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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November 2017 Alt Col Picks

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

  • Walk the Moon – What If Nothing

After their 2014 ’80s-throwback single “Shut Up and Dance” went viral, Walk the Moon was skyrocketed to stardom in the indie rock/alternative pop community. What If Nothing combines the glittery ’80s-esque vibes of its predecessor and the curiosity and wide-eyed wonder of the band’s self-titled debut, making for a well-rounded and ever-interesting listen. Standout tracks include “Tiger Teeth,” “Can’t Sleep (Wolves),” and “In My Mind.” What If Nothing will appeal to fans of MisterWives, COIN, and WATERS. Click here to listen.

  • Sleep On It – Overexposed

Sleep On It unleashes their debut full-length titled Overexposed and proves their songwriting ability and knack for catchy hooks. Overexposed is a solid pop punk record littered with earworm melodies, crisp production quality, and gut-punching lyrics that are bound to keep you coming back for repeated spins. Standout tracks include “Distant,” “Fireworks (feat. Derek DiScanio),” and “Leave the Light On.” Overexposed is sure to attract followers of Seaway, Knuckle Puck, and The Gospel Youth. Click here to listen.

  • Quicksand – Interiors

Quicksand triumphantly recrudesces with Interiors, their first release in 22 years. After the band declared an indefinite hiatus in 1999, Quicksand fans were unsure if they would ever receive a third album. Not surprisingly, Interiors certainly delivers and was well worth the wait with its coarse guitar timbre and impassioned vocal performances. Standout tracks include “Illuminant,” “Cosmonauts,” and “Feels Like a Weight Has Been Lifted.” Interiors will capture listeners of A Day for Honey, We’re All Broken, and Chevelle. Click here to listen.

  • Field Medic – Songs from the Sunroom

As Songs from the Sunroom‘s album artwork may suggest, Field Medic’s latest long-player is real, heartfelt, and carries a captivating DIY attitude with it. From raw acoustic balladry to synthetically-tinged instrumentation, this album has plenty to offer and for you to soak in. Standout tracks include “Powerful Love,” “Uuu,” “Tombstone Poetry,” and “Like a Feather or a Pawprint.” Songs from the Sunroom is sure to satisfy followers of Tobias Jesso, Jr., Bon Iver, and Trent Dabbs. Click here to listen.

  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon?

After departing the monumental British rock band Oasis, brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher set out on their individual solo projects, and in 2017, Liam’s album arrived just one month ahead of Noel’s. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ latest release Who Built the Moon? continues their dynamic grungy psychedelic style with anthemic choruses and kaleidoscopic glamour. Standout tracks include “Fort Knox,” “The Man Who Built the Moon,” and “Holy Mountain.” Who Built the Moon? is destined to interest fans of Biffy Clyro, The Vaccines, and Oasis. Click here to listen.

  • Ghost Atlas – All Is in Sync, and There’s Nothing Left to Sing About

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Jesse Cash of the progressive metalcore band ERRA self-releases another swaggering album under the Ghost Atlas moniker. From soaring vocals over clamorous guitar riffs to downtrodden acoustic serenades, All Is in Sync is an undoubtedly glorious addition to Cash’s discography. Standout tracks include “Cry Wolf,” “Vertigo,” “Surrogate Lover,” and “Legs.” All Is in Sync, and There’s Nothing Left to Sing About will appeal to listeners of No Resolve, ERRA, and Silver End. Click here to listen.


Extended Plays
  • Milk Teeth – Go Away

Standout tracks include “I Stabbed You First” and “Nearby Catfight.” Go Away is for fans of Sleater-Kinney, Muskets, and Wolf Alice. Click here to listen.

  • pineview – Without You

Standout tracks include “This One’s for You,” “Is It Bad,” and “Anaphylaxis.” Without You is for fans of LANY, The Japanese House, and The 1975. Click here to listen.

  • LOZT – Live from Bridge Sessions

Standout tracks include, well, the whole single, which is “Turmoil” and a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Live from Bridge Sessions is for fans of Chris Dupont, Coffee Eyes, and Noah Guthrie. Click here to listen.

  • Valliers – Lost in Familiarity

Standout tracks include “Breathe and “Coast.” Lost in Familiarity is for fans of Stick to Your Guns, A Day to Remember, and Counterparts. Click here to listen.

  • Slothrust – Show Me How You Want It to Be

Standout tracks include covers of “Happy Together,” “Sex and Candy,” and “Baby One More Time.” Show Me How You Want It to Be is for fans of Royal Blood, Diet Cig, and Halestorm (for the covers). Click here to listen.

  • WAX WAV – EP1

Standout tracks include “Losing My Mind” and “One of Them.” EP1 is for fans of blink-182, Joyce Manor, and American Hi-Fi. Click here to listen.

  • Hampton Hollow – Hampton Hollow

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Standout tracks include “Skin,” “Speak to Me,” and “Push the Ceiling.” Hampton Hollow is for fans of Deaf Havana, Amaryllis, and Mallory Knox. Click here to listen.

  • Tigertown – Warriors

Standout tracks include “Warriors” and “Mysterious (feat. LPX).” Warriors is for fans of Echosmith, Walk the Moon, and WATERS. Click here to listen.

  • A Liar’s Eyes – Free Fall

Standout tracks include “Name of the Game,” “The Operator,” and “Balloons.” Free Fall is for fans of Too Close to Touch, I Prevail, and Issues. Click here to listen.

  • We Were Wolves – Empty Plans

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Standout tracks include “Does It Matter,” “What I’m Turning Into,” and “Charred Pasts.” Empty Plans is for fans of Thousand Below, The News Can Wait, and Sleater-Kinney. Click here to listen.

 


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