As I’ve established, 2017 was a great year for games. But it was also an amazing year for music. I’ve kept a running list of my favourite albums, and it was a constant challenge to constantly have to re-order the list. Overall, I listened to over 40 albums, and whittled them down to my ten favourites. Here we go:
Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life
Wolf Alice’s sophomore sound is more evolution than revolution, however, when their sound was already so good, who can complain? Visions of a Life plays with genres in unexpected ways, and tracks like ‘Yuk Foo’ turn the band’s usual indie rock on its head. It’s not an entirely surprising record, but nonetheless a delightful listen.
Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
This is, without a doubt, the most crushingly real example of how to deal with death that I’ve ever heard. Phil Elverum conveys pain with a poeticism and raw emotion that doesn’t dress up the experience or make it pleasant for the listener. In his own words, “… death is real”. It’s a tough listen, not something for your daily commute or aux cord experience. Rather, it is a rainy day album about the everyday implications of a tragic loss.
Low Roar – Once in a Long, Long While
After rocketing into the limelight thanks to a feature in Hideo Kojima’s recent trailers, Low Roar enjoyed massive critical success with their third album. Ryan’s ethereal vocals, and some well-chosen guest appearances, result in a complex LP that surpasses their already-transcendental discography. It would’ve been easy to cash in on their success with a half-hearted album. Instead, they released something that reaffirms their popularity. ‘Give Me an Answer’ and ‘Bones’ are must-listens from this fantastic release.
Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
Manchester Orchestra have struggled to find their footing in recent years, with Simple Math and Cope resonating with fans but failing to mature their sound. But Black Mile hits the mark in spectacular fashion, with an airy atmosphere and intimate lyricism that demonstrates a massive leap in musical maturity. While it maintains much of Manchester Orchestra’s peppy indie flair, it’s also a darker and decidedly vaster album thats shows how much they have grown as a band over the last three years. ‘The Silence’ and ‘Lead, SD’ are easily two of the best tracks I’ve heard all year.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers
The Canadian post rock collective have been going for more than twenty years now, and their latest work deconstructs the fury and apocalyptic droning they cut their teeth on. It is a beautiful and energetic four-part LP that explores left-wing ideologies and everyday struggle to soar higher than any of the band’s previous material. Rolling strings and swirling horns create a brighter, more hopeful atmosphere than F Sharp or Yanqui, though there is a hole in my heart where the field-recorded audio used to be. ‘Bosses Hang’ and ‘Anthem for No State’ are particular highlights, not just from Luciferian Towers, but Godspeed’s entire catalogue. This is a staggeringly beautiful album, and a personal all-time favourite of mine. Overall, it strays from Godspeed’s staple sound in wholly satisfying ways.
Sikth – The Future in Whose Eyes?
Enter Shikari – The Spark
Lorde – Melodrama
LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
Harry Styles – Harry Styles