Every Record Tells A Story’s Albums Of 2017


Being barged out of the way by stressed shoppers. Not being able to find the thing your kids put on the top of their list. Bringing a dead tree into your house and covering it with shiny balls. Spending slightly too long in the company of your family.

Having to go to an unfamiliar supermarket to buy stuffing at the last minute but not knowing where they keep it, and finding yourself stuck behind an elderly person and someone texting, both of whom are blocking the isle.

Yes, Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

But it is also the time when people publish their Album of the Year lists, and you get to

a) laugh pityingly at their dreadful taste, and then

b) find one album or song on the list you hadn’t played yet which you really like, so the whole thing is worthwhile.

That’s the point of end of year lists isn’t it?

Well, here’s the much coveted* list of the Every Record Tells A Story Albums Of 2017…


1. This Is The Kit – Moonshine Freeze

Why you should hear it: Moonshine Freeze stands out from the crowd in 2017 thanks to some great performances. Finger picking over gentle drum beats and fragile vocals in “Bullet Proof” or manoeuvring through complex rhythms and scat vocals to build to a jazz-inflected crescendo on “Hotter Colder”, it’s all here. To top it all off is the catchiest song of 2017 in the title track “Moonshine Freeze”. It’s the fourth album by Kate Stables and crew and it’s a career highlight.

Vinyl Rating: Excellent: comes in a red vinyl and Rough Trade exclusive yellow vinyl edition.


2. Idles – Brutalism

Why you should hear it:

Why don’t you get a job? / Even Tarquin has a job / Mary Berry has a job / So why don’t you get a job?”

This is an angry, sarcastic, funny, withering, nihilistic soundtrack to modern life. Singer Joe Talbot delivers the kind of righteous fury I have only previously seen in a classical music fan sitting in a box at the Royal Albert Hall when someone behind him started noisily eating popcorn from a plastic bag during the quieter passages of Carmina Burana.

Vinyl Rating: Phenomenal: 100 clear vinyl copies were custom pressed with the ashes of Joe Talbot’s late mother, Christine. Wow…


3. The Clientele – Music For The Age Of Miracles

Why you should hear it: wonderful songwriting and effortless melodies. The overall effect is more velvety than the texture of a Wispa bar before they shrank the size and made them too small. Their first proper album for eight years, and it’s a belter.

Vinyl Rating: Good: No coloured variations – it’s all about the music rather than the format – but limited versions had a gatefold sleeve and extra 7” single.


4. Beck – Colors 

Why you should hear it: A big pop record from Beck is a thing to celebrate. Packed with more tunes than a 1980’s chemist.

Vinyl Rating: Excellent: a deluxe edition came with clever cover artwork but was expensive. For the rest of us, a limited indies-only coloured vinyl edition added variety.


5. The Horrors – V

Why you should hear it: Their fifth album, yet full of verve, energy and fresh ideas. Wins a prize for having pretty much the worst album cover of all time.

Vinyl Rating: Decent – no special editions but a gatefold sleeve and early adopters could buy a signed edition from the band’s website. Hopefully the writing deflected attention away from the cover.


6. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream 

Why you should hear it: James Murphy and co’s first studio album for seven years, and they sound none the worse for their absence. LCD are that rare thing: a real band playing dance music, with a nod to Berlin-era Bowie (listen to “Change Yr Mind”). Removing the drum machine from dance music brings a human touch to proceedings, and that’s hugely appealing.

Vinyl Rating: Decent: no special editions, but a nicely packaged LP with inners, photos etc.


7. St Vincent – Masseduction

Why you should hear it: Annie Clark is developing into one of Pop and Rock’s more interesting artists, with Bowiesque reinventions of herself. This is a cracking album.

Vinyl Rating: Good: the deluxe edition came in a clear plastic sleeve with a poster and pink vinyl.


8. Ryan Adams – Prisoner

Why you should hear it: This confidently steps into Adams’ top five albums, and possibly his top two or three.

Vinyl Rating: Good. Early copies came on limited edition red vinyl.


