Happy new year! I know I’m not the only one thankful for a clean slate.
2017 was full of political, personal, and musical intensity; every week, there seemed to be something new and sensational. In my own life, I hit some of the lowest points I’ve ever hit as well as some of the highest, but I’ve been trying to focus on the wins.
This year, I had the pleasure of interning for Tiny House Music Collective, I got to meet inspiring folks both in person and online, and I saw some of my favorite bands in concert. I began writing for In The Record Store‘s blog and had an article printed in their magazine, and I published a project about gender and the Columbus music scene for a Gender Studies class.
In past year-end lists, I’ve only picked my top 10 of the year from albums that I’d already written about. It made sense at the time; there were so many good albums and narrowing down the selection pool made it easier to pick ten.
This year, however, I was only able to pick seven already-covered albums that had a significant impact, but there are a few others that I felt couldn’t be ignored in my end-of-year coverage. If you want a simple, cohesive list of top-tens, go check out Best Case List’s “2017 In Review” post for my own list as well as top-tens and favorite albums from some cool folks. This list is not a traditional “top-ten” list for Indientry, but below are fifteen albums – in no particular order – that had an impact on my life in the last year.
Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
Cigarettes After Sex’s self-titled is full of thick smoke; it’s a dark dream pop record about the nuances and tragedies of romance, and each hazy new track is just as addicting as the band’s nicotine namesake. Check out the full review here.
Jetty Bones – Old Women
Jetty Bones’ danceable, electric pop-punk music is glittery and anthemic. Brief moments of vulnerability come buried in Galluzzo’s poppy melodies and high-energy guitar riffs, but they prove her authenticity above all else. Check out the full review here.
Harmony Woods – Nothing Special
Made of light, thoughtful lo-fi alternative rock music, Harmony Woods’ Nothing Special is more than the sum of its 12 songs; it’s grungy basements lit by nothing but leftover Christmas lights, it’s faded photos and spending summers with the people you love.
Corbezzolo – Midnight
Distinctively dark and melodic, Corbezzolo’s surprisingly cohesive “Midnight” ranges from moody and eerie to bold and fast-paced. The duo’s quiet confidence produces unexpectedly fierce rock with ferocity and dreaminess. Check out the full review here.
Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm
Katie Crutchfield’s sweet rock is a whirlwind narrative of heartbreak, rage, and sadness. Enticing harmonies and mellow rock guitar explore the dynamics of relationships, and Waxahatchee’s surprisingly cathartic sound meshes with its dark lyrics in the best way.
Soft Fangs – Fractures
Velvety tones and relaxed, familiar vocals are gooey and nostalgic, sounding autumnal with a combination of clean starts and sentimentality. The dark pop album mixes nostalgia and freshness in eleven lo-fi shoegaze tracks. Check out the full review here.
PRIESTS – Nothing Feels Natural
With Nothing Feels Natural, PRIESTS brings an art-punk record like no other. They have in-your-face lyrics and solid riffs and a take-no-sh*t attitude. Despite dark themes and aggressive sounds, there’s a smooth accessibility to the album that contradicts its title; it feels effortless.
Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good At This
Diet Cig’s “Swear I’m Good At This” is delightfully delicate pop-punk. This band does things their own way and isn’t afraid to tell you exactly how they feel; somehow childlike and intense at the same time, the album tears you away from the mundanities of life. Check out the full review here.
King Krule – The OOZ
I don’t know what to say about this album except that it took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Archy Marshall’s songwriting when my brother recommended The OOZ, but his vocals are distinct and it has a powerfully dark magnetism, pulling you in with alien choruses and a wandering feel.
Moon – you snuck me into your darkness
If any album sounds like heartbreak and desolation, this is it. Although drenched in angst, everything about the synth-pop album is authentic, and almost painfully so – Jack Sipes is able to match sounds to the feeling of being alone. Check out the full review here.
Hidden Places – uh’s
With warbly, speak-singing vocals that are typical of the indie rock genre, bright guitar riffs, and interjections from the bass guitar, “uh’s” is all just a little angular and a little angsty. Check out the full review here.
Hoops – Routines
Despite only clocking in at around 30 minutes, Routines adds a surprising depth to dream-pop. The shiny, lo-fi shoegaze sound has a nostalgic quality to it, although it doesn’t sound blue; the album is addictingly bright while maintaining its effortless chill vibe.
LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
American Dream is LCD Soundsystem’s first full album in seven years, and it comes after what was labeled their “final” show in 2011. It’s all sharp corners and rugged electronic patches; it’s heavy and reflective and buoyant and centered around the idea of endings.
Caracara – Summer Megalith
Caracara’s Summer Megalith feels like someone took sadness and anger and twisted them together into something unrecognizable, yet completely devastating. It’s not quite shoegaze, and it’s not quite indie rock or punk, but it’s different and heavy and heartbreaking.
Jay Som – Everybody Works
Dark, velvet vocals and gritty, tattered guitar fit together in the messiest possible way on Everybody Works, and it’s intricate and soothing all at once. Melina Duerte takes her inner turmoil and uses it to push towards growth while understanding that sometimes, it’s okay to not be entirely stable.