Friday Music Day: Best of 2017.

"Best of?" Given the limited scope of what I've actually listened to, I'll just call it my favorites.

Album of the Year: Alice Coltrane World Sprituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (link)
Not a "new" album, but as the first wide release of this music, but new nonetheless. These songs were selected from four albums of Hare Krishna worship music Alice released between 1982 and 1995. Originally available only on cassettes directly from her ashram, the music has been re-mixed and re-mastered (not "remixed" though, just cleaned up). At many times this year, I've wanted to listen to nothing else. I have a hard time describing it... It's so many things together yet at the same time it sounds so detached from time and context. Hindu chants as gospel singing. Massive synths that feel like they should be from a specific date, but are more sui generis.

Honorable mentions in no specific order:
Gas Narkopop (link)
17 years since Pop and Wolfgang Voigt picks up the Gas moniker and dusts it off. It must be like riding a bicycle, because this is of the same stuff.

Sylvan Esso What Now
What if the Postal Service was more than a one-off, and the singer was a female with a lot of Americana influence, and the electronic musician was there in person rather than via tapes in the mail? It would be a lot like this.

Sarah Davachi All My Circles Run (link)
Great near-classical ambient. Even though Gas is back doesn't mean those who took up that torch can't make their own great albums. Bonus marks for last year's Vergers, which I only first heard in the last weeks of 2016.

Aaron Dilloway Switches (link)
The Gag File was touted and press-released, but I think this is a lot better, though I've learned nothing else about it. Noise-tape loops as Dilloway does them. Dread and menace.

Julien Baker Turn Out the Lights
Probably the only one that will show up on others' lists. A worthy follow-up to Sprained Ankle.

What's on your list?

14 thoughts on “Friday Music Day: Best of 2017.”

  1. Priests - Nothing Feels Natural was I think the only 2017 album that I really loved, plus I got to see them live, which was pretty awesome.

    I spent most of the year listening to Screaming Females (again), this year it was Rose Mountain.

  2. Thanks for making this AMR. If you didn't, I was going to.

    My 10 or so favorite albums

    1. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding (Seeing them live just cemented this opinion. Such a great, chill album that occasionally packs a good wallop)
    2. The National - Sleep Well, Beast (more of a grower than I'm used to with National albums, but it has a lot of depth - minus one or two songs that still don't work for me)
    3. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (Not my favorite Kendrick album (I don't know if anything will top good kid, maad city at this point) but this one is chock full of goodness and might be his most consistent album yet)
    4. Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder (I was really surprised by how much I liked this one, not that I don't like every one of their other albums, but this one is solid from beginning to end, and has a few of their best songs)
    5. Blanck Mass - World Eater (Someday, Fuck Buttons will come out with a new album. Until then, this was a really good substitute)
    6. Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life (It's a fairly pronounced step down, but I just like the style of music they play too much to not get swept up in it)
    7. The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions (Newbish loves this band, and while I wasn't blown away by this album initially, I was forced to listen to it enough that I developed a love for it. Plus, now it reminds me of watching Newbish dancing like crazy, which gets it major points)
    8. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream (The first LCD Soundsystem album I've liked, rather than being blown away by a couple of songs, and feeling indifferent toward the rest)
    9. Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm (About the closest thing to 90's alt rock that a person could hear this year. Heard it reasonably late in the year, so retrospectives will probably bump this one up the list)
    T. Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins (Feels like sort of an also-ran in a year that had so many great bands returning with awesome new music, but this whole album was solid front to back. They've still got it)

    And a dozen songs I loved (unranked except for #1):
    #1: The War on Drugs - Strangest Thing (by a mile, and the big BOOM right before the breakdown is my favorite moment of the year)
    * Kendrick Lamar - DNA (BANGER)
    * Middle Kids - Edge of Town (Was looking like it was going to be my number one for a while, really love the coda where the singer is belting out "I've got something on my miiiiind")
    * Blanck Mass - Rhesus Negative (feels like being thrown into a mechanical hornet's nest. love the way the song just explodes into an angry swarm from the very beginning, while not losing the trademark Fuck Buttons moments of beauty throughout)
    * Broken Social Scene - Vanity Pail Kids (love the hook to this one)
    * LCD Soundsystem - oh baby (Fits right alongside "Someone Great" and "All My Friends" among their best)
    * Manchester Orchestra - The Moth (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH)
    * Calvin Harris - Slide (feat. Frank Ocean and Migos) (made me briefly enjoy Migos! Perfect summer song. Surprised it didn't become a massive, massive superhit)
    * Sylvan Esso - Die Young (great, sort of morbid little love song with a hell of a hook)
    * The New Pornographers - High Ticket Attractions (the aforementioned "Newbish Dance" song)
    * Sorority Noise - No Halo (depressing as hell, but also very cathartic)
    * Waxahatchee - Silver (or Recite Remorse, both are great, Silver gets the edge for the "I went out in a storm, and I'm never returning" line)
    * The National - No One Will Be There (Instant The National classic)

