Date: 07-04-17 10:45
1. Slowdive - Slowdive
No surprise that this would turn up at the #1 spot on my list. Most likely it will still be there at the end of the year. What's gratifying is seeing the near universal acclaim for the album, as critics fall all over themselves to praise it. It's a nice change from Slowdive's first time around, when they were basically ridiculed into breaking up, and I must admit I enjoy the big fat "I told you so" feeling I get from the rest of the world finally catching up with what I knew 25 years ago. And not only is the album great at restating what was always special about Slowdive, but on songs like "Star Roving," they address one of the main issues people always had with them, and they fucking rawk. But still sound like Slowdive while doing so.
2. Natalie Hemby - Puxico
Hemby has penned hits for some of the biggest stars in country music, like Miranda Lambert, but on her first solo album she has more in common with Gillian Welch and Iris Dement than her big name clients. Puxico is an album about life in the small town Midwest, attempting to capture a record of a way of life before it fades away completely. Best of the bunch is "Cairo, IL," as gorgeous a song as has ever been written about a once-thriving town that is barely more than a memory now, and sums up the feeling of the place perfectly.
3. Idles - Brutalism
An aptly named album, Brutalism is as righteous a punch in the face as anyone has released in the last few years. I'm not sure what the song "Rachel Khoo" has to do with the titular goddess of food porn, but she sure seems to have Idles riled up for some reason.
4. Chicano Batman - Freedom Is Free
The older I get, the greater a hold nostalgia has on me. So a band that sounds like any given week of America's Top 40 from 1971 thrown into a blender is going to get my attention. Chicano Batman mix old school soul grooves with psychedelia and sunshine pop to sound in a way that does my old, cholesterol clogged heart good.
5. Blondie - Pollinator
I've liked all of Blondie's post-reunion albums for the most part, but Pollinator feels the closest to a good, old fashioned Blondie album that they've done, which is odd, considering that it's stuffed to the gills with guest stars and guest writers. But it seems like Blondie themselves are happier with this album than any of their other recent ones, given the huge push it's been given. There's still a Destri-shaped hole in the proceedings, though.
6. Land of Talk - Life After Youth
I liked Land of Talk's earlier albums, but I never remembered them being this good. They sound like Madder Rose with a recording budget, which is a very good thing in my book.
7. Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol. 1
Great scuzzy psych-rock. Like the Black Angels, if that band ever got around to writing more than one song.
8. Ride - Weather Diaries
The year's other great Shoegaze reunion. Like Lush did with their comeback EP last year, Ride wisely choose to pretend their detour in Britpop never happened and get back to the jangle-gaze that they excelled at in the first place.
9. Son Volt - Notes of Blue
He shouldn't have to, but every few years Jay Farrar seems to feel the need to release an album designed to remind people that hey, Tweedy is cool and all, but HE was the soul of Uncle Tupelo and can go toe-to-toe with St. Jeff any time he feels like it. Notes of Blue is one of those albums.
10. Charly Bliss - Guppy
It should've been obvious when Letters To Cleo turned up on Parks & Recreation a few years back that a resurgence was nigh. The little girl vocals + crunchy indie rock guitar sound of Cleo, Belly, Veruca Salt, Juliana Hatfield, etc., got a bit cloying back in the 90s, but a 20 year absence can turn annoyance into affection. I doubt if anyone in Charly Bliss was older than a toddler in 1995, but they channel the sound pretty flawlessly.
Bubbling under the top 10 - Chastity Belt, British Sea Power, Ray Davies, San Fermin, Aimee Mann, Jay Som, Paramore
Post Edited (07-04-17 11:21)