|Ashcrash's Half-Bash (2017)|
It's that time of year again: the heat is increasingly dreadful, bugs are fucking everywhere, and Sput's charts still haven't updated to the current year, leaving us all hapless as we struggle to find the best of the best in new jams. Will you get those here? Sorta. Some, maybe. All I know is my ultimate goal each is year to listen to at least 100 new albums, and for once my procrastination didn't get the best of me and I've actually reached something close to the halfway point before July. Below is everything from 2017 I've given a full listen to. Hopefully I can promote some stuff you may not have heard. Entries are VERY loosely ranked. Cheers!
Electronic/pop: sowing I love you but you straight-up need your hearing checked for giving this a 4.7 jesus christ, take care of yourself
Math rock: Any "cool summer breeziness" this should have is counteracted by the fact that all their prior work felt fresher, more passionate, and more addictive. Add the electronic elements and this was a huge swing and a miss for me.
I Swear I'm Good At This
Indie pop: Hop Along minus the everything that makes Hop Along so special.
Drone: I saw this listed somewhere as singer-songwriter, but don't let that fool you, it's a droner, and not an interesting one at that.
Shoegaze: Can't even remember this tbh (sorry, Con). will jam again at some point, but that's not a great sign.
Pop punk: Forgettable, run-of-the-mill stuff. Not an offense to humanity by any stretch of the imagination though.
|44||Mouse on the Keys|
Out of Body
Jazz/experimental: I love this goddamn band and they're a blast live (saw 'em in March), but the studio versions of these songs are a snooze.
Pop/hip-hop: Some good stuff, some terrible stuff, a lot of mediocre filler.
One More Light
Pop: I really didn't hate this as much as most people did, but even the good tracks aren't anything revolutionary.
Melodic hardcore: Watered-down Rise Against, the sequel. Or threequel. Or possibly even longer, depending on when this band started failing you.
Bear Your Mind
Emo: Not gonna lie, all I can remember about this is that I jammed it, Diet Cig, and Remo Drive almost back-to-back and this one stuck out as the most accomplished. Solid instrumentation, but they could find a more original identity, for sure.
Post rock: Still waiting for the day when té make another solid full album. Their last few efforts have been kinda middle-of-the-road, and this EP is at least decent enough to justify a listen, but I know they can do better.
Ty Segall (2017)
Garage rock: Really loved the opening run, kinda fell off for me a bit on the back half. Some good guitar jams, from what I recall.
|37||Cigarettes After Sex|
Cigarettes After Sex
Shoegaze: Consistent, hazy, but otherwise kinda un-noteworthy dream pop.
|36||The Mountain Goats|
Indie folk: This was alright, I guess. I really don't get the hype with this band. Pleasant background music, will probably revisit later to see if I can hone in on what I'm apparently missing here.
|35||The Echelon Effect|
Post-rock: Generic post-rock that doesn't do anything exceptionally good or bad, pt. 1
There is no Stillness
Post-rock: Generic post-rock that doesn't do anything exceptionally good or bad, pt. 2
Indie folk: Gonna have to give this a more thorough lyrical listen, but I already wanted to like it more than Masterpiece, so that's a start. Excited to give this another shot soon.
Pop: Half this record is fabulous. The other half is forgettable at best or hideous at worst. Not the best conclusion, but hey, the good cuts at least make a solid makeshift EP.
Post-punk/math rock: Whoops, forgot to put this higher, but I'm still digesting it so w/e. Good experimental, dissonant rock.
Grunge/shoegaze: Great local band tearin' it up. Give 'em some support!
Out of the Blue
Instrumental rock: Solid jams, nice psych influences, it riffs pretty well. Doesn't establish a character all its own by any stretch of the imagination, but it's still a good time.
|28||Stevens / Dessner / Muhly / McAlister|
Experimental/art pop/drone: Inconsistent as fuck, but despite the aimless floating, they more or less pull off the concept here. If some of its individual parts and weaker stretches were edited a bit, this could place much higher. A frustrating listen, no doubt, but "Mercury" is a Song of the Year contender so at least check that out.
Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
Indie rock: To me this band has always been a silly, indulgent pleasure, and while I understand why the slowed tempos might be a hurdle to some looking for the fire they brought on records past, Near... feels like as fun a time as they've ever done. A true change-up would be nice for LP4 though.
Made Of Breath Only
Post-rock: Some proggier elements thrown into the mix this time, but it's otherwise a fairly par-for-the-course effort for Sleepmakeswaves.
|25||At the Drive-In|
Post-hardcore: I don't think any of us were honestly expecting something RoC-tier, and I for one still love most of this for what it is. A few superfluous tracks probably could've been cut, but most of Inter alia jams hard.
