Foxopoly’s Top 11 Albums of 2017

Hard to compile all the great 2017 releases into such a compact list, but here’s my best effort. Many honorable mentions at the end.

MuteMath ‘Play Dead’ This record has been out for several months, but it’s only recently shown itself to me. I’ve been listening to it every day. The loss of a couple long-time members of the band including monster drummer, Darren King, has made it even more impactful.

Quicksand ‘Interiors’ Hey, did you hear the mighty Quicksand are back with their first album in twenty years?! It’s no slouch either. I swear every song is good. Really can’t think of a musician more prolific than Walter, but this particular band just has a sound from another place- A heavier place.

Queens of the Stone Age ‘Villains’ Honestly their last several releases haven’t done much for me as compared with the S/T, “R” and ‘Deaf’. This time it’s different. A different sound- A get down sound. Excellent cover art as well, with a G. del Toro sort of influence. Plus, who knew J Homme was such a dick?

36 Crazyfists ‘Lanterns’ Though this album wasn’t as immediate as past works, it quickly hit me pretty hard. Great heavy songs featuring some of Brock’s best lyrics to date and amazingly full production by Holt. Also, that nimble and robust rhythm section! Kyles’s drumming is some of the most technically skilled out there, currently.

Mastodon ‘Emperor of Sand’ I’m a sucker for concept albums and nobody pulls them off like Mastodon. Best band in hard music today made up of four geniuses that all bring a strong quarter of brilliance to the table. Also, don’t miss the four song ep ‘Cold Dark Place’.

Manchester Orchestra ‘A Black Mile to the Surface’ Soaring performances and epic production. Can’t stop listening.

Wolf Alice ‘Visions of a Life’ Second full-length from UK dream rock band.

Eccentric Gentlemen ‘A Man Said to the Universe’ That one release that’s too amazing not to share, yet frustrating that many or most will never hear unfortunately. Last summer I reconnected online with one of my favorite independent musician/producers, Aaron Starr (Absent, Grazert), and was shocked to hear his new band Eccentric Gentlemen. Though Aaron has one of my favorite singing voices, this endeavor features features vocals from Ryan Taverna (Coytah), which are fantastic as well. Well-crafted, hooky pop songs so immediate it’s unbelievable.

Death From Above ‘Outrage! Is Now’ Can two guys raise any more sonic hell??

The Life and Times ’The Life and Times’ Music to get lost to. Good thing the cover is a map….a glorious skull map.

Junius ‘Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light’ Dark, heady and intense are words I use to describe the latest effort from Junius. I’m not smart enough to understand completely all their concepts, but I feel them. My favorite album of 2017.

So many of these could have just as easily been in my list as well: St Vincent, Chelsea Wolfe, Afghan Whigs, Ride, Slowdive, Lana Del Rey, Arcadea, Dead Heavens, Vanishing Life, He Is Legend, Venn (Runes), Bladerunner sdtk, Cloakroom, Nine Inch Nails, Royal Blood, Seether, Juliana Hatfield, Speak the Truth…, Demon Hunter, Private Lives

Phantasmo’s Top 16 of 2017

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – High Visceral (Part Two): Luckily, this absolutely horrendous band name is vastly overshadowed by the frentic, kaleidoscopic, fuzz-soaked psych rock that dominates this album from start to finish. The Pink Floyd influence is unmistakable, but that is certainly not a bad thing.

Blonde Tongues – Safe Like Silk In Polyester Sheets: Gentle, sleepy shoegaze from Australia covered in reverb and echo, straight out of Brisbane. A lovely, lazy album that suits the mood of an afternoon doing nothing or everything.

Buried Feather – Mind of the Swarm: Aussies taking this list by storm! An excellent experimental psych rock album with just enough retro swagger to it. The vocals are hypnotic, the phasers are dripping and the drums are mesmerizing. A real gem unearthed this year.

Afghan Whigs – In Spades: Dulli delivered. Nothing else needs to be said here.

Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface: A breathtaking, beautiful, and brilliant album that takes their sound to a whole new level, and is easily the richest-sounding album of the year – the production is impeccable.

Biblical – The City That Always Sleeps: Biblical’s sophomore effort is a schizophrenic album, blending elements of psych, shoegaze, stoner metal, and space rock. It’s both crushingly heavy and intricately delicate at the same time. ‘Spiral Staircase’ is a swirling, instrumental masterpiece.

Devil’s Witches – Velvet Magic: Stoner metal definitely dominated my year, and the debut album by Devil’s Witches was at the top of the list. Velvet Magic was the soundtrack of many evenings working in the garage and yard, beer in hand. The throwback sound is unmatched and the graphic design of their artwork and advertising is some of my favorite.

Brand New – Science Fiction: Recent unfortunate events aside, Jesse Lacey and Brand New delivered the best surprise album of the year. The mystery shrouding this band is incredible and it’s a shame this may be their last album.

Beastmaker – Inside the Skull: Yet another excellent stoner metal release, the sophomore album from Beastmaker draws heavily on the sound of classic bands such as Black Sabbath, Samhain/Danzig, and Pentagram, but adds Beastmaker’s own touch of dark, heavy, evil. Classic horror movie samples, nasty, sludge riffs, and raw drums fill this album from a band often compared to Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

Desertshore – Arc of an Arrow Blind: A gorgeous instrumental album of ringing, lush, electric guitars and a pleasant accompaniment of piano and keyboards give this album an almost (showing my age and music store history here) Narada-esque new age sound, but it works quite well. Easily my favorite Desertshore album thus far.

Death From Above – Outrage Is Now!: Another crushing dance-punk album that certainly does not stray from their signature sound, but somehow stuck with me much more so than their previous works. My steering wheel has taken a beating because of this one.

Story of the Year – Wolves: One of my favorite bands returns from a too-long hiatus with a PledgeMusic-funded album that does not disappoint. Huge hooks, catchy, scream-along choruses, and soaring songs fill this album from start to finish.

Torso – Limbs: Austrian (not Australian this time!) alternative psych rock reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I’ve played the hell out of this album this year. Another excellent random Bandcamp score that I stumbled upon.

Slowdive – Slowdive: The shoegaze forefathers return after an unfathomable 22-year split with an album that was certainly worth the wait.

Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1: My most surprising pick on this list, for sure. Chock-full of rappers and artists that I would normally never listen to, something about this album drew me in and sunk its gold-plated grill into me. I still don’t know what a Migos is, though.

Youngblood Supercult – The Great American Death Rattle: The final stoner metal album on my list, and another excellent one to boot. The straightforward heavy blues/metal guitar and their creepy seventies sludge vibe fill a record that I played over and over this year.