2017 was going to be a year of extremes. The way 2016 left things, there was no way it could be anything different. Musically this seems to be true. Over the admittedly brief section of 2017, a few things quite simply stunned me. Below are a few of the examples of things that I was truly floored by, at least of what I heard. Any music I recommend always comes with the caveat that there is so much more that I never really get the chance to truly experience due to time.
Looking at the list below these are disorienting listens. Sometimes I recommend more straightforward pieces. Out of all of them the two that are probably the most accessible would be the poppy inclinations of Spoon, whose brand of laid-back and tasteful indie rock is probably copyrighted by now. With “Hot Thoughts” Spoon basically continues doing what they’ve done for so long and so well. Totally surprising me was the sweet twee of Jens Lekman’s “Life Will See You Now” which I played for a couple of my friends and they really liked it.
Thundercat’s “Drunk” has a blast. I always liked Thundercat, he’s always been amazing at what he does, but “Drunk” may be his best work. Such busy arrangements, delivered in off-kilter ways, gives the album a playful sensibility. Bizarrely I would even play off the head-trip of Thundercat with the full-bodied weirdness of Gábor Lázár’s “Crisis of Representation”. Most recently Gábor Lázár worked with Mark Fell on a collaboration, but with “Crisis of Representation” he creates otherworldly experimentation.
An infinite number of genres are chopped up nearly beyond recognition on the flexibility of Turinn’s “18 And A Half Minute Gaps”. Samples drift by obscured by so much fuzz. Shit and Shine do something similar, though in a far more obnoxious manner on the silver-plated emoji goofiness of “Total Shit!” with cheesy noises blasted through way more filters than is probably heavy.
Hard to define is the dramatic work of Daniel Brandt’s “Eternal Something”. Yearning pours out of the sound as a mixture of classical (a la Steve Reich) alongside a jazzy take on electronic make it strangely moving. Sun Kil Moon’s “Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood” chooses to explore the mundane detail of a life, letting it stream by with a sense of tragedy, loss, and sometimes humor. A difficult album in a lot of ways, there is something oddly soothing about someone talking themselves through their own life.
Ending off the list on a crazed note is the one-two hit of Priests’ “Nothing Feels Natural” alongside the harsh bleak terrain of “2am Thoughts”. Both album deserve to be played at maximum volume for best results.
If this is what 2017 has in terms of music so far, I think it is going to be a pretty good year.
- Thundercat – Drunk
- Spoon – Hot Thoughts
- Gábor Lázár – Crisis of Representation
- Krause – 2am Thoughts
- Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
- Turinn – 18 And A Half Minute Gaps
- Sun Kil Moon – Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood
- Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now
- Shit and Shine – Total Shit!
- Daniel Brandt – Eternal Something