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Katie’s picks: The top albums of 2017

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Katie’s picks: The top albums of 2017
  1. The Regrettes – Feel Your Feelings Fool!

Keep an eye on this up and coming punk group. Feel Your Feelings Fool! is chock full of all the attitude and stamina that we need to survive 2018. Highlight tracks: “Ladylike/WHATTA BITCH”, “Juicebox Baby”, “Seashore”

  1. Terrible Human Beings – The Orwells

No one gives off that nihilistic swagger quite like The Orwells. They’ll watch the world burn with a shrug if they get the chance. As their third release, Terrible Human Beings seems have staggered a bit from Disgraceland. Their sound feels a bit more radio friendly but they’ve maintained their unmerciful pounding and bordering-on-condescending carefree feel–oh so weary of the normie population and their funny little problems. Highlight tracks: “Double Feature”, “Black Francis”, “Ring Pop”

  1. Cough and Splutter – The Love Junkies

This essential grunge rock band out of Perth, Australia rips. The four-piece is tauntingly adept and  their latest EP doesn’t disappoint–save for the fact that at just five tracks, it feels robbed of its potential to be a great full album. Cough and Splutter lurches forward in the blink of an eye. Despite its mere 12-minute length, it’s a crashing, cathartic experience from the get go. Highlight tracks: “Cough and Splutter”, “No.2” “Johnny Horner”

 

  1. Willow – The 1st

Willow Smith is an artist to watch. Her sophomore album is a beautiful collection in songwriting, evident of her search for an identity and sound. She tries on a lot of hats here — exploring instruments, vocal range and lyricism in a way that is fresh and endearing. It’s not a perfect record by any means, but it’s exciting. Track by track, a rollercoaster of emotions and styles that can come off as juvenile but at its core is pure and comforting. Highlight tracks: “Israel”, “Oh No!!!”, “Human Leech”

  1. Harry Styles – Harry Styles

Oh, no–Harry Styles in an alt weekly? He’s here for a reason. As releases from each stranded member of One Direction trudged their way to the airwaves, Styles was laying low…as much as a pop star in the world’s biggest boy band can, I suppose. While his counterparts opted for radio Top 20 ‘hits’ layered over tired backbeats and ‘look at me now’ songwriting, their frontrunner switched gears and landed with a thoughtful album that more people would (and should) thoroughly enjoy, if only it wasn’t made by Harry Styles. Highlight tracks: “Kiwi”, “Meet Me in The Hallway”, “Woman”

  1. Process– Sampha

Process is an essential modern soul album. In his debut studio album, Sampha is all darkness and velvet, seeping into every crevice layered by elements of plinking synth, vibrating bass and soft piano. Highlight tracks: “Blood on Me”, “Incomplete Kisses”, “Reverse Faults”

  1. Blkswn – Smino

The debut album from Smino flows almost seamlessly, allowing you to really get lost in it. Blkswn is one of the most unique projects to drop this year. Paired by his spiking vocals, the funk driven album seeming to have taken on its own signature energetic backbeat. With influences of jazz, gospel and traditional hip hop, it dips and melts from track to track but never loses its strength. Highlight tracks: “Glass Flows”, “Spitshine”, “B Role”

  1. SATURATION III – BROCKHAMPTON

BROCKHAMPTON is a powerhouse. This group has already dropped three SATURATION albums this year and has announced plans for a fourth, and each one seems better than the last so it was very hard to convince myself that I chose III objectively but here we are. It’s a tell-all party album with themes as pointed as they are carefree. It’s anthemic and grooving, explosive and unexpected. Highlight tracks: “BOOGIE”, “BLEACH”, “SISTER/NATION”

  1. Turn Out The Lights – Julien Baker

There are a lot of singer songwriters out there, carrying around their acoustic guitar and generally melancholy demeanor. So what is it that makes Julien Baker’s album a standout? She summons the worst parts of herself, gives it all she’s got. You can hear the pleading exasperation in her words, they cut like razors and make you choke. Baker is fighting a battle that is all her own. There’s no menacing enemy because what suffocates her isn’t a monster anyone else can imagine. In a testament of faith, she hands over her weaknesses and fears saying, “It’s all I have, but take it.” Highlight tracks: “Shadowboxing”, “Appointments”, “Televangelist”

  1. Ctrl – SZA

If anyone has dominated this year in stride, it was the bubbly, unapologetic SZA. In Ctrl, the passion-driven singer songwriter churned out 14 unique hits with unique flairs of individuality, sexual realization and honesty–aided by some worthy advice on learning and letting go from the most powerful female role models in her life. Even while admitting pitfalls and insecurities, she emerges from situational garbage fires as a queen from the ashes. This album is the hero of 2017. Highlight tracks: “Go Gina”, “Drew Barrymore”, “Broken Clocks”

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