May 2018 Alt Col Picks

A lot of great albums were released in May, so here are our favorite records of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up

After issuing a handful of sparkling indie blues rock albums, Lake Street Dive releases another fantastic addition to their victory streak with Free Yourself Up, characterized by soulful vocals and tastefully rough-around-the-edges instrumentals. Standout tracks include “Good Kisser,” “Dude,” “Hang On,” and “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts.” Free Yourself Up will appeal to fans of Muddy Magnolias, Empty Houses, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Click here to listen.

  • Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

For their sixth studio record, Arctic Monkeys steps out of their traditional wheelhouse for a lounge-y, nonchalant smooth rock timbre with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, seasoned with prickly guitar melodies and psychedelic vocal delivery. Standout tracks include “Four Out of Five,” “Star Treatment,” and “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.” Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is bound to satisfy followers of The Kooks, The Last Shadow Puppets, and Bloc Party. Click here to listen.

  • Shinedown – Attention Attention

In an era where most popular rock bands aim for a more poppy, mainstream radio-friendly sound, Shinedown turns the other direction and unleashes a ripping, hard-hitting, pure rock record with soaring choruses and granular guitar riffs. Standout tracks include “DEVIL,” “ATTENTION ATTENTION,” “MONSTERS,” and “THE HUMAN RADIO.” Attention Attention is sure to attract listeners of Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry, and Three Days Grace. Click here to listen.

  • Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

Parquet Courts’ seventh studio record Wide Awake! is nothing short of a dream. With funky melodies, nuanced synths and effects, and a sense of urgency, Wide Awake! will shake you right awake with the first listen. Standout tracks include “Wide Awake,” “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience,” and “Before the Water Gets Too High.” Wide Awake! will interest fans of Protomartyr, The Vaccines, and The Wombats. Click here to listen.

  • Now, Now – Saved

Six years after their previous full-length Threads, Now, Now returns with Saved, a record that cements their indie rock style through playful tunes like “SGL” and moodier moments like “Can’t Help Myself.” The amalgamation of emo-tinged alt-rock and smooth synth pop makes for a delectable and endlessly replayable album. Standout tracks include “SGL,” “Yours,” “Set It Free,” and “Can’t Help Myself.” Saved will capture followers of Pinkish Blu, Anarbor, and The Aces. Click here to listen.

  • courtship. – Denial in Paradise

courtship.’s debut LP Denial in Paradise is an undeniably fabulous indie pop slice of paradise for the summer. The cascading guitar melodies and glistening synths combine with the unique percussion and hypnotic vocal performances to craft a breezy, sunny record worth countless listens. Standout tracks include “Nice Guy,” “Bad Fun,” “The Kind of Woman,” and “Sunroof.” Denial in Paradise is sure to satisfy listeners of HONNE, Smallpools, and COIN. Click here to listen.

  • CHVRCHES – Love Is Dead

CHVRCHES recrudesces with another dazzling indie pop full-length on Love Is Dead. Between scintillating synth lines and anthemic refrains, Love Is Dead also provides social commentary, self-reflection, and underlying angst to tie the explosive package altogether. Standout tracks include “Get Out,” “Graffiti,” “Miracle,” and “Deliverance.” Love Is Dead will appeal to followers of Broods, Shura, and Purity Ring. Click here to listen.

  • Beach House – 7

Aptly titled 7, Beach House’s seventh record is a hazy listen defined by surging walls of reverb and foggy atmosphere, complemented by meditative lyricism to make for a dreamy indie rock/pop album perfect for a lazy summer afternoon. Standout tracks include “Dark Spring,” “Dive,” “L’Inconnue,” and “Lemon Glow.” 7 will attract fans of Perfume Genius, Real Estate, and Grouper. Click here to listen.