Two Parts Viper
Metalcore: It's got that angular Scogin sound we all know and love. Concise too, which is personally a plus for me with this type of music. If you're lookin' for the riffs, look no further.
|23||King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard|
Murder Of The Universe
Garage rock: Still yet to get around to their highly-acclaimed album from last year, but if it sounds anything like this, it'll be a fucking trip when I do. 40-odd minutes of badass, campy rock. Can't wait to see what else the band has up its sleeve this year.
Indie rock/pop: More electronic elements and other unexpected risks at play here than on previous Spoon records, but the band still mostly just do what they do best; hooky, sharp indie pop. T/t is phenomenal.
|21||Do Make Say Think|
Stubborn Persistent Illusions
Post-rock: It's an elusive post-rock record, always flitting in and out of focus, but it's consistently pretty and contains a few of the finest post-rock tracks I've heard in a while in its second half.
Folk: The soundscapes on here are absolutely stunning, but it can get a bit aimless, especially towards the end. Still, some of the best folk tracks of the year are on here, and it's certainly worth some of its hype.
The Nashville Sound
Country/americana: Just got into Drive-By Truckers last year and this was my first Isbell record, but it immediately impressed. You can really feel the heart in this. Don't overlook it.
Indie pop: Foxing frontman Conor Murphy makes a fuzzy, dorky, pop record without sacrificing his distinct lyricism, knack for brass additions, or honesty. A surprising success.
Hip-hop/soul: Another record I've really gotta listen to again, but I loved the diversity on this. Some bangers, some soothers, all top notch.
Reflections of a Floating World
Prog/stoner metal: Really wanted to love this as much as Lore, but its predecessor is just too damn good. Not to throw too much shade on this though; still definitely worth a listen for both metalheads and the less initiated.
The Following Mountain
Folk: A very earthy, hypnotic record that makes up for its brief runtime and hit-or-miss second-half experiments with some of the most gorgeous, "don't fix what ain't broken" folk tracks I've heard in a while.
|14||The Smith Street Band|
More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me
Pop punk: No topical curveballs here, but Wil and co. persevere with (yet again) some of the best tracks they've ever released and a handful of other solid cuts, with only one or two clunkers.
|13||Captain, We're Sinking|
The King of No Man
Emo: This literally came out like 8 hours ago, but that's enough time to listen once and have your fear that their follow-up for The Future is Cancelled would be a total flop demolished. A couple "eh" tracks on the first half but once it gets going, the band delivers much more strongly than I thought they would with this.
Prog rock: A winding, almost consistent to a fault selection of twinkly ballads and heart-racers. Anathema is as Anathema does.
Shoegaze: Hey, guys. Remember Slowdive? So do they. About as solid a comeback record as you could ask for.
Beyond Death Beyond Reason
Math rock/prog metal: A very promising, eclectic debut EP that balances technicality and emotion perfectly. Fans of instrumental rock would be remiss if they skipped this.
Alt rock/shoegaze: My first time listening to Ride. While I can't compare this to their back-catalogue, this sure was a gorgeous, surprisingly versatile effort that I have the hunch I'll be revisiting a lot over the summer.
Jazz-hop/soul: Adorably earnest, chill, and clever, Coyle-Larner pretty easily has the best debut of the year so far.
|7||Portugal. The Man|
Pop: The band's trajectory has been leaning closer to pop with each passing album, and after a lengthy, overthought break, the band return with all the catchiness of Evil Friends and an even more prominent focus on weird textures and beats.
A Crow Looked At Me
Folk: Between Benji, Carrie & Lowell, and Skeleton Tree, the last few years have been packed with painfully intimate, instrumentally sparse records about death, but A Crow Looked at Me takes the cake as far as the feels go. Not an easy ride or something I'll revisit often (if at all), but it's nonetheless a must-listen.
Life Without Sound
Indie rock: Cloud Nothings tones the pace and ferocity back a bit, but for an album almost solely consisting of mid-tempo, orthodox indie songs, it's still a blast and a half.
After the Party
Pop punk: Always felt like these guys were a bit overrated, but After the Party has had a surprising amount of replay value and somehow seems to get better in different areas with every listen. Consistent and catchy as fuck.
Math rock: I reviewed this, just check that: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/73765/Tricot-3/
Hip-hop: This is an alluring hodgepodge of ideas and motifs that don't come together the way GKMC or TPAB do, but it's almost more enticing because of it. It's more immediate than your average Kendrick but also plays hard to get, and I admire that.
Indie pop: witty, verbose lyrics, delightful lo-fi-ish production, killer melodies, this thing is a perfect storm of relatable downers and upbeat anthems. Even if it's not the most original album stylistically, it's by far the one I've listened to most this year, and that's gotta count for something.