MaxSounds Top 20 Albums of 2017

Since we’re almost half-way through 2018 I figure I should get my 2017 list out there.  As usual, after the top five, the order is not very meaningful.  Also, my yearly list is based solely on the albums I’ve purchased and I’m sure there are many great records that I missed —  but really, you can’t hear everything!  I’ll fill in the blurbs as I get a chance…

Here we go…

  1. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION. Just like in 2014, St. Vincent’s album came in at number 1. This record is quite different from her previous one, but it still grabs the listener from the opening bass riff of Hang on Me and doesn’t let go until the bass-heavy outro at the end of Smoking Section. While St. Vincent has always been just a vehicle for whatever Annie Clark wants to do, she has always had a stellar band backing her up – both on her records and in concert. Having said that, this record felt much more like a solo offering, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw her live recently that she performed alone – without her band.  It was disconcerting at first but after not too long it made sense and her spectacular guitar playing, singing, and stage presence made it a compelling and memorable show.
  2. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding. Here’s another band from my 2014 list that scored high again.  This band, which still reminds me of classic rockers like Springsteen and Dire Straits, sounds perfect in 2017 yet could really be from any time in the last 30 years.  Their lyrics and melodies are timeless, and they let their songs stretch and breath – never in a hurry. There are ten songs on the record and they average over 6.5 minutes per track.
  3. Steven Wilson – To the Bone
  4. Temples – Volcano
  5. Robert Plant – Carry Fire
  6. Spoon – Hot Thoughts
  7. Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
  8. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
  9. Portugal the Man – Woodstock
  10. The National – Sleep Well Beast
  11. Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?
  12. The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
  13. Ray Davies – Americana
  14. Austra – Future Politics
  15. Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
  16. 16. The Black Angels – Death Song
  17. Mastadon – Emperor of Sand
  18. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  19. Afghan Whigs – In Spades
  20. Jack Johnson – All the Light Above it Too

 

Top San Diego Albums:

  • Birdy Bardot – Birdy Bardot II
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MaxSounds Top 20 Albums of 2016

2016 TOP 20 COVERS

As we come to the end of 2017 here is a review of my top-20 albums of 2016 – many of these are still getting a lot of spins. You can find the full wrap up here: 2016 TOP-20

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Birdy Bardot II

I love coming home to find a 12″/12″/1″ package on my doorstep. This time it was especially cool since it was the new Birdy Bardot LP! This local San Diego band is definitely good enough to break out of the local market.  You can read a full review of this groovy/soulful/retro/pop record here at ListenSanDiego.  You can buy the record and check out some other great San Diego bands over on The Redwoods San Diego page.  Once you’ve listened let me know what you think in the comments.

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Greyface – What Did You Lose

I read a book once by Jacob Slichter, the drummer for 90’s alt-power-pop band Semisonic, called “So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star”. It was an interesting peek into what it was like to try to make it as a rock band. The times are quite different now with the fracturing of the record company model and the emphasis on social networking etc – but the energy and passion of the musicians is still the same. This new band from LA, Greyface, reminds me of that story and the effort it takes to break out to a wider audience. Check it out!

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Dirty Pennies – Bad Machine – Jan. 14, 2017

Dirty Pennies, a rock band from San Diego, California play their new song, “Bad Machine” at the Ray at Night street festival in North Park. This song, written only two weeks prior and performed only once before, was created as a reaction to what our whole political process has become and is perfect timing considering the controversies surrounding the incoming president. Continue reading

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Greyface – Delilah

greyface-greyola-album-cover-600x539

Check out this cool track from new Los Angeles indie/alternative band Greyface. This simultaneously chill but driving track is off their upcoming debut album, Greyola, which will see its release on February 10th. More on Greyface soon…

Click HERE  to listen to “Delilah”

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wimps – The Soda Bar, San Diego -June 29, 2016

[photos by Happy Place Media

After guitarist Rachel Ratner announced they were going to play “a bunch of songs in a short amount of time”, wimps, a 3-piece punk band from Seattle,  launched into “Vampire,” a short, relentless blast of rock ‘n’ roll which as far as I can tell is about being a vampire (or not!). Continue reading

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