For those of you even half as excited to learn about good new music as I am, here is the rest of the best of 2017. First, the honorable mentions (#11-25, not ranked but in alphabetical order), and then the rest of the ~70 records that had enough going for them for me to hold onto them and give a shit for an entire year. Enjoy!
#11-25: Honorable Mentions
Bully – Losing
Scream-happyy, riffy, punky pop-rock that packs a punch. Alicia reminds one of a modern-day Kurt Cobain or Chris Cornell: not afraid to strain her vocal chords or your eardrums, not that you’ll mind a bit.
Cold War Kids – LA Divine
As they continue to step closer and closer to the pop realm, these personal favorites have yet to leave me behind. Solid, albiet inconsistent, record set as an homage to their SoCal hometown.
Deer Tick – Volumes 1-2
John McCauley and company are kings of crafting sleazy yet catchy rock songs, but on this double-LP they show more potential then results. A disappointment from a personal favorite, this still has enough going for it to satisfy the eardrums.
Liam Gallagher – As You Were
The other half of Oasis finally goes solo, and he gets it right immediately. Although his brother Noel’s 2017 record was better, Liam can definitely say he started his solo career at a higher place than Noel did.
Noah Gundersen – White Noise
Young and talented songwriter and guitar player who has a bright future ahead, and also has not one or two but three worthy musician siblings. Look out for the Gundersens in the years to come.
Humming House – Companion
Is this Saint Motel? Is this an Andrew Bird side project? Nope, it is just a solid band that I was ignorant to until a few months ago. Fans of well-written pop-rock will enjoy this set. Fans of more folk-bluegrass style tunes will enjoy their debut.
Hurray for the Riff Raff- The Navigator
Alynda Segarra left home as a teen and has travelled and hobo-ed her way across the country for a decade, honing her chops and writing songs along the way. Although her previous efforts were worthwhile, she finally broke free on this soulful and catchy folk-rock gem last year.
Jason Isbell & 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
Everyone’s favorite former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell has made a name in his own right, both as a musician and songwriter. Although this one is not his best, it qualifies as solid listening and a country-Americana highlight.
Kevin Morby – City Music
Kevin’s goofy songwriting and casual, mumbly vocal delivery always make me happy, and this record is no different. Keep it coming Kevin.
Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child
Singing about age, life’s lessons, and the media’s seemingly endless portrayal of his (untrue) death, Willie delivers a classic that is at times sincere and heartbreaking and at other times tongue-in-cheek hilarity.
Sam Outlaw – Tenderheart
Country music is full of guys who want to party, dance, and drink a six-pack in their pickup truck. Sam would rather carry the torch for the genuine country-western songwriters of an older era, with mixed results.
Roadkill Ghost Choir – False Youth Etcetera
Equal parts slacker rock and southern soul-rock, these boys continue to release worthwhile music without getting any attention or respect. Keep it up, fellas, your time will come.
The Secret Sisters – You Don’t Own Me Anymore
It broke my heart to leave this one off the Top Ten list. Beautiful, gorgeous melodies and vocal performances by these ladies, complete with one of the year’s best songs: “He’s Fine”.
Shinyribs – I’ve Got Your Medicine
If you don’t like Shinyribs, or don’t know Kevin Russell, it is high time you learn. Whether with his former band The Gourds, or his newer iteration, Shinyribs, Kevin gives us a fresh take on southern R&B/country, never afraid to make us laugh or cry, sometimes in the same song. Plus, copious horns. Horns, I say!
Timber Timbre – Sincerely, Future Pollution
I read a review for this record that called it Taylor Kirk’s Pink Floyd album, and well, that is fair. Synths abound, even more than your usual TT release. The highlights are very high: “Velvet Gloves & Spit”, “Grifting”, “Western Questions” all stand up to their previous three albums, but unfortunately there are missteps also, and the album feels more like an EP than a full-fledged LP.
The rest… (In no particular order)
Infamous Stringdusters – Laws of Gravity
Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life
Horse Thief – Trials & Truths
Surfer Blood – Snowdonia
Fred Eaglesmith – Standard
Old 97s – Graveyard Whistling
Bob Dylan – Triplicate
Chris Shifflet – West Coast Town
Nappy Roots – Another 40 Akerz
Incubus – 8
Gorillaz – Humanz
Old Crow Medicine Show – 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde (Live)
Mark Lanegan – Gargoyle
At The Drive-In – Interalia
Mac Demarco – This Old Dog
Spoon – Hot Thoughts
Seether – Poison the Parish
Oceans Are Zeroes – Oceans Are Zeroes
Left Lane Cruiser – Claw Machine Wizard
Govt Mule – Revolution Come, Revolution Go…
Steve Earle – So You Wanna Be An Outlaw
Jeff Tweedy – Together At Last
Rozwell Kid – Precious Art
Violent Femmes – 2 Mics and the Truth (Live)
Waxahatchie – Out in the Storm
Blacktop Mojo – Burn the Ships
Cage the Elephant – Unpeeled (Live)
Together Pangea – Bulls and Roosters
Jack Johnson – All the Light Above It Too
The National – Sleep Well Beast
Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
Josh Ritter – The Gathering
Pearl Jam – Let’s Play Two (Live)
Midland – On the Rocks
The Len Price 3 – Kentish Longtails
Silver Torches – Let It Be A Dream
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
Robert Plant – Carry Fire
Blitzen Trapper – Wild and Reckless
Big Head Todd & the Monsters – New World Arisin’
Langhorne Slim – Lost At Last Vol 1
LP – Lost on You
Neil Young & Promise of the Real – The Visitor
Eminem – Revival
Here’s to more great music in 2018!
Thanks for reading.