Alex’s Top Ten of 2017

November 15, 2017

Alex Epstein

2017 was an awful year for pretty much everybody, but as always, it could have been much worse. It isn’t technically over yet, but I’m planning on sleeping for the next three months, so this couldn’t wait. I spent most of 2017 digging into artists’ back catalogues, but I managed to catch a few new releases. Overall, I give this year an 8.8, mostly because we averted nuclear war, but also because Lorde made “Sober”.

Honourable mentions must go to: Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Arca, Nai Palm, Angel Olsen, St. Vincent, LCD Soundsystem, Sampha, Alex G, and The National, all of whomst’s 2017 albums deserve endless praise. But, you know, it’s subjective, so leave me alone. Here’s to 2017, and here’s hoping 2018 doesn’t cleanse the Earth in nuclear fire. Who knows, though – maybe we’ll get some more jazzy stuff from Regina Spektor.

 

10. Changer – Fred Thomas

If you’re a fan of white angst and talk-singing over distorted guitars, you’ll like this album too. It’s cynical, personal, and seriously groovy. Obsessively produced and catchy stuff.

9. Love What Survives – Mount Kimbie

An entertaining album that breathes lightness, subtlety and poise. Drawing inspiration from dubstep and ambient, Mount Kimbie’s latest is somehow both funky and chill as all hell.

8. Luciferian Towers – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

A great record from the Canadian legends. Slow but monumental, it’s definitely worth a patient listen, even if you’re new to post-rock as a genre. Check out my loquacious exegesis on the first track here!

7. DAMN – Kendrick Lamar

One of the most consistently excellent and interesting artists in hip hop at the moment. DAMN is some truly innovative stuff, but still accessible and infectiously energetic. I hope his annual release schedule continues, because if so, we’re in for a great few years.

6. Melodrama – Lorde

I feel pretty disconnected to most pop music, but this album resonated with me. The way it describes early adulthood feels fresh, modern, and often frighteningly close to home. Not to mention – really danceable.

5. A Crow Looked At Me – Mount Eerie

This album was a tough one to listen to, explicitly dealing with the tragic death of Phil Elverum’s wife in 2016. But Phil is a resolutely shining star of humanity and honesty, and this album is no exception. I wrote about my love of Mount Eerie, including a look at his latest, here.

4. Hug of Thunder – Broken Social Scene

Wrap yourself in this album’s cascading layers of instrumentals, harmonies and fuzzy production. It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since You Forgot It In People, but here we are – and the supergroup has been evolving their sound this whole time.

3. [Assorted] – Twin Peaks

Not strictly an album, but what the hell. These ten singles (so far) just keep rolling in, and each one is an indie gem that invites listen after listen. “Tossing Tears” and “Under The Pines”, in particular, kick ass. No connection to the TV show, though.

2. Mouth Moods – Neil Cicierega

A strange work of postmodern genius came from this young man in January. It’s a surreal pastiche of some of the dumbest and most overplayed tracks of the new millennium. Cicierega breathes new life into these bastard songs and creates something much, much more enjoyable. I lauded Mouth Moods here.

1. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac

What can I say? After 40 years, it still fucking rocks. Happy birthday, Rumours.