Another year has come and gone; a painful year in many ways. When times are challenging the influence of art becomes of paramount importance. So, it is with great pleasure that I review with you the year in music.
St Vincent and Weezer returned with albums that may have not been perfectly in their idiom yet pleasing to the ear. Cloud Nothings and Japandriods started the year off with a BOOM! John Darnielle released his first ever non-guitar record with humorous story telling about depressed people... he also created a great podcast.
All the guys from Vampire Weekend released solo records (and they were all good). Iron & Wine had a record as did Josh Ritter. Bleachers introduced a year of great electronic pop. Billy Corgan made a great record of piano ballads (unfortunately he also did a bunch of interviews).
Vancouver Sleep Clinic relinquished wonderful sunrise music. Rural Alberta Advantage brought us back to the snow. Julien Baker made gigantic music from her tiny little self. Tim Heidecker's political album was well-versed and surprising well performed. Eminem also hates donald trump.
Dave Bazan and Partner made the 6th & 7th best records of the year. :)
We laid to rest Lil Peep, Gord Downie and a bunch of others. :(
Here are the Top 5 Albums of 2017!
5. Birdie by Slaughter Beach, Dog
Best not to give this album too much context other than to say that Jake Ewald has put aside the youthful exuberance of Modern Baseball for a more thoughtful lament. This album reminds of John K. Samson in the way the landscapes visited guide a path for the human spirit (this time in America). Thoughtful lyrics and simple cord progression. A great Sunday morning record.
4. Pure Comedy by Father John Misty
A friend mentioned to me that this record is pure blasphemy (all the more reason to listen). Josh Tillman does not just pose questions regarding worship; he demolishes pop culture, questions love/lust and raises a predetermined eye brow at the political landscape. All these topics force fed with discomforting reality over soothing soundscapes. There has never been a more-relevant time for Pure Comedy to be produced, if only it would embarrass us all into acting more human.
3. Tremendous Sea of Love by Passion Pit
Michael Angelakos suffers from Bi-Polar disorder.... his music seems only to reveal his lighter side. Passion Pit has been producing bouncy, vibrant electronica with soaring choruses for a decade. "Sea of Love" takes the light into the sunset on the water. Angelakos' songs emerge as a salute to the power of the female in perfect time. The heart pours in rhythm with the smooth beats and synth that make this album a joyous lament.
2. We All Want the Same Things by Craig Finn
Hold Steady fans know the transient power of Craig Finn's song craft. The middle-aged Brooklyn resident writes frequently from the spirit of the twenty somethings in his hometown of Minneapolis. The intricacy of Finn's character development, geographical references and his ability to narrate from a million different voices give the listener a different experience with each spin of the record. Addiction, the indecision of youth, drug distribution, love and death remain provoking themes; all from the reflection of a snow dirtied windshield.
1. Going Grey by The Front Bottoms
It's no secret that The Front Bottoms have been my favorite band of the last decade so the anticipation of this album was a roller coaster. Critics are indecisive about the long-term relevance Going Grey will hold in The Front Bottoms extremely impressive record collection. While the production hints at major label ting where once there was the open space of a 4 track recorder, the spirit of the Front Bottoms remains ever-present. Going Grey delivers instantly anthemic chorus, detailed verses and mixed metaphor in a way only the boys from New Jersey can. Brian Sella and his mates are older but hardly any more mature (in a very, very good way). I, too, miss the way things used to be.
Thank You for Listening!