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 libretto 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 impassioned 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 comment below!

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May 2017 Alt Col Picks

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

  • Paramore – After Laughter

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. Standout tracks include “Fake Happy,” “Hard Times,” and “Rose-Colored Boy.” After Laughter will appeal to fans of Walk the Moon, HAIM, and Bleachers.

  • Harry Styles – 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. Standout tracks include “Kiwi,” “Only Angel,” “Sign of the Times,” and “Two Ghosts.” Harry Styles is sure to attract followers of, um, ZZ Top, Niall Horan, and Aerosmith, I guess.

  • Vinyl Theatre – Origami

Pop rockers Vinyl Theatre offer up some of their heaviest material to date and also some of their catchiest. These compelling tunes are bound to get stuck rattling in your head between their buoyant guitar riffs and clamorous percussion. Standout tracks include “My Fault,” “30 Seconds,” and “The Island.” Origami will capture listeners of MisterWives, The Griswolds, and Finish Ticket.

  • Perfume Genius – No Shape

The soft art-pop of No Shape is haunting, beautiful, and mesmerizing. Mike Hadreas’s eerie falsetto and raw synth accompaniment coagulate for an expressive, stirring record destined to be unforgettable and hallucinatory with every listen. Standout tracks include “Slip Away,” “Wreath,” and “Just Like Love.” No Shape is sure to interest fans of Future Islands, Angel Olsen, and Porches.

  • MisterWives – Connect the Dots

Memorable hooks and enticing instrumentation characterize MisterWives’ sophomore record Connect the Dots. Extraordinary melodies and vocal performances make this indie pop rock album undeniably fun and impressive. Standout tracks include “Machine,” “Drummer Boy,” “Coloring Outside the Lines,” and “Oh Love.” Connect the Dots will appeal to followers of Vinyl Theatre, COIN, and The Griswolds.

  • Gideon – Cold

Hailing from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Gideon releases their fourth studio album and first full-length with Equal Vision Records titled Cold. Brimming with aggression, bite, and pugnacity, Cold is fiery and chilling all at once. Standout tracks include “Champions,” “Cursed,” “Machines,” and “Pulling Teeth.” Cold is sure to satisfy followers of Fit for a King, Colossus, and For All Eternity.

  • Dreamcar – Dreamcar

Dreamcar is a new wave alt-rock supergroup comprised of members from No Doubt and AFI, but their debut release together is not reminiscent of either of those acts. Dreamcar is dreamy, spellbinding, and crisp, sure to put you in a hypnotic trance with each spin. Standout tracks include “Kill for Candy,” “Born to Lie,” and “All of the Dead Girls.” Dreamcar is bound to attract listeners of Knox Hamilton, No Doubt, and The Kin.

  • Magic Giant – In the Wind

Indie rockers Magic Giant unleash their debut long-player detailed by folky alt-pop inflections and catchy, anthemic choruses. In the Wind is colorful, vibrant, and lively, each song bringing a new spectacular attitude to the table. Standout tracks include “Set On Fire,” “Window,” and “Celebrate the Reckless.” In the Wind will capture fans of The Mowglis, Grouplove, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

  • Free Throw – Bear Your Mind

Invigorating pop punk and poignant lyricism elucidate Free Throw’s sophomore album titled Bear Your Mind. Between impassioned vocals and alluring guitar melodies, Bear Your Mind is certainly a record you will gladly bear in mind with every play. Standout tracks include “Randy, I Am the Liquor,” “Better Have Burn Heal,” and “Weight On My Chest.” Bear Your Mind will capture fans of Neck Deep, The Wonder Years, and The Story So Far.

  • Grayscale – Adornment

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. Standout tracks include “Atlantic,” “Come Undone (ft. Patty Walters),” and “Beautiful Things.” Adornment will capture fans of As It Is, Moose Blood, and Like Pacific.


Honorable Mentions & eps
  • Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else – Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Mellow indie alternative bliss. Standout tracks include “Smoker’s Paradise,” “Static Electricity,” and “Wrong Turn.” For fans of Yellow Ostrich, Varsity, and Rayland Baxter.

  • A Lot Like Birds – Divisi

Piercing rock with infectious riffs. Standout tracks include “The Sound of Us,” “Trace the Lines,” and “Infinite Chances.” For fans of Emarosa, Slaves, and Hail the Sun.

  • Gold Route – Prosper

Upbeat yet ardent pop punk. Standout tracks include “Void,” “Build,” and “Ropes.” For fans of Detour North, Talk to You Never, and Seaway.

  • Chasing Velvet – Wings (EP)

Smooth, captivating pop rock. Standout tracks include “The Clouds” and “Vertigo,” but the entire EP is wonderful! For fans of 5 Seconds of Summer, Royal Teeth, and Hollywood Heartache.

  • Seasonal – Bloom (EP)

Energetic pop punk with an indie tinge. Standout tracks include “Certainty,” “These Games,” and “Ranger,” but the whole EP is great! For fans of Moose Blood, Seaway, and Turnover.

  • Wavves – You’re Welcome

Enthusiastic indie rock. Standout tracks include “Million Enemies,” “Daisy,” and “Dreams of Grandeur.” For fans of FIDLAR, Cloud Nothings, and SWMRS.

  • At the Drive-In – in•ter a•li•a

Gravelly rock with overflowing angst. Standout tracks include “Governed by Contagions,” “Pendulum in a Peasant Dress,” and “Hostage Stamps.” For fans of Billy Talent, The Mars Volta, and Sparta.

  • Girlpool – Powerplant

Velvety, expressive indie rock. Standout tracks include “123,” “It Gets More Blue,” and “Powerplant.” For fans of Palehound, Car Seat Headrest, and Pinegrove.

  • flor – come out. you’re hiding

Exhilarating indie alt-pop. Standout tracks include “overbehind,” “hold on,” and “guarded.” For fans of LANY, Paradise Fears, and Against the Current.

  • Waters – Something More!

Fun, sprightly indie rock. Standout tracks include “Hiccups,” “You Don’t Know What You Want,” and “Molly Is a Babe.” For fans of Grouplove, Bleachers, and Cold War Kids.

  • Fire From the Gods – Narrative Retold

Ragged rock with a spirited bite. Standout tracks include “The Voiceless,” “The Taste,” and “End Trasmission.” For fans of Of Mice & Men, Wovenwar, and Beartooth.

  • The Mountain Goats – Goths

Transcendental indie alternative vibes. Standout tracks include “Rain in Soho,” “We Do It Different on the West Coast,” and “Stench of the Unburied.” For fans of Tame Impala, Lady Lamb, and alt-J.


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