Best of 2017

This year has been a really great year for music. There has just been so much fun creativity in the music I have been listening to. I think it’s come with a change in how I listen to music. I used to have music for travelling on public transport for the most part, that seemed to be what dominated my life. However, I got a car this year! Meaning what need music for has changed. I now want more calming music for the car and music to chill out in my house. So I’ve kinda been ignoring the pump up anthems and want more calming relaxing music. Also, as I get deeper into my music reviewing career I’m starting to demand more from music. Either great creativity or brutal honesty, or quite frankly both. I have also stopped trying to keep up with every single release and just relax. As a result I have a much more relaxed position on the state of music. So let’s get into my favourite 20 albums of the year.

20. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound

One of the last albums I got in the year and I’m really happy I did. This album just sounds wonderful. The sweet harmonies and lovely melodies that instantly get lodged in your brain. Jason’s voice is really smooth and pleasant to the ear. This is a great album just to stick on and let your troubles melt away.

19. Need - Hegaiamas: A Song for Freedom

This is definitely one of the most complex and interesting album of the year. The music is so intricately woven and the lyrics are so emotionally powerful, I defy you not to get wrapped up in it. I got to see them live in Canada and the songs sound even better live than on record. This is one of the most exciting prog-rock albums I’ve listened to in a while, and this is coming from someone who is not super into Progressive Rock music.

18. Rex Brown - Smoke On This

I adore this album. Rex Brown is a fantastic song writer and the more I listened to it the more I liked it. This is one of those albums I put on in the car and just drove along to. This is the kind of rock music that I really get behind. That southern rock tone with a bit of a stoner rock edge. Rex has taken everything from his career and applied it to this album. His journey from band man to front man is an interesting one and Smoke On This maybe one of the best albums he’s ever worked on.

17. Paloma Faith - The Architect

I love Paloma Faith. Her voice is just magical and when I heard that she was coming back for a new album, I was more than thrilled. The Architect is an exquisite album filled with catchy and emotional tunes. The single Crybaby was a great single to unleash onto the radio although it’s nowhere near the strongest song on the album. This album is a great listen and I highly recommend this record for those who haven’t it.

16. Skarlett Riot - Regenerate

I’ve been I fan of Skarlett Riot for a long, long time. I’ve already talked about this album at length so I’ll keep it short. This is a great album although I like the EP’s released prior a little more. Regenerate is a fun listen though. I think this band is going from strength to strength. This album really shows off their new style, super tight rhythms and powerful vocals over the top of it. There’s a distinct sense of command and power to this album. Fantastic album with some really great tunes that work well on full blast.

15. Yelawolf - Trials By Fire

This album is a damn masterpiece. I had no idea who Yelawolf even was a few months ago but I am so glad I do now. Trials By Fire is a superb blend of smooth melodies and intense rapping. Yelawolf really has a way around words. His paint pictures with his lyrics and you get where he is coming from on every track. The production is fantastic and I have had such a good time listening to this album. I’d recommend this even if you don’t like rap music.

14. The Dollyrots - Whiplash Splash

Such a fun album that makes me smile every single time I put it on. The choruses are catchy as hell and the music is infectious. Their personalities just shine through here. The Dollyrots come across as people who love making music for people and it makes their music so bright and satisfying to listen to. I love the tunes every time I put this album on I can’t help but sing out loud.Just a fun record, one to check out.

13. Sound of the Sirens - For All Our Sins

I discovered this band when I went to see Kiefer Sutherland live in Manchester. They instantly captured my heart. The harmonies, the acoustics, the song-writing… Everything sounds so damn good. Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood are absolutely amazing vocalists and musicians and I really can’t wait to see them again live. This album is incredible, it’s so nice on the ear, it’s smooth and the acoustics really blend well together. Really go buy this one.

12. Ryan Adams - Prisoner

This was one of the first albums I wanted of the year. Turns out it was one of the last I bought. Still great though. At this point I wouldn’t expect anything less from Ryan. As a songwriter he’s one of my favourites, as a performer he’s simply incredible. Prisoner is another in the fantastic repertoire of music. I’m sure it will go down as another classic from the man. The songs are great and production sounds brilliant. I don’t really need to say anything else about it. Just go get this one.

11. Curse of Lono - Severed

I banged on about this album enough in my review. This album has been so enjoyable all throughout the year. With slow, reflective songs and more uptempo pleasant tunes. There hasn’t felt like a time in the year when I couldn’t put this on. This is just the kind of music that hits me right in the soul. As I said I gushed about this album in my review so check that out for more. Just love this album so much and I can’t wait to hear more from Curse of Lono.

10. Jo Harman - People We Become

This woman’s voice is one of the purest and wondrous in the industry. Fans had been waiting for a new release for her and People We Become was the absolute right answer for the fans. This album is slick and sounds great. I have to say I was really happy with the finished album. Jo’s voice is really nice and the music ranges from twangy blues to big sounding soul music. The lyrics are honest and well written and I just fell in love with the sounds. Really, I implore you to go listen to this album.

