THE YEAR OF 2017
Best of: part 2/3
Friends, I’m very happy to introduce our ranking of the 20 best LPs of 2017. As I said last year, these LPs have been carefully selected with the ambition to recall in several years how great these last 365 years had been. I would like to address a big thank you – once again – to all of these artists for their very singular talents. You’ll find a short review for each album dealing with the overall impression left by them several months after their releases. For more, please feel free to go back to the full album reviews, you may find some treasures – maybe a dead grandpa is hidden in one of them. Alright, let’s go now!
20. Dune Rats – The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit
Best party punk LP of 2017
Best party punk LP of 2017
Dune Rats is a great band of beachcombers that reminds me of Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, except that we should talk about Dharma Slackers with them. These dudes know how to magnify everything that is about foolin’ around, laughter, 6-pack and skate punk melodies, in short, all that IS rock’ n’ roll. And underneath its egghead spirit, this album protects the very essence of the subject I’ve been writing about for years.
(mp3) Dune Rats – Scott Screen
19. Alex Calder – Alex Calder
Best spectral LP of 2017
Best spectral LP of 2017
For several years now, Alex Calder has been the King of spectral pop. He has started a real movement that is now heard across continents. He’ll be remembered for that. Alex Calder, the time has come to thank you for all of these hits which, under the guise of being at the forefront of a genre, have never denied your desire for beautiful melodies. Active musicians who have created a new music can be counted on the fingers of one hand. You’re one of them!
(mp3) Alex Calder – Loosen Up
18. A. Savage – Thawing Dawn
Best LP from Brooklyn of 2017
What Andrew Savage has just done is outstanding. Parquet Courts is often described as being one of the best bands of the 2010s. To produce a solo album that stands out from it while being of the highest quality wasn’t easy. Andrew has just won his seat in the very selective circle of the decade’s best songwriters. This album has been too little discussed, no doubt about it, it will happen the same as for the albums of Parquet Courts: let’s wait for 2020.
17. Vaguess – One Man’s Trash
Best (pure) garage LP of 2017
What Danny has just done will have to be engraved in the books dealing with garage rock history. The first slackers made an alliance with the college team’s quarterback so that, finally, musicians and athletes could hang out. The slackers has since turned to beer and weed (see Dune Rats, above), moving away from the cheesiness of the sports team. Vaguess is back to tradition. One Man’s Trash is an album for the original slackers, those who remember that you should never forget the 90s.
16. OCS – Memory of a Cut off Head
Best folk LP of 2017
We know only too well that John Dwyer is the Pope of stoner garage and we have forgotten that he had also started with OCS, a more folk-based band, more tearful, more introspective too. The band’s new album, the first in 9 years, is a fantastic journey into the (beheaded) mind of a fallen queen. We enjoy imagining the bikers listening to Memory of a Cut off Head, with tenderness. Dwyer is definitely in the top 3 of the decade and this album only adds to his superb. The Queen of England loves us, and we love Dwyer.
(mp3) OCS – The Remote Viewer
15. Idles – Brutalism
Best british LP of 2017
Here, without a doubt, is the British revelation of the year, also, the birth of a band which, in one album only, has managed to impose itself in all the good discographies / all the best venues in the world. Be suspicious of those who don’t include Idles in their year-end lists, they either didn’t understand what the British rock’n’roll is about – rebellion – or probably prefer to listen to something more mellow like the Growlers. And that sucks. Throw grandma into the nettles, throw uppercuts, be Idles, hell is the others!
