MY TEN FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2017
(IN NO PARTICULAR HIERARCHY)
/// King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard w/ Mild High Club - Sketches Of East Brunswick
I feel like I initially connected with this album on an almost unconscious level and eventually attributed this seemingly arbitrary connection to being a child raised on the soundscapes presented by late 70's/early 80's Sesame Street. When those flute jams, driving bass, steady drums, and field recordings hit my brain it stirs the deep recesses of my memory.
/// Nick Hakim - Green Twins
Neo Soul will always move forward in its many forms and for some reason, I seem to gravitate towards it more as I grow older. Nick Hakim hit that sweet spot for me in 2017 while still mixing in enough contemporary production choices to keep Soul from getting stale.
/// Bibio - Phantom Brickwork
It would not be unfair to label this as "background music" and I rarely find such minimalist creations to be top ten material, but the haunting beauty of Phantom Brickwork quietly commanded my attention. This latest release from the already eclectic catalog of Bibio proves that he will continue to explore new sonic territory and do it well.
/// Real Estate - In Mind
I always considered the guitar work of Matt Mondanile to be at the heart of what I loved about Real Estate, so I didn't have high hopes for the first record made without him. It turns out I was wrong, and that this band will continue to support my breeziest of daydreams with or without Mondanile.
/// The Ruby Suns - Sprite Fountain
Sprite Fountain feels like a return to the eclectic spread that made Sea Lion one of my favorite albums of the oughts. Though it feels like a new and different spread, it is still filled with mid-summer jams that always perfectly compliment bike rides along the river.
/// Blanck Mass - World Eater
I can't ever recall enjoying literal noise, which is what comprises the first third of the outstanding suite on World Eater called Minnesota/ Eas Fors/ Naked. This album is a pretty bizarre and intense journey that seemed to connect with the dark and conflicted side of my 2017.
/// Oh Sees - Orc
I haven't fully embraced a good old fashioned garage rock record in years and it probably shouldn't surprise me that Oh Sees (AKA Thee Oh Sees) were the band to deliver. I've always enjoyed their prolific output and it feels like Orc brought it altogether and rocked my socks off.
/// Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins
I think that Grizzly Bear's craftsmanship and ornate soundscapes have become a little under appreciated through the years. Upon the first few listens of Painted Ruins, I lazily thought, "Yep... sounds like another Grizzly Bear record," but with continued spins, I became reacquainted with the depth of layers and texture that create a signature sound that I truly do appreciate.
/// Kelly Lee Owens - Self Titled
These dark, slow, thumping tracks pulled me through the rainy mist of Olympia for several months. Pure mood and palpable atmosphere are what made Kelly Lee Owens a force to be reckoned with in 2017.
/// Sun Glitter - IT WILL BE FOREVER
I enjoy this album simply because it almost instantly transports me to peak summer heat. If the chill of winter is getting to me or cabin fever is setting in, this album is my antidote.
::: || HONORABLE MENTIONS || :::
Photay - Onism
It can be hard to stand out in the world of electronica these days and Photay managed to do that for me by putting a little ultra-modern boogie in my step.
Moses Sumney - Aromanticism
This is a thoughtful cinematic journey that I am still revisiting and unraveling.
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Man...they did it again.
Tispur - Sleepy Creature
There is a certain magic found in this record hiding among the cottonwoods of the Boise River.
Sylvan Esso - What Now
This is a great follow-up to their first release, building and expanding on a sound that continues to feel like a unique take on dance music.
::: || SOME OF MY FAVORITE SONGS OF 2016 || :::
Alvvays - Dreams Tonite
Sun Airway - Small Fires
Shabazz Palaces - Shine A Light
Moses Sumney - Doomed
Real Estate - After the Moon
Milo - Paging Mr. Bill Nunn
Au.Ra - Applause
Oddisee - NNGE
Lowly - Deer Eyes
Phoenix - J-Boy