MORE GREAT ALBUMS
  • Honey, Be Well – These Emo Kids and Their Damn Polaroids

Standout tracks include “Secret Agent Michael Scarn,” “I Wanna Go Home,” and “Enough for You.” These Emo Kids and Their Damn Polaroids is for fans of Modern Baseball, Joyce Manor, and The Front Bottoms. Click here to listen.

  • Dream On Dreamer – It Comes and Goes

Standout tracks include “Stay,” “Let It In,” and “Runaway.” It Comes and Goes is for fans of The Word Alive, Hands Like Houses, and I See Stars. Click here to listen.

  • Frank Turner – Be More Kind

Standout tracks include “Be More Kind,” “Blackout,” and “Make America Great Again.” Be More Kind is for fans of Brian Fallon, Dave Hause, and Beans On Toast. Click here to listen.

  • James Bay – Electric Light

Standout tracks include “Pink Lemonade,” “Sugar Drunk High,” and “Wild Love.” Electric Light is for fans of George Ezra, Hozier, and Vance Joy. Click here to listen.

  • Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

Standout tracks include “Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence,” “Need a Little Time,” and “City Looks Pretty.” Tell Me How You Really Feel is for fans of Kurt Vile, Soccer Mommy, and Snail Mail. Click here to listen.

  • TT – LoveLaws

Standout tracks include “Love Leaks,” “The Dream,” and “I’ve Been Fine.” LoveLaws is for fans of The Japanese House, Anna Burch, and Sunflower Bean. Click here to listen.

  • The Word Alive – Violent Noise

Standout tracks include “Red Clouds,” “Human (ft. Sincerely Collins),” and “Why Am I Like This?”  Violent Noise is for fans of Miss May I, blessthefall, and The Color Morale. Click here to listen.

  • Remember Sports – Slow Buzz

Standout tracks include “No Going Back,” “Up From Below,” and “Pull Through.” Slow Buzz is for fans of Ratboys, Dude York, and Diet Cig. Click here to listen.

  • The Sidekicks – Happiness Hours

Standout tracks include “Weed Tent,” “Twin’s Twist,” and “Don’t Feel Like Dancing.” Happiness Hours is for fans of Cheap Girls, Wild Nothing, and The Menzingers. Click here to listen.

  • At the Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself

Standout tracks include “Daggers of Black Haze,” “To Drink From the Night Itself,” and “The Mirror Black.” To Drink From the Night Itself is for fans of Dark Tranquility, Hypocrisy, and In Flames. Click here to listen.

  • Elder Brother – Stay Inside

Standout tracks include “Weak Days,” “You & Me Forever,” and “Sway.” Stay Inside is for fans of Daisyhead, Head North, and Chase Huglin. Click here to listen.

  • Chase Huglin – Will the Sun Ever Come Back

Standout tracks include “Pennies,” “Heaven Come My Way,” and “90 Days of Summer.” Will the Sun Ever Come Back is for fans of Mat Kerekes, McCafferty, and Elder Brother. Click here to listen.

  • Middle Kids – Lost Friends

Standout tracks include “Mistake,” “Bought It,” and “On My Knees.” Lost Friends is for fans of Methyl Ethel, Camp Cope, and Varsity. Click here to listen.

  • Parkway Drive – Reverence

Standout tracks include “The Void,” “Prey,” and “Wishing Wells.” Reverence is for fans of Miss May I, The Devil Wears Prada, and Architects. Click here to listen.

  • Strung Out – Black Out the Sky

Standout tracks include “Town of Corazon,” “Requiem,” and “Black Out the Sky.” Black Out the Sky is for fans of Face to Face, Ten Foot Pole, and Good Riddance. Click here to listen.

  • Iceage – Beyondless

Standout tracks include “Catch It,” “Pain Killer (ft. Sky Ferreira),” and “Take It All.” Beyondless is for fans of Ought, Preoccupations, and IDLES. Click here to listen.

 


Extended Plays
  • Honest Men – Honest Men

Standout tracks include “Mad Love” and “Lose My Head.” Honest Men is for fans of COIN, Bad Suns, and The Ivy. Click here to listen.

