Best Music of 2017
This year sucked for most of us. Here's some music that didn't.
Owlcrusher - Owlcrusher
Who are these people? Did they emerge fully formed from a small town outside of Derry, Northern Ireland, or did it take time to develop this incredible doom sound? Why are they called Owlcrusher? Do they just hate owls? They make me want to hang it up sometimes.
Myrkur - Mareridt
I have no idea what the album title or half of the songs mean, hopefully they're not "Islamic immigrants are kind of a problem in Scandinavia." A little black metal, a little folk, a little dark pop, plenty of that moral ambiguity that the best Norwegian bands give you, but Danish.
Gnod - JUST SAY NO TO THE PSYCHO RIGHT-WING CAPITALIST FASCIST INDUSTRIAL DEATH MACHINE
It's fun to see the artsy types get angry. Gnod have been getting progressively heavier, but always maintained a bit of an abstract atmospheric quality, like old Swans floating in and out of bad reception. But this album, starting from the cover, is in your face and unambiguous. It's invigorating, which I guess is the point.
Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
It's Protomartyr. They're doing their thing, and they're doing it better all the time. The main difference here is that Joe's lyrics kind of turn outward, which in 2017 is more depressing than the inward ones.
Hey Colossus - The Guillotine
I think that title is what passes for optimism right now. It's more of the same from them but it's really good.
Big Brave - Ardor
Greg Anderson snatches up yet another great band and then they do their best album so far. Magical. Don't bother trying to categorize it.
Boris - Dear
Supposedly they were gonna break up after this album but decided it was so good they would keep on. True to that theory, it's one of the best Boris albums in many years. It has pretty much all the great things they do, blended more seamlessly than they've ever done.
Pallbearer - Heartless
Uuuuh I'm a fuckin hipster and I like Pallbearer. True story, the guy who installed my security system in Austin turned me on to Pallbearer's much-hyped first demo. He sang for a Relapse grindcore band called Kill the Client and he burned his shaved head on a lightbulb in my attic.
Pharmakon - Contact
She may never put out a better album than Bestial Burden, but the quality remains consistent, and even more than ever Pharmakon manages to be the aural equivalent of Cronenbergian body horror. I love being scared by music but it's really hard to find.
Richard Kirk - Dasein
Like Bob Pollard, you should probably check for a new RHK album every couple seconds lest you miss one. But at least 1 out of 5 is great, and this one is classic Kirk in a way I haven't heard in a while.
Godflesh - Post Self
I was stoked that Godflesh came back, and seeing them made me poop my pants, but A World Lit Only By Fire was mediocre by Broadrick standards. And even good Godflesh albums can drag at times. Post Self doesn't have this problem. Like the Boris album, it's a little of everything that Godflesh does well.
Hell - Hell
What the hell, it's Hell. I didn't immediately take to this because it's more "metal" (that is, more traditional?) than Hell I-III , but about the third listen it became horrible magic. Put it on if you're feeling too good about things.
Unsane - Sterilize
Apparently the title refers to gentrification. The new, more expensive and polished NYC doesn't seem to have room for Unsane anymore, and yet here they are with their best album in a minute.
Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper
This is depressing as hell, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
I dunno, I liked Abyss more but this is probably a "better" record. It's good.
Tristen - Sneaker Waves
I just like the idea that there are cool people in Nashville making good music, and she keeps getting better at it.
Here Lies Man - Here Lies Man
The press release says "if Black Sabbath played afrobeat," but it's thankfully not as facile sounding as that music-press style of garbage.
Ben Frost - The Center Cannot Hold
I see no reason to doubt Ben Frost, he will be this good forever, right?
Satyricon - Deep Calleth Upon Deep
This is almost black'n'roll but it's fierce, evil, and catchy.
Here's a more than respectable comeback. Not Mission of Burma, but not G'n'R.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid
The modern master of an esoteric synth does a damn enjoyable ambient pop album.
COH - COHGS
Not really a new album, but newly compiled of all COH's collabs with singers. "Loves Septic Domain" with John Balance is horrific medicine for the soul that is sick from missing him, and Sleazy gets a beautiful treatment too.
Adult. - Detroit House Guests
They really did have all these people stay at their house, and somehow it shows. Adult. are still one of Detroit's greatest treasures, at least when it comes to white people.
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
Apparently they're friends with Gnod. They make doom that's just a little left of the norm, enough to be off-putting and not-boring.