Once again it has been one hell of a year! And once again I mean that in the absolute best and absolute worst of ways for 2017. When everything around us fell apart we had some AMAZING music to help see us through it all. There were so many top-notch albums and EPs released in 2017 which made the year more tolerable than it otherwise should have been. When all else fails at least we have music!
These albums and EPs listed below are highlights in a standout crowd of bands and musicians that made it yet another great year for music lovers like you and me! All of this music made me so very happy this year… and I hope these songs bring some happiness to you as well. Enjoy!
Nikki Lane – Highway Queen
Nashville’s Nikki Lane could release a record where she sings the menu items at Denny’s and I would listen to it over and over because she is just that damn good. Fortunately for all of us Nikki and her fantastic band put more effort into their music than that and Lane’s third album, Highway Queen, released on February 17th, is simply outstanding!
Peach Pit – Being So Normal
Vancouver band Peach Pit formed in 2016 and released their debut full-length album, Being So Normal, just one year later on September 15th, 2017 …and I haven’t stopped listening since! It is an indie-pop masterpiece from front to back. It has everything you need! Dance vibes? Check. Tight hooks? Check. 1960’s-style melodies? Check. Jangly guitars? Checkmate!
St. Vincent – Masseduction
No surprise here if you follow Music Savage’s weekly Hot Takes posts, as we are all pretty big fans of postmodern rock star Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent. Her fifth studio album,
Masseduction, released October 13, is one that I couldn’t get enough of this year. St. Vincent creates music that is otherworldly and ahead of it’s time. She’s been doing that for years now but it is still incredible every single time.
Dan Blakeslee & The Calabash Club – The Alley Walker
The once Somerville, Massachusetts now Providence, Rhode Island-based musician Dan Blakeslee and his incredible band The Calabash Club released The Alley Walker on August 18th and I instantly fell in love with it on the very first play. Blakelsee is a troubadour’s troubadour and his storytelling in song cannot be surpassed. The Alley Walker takes you on a musical journey you will want to embark on time and time again.
Beck – Colors
Good lord I waited a long time for this album, as did the rest of the music loving world. The first single was released all the way back in 2015 and we didn’t know of the record release date until this past summer! After all the build up, Colors, made it’s splash down on October 13th and there was much rejoicing! It is super funky, dance-tastic, and a whole helluva lot of fun. Here’s to hoping we get word of a tour in 2018.
Deer Tick – Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
Providence, Rhode Island based band Deer Tick released not one but TWO stellar albums and although they are different in sound and style I celebrate them both as a collection of music that represents the band’s collective soul. On September 15th Deer Tick fans were presented with Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, their 6th & 7th studio albums, and both delivered the goods! Vol. 1 is a collection of beautifully structured acoustic songs, while Vol. 2 hits you hard with undeniable electric energy. Both albums have become a permanent part of my life.
Margo Price – All American Made
Margo Price’s sophomore album, All American Made, released on October 20th, is the perfect follow up to the Nashville musician’s 2016 debut, with the first album being a raucous and rowdy introduction to the up-and-coming country superstar, and her new album refocusing that energy on issues plaguing the heartland and asking how can we make this world a better place? It is a passionate collection of music that is politically focused but never points the finger at any one in particular. In my opinion, All American Made, is the best country album of the year.
Spoon – Hot Thoughts
Spoon’s ninth studio album was released on March 17th and took the music world by storm with a supercharged sound delivering a sonic assault to your senses from the first track to the last. I have had the album’s title-track stuck in my head since it was released as the first single back in January, and I am pretty OK with that to this day. The songs are funky and vibrant and lyrically phenomenal! Hot Thoughts is everything you could ask for in a Spoon album and more.
Christopher Paul Stelling – Itinerant Arias
Christopher Paul Stelling’s fourth album, Itinerant Arias, was released on May 5th and instantly became one of the best of 2017. There isn’t much more I can say about this one other than I love love love love love love love love love love love love love LOVE it from start to finish. The emotions that pour through the speakers are forceful enough to knock you around the room as he dives head first into the murky waters of our current political landscape. Stelling and his superb band have created a powerful album that shines a much needed light on the souls of those in power who dare to divide us with divisive rhetoric.
Elizabeth & the Catapult – Keepsake
Brooklyn’s Elizabeth Ziman creates her music as Elizabeth & The Catapult and released her highly anticipated fourth studio album, Keepsake, on October 20th, and it is a collection of dreams in song for two reasons. One is that the musician was inspired to write the album using the journal she keeps to capture her lucid dreams. Also because it is quite simply a dreamy album, both lyrically and musically. Ziman is a master song-writer who uses the many ups and downs of life to capture the essence of what it means to actually be alive. Keepsake is one of those albums that you find something new to love with every listen, making it an actual keepsake in the very meaning of the word.
There were also so many EPs released this year that were truly extraordinary! Here are my favorites of 2017.
Floco Torres – again
Ohio-based musician Floco Torres released his smashing EP, again, on July 7th and it was my summertime jam! It is one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, or of any year for that matter, and if there is any justice in the music world Floco Torres will one day be a household name.
False Heads – Gutter Press
I love every track on UK trio False Heads’ debut EP, Gutter Press, released March 10th. The trio have redefined the idea of punk rock, turning the genre on its head and giving it a swift kick in the arse. False Heads don’t give a shit about conforming to the stale views of punk and have taken the tried and true up yours attitude to new levels of ferocious sound and fury.
Aly & AJ – Ten Years
It took ten long years for the California duo to rediscover their love of music after the disingenuous business side took its toll, but thankfully the talented sisters came back swinging with, Ten Years, which was released on November 17th. It only contains four songs but each one is a dance-tastic gem! I am looking forward to hearing more from them in 2018.
Basement Revolver – Agatha
Hamilton, Ontario trio Basement Revolver made quite an impact on the shoegaze scene with the release of their fantastic EP, Agatha, on July 21st. The recent college grads sophomore effort is a four-song stunner! Vocalist Chrissy Hurn can melt an icy heart (even in the dead of winter) with her captivating voice, while bandmates Nimal Agalawatte and Brandon Munro weave a delicate reverb garden of sound around the powerful lyrics. It was love at first listen with this EP!