  • DALES – Demos

Standout tracks include “Bulletproof” and “Young for the Summer.” Demos is for fans of Go Radio, The Maine, and The Summer Set. Click here to listen.

  • Somme – Somme

Standout tracks include “Holding On to You” and “Ordinary Fools.” Somme is for fans of Clairo, Ally Hills, and LAYNE. Click here to listen.

  • Clairo – diary 001

Standout tracks include “Pretty Girl” and “4EVER.” diary 001 is for fans of Temporex, boy pablo, and SALES. Click here to listen.

  • Jeremy Zucker – glisten

Standout tracks include “all the kids are depressed” and “better off.” glisten is for fans of EDEN, gnash, and nothing,nowhere. Click here to listen.

  • The Front Bottoms – Ann

Standout tracks include “Tie Dye Dragon” and “Somebody Else.” Ann is for fans of Joyce Manor, Tigers Jaw, and Modern Baseball. Click here to listen.

  • Times Like These – Take It or Leave It

Standout tracks include “Pipe Bomb” and “Passing Cars.” Take It or Leave It is for fans of Face Value, The Gospel Youth, and Every Avenue. Click here to listen.

  • HalfNoise – Flowerss

Standout tracks include “All That Love Is” and “Flowerss.” Flowerss is for fans of Now, Now, Beach Weather, and Paramore. Click here to listen.

  • Pridelands – Any Colour You Desire

Standout tracks include “Slowly” and “The Sulfur Inside Your Hell.” Any Colour You Desire is for fans of Belle Haven, Tapestry, and Apate. Click here to listen.

  • Dream State – Recovery

Standout tracks include “White Lies” and “New Waves.” Recovery is for fans of Picturesque, Greywind, and Thousand Below. Click here to listen.

  • emoceans – Lost in Love

Standout tracks include “I Give Myself to You” and “I Swear.” Lost in Love is for fans of blackbear, gnash, and Bazzi. Click here to listen.

  • Late Night Bull Fight – Something Doesn’t Add Up

Standout tracks include “Superhuman” and “Slow Your Roll.” Something Doesn’t Add Up is for fans of Mt. Joy, Pacific Radio, and Naked Giants. Click here to listen.

 


Featured Singles

Let us know what you think of May’s releases down in the comments below!


Our Alt Col Picks are curated lists of the best albums and EPs for each month! We keep a schedule of upcoming releases and pick our favorite ones at the end of the month, giving them a spotlight here and on Twitter. To be featured in one of our lists, hit us up on our contact page or Twitter, though nothing is guaranteed. (We rarely make exceptions to include past releases, so if your album came out in June, we might be hesitant to include it in July or August, for instance.)

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2017 Year-End Roundup

Alright, so the big album-related lists from 2017 are out of the way (Best Albums & “Worst” Albums), so let’s jump into some more year-end lists! Let’s start with best songs. We’re gonna blow through the majority of these and then talk about the list-toppers a bit more in detail. Keep in mind this is all my personal opinion and you’re free to disagree! Let me know your favorite songs of 2017 down in the comments below.

