Following the previous post 10 Best Albums of 2017, this new one is a bit special: the top 12 songs of this year.
“Be Who You Are” from The Kooks
Times goes too quickly since the last album “Listen” from 2014. However, the British band Kooks released their new one “The Best of… So Far”. The compilation includes the biggest hits and two new singles “Be Who You Are” and “Broken Vow”. I thought the success collection was extinct with 80s’ artist’s wave and the group led by Luke Pritchard bet the retro method explicit on “Be Who You Are”: a reflective message and nostalgic sound that remind “Konk” and “Inside In/Inside Out” times. At least, the “So Far” on the title gives us a hope that Kooks aren’t even close to the ostracism.
“Stained Glass” from Real Estate
The Real Estate without Matthew Mondanile isn’t the same, although, I really liked the new guitarist Julian Lynch performance on the 2017 album “In Mind”. “Stained Glass” starts with an explosion by Jackson Pollis on drums, Lynch and also Matt Kallman on keyboards that gave another environment on the New Jersey band. The lyrics about winter time in the Martin Courtney’s soft voice represents the best moment of the group after the recent line-up change.
“Sadie’s a Sadist” from The Buttertones
The Surf garage band based in Los Angeles released “Gravedigging” with an exciting cool noir 50s’ and 60s’ environment. “Sadie’s a Sadist” is a piece of those traits. Listen to the album while you’re driving in an old mafia’s Cadillac wearing sunglasses, a smoking cigarette and drink a whiskey as the official video transmit. I would like to emphasize the elegant sound from the saxophonist London Guzmán and the Richard Araiza’s powerful voice.
“Alison” from Swimming Tapes
The dream pop band from London has been modestly publishing their tapes since the last year and all we have now is both amazing compacts “Souvenirs EP” and “Alison”. The minimalistic sound as their covers photos, the quintet provide a brightly sunny day image in California. Can finally Swimming Tapes deliver a debut album next year? It is a band to watch in 2018.
“Wasting Time” from CASTLEBEAT
The one-man band led by Josh Hwang had been one of my favorites musicians. I’ve spent this year listening to his debut self-entitled from last year and also the “Vintage Flowers” and the “Demo EP” from 2015, until the two brand new singles “Heart Stills Beat” and “Wasting Time”. The powerful doubled guitar riffs and the lyrics about Josh’s move from Orange County, California, to New York City. Now that Josh release “Bowl Cut” from his another band Jaded Juice Riders, is expected that the most wanted boy in the Spirit Goth Records has a new EP or a delightful LP with high-quality bedroom lo-fi.
“The Fool” from Gus Dapperton
The bowl cut boy Gus Dapperton is giving his first steps into the music industry with the first EP “Yellow Such” and he started well earning the first million view song “I’m Just Snacking”. The seduction power of “The Fool” transmitted in a high-quality self-produced material, it’s a catching indie pop with R&B elements something like Mac DeMarco, boy Pablo, and HOMESHAKE. It’s hard to choose one, that’s why I also recommend “Prune, You Talk Funny” and “Moodna, Once with Grace”. Though he still underground as an artist, he was born to be in the mainstream music. The year of 2018 will be great for Gus Dapperton.
“In Cold Blood” from alt-J
The compact album from the British trio contains eight songs including “3WW”, “Deadcrush” and a cover of the “House of Rising Sun”. “In Cold Blood” with a lot of references to binary codes, mass killing in a pool summer party described on “Left Hands Free” official video and an exceptional nostalgic keyboard solo arcade in the 80s’ made by Gus Unger-Hamilton.
“One More Love Song” from Mac DeMarco
Another great piece work from Mac DeMarco, “This Old Dog” represents the essence of the multi-instrumentalist band leader and “One More Love Song” embraced by beautiful piano and keyboards arrangements, smooth guitar, and Mac’s multiple voices echoing the melody. Great produce from the Pepperoni Boy at all and I noticed some fragments of “Chamber of Reflection” through the whole record, which like it.
“Khmlwugh” from HOMESHAKE
Since his departure from Mac DeMarco’s group, Peter Sagar has been investing the efforts with his indie R&B and synthpop band HOMESHAKE. The results of his evolution as a musician had been incredible since the debut “In The Shower” from 2014 and now the third album “Fresh Air” of this year. My first perception of “Khmlwugh” was the weird title until I realized that it was a chorus acronym “Kissing Hugging Making Love Waking Up Getting High”. The song based on synth loops and hypnotic voices tunes linked with the marvelous “Fresh Air” became my favorite track. Despite “Midnight Snack” is my favorite record, “Fresh Air” means the maturity of Sagar and his detach of the label as the “former Mac’s guitarist”.
“Lucky Girl” from Fazerdaze
From New Zealand to the World. Amelia Murray, aka Fazerdaze, is the revelation of the year after her debut “Morningside” announced in May. The one-girl band decided to start a band by herself, although she got a help from her friends Mark Perkins on guitar and synthesizer, Benjamin Locke on bass, Elliot Francis on drums and the recording album featured only Simon Gooding. I am a bit disappointed with myself to not include this one in the 10 Best Albums of 2017. Melancholic lyrics, reverb voice and a hypnotic video of “Lucky Girl” provide an optimistic atmosphere and a perfect suggestion for a picnic in a summertime.
“Lay It On Me” from Vance Joy
The author of one of the greatest hit of 2014 “Riptide”, James Keogh (aka Vance Joy) gave us a piece of the sophomore album “Nation of Two” in February of 2018 releasing two singles “Lay It On Me” and “Like A Gold”. The horns echoing throughout the chorus and the bass drum bedding Vance’s acoustic guitar makes an outstanding and more mature since the “Riptide”. I am really looking forward to the next record from the Aussie artist.
“Don’t Matter Now” from George Ezra
The 24-yeard old British musician George Ezra is to release his second album (in 2018 maybe?) after the successful “Wanted On Voyage” in 2014. The new single “Don’t Matter Now is related to an anxiety battle that Ezra faced expressed in “Sometimes you need to be alone (It don’t matter now) Shut the door, unplug the phone (It don’t matter now) Speak in a language they don’t know”. His eloquent voice through the horns, backing vocals and muted guitar riffs were the perfect formula for the best summer streak of this year. Now, it’s my time to be excited about George Ezra’s sophomore.
Notable mentions: “Kenmore Ave.” from together Pangea, “Morning Ritual” from Alex Calder, “Graceland” from Walter TV, “Silver” from Waxahatchee, “Moving Out” from Vacations, “Homely Feeling” from Hockey Dad, “Ready To Go” from Jaded Juice Raders, “New Machine” from Froth, “Bad Influence” from DZ Deathrays, “Southern Rain” from Jake Bugg, “Unamused” from Made Violent, “Big Sur” from Jack Johnson, “Untitled” from Day Wave, “Everytime” from boy pablo.