2017 has been an incredible year for music with so many must-have EPs and albums. Big names like Ryan Adams, The National and British Sea Power released their best new material in years while the likes of BSM, Holy Roar and Specialist Subject Records helped ensure the independent scene continued to thrive.
Below are our favourite five albums from 2017, in no particular order…
Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Stranger in the Alps’
One of the discoveries of the year, Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album was released on Dead Oceans to huge acclaim and followed an EP on Ryan Adams’ label. Phoebe has toured the States with Conor Oberst and this record is filled with the same kind of honest and compelling storytelling he’s so admired for. There’s also a wicked streak of humour running throughout as Phoebe shares her innermost thoughts, ranging from being a murderer to giving respectful nods to Lemmy and David Bowie.
Everything Everything – ‘A Fever Dream‘
Everyone’s favourite purveyors of art pop came back with a bang and continued their rise to arena-sized venues. ‘A Fever Dream’ found Jonathan Higgs being more open than ever before as he rallied against Brexit and the divides that are sadly now defining our nation. From the gonzo disco of ‘Can’t Do’ to the pure anthemic sounds of ‘Desire’ and the slow-burning nature of the title track, this is the sound of a band who want to make a difference while making you think and dance.
St. Vincent – ‘Masseduction’
Annie Clark’s fifth St. Vincent album was a melting pot of genres, shreds and enigmatic observations about people, places and passionate sex. The record varies from avant-garde DIY and trashy-sounding electro punk to powerful piano ballads about New York and forgotten friends – and, of course, plenty of heavy riffs. The album is accompanied by a live show that everyone ended talking about, confirming Annie as one of the most important and captivating artists around.
Sl0tface – ‘Try Not to Freak Out’
Sl0tface’s debut LP followed a string of damn fine singles and EPs, festival appearances and support slots to The Cribs, The Wombats and Los Campesinos! Short and sweet, it was instantly relatable with Haley Shea talking about feelings, anxiety and nostalgia amidst pop culture references. That this was all over short and sharp punk hooks and there was also a sense of fun – especially on the closing song ‘Backyard’, which invited you on an adventure with the Norwegian four-piece to find ‘DINOSAURS IN DARK’.
Tall Ships – ‘Impressions‘
Tall Ships’ second album was full of big, intelligent hooks, singalong moments and lyrics that tackle all of life’s big issues. Although the record turned out to be their swansong, poignant anthems like ‘Home’ and the thunderous earworm of ‘Will to Life’ make it clear that Tall Ships will sail on in our hearts forever more.
Also highly recommended: Cassels – ‘Epithet‘, Liam Gallagher – ‘As You Were’, Kamikaze Girls – ‘Seafoam’, Jamie Lenman – ‘Devolver’, Peter Silberman – ‘Impermanence‘, Good Good Blood – ‘Sun of a Gun‘, Matt Emery – ‘Empire‘, Tom Rogerson and Brian Eno – ‘Finding Shore’, Human Pyramids – ‘Home‘, Perfume Genius – ‘No Shape’, Julien Baker – ‘Turn Out the Lights‘, Lomelda – ‘Thx‘, CHUCK – ‘Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store‘, Luke Sital-Singh – ‘Time is a Riddle‘, The Physics House Band – ‘Mercury Fountain‘, Joe Booley – ‘Transformations‘, Smidley – ‘Smidley‘, Diet Cig – ‘Swear I’m Good at This‘, Tim Kasher – ‘No Resolution’ , Lorde – ‘Melodrama’, Laura Marling – ‘Semper Femina’, Idles – ‘Brutalism’, Los Campesinos! – ‘Sick Scenes‘, Space Blood – ‘Tactical Chunder‘, Marika Hackman – ‘I’m Not Your Man’, Dutch Uncles – ‘Big Balloon’.