Best Songs of 2017

  1. “All the Land Glimmered” by Julie Byrne
  2. “No Halo” by Sorority Noise
  3. “Main Attraction” by Sincerely, Me
  4. “Hiccups” by WATERS
  5. “Get By” by Real Friends
  6. “All” by Joseph
  7. “Better Off” by 7 Minutes in Heaven
  8. “Cannot Do This Alone” by Colony House
  9. “New York” by LEDGES
  10. “Take What You Want (feat. 5 Seconds of Summer)” by ONE OK ROCK
  11. “Feel Good” by Neon Trees
  12. “Apartment” by Seaway
  13. “The Last of the Real Ones” by Fall Out Boy
  14. “Paradise” by Broadside
  15. “Okay” by As It Is
  16. “Certainty” by Seasonal
  17. “What’s Wrong” by PVRIS
  18. “Sold” by Heavy Things
  19. “Caroline” by A Will Away
  20. “Everything You Want Me to Be” by Coldfront
  21. “Young for the Summer” by DALES
  22. “Celebrate the Reckless” by Magic Giant
  23. “The Fog” by LAYNE
  24. “Kids” by The Gospel Youth
  25. “Feelings” by Hayley Kiyoko
  26. “Don’t Take the Money” by Bleachers
  27. “Last Young Renegade” by All Time Low
  28. “The Breakup” by LANY
  29. “Slow Burn” by State Champs
  30. “Lookers” by The Menzingers
  31. “Fire” by The Dangerous Summer
  32. “In the Middle of It All” by Citizen
  33. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles
  34. “Tiger Teeth” by Walk the Moon
  35. “Daylily” by Movements
  36. “Hiding With Boys” by Creeper
  37. “Liability” by Lorde
  38. “Beautiful Things” by Grayscale
  39. “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” by The Maine
  40. “Fake Happy” by Paramore

That’s it! My top choice is “Fake Happy” by Paramore because I found myself constantly coming back to this song and loving it more and more every time. The lyrics are amazingly well-written and give such an awesome commentary, and the melodies in this song are absolutely stellar. “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” is my second pick because this song is so emotionally-charged and “gives me all the feels,” if you will. The instrumental is fantastic and the guitar melody is always stuck in my head on repeat. “Beautiful Things” by Grayscale is next on the list due to its heartfelt lyrics and spectacular vocal performance, along with that catchy hook! “Liability” by Lorde is a song that I can personally relate to and is such a moving piano ballad, which is quite out-of-the-ordinary for Lorde. “Hiding With Boys” is an epic rock tune outlined by smoky nostalgia and heart-rending lyrics that makes me feel some type of way. “Daylily” by Movements also makes me … feel something … and is such a poignant song between its raspy, impassioned vocals and raw instrumentals. I’ve been waiting for a studio version of “Tiger Teeth” by Walk the Moon for AGES and we finally got it! It definitely lives up to and even surpasses the live recordings of this atmospheric, emotional tune. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles isn’t what most fans expected from him, but my God, this monumental power ballad the best thing we could’ve ever dreamed of getting from this former boy band member. All of my top picks have something in common: they all made me feel. I don’t mean to get sappy, but that’s why I love music, it makes me feel things.

Best EPs of 2017

  1. Fade by Cold Climb It
  2. Likes Me Like That by Over Atlantic
  3. Aesthetically Pleasing by Sincerely, Me
  4. Do You Feel the Same Way Now? by Forbidden Envy
  5. Best When In Motion by Life Lessons
  6. Bloom by Seasonal
  7. Symmetry by 7 Minutes in Heaven
  8. Hard by The Neighbourhood
  9. Without You by pineview
  10. Wednesday by LAYNE

Click the links to read what we have to say about these EPs!

Best Debut Albums of 2017

  1. Totem by Welman
  2. AM/PM by The White Noise
  3. Lovely Domestic Bliss by Guide Dog
  4. Prosper by Gold Route
  5. Love Jail by Julia Louise
  6. Tasha Sits Close to the Piano by Jaws of Love.
  7. Homecoming by LEDGES
  8. Busybody Lazybones by Woolbright
  9. Landmark by Hippo Campus
  10. Red, Green, or Inbetween by WSTR
  11. Fail You Again by Can’t Swim
  12. Float Around by Coldfront
  13. Overexposed by Sleep On It
  14. Coast Modern by Coast Modern
  15. Always Lose by The Gospel Youth
  16. The Heights by Knox Hamilton
  17. Dreamcar by Dreamcar
  18. Cigarettes After Sex by Cigarettes After Sex
  19. Greatest Hits by Remo Drive
  20. Here Again by A Will Away
  21. In the Wind by Magic Giant
  22. Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper
  23. LANY by LANY
  24. Feel Something by Movements
  25. Harry Styles by Harry Styles

Click the links to read what we have to say about each of these albums!

