2017 Album of the year (discussion thread)

Same, Japanese Breakfast isn’t going to register very high at all which is a shame - but I save tactical votes for elections, not DiS polls.

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holla

everyone else needs to get down with Moses

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The Church!

Missed out on voting by a few hours. Here’s mine anyway…

Wasn’t entirely certain about mine. Particularly struggled to choose between three albums for No.5 spot: EMA’s album, Charly Bliss’s Guppy, and Madonnatron’s self-titled. Decided that Charly Bliss is the one that gives me the greater sense of joy when I put it on.

Los Campesinos! — Sick Scenes
LCD Soundsystem — American Dream
Fazerdaze — Morningside
Wolf Alice — Visions of a Life
Charly Bliss — Guppy
Rounding out the top 10 in no set order:
EMA — Exile in the Outer Ring
Madonnatron — Madonnatron
Furniteur — Perfect Lavender
Mermaidens — Perfect Body
Underground Lovers — Staring at You Staring at Me

Teaser.

I’ve just read the data in but that’s me finished for the day as I’m off out shortly, will try and tally the scoring tomorrow. Feel free to speculate on the top 5. Massive indie points to anyone who guesses the order correctly - I’ve just spent a couple of hours looking at all the entries and I’m none the wiser on what the order will be. I’ve got a hunch who might win - but unlike the last few years there’s not an obvious winner (and my hunch could still be wrong).

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LCD and St Vincent both top 5 I’m pretty sure.

I basically never narrowed it down from my final 8, but Strange Ranger ended up getting the nod for the final spot based on the mood of the day. It easily could have gone to Meat Wave, Mogwai, or Billy Corgan.

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent - I’ve already said a lot about it and @Severed799 has covered it in depth and better than I could, so just go listen to it if you haven’t given it a shot yet. To me no album better captures the dread of 2017. “Half Sister” alone puts Joe Casey into the top tier of lyricists.

Priests - Nothing Feels Natural - It’s nice to see this getting a bit of attention on year end lists, but I still think it’s being massively underrated. It’s a flat out classic and not just a token bottom-of-the-list punk album. Every second on this album is there for a reason, there’s a true sense of urgency, and there are so many great twists along the way where the songs become something else (see “Pink White House.” Every song is very different, but it’s easy to forget given how seamlessly it flows as an album. And lyrically she has a very interesting style, where the topic seemingly jumps around but it’s all somehow linked (I read an interview and she said something like it’s an internal conversation with herself, which seems spot on). It’s interesting trying to piece everything together.

Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps - This one shot up my list when it finally clicked as a whole, and now I have no idea how I didn’t see it right away. It’s really sad, brutally so at times. You can really hear the Elliott Smith influence at times. I think if 2017 had been a normal year where the world wasn’t being taken over by monsters, this would have been my top album based on historical picks. I can’t believe she wrote “Georgia” when she was 16.

The National - Sleep Well Beast - It’s another great National album. The first half is good, the second half is truly phenomenal. I like the way he didn’t fall into the usual “artist who had a kid” trappings, and instead closed out the album with a song partly about how the next generation is going to take back the world from the right wing. (Also is it just me, or does “Carin at the Liquor Store” have a resemblance to “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”?)

Strange Ranger - Daymoon - I love this band. The lazy comparison would be if Rot Forever is The Fruit that Ate Itself, Daymoon is Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks. This album is much more abstract and restrained than the debut - it’s like half of the songs are small mood pieces that set up the heavy hitters, one of the latter being “Most Perfect Gold of the Century”, a definite song of the year candidate. I don’t know what it is, and it’s sort of an intangible thing, but they’re able to tap into and convey a specific kind of sadness that no one else with the exception of Isaac Brock and maybe Neil Young has. The first several times I listened to this, I was slightly disappointed and it felt like a collection of random songs, but now it flows so well and really functions as one large piece.

Meat Wave - The Incessant - I’m so mad that I didn’t give this a vote. It might have edged out Strange Ranger if I hadn’t still been recovering from the flu. It’s flat out one of the best heavy-indie rock albums I’ve ever heard, and it drives me nuts that it’s going to go largely unnoticed. It’s relentless. The tension and release is perfectly done, songs keep getting more and more intense, and there truly isn’t a second that doesn’t belong. I’ve probably made this comparison before, but picture an alternate universe where the Foo Fighters made a concept album in between S/T and The Colour and the Shape about facing everything horrible. “Leopard Print Jet Ski” is such a uniquely crafted and perfectly done song.

Mogwai - Every Country’s Sun - I’m not sure what to say, this is a great album that flows perfectly. The first third brings you up, the middle third slows you down, and then the ending sequence blows things apart, and it all feels so natural. I don’t know why nobody is raving about “Old Poisons”, it’s incredible.

Billy Corgan - Ogilala - I don’t care what anyone says, he’s still got it. The songs are really well constructed, the melodies are great, and his new voice works really well here. Most importantly, he seems very engaged and while I don’t know what he’s singing about, he’s clearly gotten his Rivers Cuomo phase out of the way on Monuments. The emotional content is back. “Archer” is probably the most simple song on the album, but also the best.

