Monday, January 01, 2018

Best Music of 2017

As it turns out, I couldn't even get it together to do this countdown style this year, so here is the complete list of my favorite albums of 2017. Also, here is a Spotify playlist if you're interested in a sampling of these albums.

Happy New Year!

30. Elbow - Little Fictions 29. Jesu and Sun Kil Moon - 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth 28. Roger Waters - Is This the Life We Really Want 27. Son Volt - Notes of Blue 26. Ryan Adams - Prisoner 25. The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles 24. Stars - There is No Love in Fluorescent Light 23. Wolf Parade - Cry Cry Cry 22. Craig Finn - We All Want the Same Things 21. Anders Parker - The Man Who Fell from Earth 20. Dan Auerbach - Waiting on a Song 19. Matt Pond PA - Still Summer 18. The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions 17. Real Estate - In Mind 16. Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up 15. Old 97’s - Graveyard Whistling 14. John Moreland - Big Bad Luv 13. Conor Oberst - Salutations 12. HAIM - Something to Tell You 11. Shout Out Louds - Ease My Mind 10. Lorde - Melodrama 9. Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder 8. Sampha - Process 7. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound 6. The Districts - Popular Manipulations 5. Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me 4. The xx - I See You 3. The National - Sleep Well Beast 2. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding 1. Jens Lekman - Life Will See You Now

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Best Music of 2017, Part 1

As this is my first post since last year's countdown, it seems documenting my favorite albums of the year is now the sole purpose of this blog. I actually started this countdown on Twitter a couple days ago (sorry loyal reader), so for the sake of simplicity, I'm just going to embed those tweets here with a few comments added.

Mark Kozelek...you either love him or you hate him. Actually, I usually love him, although sometimes I...well, hate's a pretty strong word. 

This year's best album by an artist in his 70s. He actually has some choice words for another high-profile guy in his 70s, but I won't get into that here. You'll have to listen for yourself. 


A couple familiar faces in a row. 



Two Canadian bands in a row, although our neighbors north of the border are less well represented than our friends across the pond this year. 

Speaking of familiar faces. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Music of 2016, Part 6

A lot of people have called 2016 a horrible year, because of all the high-profile musicians who passed away, as well as another significant event that could have repercussions for years to come. The latter could probably downgrade the year all by itself, but my family created some great memories in 2016, so I'm going to give it a mixed review.

This year's top five includes three artists brand new to my list and two old favorites.

5. The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum
Considering the consensus is this is only their fourth best album (out of five), I'd say I've got some back-catalog exploring to do with this band.




4. The Jayhawks - Paging Mr. Proust
The "Comeback Kids" return for their fourth appearance in my top ten and first in 13 years, breaking Ryan Adams' record of 10 years between top ten finishes.




3. Pinegrove - Cardinal
These guys are the best thing to come out of Montclair, New Jersey since Stephen Colbert.




2. Lydia Loveless - Real
This year's female musician count is eight solo artists, one duo, one trio, one male-female duo, and two male-female co-fronted bands. None even came remotely close to this one, which was an album-of-the-year contender until last week.




1. Cloud Cult - The Seeker
Cloud Cult's fourth top ten album is also their second to claim the top spot, tying them with the legendary Pernice Brothers as the only band to every accomplish that feat.




Happy New Year and the best of luck in 2017!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Best Music of 2016, Part 5

This year's top ten includes three artists making their fourth appearances here in the 21 year I've been doing this, plus seven newcomers.

10. Shearwater - Jet Plan and Oxbow
I've been a fan since 2004's Winged Life, and they've released some good albums in that time, but this is their first truly great record.




9. Frightened Rabbit - Painting of a Panic Attack
While not their most highly acclaimed, it's the one that made me want to listen to it over and over earlier this year.




8. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon - Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
At this point, you either love or hate Mark Kozelek's confessional songwriting style. This is his third appearance in my top ten in past four years, and fourth overall for Sun Kil Moon (which places them in a 7-way tie for seventh most overall with two artists still to be revealed). You can probably guess which camp I'm in.




7. Maren Morris - Hero
I didn't hear this album until it was named Rolling Stone's country album of the year. It's also the most critically acclaimed among my top ten, but probably the one I'll get the most flak for from my pal Afshin.




6. Eleanor Friedberger - New View
Her old band, the Fiery Furnaces, made my top ten twice, but this is Friedberger's first as a solo artist and perhaps her best album yet.



Friday, December 23, 2016

Best Music of 2016, Part 4

Only the top ten to be revealed between Christmas and New Year's. Happy Holidays!

15. Loretta Lynn - Full Circle
My Christmas tradition is to buy my Dad the year's best country CD (in my opinion) that wouldn't otherwise be on his radar. This year, I went with this and Margo Price.




14.Tegan & Sara - Love You to Death
I'm a sucker for this sister duo's infectious pop songs.



13. Eric Bachmann - Eric Bachmann
The former Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers front-man continues to be one of my favorites as a solo artist.




12. Okkervil River - Away
In addition to landing in my top ten three times, this is this band's third #12 finish.




11. Drive-By Truckers - American Band
These guys already hold the record for most times in my top ten with five, even if they fell just short of extending that mark.