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…
- 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.
- 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.
- Steven Wilson – To the Bone
- Temples – Volcano
- Robert Plant – Carry Fire
- Spoon – Hot Thoughts
- Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
- Arcade Fire – Everything Now
- Portugal the Man – Woodstock
- The National – Sleep Well Beast
- Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?
- The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
- Ray Davies – Americana
- Austra – Future Politics
- Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
- 16. The Black Angels – Death Song
- Mastadon – Emperor of Sand
- LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
- Afghan Whigs – In Spades
- Jack Johnson – All the Light Above it Too
Top San Diego Albums:
- Birdy Bardot – Birdy Bardot II