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Ooft…I’ll go with

Slowdive
Protomartyr
LCD
KLO
and a surprise top 5 for Julie Byrne

Though any of Priests, Kendrick, The National could scupper those predictions

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Have a lot of crossover with your list so will def be checking out priests and meat wave which I haven’t heard, cheers

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Good to see Meat Wave getting some love on here. They played one of my favourite gigs a couple of years back at the Brudenell - just 35 mins of great punk rock, no kissing or foreplay.

Anyway, the incessant is really a step up, but it gets pretty dark in places. Need to see them play those songs live.

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That Mark Lanegan album really went under the radar. I thought it was excellent. Nice to see Duke Garwood get a mention too - would love them to do another collab record. Black Pudding was great, I saw them do an amazing show together in support of it a few years back.

You’ve got my back on both and I’m glad you’ve mentioned them both! Hopefully they’ll work together on a new one again! Duke calls Mark his soul brother that per se it’s brilliant!

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Here’s my top twenty

  1. Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me
  2. Richard Dawson - Peasant
  3. Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper
  4. Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness
  5. Toby Driver - Madonnawhore
  6. Rebirth of Nefast - Tabernaculum
  7. James Holden & The Animal Spirits - The Animal Spirits
  8. Circuit Des Yeux - Reaching for Indigo
  9. Converge - The Dusk In Us
  10. Full of Hell - Trumpeting Ecstasy
  11. Kelela - Take Me Apart
  12. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss/Spun
  13. Blanck Mass - World Eater
  14. House and Land - House and Land
  15. Mogwai - Every Country’s Sun
  16. Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice Woven
  17. Run the Jewels - RTJ3
  18. Sannhet - So Numb
  19. Oxbow - Thin Black Duke
  20. Spotlights - Spotlights

Honourable Mentions go to
The Faceless - In Becoming a Ghost
Bjork - Utopia
Fever Ray - Plunge
Mutoid Man - War Moans
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Luciferan Towers

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You pretty much nailed that list @wonton - have all those indie points that were available.

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High fives all around @wonton

Lovely work!

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Oh wow…I reckon I’ve got 4/5 with one mistake

I hope Julie Byrne is still in…because it’s great to see how many people on here love that record.

Though I’m almost certain Slowdive is No.1

My feelings about that album have fluctuated really.

So Slowdive announced a return.
Great.
Though most bands have done that now.
But Souvlaki, in particular, was lovely so I’d like to hear some new stuff.
Album is released
It ticks all the boxes
The production is great and the songs are a cut above your usual dream pop fare
So it meets expectations
But it’s just there
Filling the “vessel” that the anticipation created
It’s not shocking or inspiring
But then maybe meeting expectations is an achievement now
Maybe this is a triumph
I’d say it’s a worthy winner
(God those guitars on No Longer Making Time are gorgeous)

my bigger list for what it’s worth, a decent year.

The one that would have got album of the year, for me, and maybe kind of did in a round about way, is the album by Hand Habits called Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void).

That record features a proper double album’s worth of material on it, if it’s cut for 33 1/3. The way the record is set up, is that it has three poems on it, each read by their authors, and each describing a scene relevant to themes in the album’s songs. Those poems act as segues and divide the album into four almost equal parts, as if for Sides A, B, C, and D, respectively.

Actually though, I don’t know for which speed the vinyl is cut. That’s because I only have the record on the streaming service to which I subscribe. The reason why I mention the segues at all is just because it occurs to me that those segues would probably work a lot better if accompanying a flip of a record. I don’t think the segues work quite as well as they were intended to, if you’re streaming it.

I’m not the kind who thinks that segue bits should be graded as songs and then count against an album’s quality. It’s just that sometimes when you’re trying to decide between several fantastic albums, little issues of format, like what I mention here, can take on more importance than they really should.

I admit though, that this format problem, this record’s one issue, is at least half my fault. I should have a physical copy. I also have to say that I feel like the songs on this record are strongest overall for any album last year. It’s just that one problem with the format where it has rougher transitions than those of the other albums that I really liked, Big Thief’s Capacity, and Slowdive’s Slowdive. However, despite that problem, I still rank Wildly Idle as slightly better than Slowdive. That is saying a lot, because I love Slowdive.

Besides the strength of songwriting, what I love about the Hand Habits record is that it sounds wonderful. I’ve read up on what was used for recording of the album, and it’s basically done on like a budget of potato peels, compared to many of the other top records. Although, I wouldn’t have guess that by the way it sounds.

I’ve also discovered that Hand Habits released singles around the time of the new album. Those singles were absolutely album-quality, but seemed to have been left as stand-alone singles anyway, because, although they are great songs, they wouldn’t have matched well with songs included on Wildly Idle. So there’s evidently been a lot of thought and a lot of work put into this album and it really shows.

Maybe what’s strange about me loving Hand Habits is that I haven’t been a real fan of Kevin Morby. Morby followers will know that Meg Duffy of Hand Habits plays guitar for Kevin. Kevin’s stuff is just not my style, somehow.

Anyway, Hand Habits: Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void) is the album which I ranked second best in the user poll.

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*Venezuelan sorry for the mistake. I’m sure the many Colombians and Venezuelans that flood the DiS forums are deeply offended.