Most Underrated/Overlooked Albums of 2017

  1. Apprise. Assemble. Arise. by Concealed in Clouds
  2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors by Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else
  3. Odyssey by The Accidentals
  4. Swear I’m Good At This by Diet Cig
  5. Fever Dream by Everything Everything
  6. Sincerely by Dude York
  7. Telephone by Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
  8. Waiting on the Sun by Jule Vera
  9. Bear Your Mind by Free Throw
  10. come out, you’re hiding by flor
  11. Connect the Dots by MisterWives
  12. Make the Best of It by Have Mercy
  13. For Posterity by Dryjacket
  14. Overexposed by Sleep On It (ironic title)
  15. Vultures by Dead Leaves
  16. Orc by Oh Sees
  17. Chew by Muskets
  18. Hurts So Good by The Polarity
  19. The Same View With a New Light by WATERMEDOWN
  20. Easy by The Weeks
  21. Homecoming by LEDGES
  22. The Love You Let Too Close by Thousand Below
  23. The Good Life by Makeout
  24. Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers
  25. Tasha Sits Close to the Piano by Jaws of Love.
  26. Waiting for Morning to Come by Being As An Ocean
  27. Totem by Welman
  28. Not Even Happiness by Julie Byrne
  29. Always Hope by Forever Starts Today
  30. Float Around by Coldfront
  31. Camp Cope by Camp Cope
  32. Busybody Lazybones by Woolbright
  33. Metaphysical by The Technicolors
  34. Landmark by Hippo Campus
  35. Content by Joywave
  36. The Heights by Knox Hamilton
  37. Goner by Heavy Things
  38. Dreamcar by Dreamcar
  39. Volcano by Temples
  40. In the Wind by Magic Giant
  41. Awkward Phase by Eternal Boy
  42. Coast Modern by Coast Modern
  43. Here Again by A Will Away
  44. Back to Beautiful by Picturesque
  45. Diverge by Hawking
  46. Something More! by WATERS
  47. All These Countless Nights by Deaf Havana
  48. Synesthesia by Courage My Love
  49. Origami by Vinyl Theatre
  50. After the Party by The Menzingers

Click the links to read what we have to say about each of these albums!

Those are all the lists we have for 2017! Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Best Albums of 2017

2017. What a year. The time has now come to evaluate the releases of the past twelve months and pick the cream of the crop. While this year did not offer a large amount of truly amazing records, the few that did catch my attention are undeniably stellar albums. So let’s jump into it. Like last year, when it comes to year-end lists, I tend to be a bit more personal, relaxed, and interject my opinion more honestly, so strap in. (Keep in mind that these lists are in no exact, particular order since my views fluctuate relatively frequently.)

Honorable Mentions

Before we dive into the top full-lengths of 2017, let’s survey some honorable mentions, some albums that came close and yet so far.

10. Synesthesia by Courage My Love

Courage My Love expertly pulls off a stark stylistic shift on Synesthesia, transitioning from gutsy hard rock to synth-dazzled pop rock. The catchy hooks and smooth vocals stick the landing and make this album consistently replayable.

9. Good Nature by Turnover

Another change in sonic attitude, Turnover’s daydreamy record Good Nature showcases the band treading new territory into a hypnotically mellow trance. Sweet, heartfelt lyricism and liquidy guitar timbre gives this LP its undeniable charm and allure.

8. Okay. by As It Is

The album title doesn’t accurately describe this record since Okay. is more than just okay. This addicting slice of pop punk displays As It Is developing as songwriters and musicians exploring different styles and subject matters. (And Patty Walters’s vocals certainly improved.)

7. Broken Machine by Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves strikes yet again with the thunderous Broken Machine. Between soaring vocal performances from frontman Conor Mason and heavy-hitting guitars, Broken Machine is a phenomenal rock record for 2017.

