And so begins another semester. Another awkward introduction at the first tutorial, another dash between classes for a fix of caffeine, and another few months of pretending to have read all the prescribed readings. So before the real stress of the semester begins, I thought I’d share my early favourites of 2017 so you can fill your Spotify for the commutes or study sessions ahead.
Fleet Foxes- Crack Up
On their third LP, Fleet Foxes experiment with structure and depth; resulting in a more dynamic take on their classic sound. It is truly a masterpiece.
Big Thief- Capacity
Big Thief’s second musical gift shows off a sophistication that their first LP somewhat lacked. It’s less fun than Masterpiece, but far more poignant. Tears may ensue.
Mount Eerie- A Crow Looked at Me
This album needs an attached trigger-warning. Phil Elverum provides a depiction of grief and death with no holds barred. After the passing of his wife to cancer, this is Phil Elverum’s diary entry to the world. It’s not a pleasant listen, but it is important. And groundbreaking.
Kendrick Lamar- DAMN
Lamar’s latest is not as approachable as the soul/jazz fusion hits on TPAB. But if you’re in the market for a no-frills rap album with ingenious lyrics, Kendrick has yet again delivered.
Charly Bliss- Guppy
Charly Bliss offers pop-punk-circa-1995 at its finest. Every song on Guppy is infectious. For their first full-length release, they’ve dun’ real good.
Broken Social Scene- Hug of Thunder
I like to think of Broken Social Scene as the lovable parents of the indie world. After twenty-odd years they’re forever changing up their sound, and Hug of Thunder is no different. It’s still so darn good.
Rocket- Alex G
Alex G releases his most accessible album to-date. ‘Rocket’ is filled with earnest folk songs accompanied by fiddles and violins. However, it wouldn’t be an Alex G album without some insanity. Prepare yourselves, it’s great.
Perfume Genius- No Shape
Perfume Genius has created a work of art-pop that explores the exponential beauty in this world. The production on this record is immaculate, and the crescendos are sure to be goosebump-inducing.
Laura Marling- Semper Femina
A stunning record that delves into all facets of femininity. Marling at her finest.
The title speaks for itself: this album is extremely seductive. The track list ranges from party hits to punchy ballads, all sung with Feist’s incredible set of pipes.
Jay Som- Everybody Works
Jay Som provides new meaning to the term ‘bedroom rock’. The 22 year old played every single instrument on her second LP, and somehow creates an incredibly lush and lovable sound.
Girlpool add a drummer on their second full-length album to create another dimension of sound to their stripped back folk-punk sound. The perfect combination of Cleo and Harmony’s voice is still front-and-centre, which is where it needs to be. It’s a short album, but it’s oh-so sweet.
I admit that Pure Comedy is an undertaking, as unlike his debut album, there is little diversification from the classic folk song structure. However, like the almighty Bobby D, Pure Comedy is a piece of lyrical showmanship. It delves into loneliness, fame, greed, and our constant yearning for acceptance in a world of social media. It is an album that defines the technological age.
And the award for biggest disappointment of the year so far goes to…
Arcade Fire- Everything Now
Arcade Fire attempt to channel everything from disco, to reggae, to punk, then back to disco, all accompanied by stale (sometimes problematic) lyrics. The whole record left me confused and uninspired. My love for Arcade Fire is still burning, although the flame is dwindling. I’m just hoping their next release can provide some kindling and a decent splash of kerosene.
Check out any or all of these albums, they may get you through a gruelling assignment or provide you with a perfect soundtrack whilst you walk across campus. It’s been an amazing first half of the year for the music industry, here’s hoping the next half is just as exciting.