December 31, 2017

QuickCrit's Top 25 Albums of 2017

1. 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. – Larson

The appeal of this band, for me, is almost entirely wrapped up in the visual. Do me a favour. Google any live performance and watch it. Now listen to this album. It's like trying to describe a Constantin Brâncuși sculpture or a painting by Odd Nerdrum using just sound and words. You'd be like "huh?" But, once you see them you can't unsee them and then it RULES listening to them... – Rain

Emotional synth-pop, this album gave me a lot of feelings. – Julia

Sometimes the album feels like you are listening to one long song, but sheeeet, when it hits it really hits! – NightraiN

It's fortunate I like similar sounding songs. – Nesto!

2. The National - Sleep Well Beast

No album that features “Carin at the Liquor Store” will be left off this list, but I’m fairly certain this is the first time in my history that a new National album didn’t land in the #1 spot. I’ll spare you the hand-wringing about my favorite band … for now, but I am curious to see how the songs develop in the live show. – Jeremy

Dark & brooding (with a few exceptions). Just how I like my The National albums. – NightraiN

3. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN

In a world dominated by liars, Kung-Fu Kenny is honest. – Ben 

There’s a popular book these days about not giving a fuck. The concept of reading a book in order to not give a fuck seems a bit odd to me though. Whatever… Whenever I need a refresher on whether or not to give a fuck I listen to “Element” and then “Feel". Then I listen to the whole album from the beginning. – Larson

4. Ryan Adams – Prisoner

I really love this album but it's kinda of a shame that I associate it with Trump's inauguration... Also, Outbound Train sounds like a Whiskeytown b-side and I'm not complaining. – Sharon

This is a relatively tame Ryan Adams, but the songs are extremely well-crafted like his other content and I think reflects a new tone for the long-time rocker. Perhaps he gets some extra points for releasing a "B-Sides" version that has as many or more good songs as the "A-Sides" album. – NightraiN

Love this dude. Amazing live show!! – Larson

5. Alvvays – Antisocalites

Another band on the list who I thought was decent prior to this year's offering turning out a great, great record. – Tex

This alvvays gets me in a good mood. It's pure magic! – Sharon

Plimsoll Punks’ dreamy pop slays me - such sweet disdain.Jesse

Watch their Overrated / Underrated Pitchfork thing. It rules. – Larson

6. Run the Jewels - RTJ 3

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. – Larson

Saw them live twice this year, on top of countless, countless dance sessions in the kitchen after happy hour listening to this album. – Tex

7. Matthew Logan Vasquez - Does What He Wants

Delta Spirit's frontman is a funny, talented dude and this album spans the full spectrum from playful electric to touching acoustic. Do yourself a favor and absorb it all now.  – NightraiN

Plays like a cohesive mix tape, shifting from disco to folk, soul to indie rock, all held together by poignant lyrics delivered with a mischievous smile. – Jesse

Matthew Logan Vasquez does what he wants. – Nesto! 

8. 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. – Larson

There is something comforting and familiar about the album and I welcomed it with open arms.
– Sharon

9. Portugal. The Man – Woodstock

I liked Portugal. The Man before they sold out... but I still like this album. – NightraiN

Consistently at the top of my year end lists. Still grappling with their rise to fame, but can’t deny those are some catchy ass singles. – Jesse

Hit or miss...but mostly hit!
– Nesto!

10. Wolf Parade - Cry Cry Cry

Spencer Krug 4 EVA – Julia

Very happy that these guys got back together. Yep, still good. – NightraiN

I waiting for Wolf Parade to write their magnum opus for theater. – Nesto!