9. Queens of the Stone Age – Villains 

Why you should hear it: Homme has hit the headlines in the last few days for kicking a female photographer, an act all the more surprising from a man who reportedly sacked a band mate following an alleged act of domestic violence. That act somewhat tarnishes what he has achieved in 2017, including the release of this excellent album.

Vinyl Rating: Good. Two special editions: a deluxe edition with additional artwork and an indies-only with alternative cover.


10. Gang of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness

Why you should hear it: Because Springsteen didn’t release an album this year and if he had it mightn’t have been as good as this one. A rare double vinyl LP that doesn’t run out of ideas.

Vinyl Rating: Good. Vinyl Me Please has a very nice two-colour clear vinyl (with a black blob in the middle) set.

What was on your list?

Who did I inexplicably miss?

Let me know in the comments section below…

* literally no-one cares



Categories: Music

Tags: , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Good list. I agree, it’s always good to see some albums that others recommend that you’ve never heard of. We agree on Beck and LCD but the Ryan Adams just never clicked for me this year. If you care to compare and contrast lists, mine’s here: https://nothemingway.wordpress.com/

    Looking forward to more great writing from your site in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was so relieved to finish my Xmas shopping in one day. Thanks Barnes and Nobles!

    Like

  3. MIssion accomplished. Some I know (and more or less agree with your opinion) and others I’ll seek out.
    Your Carmina Burana comment cracked me up.
    Albums that stayed in my downloads the longest this year: Elbow, The National, Spoon, LCD Soundsystem, Broken Social Scene, New Pornographers.

    Like

  4. I still haven’t picked up the new Beck or LCD albums and I haven’t spent enough time with Prisoner (just haven’t connected with it).

    My favourites this year have been (in no particular order currently): Danny & The Champions of the World’s Brilliant Light, Spoon’s Hot Thoughts, Duke Garwood’s Garden Of Ashes, The Afghan Whigs’ In Spades, Deep Purple’s Infinate, Lanegan’s Gargoyle and Causa Sui’s Vibraciones Doradas.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh bugger, there goes another 100 quid! An interesting list which lots of music still to be checked out, so many thanks. I too really liked In Spades by The Afghan Wigs, but also Future Islands’ The Far Field, Arcade Fire’s Everything Now, Aimee Mann’s Mental Health, Wolves in the Throne Room’s Thrice Woven, Lorde’s Melodrama and the new one by The National. All in all, 2017 was a pretty decent year for music! And keep up the great work – like many folk here, I really enjoyed reading your columns throughout the year!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. First visit to your site. Thanks for sharing your top 10. New York by St Vincent is one of my favorites(so is the birthday song on same LP). Dreams by Beck and Call the Police by LCD SS are up there too as best of the year for me.

    Intrigued by a few albums on your list, especially #10 I want to try. And I second Matti’s praise of Aimee Mann’s album, something special there, which could appear monotonous at first, but when you look a little closer there’s plenty of variation in Mann’s lyrics.

    By the way, apropos your #10, if you like something Springsteen-esque, Forced Witness by Australian artist Alex Cameron is worth checking. An 80s throwback, I consider it the best pop album of 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I shall listen to each and every one, ponder and reflect, So far though St Vincent is a bit of a win amongst winners. As to the last year and more, I might not click like every article but I do read them all, and I’m all about a new beer and a new musics and you’ve been an inspiration. Chur

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great minds and all of that:
    https://blackcountryrock.co/2017/12/22/2017-highlights/
    It’s worth popping back into Rough Trade for the Ryan Adams in-store bonus CD.
    Have a great Christmas and keep up the good work in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I see you have some of your old favourites on your list. For what its worth, here is my AOTY17. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good year.

    1. Big Thief – Capacity; 2. Snapped Ankles – Come Play The Trees; 3. Aldous Harding – Party; 4. Slowdive – Slowdive; 5. Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination; 6. Jen Cloher – Jen Cloher; 7. Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent; 8. IDLES – Brutalism; 9. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream; 10. Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pardon my tardiness! I quite agree though, many of these were my favorite albums as well, including Prisoner and Go Farther in Lightness, which I learned about thanks to your brilliant review and now tell everyone I meet to go listen to!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No pardon necessary! Always welcome here. Very pleased you are spreading the word!

    Like

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