Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Favorite Albums (Numbers 30-21)

And my countdown continues:

30.  Lomelda - THX

Completely gorgeous collection of songs that would perfectly soundtrack a cross-country trip; cinematic, rustic, haunted, and lonely. A true gem.

29.  Kllo - Backwater

Melbourne electronic duo Kllo hold up to the promise of their earlier singles and EPs with their debut full-length Backwater. What surprises me most about this LP is how you think you know where their songs are going, but they end up finding their own path.

28.  NOVAA & LO - Lights

This collaboration between electronic artists NOVAA and LO merges their sensibilities together into one of the most cohesive albums of the year. It flows seamlessly between deep house cuts, bass heavy explorations, and downtempo soundscapes. NOVAA's voice has never sounded so lilting and lovely.

27.  Four Tet - New Energy

With New Energy, Four Tet doesn't reinvent himself again, or charge forth in new, unexpected directions. Instead, he takes a breather, a momentary victory lap to reflect over his career, and makes some of his most intimately rewarding electronic compositions.

26.  Jaws of Love - Tasha Sits Close to the Piano

This solo project from Local Natives' singer Kelcey Ayer, brings his haunted voice into full focus on these elegant ballads.

25.  Beach Fossils - Somersault

Intricate guitar work, killer melodies, lush harmonies, jaunty strings, and a general sun-kissed warmth infect these songs from Beach Fossils. They will never be avant-garde or experimental (I hope), but they get more and more solid with each record. They are that dependable friend who always is fun to hang out with.

24.  Cut Copy - Haiku From Zero

Front to back, this was one of the most solid dance-rock records this year; full of subtle, fun touches that catch you off guard.

23.  LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

With the country hurled into the shitter with Trump as President, we needed a sign that things would get better, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  LCD Soundsystem came back roaring to life.  It's a pretty bright light.

22.  Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins

I will admit the first few times I listened to Painted Ruins I was not overly impressed. It seemed too "clean" and too "neat and tidy." It wasn't until my fifth and sixth listens that the whole work came into being. It can't be compared to the brilliant song cycle that was Veckatimest, the raging beast folk of Yellow House, or even the angular oddities of Shields, because it is its own work of art. It is Grizzly Bear simply being Grizzly Bear, and I appreciate that.

21.  The National - Sleep Well Beast

Adding more electronic elements and even, gasp, a guitar solo here and there, does not fundamentally alter what makes this a great record from The National. You get a band that knows each other intimately, and how to push their sound without total reinvention each time. You also get more beautiful lyrics from Matt Berninger, who catalogs the day-to-day musings, hopes, loves, and fears of the generations of men and women lost in this journey called life.

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