    1. For the record, I did enjoy Narkopop quite a bit, as well, AMR. Did you hear the William Basinski album? The one with "For David Robert Jones"? The smokey, forlorn saxophone that creeps in about halfway through the song is just awesome. I'm not usually huge on loop-based ambient music, but I listened to A Shadow in Time a lot.

    2. I'm digging this Blanck Mass album. I definitely prefer it to Blanck Mass (which I barely remember) and Slow Focus.
      Takes the abraisiveness of SF with a bit more of that old Surf Solar shimmer that I thought was really from Andrew Weatherall.
      Lots of songs recall things I can't quite place... does "The Rat" resemble Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People"? (A genuine question, I never paid actual attention to anything from MM except that song with the Sneaker Pimps from the Spawn OST.)

  3. I keep freezing when attempting to actually rank stuff, so I just put my 40 favorite albums in alphabetical order.

    A Giant Dog - Toy
    A. Savage - Thawing Dawn
    Adult Mom - Soft Spots
    Aye Nako - Silver Haze
    billy woods - Known Unknowns
    Chastity Belt - I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone
    Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
    Converge - The Dusk in Us
    Couch Slut - Contempt
    Downtown Boys - Cost of Living
    Fitness Womxn - Macho City
    Future/Young Thug - SUPER SLIMEY
    Great Grandpa - Plastic Cough
    Gucci Mane - Droptopwop
    Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds from Another Planet
    Jay Som - Everybody Works
    Jessica Says - Do With Me What U Will
    Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights
    Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
    King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland
    Lars Finberg - Moonlight Over Bakersfield
    Maneka - Is You Is
    Melkbelly - Nothing Valley
    Metz - Strange Peace
    Miguel - War & Leisure
    Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me
    Nadia Reid - Preservation
    The Outfit, TX - Fuel City
    Palehound - A Place I’ll Always Go
    Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps
    Pile - A Hairshirt of Purpose
    Pissed Jeans - Why Love Now
    Priests - Nothing Feels Natural
    (Sandy) Alex G - Rocket
    The Side Eyes - So Sick
    The Spirit of the Beehive - Pleasure Suck
    Unsane - Sterilize
    Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm
    Weaves - Wide Open

    1. Your list is reminding me that I forgot to listen to the new Aye Nako album, but even worse, I forgot to listen to Metz, even though DG specifically reminded me of it.

    2. I didn't feel that Nadia Reid album the same way I did her previous one. But that was a slow grower, so maybe if I keep it on the iPod, it'll eventually gel.

  4. The top of my list looks a bit like nibbish's

    1. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
    2. Gang of Youths - Go Farther in Lightness
    3. Kendrick Lamar - Damn
    4. The National - Sleep Well Beast
    5. Big Thief - Capacity
    6. Fleet Foxes - Crack Up
    7. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
    8. Sylvan Esso - What Now
    9. Moses Sumney - Aromanticism
    10. SZA - CTRL

    Others I liked this year:
    Ha Ha Tonka, Japandroids, Julien Baker, Phoenix

    1. Looks like I've got a couple of albums to check out.

      I definitely did like the SZA that I heard, especially "Drew Barrymore", and "Lonely World" by Moses Sumney is amazing.

    2. Another list with Sylvan Esso!
      I liked this album better than their debut, even if I like the songs less. I got more caught up in the depth of the first album's lyrics and meanings, while I feel these are pretty straightforward. But this sounds better and the two of them are definitely making their parts more cohesive. If you listen really close to "HSKT" from their debut, you can see stitches sticking out from the seams.

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