain’t over either- little weight is going to be lifted because the calendar has ticked over to another day. While life lived like this can feel very loud, deafening even; for me, and I hope for you, music always seems to find a way through.
This year, long-established acts like Mastodon and Mogwai and Sepultura and Slowdive came to my rescue. New bands like Idles and Zeal & Ardor gave me hope. The almost-perfect hardcore punk of Comeback Kid’s latest album brought me freedom and another beautiful full-length from Last Days gave me focus. And there’s so much more. Listen to Bad Breeding and Brutus and Supergenius and Spirit of the Beehive, listen to all of the records Brainfeeder released, and listen to everything Kurt Ballou recorded too.
Anyway, to the list. As always, there’s no way I can say these are the best albums released this year, I’m not even sure they are the best albums I’ve heard this year, but they are the ones that I found or the ones that found me, that have made their mark. 11 because Spinal Tap.
11. HAMMOCK- ‘Mysterium’
‘Mysterium’, excellent throughout, instantly ranks as one of the best, most blissful things Hammock have ever done.
10. QUICKSAND- ‘Interiors’
An album that feels like it could have come out 20 years ago, but somehow feels vital today too. Don’t call it a comeback.
9. JULIEN BAKER- ‘Turn Out the Lights’
Solo demon-wrestling struggle songs never sounded so good.
8. HUNDRED SUNS- ‘The Prestaliis’
Some bands have spent years trying to emulate Deftones. Hundred Suns do it on their debut, and sound enough like themselves too.
7. EX EYE- ‘Ex Eye’
Swirling brass-powered doom, gloom and avant-garde jazz metal.
6. BLANCK MASS- ‘World Eater’
The discombobulating pound of a thousand hissing radios.
5. MIDWIFE- ‘Like Author, Like Daughter’
Madeline Johnston will break your heart.
4. SPOTLIGHTS- ‘Seismic’
Bold, beautiful noise that confirms Spotlights as no longer a band to watch, but a band that is here and now.
3. ENDON- ‘Through the Mirror’
It’s like the red mist given a sound. It’s like an explosion in slow motion. It’s like sticking your head in a full-speed jet engine… And it’s glorious.
2. CONVERGE- ’The Dusk in Us’
Five years on from perhaps Converge’s darkest record, ‘The Dusk in Us’ dares to let in a little light.
1. THUNDERCAT- ‘Drunk’
The music is lush- covering odd pop, electric soul and fast-fingered fretwork fury in just the first five minutes- and frequently bubbling over into something new.
All over the place I know. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re looking for intense heaviness to help get your mind right then I can’t recommend Celeste or Converge enough. And if you’re looking for something that’s about as far away from those bands as you can get, please don’t sleep on the Thundercat album. It’s a weird and wonderful joy.
Shout out also to Zao for not only keeping on keeping on but releasing the EP of the year, to Oathbreaker for the 2016 release that I slept on until this year, and to The Dillinger Escape Plan for going out with the requisite bang. It wasn’t all bad then, far from it, but…
Farewell and fuck you, 2017.