(mp3) Idles – Divide & Conquer
14. Ty Segall – Ty Segall
Most daring album of 2017
Ah, Ty Segall… the artist who (rightly) has been the most discussed of the years 2010s. And yes, he has taken everyone by surprise with a classic – though experimental – LP which is going back to his basics – THE basics. No artist has been more influential than Ty Segall for almost 10 years. Ty Segall (the album) increases its aura, because he keeps doing that 99% of the scene is still after him. And for all those who don’t like Ty Segall, here’s a bridge over there…
(mp3) Ty Segall – Warm Hands
13. TH da Freak – The Freak
Most innovative album of 2017
TH da Freak is THE greatest revelation of 2017, because what he has released this year shows that 2018 will reach the heights of the world stage. The Freak is the most innovative LP of the year, because it reminds us of Ween’s existence, and also, of the true cool of the nineties. The album is full of melodies to make Doug Martsch fade, of a nonchalance to make David Berman look like a freak, of an irony to make Ben R. Wallers dance! TH will soon impose a lifestyle. That’s it, that’s all.
12. Oh Sees – ORC
Most enigmatic album of 2017
This is John Dwyer’s second album of the year to be ranked among the top 20 albums. I recall that, for the first time in Still in Rock history, a band had trusted the first place two years in a row – in 2015 and 2016. Here, Thee Oh Sees is “only” 12th, but don’t overlook the importance of this album which magnifies what is ugly, very ugly. Some of the tracks it contains deserve a place in Dwyer’s Best Of that will be released in 20 years. Don’t think about making more overwhelming music unless you’re a Fugazi member. If you’re not, please look for another direction.
(mp3) OCS – The Remote Viewer
11. Tall Juan – Olden Goldies
Most energizing LP of 2017
Look no further, the new Jonathan Richman is here. No artist communicates more joie de vivre than Tall Juan. No other artist has magnified the acoustic guitar so well since Violent Femmes. His first album, Olden Goldies, is a concentrate of what any rock ‘n’ roll album should be. Forget about this 2017 ranking for a moment, with Tall Juan, you’ll never be sad again. Never ever again!
(mp3) Tall Juan – Cuida Coches
10. King Krule – The OOZ
Best dreamy LP of 2017
For years, I have been convinced that King Krule would one day be a man. That day has come. King Krule’s recognition is now worldwide and I remember with nostalgia receiving his first vinyls with a thank-you note. At the time, he was going to give life to blue wave music, this beautiful pop for those who are not afraid to face spleen, poetry and the great power of his voice. This artist is unique, more unique than the others, he will mark our generation.
(mp3) King Krule – Czech One
My relationship with Dream Machine is inevitably biased. You are probably not unaware of the scandal that my interview with the band has caused. He was ejected from his label, but also, was number 1 of the indie sales on Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon. But apart from all these considerations, Dream Machine has produced a remarkable album, full of black magic, spellbinding melodies and seventies. The band gets a certain idea of music, and whether you agree with it or not, everyone should at least admit that they have an “idea”, which is way too rare.
8. CFM – Dichotomy Desaturated
Most vigorous LP of 2017
Charles Moothart’s solo project was one of the great revelations of the year 2016. In 2017, he came back even stronger, and no doubt about it, in 2018, he will explode the rest of the scene. His new album, Dichotomy Desaturated, is a real prowess, because he pulls the psych stoner scene towards something new, more experimental, more refined. CFM is to be enjoyed with a twist of violence. More than ever, we now know that many bands will be doing a CFM-ish music in the years to come. Virtuosos do not pass through this world without being noticed, it is a divine rule.
(mp3) CFM – Staline
7. The Courtneys – II
Best slacker LP of 2017
This is one of the greatest confirmations of the year 2017! This band of female slackers – they are very few, the reason why I’m mentioning it, also because, YES, it is something usually made by males – have played the analogy with Linklater’s film better than anyone else. The Courtney’s album doesn’t aim for hits but is undeniably full of them. The band transcends a certain idea of the’ 90s, the sound they produce reminds us that the word “cool” had a real definition. Here is an album that has absolutely no similar in the history of music. It is fun, colorful, nonchalant, in short, a real gold mine for whoever knows that Pavement is the best band in history.