6. LANY by LANY

The glistening synths, erratic guitar flares, and earnest libretto causes LANY’s self-titled debut full-length to instantly deserve repeated spins. With inspiration from the ’80s and a modern knack for relatable lyrics, this album will appeal to just about everybody.

5. Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper

Creeper’s theatrical songwriting and dark rock demeanor gives their debut album a stage-filling presence and moody atmosphere. Their dramatic character and instrumental sensibility makes Eternity, In Your Arms nothing less than fascinating and enjoyable.

4. What If Nothing by Walk the Moon

While Walk the Moon’s self-titled album is still their best in my eyes, What If Nothing combines the glittery ’80s-esque vibes of its predecessor and the curiosity and wide-eyed wonder of the band’s debut, making for a well-rounded and ever-interesting listen.

3. As You Please by Citizen

Emo revivalists Citizen recrudesce with their third full-length titled As You PleaseAs You Please is nothing short of expressive and cultivated through heartfelt lyrics, enticing vocal delivery, and poignant melodies, demanding you to listen again and again to catch every detail.

2. Adornment by Grayscale

Grayscale’s sophomore full-length Adornment testifies to the band’s engaging songwriting and stellar musicianship. With animated choruses and tireless libretto, Adornment doesn’t need to be adorned with enhancements—it’s already amazing.

1. Turn Out the Lights by Julien Baker

Emotional lyricism and morose melodies define Julien Baker’s second studio effort named Turn Out the Lights, displaying the solo performer examining new instrumental territories within a more piano-driven realm. It’s eerie, emotive, and undoubtedly memorable.

Best Albums of 2017

Before we finally delve into what I think are the absolute best albums of 2017, let’s discuss what it takes to make this list. For me, a record must be consistently replayable, rarely ever trite or stale after every listen. I should be able to look through the track-listing and enjoy (or, well, at least admire) every song present. With all that being said, 2017 didn’t produce a ton of best-worthy albums for me personally, so here’s my somewhat short list.

6. Feel Something by Movements

Movements’ debut album Feel Something will certainly make you feel something. This long-player hurts in the best way possible. As the artwork implies, Feel Something is haunting, dark, and raw, destined to keep your head spinning for hours to come when the closer ends.

5. After the Party by The Menzingers

The Menzingers explore the struggles of growing up and maturing through vigorous alt-rock and spirited songwriting. Impassioned lyricism melds with musical brio to produce a delectable listen from start to finish bound to hit you right in the gut with its raw relatability and emotion.

4. Lovely Little Lonely by The Maine

Catchy hooks, slick guitar melodies, and earnest lyrics characterize The Maine’s sixth studio album, Lovely Little Lonely. The band offers up some of their best material to date and tiptoes outside of their comfort zone on multiple tunes blanketed with atmosphere.

3. Harry Styles by Harry Styles

I never thought I would be writing about Harry Styles on an alternative music website but here we are. Styles delivers his debut solo album with grandiosity and charm. From thunderous, rocking choruses to calm, sincere acoustic serenades, Styles proves he’s more than just a typical (former) boy band member.

2. Melodrama by Lorde

Four years after her groundbreaking debut album, Lorde returns more lyrically mature and musically expansive than ever. Youthful yet mellow, Melodrama doesn’t hold back its emotions. Between songs of break-ups, struggles in the industry, and friendly endeavors, Lorde has certainly grown, and this record was well worth the wait.

1. After Laughter by Paramore

Irresistible melodies, smooth guitar riffs, and heartfelt lyrics define Paramore’s fifth studio album titled After Laughter. The band leans into a colorful new sound gilded by the ’80s and pop sensibility, continuing to push the envelope of their musical range and variation. This album never grows stale with each song offering up something fresh while still maintaining its throwback attitude.

Keep in mind this is all entirely my personal opinion. Let us know your favorite albums of the year down in the comments below!