List of stuff I listened to this year, and what I thought of it. Ranges from widely-discussed releases to stuff I had to add to the database myself.
Guitar Module 2017
A maelstrom of overdriven guitar, thunderous drums and layered vocals, Upper Wilds' debut was the biggest surprise of the year for me. Guitar Module 2017 serves up heaps of balls-out energy and bombast, but Dan Friel's ear for infectious melodies keeps the whole thing from feeling too impenetrable. Listen to this album, and listen to it loud.
BEST TRACKS: Roy Sullivan, Chainsaw, UFO
|2||The Mountain Goats|
Holy shit, I've been sleeping on the Mountain Goats HARD. John Darnielle is a master of the kind of bookish, introverted alt-rock I grew up loving and still do, and this album, while slightly unconventional musically, made for a great introduction to the band. Darnielle's lovingly detailed portraits of the 80s Goth scene are a joy to get lost in, and the mellow, jazzy instrumentation makes the whole thing go down smooth.
BEST TRACKS: Andrew Eldritch is Moving Back to Leeds, Rain in Soho, Unicorn Tolerance
What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? It's great- not perfect, not better than TDAGARIM, but still great. Jesse Lacey may be a POS but damn if he can't write great songs.
BEST TRACKS: 137, In the Water, 451
|4||death's dynamic shroud.wmv|
Heavy Black Heart
I became a huge fan of vaporwave this year, and this is some of the best I've heard yet. Heavy Black Heart uses glossy, colorful production and a massive array of seamlessly integrated samples to build on vaporwave's quirks and idiosyncrasies and create something that truly transcends the genre's meme origins.
BEST TRACKS: Life Should Be Easy, Tell Me Your Secret, South God Queen
Half an hour of raw, noisy aggression, bolstered by a ridiculously tight rhythm section.
BEST TRACKS: Sheepsquid, Ms. Wakefield, New No. 1
I've had a huge soft spot for Canker Blossom since I discovered them on Reverbnation in high school. While I was disappointed that their move to local label Snubbed Records didn't result in any kind of increase in production quality (The drums actually sound worse here than on their 2 self-released albums), their signature brand of catchy, down-to-earth pop punk is still fully intact, and some subtle additions to their sound- some synths here and there, more full-sounding group vocals, etc- kept In Space from feeling like a total stagnation.
BEST TRACKS: High School Cheerleader, Vermont, Dipshit
Emperor of Sand
Love it or hate it, you can't deny that Emperor of Sand is a Mastodon album.
BEST TRACKS: Steambreather, Jaguar God, Word to the Wise
Great little slice of 80-influenced indie pop, I dig how all the tracks flow into each other and how cohesive the whole thing is.
BEST TRACKS: Lazarus, Working Stiff, Right Now
|9||King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard|
This would probably place higher on the list but I haven't really had time to fully digest it yet. It's just so trippy & groovy and strange and awesome.
BEST TRACKS: Crumbling Castle, Horology, The Castle in the Air
|10||The Flaming Lips|
One of the Lips' most inconsistent offerings to date, this album has some very nice dreamy, creamy psychedelia to offer, but given the dizzying heights Coyne and co. have reached in the past, Oczy's overall pleasantness comes off as a bit of a letdown.
BEST TRACKS: The Castle, We a Famly, How??
Wow, I did not listen to much hip-hop this year... This was p good though, the intelligent lyricism and smooth instrumentals make it an easy listen, despite the array of difficult topics Oddisee discusses here.
BEST TRACKS: You Grew Up, Things, NNGE
Okay, so this band is pretty much Nerf Herder, but slightly more focused on the D&D/Harry Potter/LotR brand of nerdiness. If the fact that this album has a song called "Wingardium Levio-Shut Up" makes you want to listen to this, chances are you'll dig it, but anyone not already acquainted with the stuff they're referencing might be left a little cold.
BEST TRACKS: Remodeled Dungeon, Dumped By Your Cleric
The instrumentation on this album is very sparse, but it's made up for by sublime vocal arrangements and quality pop songcraft. It's basically like if Lorde was 2 American sorority girls.
BEST TRACKS: Father, Kai's Song
|14||The Luxembourg Signal|
Eminently enjoyable shoegaze-y dream pop.
BEST TRACKS: Fall Feeling, Laura Palmer, Atomic No. 10
|15||Walk the Moon|
What If Nothing
Overall, a decent pop album. I think "One Foot" might be my favorite WtM song to date. Most of the other tracks hover somewhere around "fine".
BEST TRACKS: One Foot, Kamikaze
|16||Tupper Ware Remix Party|
Yay for synthy '80s-fetishism! s/o to Dino Jones for reccing me this
BEST TRACKS: Body Image, Ladyworld
|17||Bed Wettin' Bad Boys|
At its best, sounds like The Replacements at their peak. At its worst, sounds like they're ripping off The Replacements at their peak.
BEST TRACKS: Plastic Tears, Stunned, Victoria
A Black Mile to the Surface
This album asks the question "How good can a generic indie album be while still remaining a generic indie album?". The answer, it turns out, is quite.
BEST TRACKS: The Grocery, Lead SD
butcherboy said it best: "It’s nothing they haven’t done before and done considerably better. And given that their halcyon days are rounding the twenty-year mark, that’s as inspired as one can reasonably expect Rancid to sound today."
BEST TRACK: Ghost of a Chance
The Blood of Gods
Surprise surprise, GWAR without Dave Brockie (RIP) isn't as good as GWAR with Dave Brockie (RIP). But the good news is that, non-ironic surprise surprise, returning Slave Pit veteran Mike Bishop has a decent voice for hammy, Motorhead-style rawk 'n' roll. Shame they still seem to be trying to be a thrashy comedy metal band half the time.
BEST TRACKS: Viking Death Machine, I'll Be Your Monster
I would pay good money to ensure I never have to hear "Chemistry" again for the rest of my life.
BEST TRACKS: Creature Comfort, Infinite Content
Feels more like a collection of unreleased tracks Damon Albarn produced, and occasionally sang on, for other artists than a Gorillaz album proper. Sure, it has its 'momentz' (and how could it not, with a tracklist that long?), but overall this is the first time a Gorillaz album has been exactly as unfocused and scattershot as its list of collaborators makes it sound.
BEST TRACKS: Let Me Out, Saturnz Barz, She's My Collar
|23||Foster the People|
Sacred Hearts Club
I enjoyed FtP's first two albums more than most of y'all did, and even I can't find much to like about this one. (it also doesn't help that they abandoned the cool art style of their first two albums in favor of hip-looking photos of themselves standing in a hallway)
BEST TRACKS: Lotus Eater, Static Space Lover
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Red Pill Blues
I'm 1ing all their albums until they change their name to accurately reflect how many members are actually in the band. Oh and also because I feel pretty confident in assuming their albums will continue to be as dogshit as this one is.