(mp3) The Courtneys – Virgo
6. Dr Chan – $outh$ide $uicide
Best french LP of 2017
$outh$ide $uicide is the best French album ever reviewed on Still in Rock. And it’s not for lack of having reviewed some excellent albums, but none of them have the rage, the creativity and the gore-fun that Dr Chan plays with brilliantly. Ah, I still remember the day I listened to these demos, telling myself that a concept album that combines garage skate punk and Florida rap was a bloody fucked-up idea. And then I took the “hexagonal slap” of the last few years. And then I knew that I would be able to make fun of all my European friends, that the time when France was producing literature was certainly over, but that we had the best European band.
5. ORB – Naturality
Best debut album of 2017
ORB is the author of the best debut album of the year 2017, a huge blow on the scene of Fuzz, Oh Sees & co. This album, Naturality, will long be remembered as the LP that saw the birth of a world-class band. In fact, I can’t remember of a first album that hits so hard since Fuzz debut. Several weeks after its release, I keep a very strong extraterrestrial impression of it, Naturality seems to announce the arrival of a new species and the cabinet-like curiosities of this album that ORB couple to a beautiful violence reinforces this impression of a human species that is going to die out. This album annihilates any difference between fury and butchery, it should not be put between all ears.
(mp3) ORB – O.R.B.
4. Warm Soda – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Best power pop of 2017
All of Warm Soda’s albums have integrated Still in Rock’s top 20, without exception. I Don’t Wanna Grow Up is the band’s last album, and also its best. Matthew Melton’s farewell to the power pop scene would have been a disaster if he hadn’t been compensated by the creation of Dream Machine (which is 9th in this ranking). But we have to admit that we will miss the King of power pop, and that we can only pray that he will come back with some albums of this style, too. There is no more efficient pop than Warm Soda’s, it doesn’t exist, and those who say the opposite should be sent to New York in the 70s’, when power pop was the Queen. It’ll do them good!
3. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
Best pop LP of 2017
(full review here)
Mac DeMarco is today godfather of pop music, one of these artists without whom nothing would be the same. No one would have created a similar music in his absence, if he wasn’t here, we’d be laughing less and not so loud. Mac DeMarco is a legend, and here’s what I want to say it to his makeshift detractors: don’t pretend, you’ll feel better! In appearance, This Old Dog is more twee than the previous ones, but as always with Mac, he is dealing with heavy subjects, especially the abandonment of the father. And he knows how to give life a light twist, so we find ourselves listening to this album over and over again, far from our worries, captivated by the guitar sound that everyone wants. Mac is indeed immortal, our most beautiful escape
route, and This Old Dog participates in it.
Most entertaining LP of 2017
Need to Feel Your Love is the funniest album of 2017, the one with the most melodies for dancing, partying, going round in circles, over and over again. And we weren’t expecting it. Sheer Mag had begun the year with an anthology and we didn’t think that it first solo album would be such a slap in the face. But he came out loudly, and then, as the weeks went by, I realized that Need to Feel Your Love was the most faithful album to the Strokes spirit since the Strokes are no longer The Strokes. Like them – and nobody else – Sheer Mag knows how to make it own D. I. Y. music something for a wide audience, far from the closed circles of those who only listen to post-grunge shoegaze with a twist of noisy music. Sheer Mag does not clutter up with the codes of the independent scene, the band delivers colorful music whose efficiency is immediate and visibly inexhaustible. This is the only album of its kind in a decade.
It could not be any other way. King Gizzard has crushed – literally crushed – everything that happened this year in rock ‘n’ roll. The band won the status of the best psychedelic band in history – it’s something, isn’t it? – he has released 5 albums with an exceptional level of inventiveness and he can boast to be the new pioneer of the Australian/now WORLD scene. Murder of the Universe, more than others, showed how the band had revolutionized the idea of concept-album, how it should be compared to the greatest symphonists in history, and above all, the whacks it was able to send us. No band in history comes close from what King Gizzard is doing. He is the most inventive band of the last few years, indestructible. Not listening to King Gizzard equals wasting the years 2010s. Not loving it… is ruining them.