Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Music Retrospective

This being the wind-down part of the year, I figure I should engage in some year-end retrospectives. 2017 has been a pretty horrible year in many ways, but it was a damn fine year for music. I figure I'd take some time to post some of my favorite singles from the year.

The National, originally from Cincinnati, but now making Brooklyn their home, released the album Sleep Well Beast in September. The first single from the album, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, released in May, is a moody masterpiece of a song, with lyrics that hint at hidden layers of meaning... this song gives me goosebumps:

Australia's Courtney Barnett and Philadelphia's Kurt Vile released an album of droll duets- their combination of deadpan snark and cute lyrics is a real delight. My favorite song of theirs is Continental Breakfast, I crack up every time I hear Ms Barnett sing about 'East Bumble-wherever':

I posted earlier this year about LCD Soundsystem's Tonite, a bit of droll media commentary disguised as a hot electronic dance track:

Sunflower Bean, another Brooklyn-based band that came to my attention last year released the single I Was a Fool, a 70s vintage sounding single with a video in which lead singer Julia Cumming trades her Gorey-esque image for an entirely more sultry one, more Deborah Harry than Wednesday Addams:

I'd have to say, though, that my favorite album of the year has to be Antisocialites, the sophomore album by Canadian band Alvvays. This album is a gorgeous bit of power-pop reminiscent of a lot of late 80s, early to mid 90s British 'shoegaze' bands. Listening to the band, I hear echoes of my beloved Shop Assistants, and the band invokes Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain in their song Lollipop (Ode to Jim):

The entire record is fantastic, with the opener In Undertow being a glorious combination of lush vocals and fuzz-laden guitars:

Plimsoll Punks is an uptempo number with an immediately catchy chorus:

As if the band read my mind about their sound being reminiscent of The Shop Assistants, they covered post-Shop Assistants Alex Taylor project Motorcycle Boy's Trying to Be Kind:

Even better, the band showcased their sense of humor by covering the Ramones' Cretin Hop:

This is a band which can do no wrong, and I have been compulsively listening to both of the albums for the past two weeks. Like I said, it's been a crap year in a lot of ways, but a great year musically.


Harry Hamid said...

I'd heard of, but I don't think I'd ever actually heard The National before, which seems odd, since they are well-known enough to be appearing on CBS This Morning. I'm going to dig into them a little more now.

I know Alvvays ended up on a lot of year-end lists, but I'll give their album a whirl now, too.

It was a great year for music. Probably the best in half a decade for me. Rock might not matter to mainstream culture anymore, but it has a lot of life left in it.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Great year for music, but a bad year for just about everything else.