11. Rostam - Half Light

I have liked everything Rostam has done ever so no surprise I also loved his first solo album.  It's beautifully layered and catching in a surprising way.  I danced, I swooned, I told my Dad to listen to it. – Julia

Gwan's opening strings gives me goose bumps. I love how layered and thoughtful the albums feels. – Sharon

12. Tei Shi - Crawl Space

I saw Tei Shi open for Grimes in 2016. I half watched her set until she started play “Keep Running” and all of the sudden 100% of my attention was focused on the song.  When the album came out it was an incredibly cohesive album that hopped around genres and emotions while constantly maintaining an incredible level of vulnerability and confidence. – Larson

13. Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Epic, noisy, and their easiest songs to sing along to live. – Jesse

I was already a fan, but this album accentuated my fondness. Fuzzy rock-punk perfect for (mostly) uptempo runs and impassioned sing-a-longs. A recipe for awesomeness! – NightraiN

14. Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm

I have been loving watching Katie Crutchfield develop from a talented young songwriter to a confident and powerful artist.  Crutchfield twin 1 of 2 in my top 10 this year. – Tex

Defiant, electrifying, “Eff You” of a breakup album. I like the “Demo” versions of the songs even better, a little more rough around the edges, if you can get them on your spotifys or your pandoras. – Jeremy

15. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

Would be higher on my list, but it's not really on the lighter side. - Nesto!

16. Perfume Genius - No Shape

This record makes me see another reality in which I'm not a content man, married for 20+ years to my "soulmate". In that other reality, I'd have a heart/soul rending crush that clearly would never pan out and I'd pine and cry while listening to this album. – Rain

And to think "I kissed a girl" was a big deal. – Ben

17. Petite League - Rips One Into The Night

Everything I could want in an indie pop album - ridiculously catchy hooks, passionate strumming, kick flips, bite marks… – Jesse

Jesse was all "listen to this, it's awesome" and I was all "no, I hate you." Then I did and I never stopped. I also love their older stuff too. – Sharon

18. 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. I was a bit skeptical of Jay Z’s 4:44… 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? What I can say, 4:44 is the Jay-Z album I wanted in 2017. – Larson 

19. Algiers - The Underside Of Power

A much needed kick to the heart, psyche and ass! You know how cool you used to feel listening to the Verve's Bittersweet Symphony on your headphones while you walked down the street? Well, take that feeling and cube it and you've got the idea of what it's like to listen to this album. This sinner's believing what that preacher is delivering. You will too... – Rain

The first three tracks are pure fire - soul punk politik. It gets weird, skronky, and desolate on Side 2, but staring into the void might be where we are at these days. – Jesse

20. Ha Ha Tonka - Heart-Shaped Mountain

I have no idea how these guys continue to fly under the radar. They write fantastic songs and are extremely accessible. All-American backyard barbecue music at its best! – NightraiN 

21. Craig Finn - We All Want the Same Things

The album’s cover art and the video for “God in Chicago” alone are worth the price of admission, but the rest of the album is extremely solid too. This is the first time since Boys and Girls in America that I feel like Finn is firing on all cylinders lyrically. Glad to have him back.  – Jeremy

Finn looks like someone you would be more likely to trust with your taxes than trust with writing kick-ass rock songs, but The Hold Steady front man does just that with this album. A solid collection Finn's unique storytelling and sound. – NightraiN

22. Sheer Mag - Need to Feel your Love

Oh hell yeah! It’s the power ballads that set this album apart, demonstrating the depths of their chops go well beyond killer riffs cranked up to 11. – Jesse

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. – Larson

23. Battleme - Cult Psychotica

Seasoning serves them well. Wry observations delivered with a smokers rasp, huge crunchy alt. rock riffs mixed with barroom boogie. – Jesse

Get into it! – Nesto!

24. 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. – Larson

First album of the year on constant rotation. Perfect follow up to their awesome EP. – Jesse

25. The White Buffalo - Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights

This album came out late in the year, so I don't feel like I have given it a fair shake yet and committed to the songs in the way I usually do. But, as always, this is a fun collection of Americana. –


Rain Hiawatha Kernytsky said...


Unknown said...

What a great list! Can't wait to check out all the stuff I missed out on!!

awmercy said...

Falling hard for this Waxahatchee album. Hell of a kiss off.

Unknown said...

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