Monday, January 1, 2018

Best of 2017

Well, here we go again. Another year toasted. Another attempt to organize art into a list and rank the unrankable. If it helps any, I'll be the first to admit that the exact order of my top 10 - 20 albums are often capable of shuffling spots depending on my mood during any given day. I imagine that comes as no shock to anyone.

Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good year. I've certainly found a lot of music - and a lot of bands - that I'm sure I'll be playing for the rest of my days. If you find something you like, I encourage you to invest in the album. In the meantime, you just know I'll be kicking myself for a pile of worthy omissions (which I'll attempt to collect on the upcoming Orphans mix).

The Un-Herd Music Top 50 of 2017

 1. Chuck Berry Chuck

You may suspect I'm gifting the #1 spot to Mr. Berry solely on the grounds of his importance to every single note on every single mix I've ever made in my life. And you may be right. And I don't care.





2. Needles//Pins Good Night Tomorrow

The band continues their expected trajectory, which combines the ragged hooks of the Replacements with the sonic wallop of a car crash, but with a truly impressive growth in songwriting.





3. The Crazy Squeeze Savior of the Streets

In the band bio they rightly reference 70s pub rock, but these guys remember the tough and melodic Ducks Deluxe brand over the ersatz Band-isms of Brinsley Schwartz. That's the way I prefer to remember it too.




 4. The Regrettes Feel Your Feelings Fool

Astonishingly, front woman Lydia Night was 16 years old when this album was recorded, but that didn't stop her from copping (and refining) moves from relatively ancient precursors like 90s riot grrls and 60s girl groups. The future is female.




5. The Stanleys The Stanleys

The inescapable descriptor is power pop, but these guys deliver an advanced thesis in muscular hook-craft that most comparable bands barely understand, let alone strive for.





6. Daniel Romano Modern Pressure

After releasing a number of straight retro-country albums, Romano reached back into his own punky roots and unleashed something that sounds like the Basement Tapes beamed in from a galaxy where Hank Williams played power pop.



 
 7. Spoon Hot Thoughts

At this point Spoon is flying far above the Un-Herd purview, but it's difficult to ignore the quality of Britt Daniel's songwriting, not to mention the breath-taking invention of the band's arrangements. Great band just keeps getting greater.




8. Biters The Future Ain't What It Used To Be

70s glam stomp meets 80s glam rawk meets modern punk attitude - this could go wrong in so many ways but is constantly redeemed by leader Tuk's gift for melody, as well as his apparently honest respect for his antecedents.




 9. Black Joe Lewis Backlash

I don't know what this guy needs to do to get more respect and/or attention out there, but I hope he keeps the pedal to the metal and continues in this skronkin' sax 'n' molten R&B mode. This shit's the real deal.




10. QTY QTY

The kind of album that could only come out of NYC. Droll vocals drenched in charisma and elliptical guitar lines make comparisons to Lou Reed and the Strokes (and all points in between) inevitable, yet there's a melancholy cool that is entirely the band's own.





11. Low Cut Connie Dirty Pictures (Part 1)
12. Bash & Pop Anything Could Happen
13. Suzes Fragile Development
14. The Rich Hands Take Care
15. Sheer Mag Need To Feel Your Love
16. White Reaper The World's Best American Band
17. The Rubs Impossible Dream
18. Colman Gota Fear the Summer
19. The Jesus and Mary Chain Damage + Joy
20. The Pilgrims No Focus

21. The Lowest of the Low Do The Right Now
22. The Singles Sweet Tooth
23. First Base Not That Bad
24. Dude York Sincerely
25. Plasticsoul Therapy
26. Gregg Stewart Gregg Stewart
27. New Swears And The Magic Of Horses
28. Ted Leo The Hanged Man
29. Wyldlife Out On Your Block
30. Aimee Mann Mental Illness

31. Indonesian Junk Stars in the Night
32. JD McPherson Undivided Heart + Soul
33. The Successful Failures Ichor of Nettle
34. Hanni El Khatib Savage Times
35. Sweet Spirit St. Mojo
36. The Church Man Woman Life Death Infinity
37. Shinyribs I Got Your Medicine
38. Eyelids or
39. Chuck Prophet Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins

40. Two Cow Garage Brand New Flag
41. The Hooten Hallers The Hooten Hallers
42. Robyn Ludwick This Tall To Ride
43. Rancid Trouble Maker
44. Shilpa Ray Door Girl
45. Tim Heidecker Too Dumb For Suicide; The Trump Songs
46. The Rallies Serve
47. Pugwash Silverlake
48. Dirty Fences Goodbye Love
49. Willie Nile Positively Bob: Nile Sings Dylan
50. Sharon Jones Soul of a Woman

Honorable Mentions, Reissues, & Late 2016 Releases:

The Replacements For Sale; Live At Maxwell's, 1986
Teenage Head Fun Comes Fast
Sam Cash & the Romantic Dogs  Tongue-in-Cheek Vows
The Dollyrots Whiplash Splash
Samantha Fish Chills & Fever
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires Youth Detention
Hayley Thompson-King Psychotic Melancholia
The Pink Tiles #1 Fan
Alex Lahey Love You Like a Brother
The Red Button Now It's All This

Draw That Chalky Line All Around The Corpse of Truth

1. Needles//Pins Pressure Points
2. The Crazy Squeeze Ooh Baby I Love You
3. Suzes Pleasure Doing Business With You
4. The Rubs Why Won't You Wait
5. Black Joe Lewis Prison
6. Sheer Mag Rank and File
7. QTY Rodeo
8. White Reaper Another Day
9. The Regrettes Hey Now
10. Biters Callin' You Home
11. Rich Hands So What
12. Bash & Pop Unfuck You
13. Plasticsoul King of Hash
14. The Lowest of the Low Saint Spurious
15. Colman Gota Call It Quits
16. Low Cut Connie Angela
17. The Jesus and Mary Chain All Things Pass
18. The Singles Sweet Tooth
19. First Base Crybaby
20. The Stanleys Amy
21. The Pilgrims Dinky Betts
22. Daniel Romano When I Learned Your Name
23. Dude York Black Jack
24. New Swears Dance with the Devil
25. Chuck Berry Lady B. Goode




5 comments:

biopunk said...

Best wishes for 2018 Roy!

Roy Pearl said...

Right back atcha, biopunk! Have a great year!

Anonymous said...

The Regrettes released not only my favorite holiday track of the year - it might be my favorite track, period. Of 2017, I mean. Check it out if you haven't heard it yet. "Marshmallow World" - think it's a Dean Martin cover. Great to hear them just having fun like that.

Roy Pearl said...

Wish I'd found that Regrettes song for my Xmas mix - it's great! Thanks for the reco!

Unknown said...

You are too right about Black Joe Lewis. I can't wait to listen to tracks that you'd put shoulder to shoulder with that powerhouse. Thanks!