So here’s what 2017 looked like to me, musically.
My very favorite albums (in alphabetical order) were the following:
- The Black Watch The Gospel According to John
- Brief Candles Retreater
- Caroline Says 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong
- The Clientele Music for the Age of Miracles
- Cotton Mather Wild Kingdom
- Destroyer Ken
- Game Theory Supercalifragile
- Great Ytene Locus
- Robyn Hitchcock Robyn Hitchcock
- New Boss Third Sister
- Novella Change of State
- Omni Multi-Task
- Spoon Hot Thoughts
I was pleasantly surprised by the Game Theory album…since it was an album salvaged from demos, fragments, and stray ideas, a work-in-progress when songwriter Scott Miller ended his life back in 2013. He’d intended this to be a collaborative project, and so it was: with the archival assistance of his widow, Kristine, and musical direction from Ken Stringfellow, a long list of musical collaborators pulled together an album that, miraculously, sounds quite distinctively like a Game Theory record.
My second tier of favorites for 2017 (there’s actually very little difference between these first two tiers):
- The Bye Bye Blackbirds Take Out the Poison
- The Dream Syndicate How Did I Find Myself Here?
- Filthy Friends Invitation (Peter Buck, Corin Tucker, Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch, Bill Rieflin…)
- Guided by Voices How Do You Spell Heaven?
- Ted Leo The Hanged Man
- Thurston Moore Rock n Roll Consciousness
- The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions
- Robert Plant Carry Fire
- St. Vincent Masseduction
- Sparks Hippopotamus
- Wire Silver/Lead
And just a little below…:
- Mark Eitzel Hey Mr. Ferryman
- Grizzly Bear Painted Ruins
- The Magnetic Fields 50 Song Memoir
- Monks of Doom The Brontë Pin
- The National Sleep Well Beast
- Washington Hebrew (Michael Kentoff from The Caribbean) Washington Hebrew
My end-of-year best-albums songpile, Belgian Whistles, is drawn from the above (see next post for details and links).
The next levels are still really fine records:
Algiers The Underside of Power, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile Lotta Sea Lice, Beck Colors, Benjamin Booker Witness, Dirty Projectors Dirty Projectors, Dutch Uncles Big Balloon,, Fleet Foxes Crack-Up, Guided by Voices August by Cake, Holy Hum All My Bodies, LCD Soundsystem American Dream, Queens of the Stone Age Villains, Lee Ranaldo Electric Trim, The Sadies Northern Passages, Slowdive Slowdive.
Dale Cooper Quartet & the Dictaphones Astrild Astrild, Brian Eno Reflection, The Fall New Facts Emerge, Father John Misty Pure Comedy, Nick Hakim Green Twins, Dhani Harrison In///Parallel, Liars TFCF, Lo Tom Lo Tom, Aimee Mann Mental Illness, Laura Marling Semper Femina, Eric Matthews Too Much World, Momus Pillycock, The Mountain Goats Goths, Sampha Process.
And, honorable mention to: Anton Barbeau Antronica 2, The Mike Benign Compulsion Kid, Big Thief Capacity, Cherry Glazerr Apocalipstick, Crystal Fairy Crystal Fairy, Karla Kane King’s Daughters Home for Incurables, Los Campesinos! Sick Scenes, Maximo Park Risk to Exist, Pixx The Age of Anxiety, The Proper Ornaments Foxhole, Real Estate In Mind, Ride Weather Diaries, Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble Find Me Finding You, Statuesque Accusative, Matthew Sweet Tomorrow Forever, Paul Weller A Kind Revolution.
The best EPs of the year: Anton Barbeau Heaven Is In Your Mind, Cotton Mather Young Life, Cate Le Bon Rock Pool, TC&I (Colin Moulding & Terry Chambers, formerly of XTC) Great Aspirations, Kamasi Washington Harmony of Difference.
(If I didn’t mention it, either I haven’t heard it, haven’t heard it enough, or remain meh on it…)