09. Fire Red Empress - Black Morphine

It took them long enough! Finally we have an album from Fire Red Empress and I’m incredibly grateful to report that it’s really damn brilliant. The riffs are great, the bass lines are thick and groovy and every song just crushes! Vocalist, Jennifer Diehl is an powerhouse of a singer and adds so much to the bands music. When they released Giants I was excited, then they released Dead Nature and I was even more excited for this album to drop. When It did I must have played it 50 times in a row. This is a fantastic record and if you’re interested in the stoner rock genre this should be in your playlist.

08. Chris Stapleton - From A Room Vol 1 & Vol 2

I really wasn’t able to decide which album was better here but if I had to decide then Volume 1 would have the slight edge. However Volume 2 was so good I decided to put both albums at the number 8 slot. Chris Stapleton is one of the most exciting songwriters in the country music. His voice is elegant and easy to listen to. His writing is so methodical and thought provoking, you always get what he’s trying to put across in his songs. The production is so good that, with a good pair of speakers, you could believe that that band is in the room with you. The From A Room albums are proof that good country music doesn’t always have to be about girl, drinking or driving.

07. Bash & Pop - Anything Can Happen

There’s a Bash & Pop album in 2017. I can’t believe I’m able to say that sentence. After The Replacements reunion finished, Tommy Stinson started work on solo material. After feeling like the music had more of a band vibe he decided to resurrect the Bash & Pop name. The last time Bash & Pop released anything was 1993 and this album feels like something straight from the early 90’s. As soon as I put this record on, I was so happy to hear that the music was the exact style that wanted to hear. Songs like “Not This Time” and “Unfuck You” were fun tunes in that classic early 90’s punk ways. Hopefully I’ll get to see them live in 2018.

06. Perfect Blue Sky - The Eye of Tilos

This is one of the nicest albums of the year. Just nothing but good vibes on this record. This is another albums I constantly came back to throughout the year. Every time I did I was met with these lovely melodies and gorgeous harmonies. It also had a really unique feel to it. I can’t think of anyone who sounds like them at all. It’s just so interesting to listen to. The music has this really pure quality and earthy sounds. I already reviewed this album on Valkyrian Music so go read my review.

05. Lindsay Ell - The Project

This album has been on in my car ever since it came out. Yeah it’s a great album. It’s amazing I’ve not got bored with a single track, even though I’ve overplayed these tunes again and again. I think that’s a testament to good songwriting. The melodies are catchy, the lyrics are good, the production is fantastic, everything on this record is fun and easy to listen to. Lindsay has proven herself as a capable musician and a great songwriter. The Project is an excellent piece of work and I’ve loved listening to it this year.

04. KMFDM - Hell Yeah

Hell Yeah! This album kicks large quantities of ass. It may not be their best work ever but it still is so much fun. The techno beats mixed with the heavy metal really work as they always have when it comes to this band. All of the songs sound really great, especially “Total State Machine”, “Hell Yeah” and “Murder My Heart”. It’s really excellent and the keeps true to their industrial roots as a band. The lyrics hit hard as well with some of their most political words to date. Seriously with Sascha starts screaming “The Government Hates You” you get totally wrapped up in it. This is definitely one of the best albums of the year.

03. Flogging Molly - Life Is Good

One of my favourite bands coming out with a new album will always earn a space on my best of list. Life Is Good is an extremely good record. Probably Flogging Molly’s best album in years, definitely their best since Within A Mile Of Home. Nothing about this production feels wasted for an instant. The album ranges from upbeat tunes to serious ballads and all of them work. No matter what you throw at them they always manage to make some of the best music around.

02. NateWantsToBattle - Sandcastle Kingdoms

I was shocked at how good this album this turned out. As soon as it was announced I immediately preordered it. As as soon as it came I played it on repeat over and over. Every song is enjoyable to the max. It’s an energetic, engaging and entertaining pop-punk album that is well worth a few spins. It’s really cool to see an artist come out that way Nate has and hope it’s something that we get more of. Especially if the quality is this good.

01. Lucy Rose - Something’s Changing

This must the most emotionally driven and most lyrically powerful album I’ve heard in a long time. Lucy Rose is one of the most exquisite and brilliant songwriters working in the music industry today. She make the most beautiful music out there and I think she is really underappreciated. Her music is so finely crafted and it sounds wonderful. It’s been a really long time since an album has driven me to tears but this one did just that. It’s one of those albums that you play and get lost in the music that she creates. Nothing else this year even comes close to the beauty, honesty and musicianship that Lucy put into her music. I could listen to her for hours and never get bored. If there’s one piece of 2017 to take with you, let it be Something’s Changing.