December 31, 2017

Larson's Top 15 Albums from 2017

Tei Shi - Crawl Space         
I saw Tei Shi open for Grimes in 2016. I’m not really one to pay close attention to openers and often attempt to time my entrance to shows around potentially missing openers (I’m an old man). I half watched her set while spending more time surveying what a crowd looks like at a Grimes show (again, I’m an old man). At some point in her set she played what I now know to be “Keep Running” and all of the sudden 100% of my attention was focused on the song. When the album came out I didn’t know what to expect. I hoped to hear “that song that I liked at the show” and maybe other similar stuff. What I heard was an incredibly cohesive album that hopped around genres and emotions while constantly maintaining an incredible level of vulnerability and confidence. Perhaps this album isn’t for everyone, but I do feel that there is something for everyone on this album. And that is one hell of a feat to pull off.

Run The Jewels - RTJ3      
(I do recognize that this album technically came out on Christmas Eve of 2016 but c'mon it’s a 2017 album.) I used to have a Sonic Youth poster in my room that had the band standing around a phone pole with a sign that said “Angry. Very Angry.”. That was me for a lot of 2017. It’s disheartening to see so many mean people allowed airtime. Thank you EL P and Killer Mike for reminding us to be angry, stay gold and make change.

Future Islands - The Far Field    
At my core I’m still a scared little boy in a grown man’s body. I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far and I am bewildered when people are either interested in what I say or god-forbid seek my advice. I’m not going to claim to know what Sam Herring is trying to say lyrically on The Far Field. However, I can say that his lyrics have helped me examine my own feelings and emotions. Also the band just seem like the nicest group of guys ever. I have a very short list of people who are allowed to spend the night at our house. Future Islands are on that list.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN  
Theres a popular book these days about not giving a fuck. I’ve not read that book (I’m sure it’s great). The concept of reading a book in order to not give a fuck seems a bit odd to me though. I mean you give enough of a fuck to read the book right?     Whatever… that’s neither here nor there. Whenever I need a refresher on wether or not to give a fuck I listen to “Element” and then “Feel". Then I listen to the whole album from the beginning.

Phoenix - Ti Amo   
These guys are so good at writing insane pop songs with incredible precision and depth. I’m not sure that entirely sounds like a compliment but I swear I mean it as one.

Jay Z - 4:44   
Those that know me, know that I am a huge Jay Z fan. Huge! If you don’t know me, you now know this fact.     Super-fan status aside I’m not (always) one to automatically champion whatever my heroes put out. Ryan Adams put and album out this year and while I love it, it is not in my top 10. To those that know me you probably recognize that this was a difficult decision for me. I was a bit skeptical of Jay Z’s 4:44… I believe I put his wife’s album in the number 1 slot on my list last year. A decision that I still 100% back. What does this have to do with Jay? I think I was worried that perhaps I was no longer interested in what Jay Z had to say or perhaps I was concerned about a clunky response to Lemonade. Both thoughts gave me anxiety… am I a fake? A snob? I dunno probably a little column A and B.     I’m not going to be able to expand upon what I love about this album without aping another far more sophisticated music critic. What I can say, 4:44 is the Jay-Z album I wanted in 2017.

Heat - Overnight     
Oddly familiar while 100% original. There’s a deep pool of influence on this album but it’s never heavy handed. These guys shred.

The Drums - Abysmall Thoughts           
"Blood Under My Belt" can incite an indie dance party (think David Byrne) in my house in 3 seconds flat. My sons are intrigued/confused by the visuals. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Dent May - Across The Multiverse         
Pet Sounds, Soft Rock, Synths, Introspection… this is a very layered album while remaining very airy. Thank you Bandcamp for randomly inviting me to listen to this album. It’s on rotation constantly.

Sheer Mag - Need To Feel Your Love
This was an eagerly awaited album for me. While I loved the really gritty sound on their early 7”s, it was nice to hear the production a bit cleaner on this full length. 70’s rock but with punk influence and an actual conscience. Or in other words, 70s rock but better… way better.

Ryan Adams - Prisioner   
Love this dude. Amazing live show!!

Alvvays - Antisocialites    
Watch their Overrated / Underrated Pitchfork thing. It rules.

Gingerlys - Gingerlys        
Another random Bandcamp find... so good!

Shout Out Louds - Ease My Mind 
These Swedes still got it!


awmercy said...

I love it when you go off on your comments. Stories, asides, revelations - it's all there.