2017 Roll Call – The 10 Best Albums Of The Year (So Far)
Words by Hayley Franklin
Lorde – Melodrama
Just last week Lorde dropped her highly anticipated second album Melodrama. The 11-tracker is full of sophisticated and biting tracks from New Zealand’s young queen of pop. Miraculously melding sweet melodic hooks, unique instrumentation and her flawless soulful voice with mature, brutally honest lyrics, Lorde’s latest offering reveals more and more of itself with every listen.
And you can see it performed live in AUS + NZ this December. Tickets on sale + close to selling out.
Bliss n Eso – Off The Grid
Bliss n Eso did not disappoint with album number 6, the 15-track epic Off The Grid. The Aussie hip-hop legends experimented with an in studio band and a whole range of samples to cook up some fresh and funky beats. Following the idea of getting off the grid mentally, the group bust out some pretty heavy rhymes, but their fun, upbeat sounds keep the glass of crystal clear honesty half full.
The MCs are currently in the midst of a huge Aussie tour – catch them off / on the grid near you.
alt-J – RELAXER
alt-J cemented their place at the forefront of the art-pop scene with sophomore album RELAXER, which had its hugely anticipated release earlier this month. The British wizards create melting soundscapes that build to luscious climaxes and dip into sparse abysses. With the majority of its eight tracks clocking in at over 5 minutes each, they seem more comparable to symphonies than songs except they’re still littered with hidden hooks that will stick in your head for hours (0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1).
Bad//Dreems – Gutful
Adelaide legends Bad//Dreems dropped an incredible rock album packed with political punch, proving they’re a force to be reckoned with in the bar and beyond. Gutful, is the noisey rockers’ second full length offering and it’s packed with anthems made for chanting along with a beer in hand. Listen for your daily dose of AusPol criticism delivered with raw, thrashy power.
Amber Mark – 3:33am
World-traveller and soulful songstress Amber Mark released her debut 3:33am following the death of her mother. Representing the seven stages of grief, the seven distinct tracks feature eclectic inspirations including eastern music, nature samples and spoken word. It all coalesces into an uplifting collection of nocturnal grooves, united by Amber’s sultry honey voice.
Methyl Ethel – Everything Is Forgotten
Perth’s latest treasure Methyl Ethel kicked off the year with a stunning sophomore record, Everything Is Forgotten. Expanding their indie sound to fuse psych-rock and indie-pop effortlessly together, the album contains countless hooks that are insanely catchy. Just try not to sing along.
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
Prisoner, Ryan Adams‘ sixteenth album, was entirely self-written, recorded and produced, and features the charming blend of folk honesty and hard-hitting rock that he’s become renowned over the past few decades. The 12-tracker is a direct transmission of Adams’ psyche after splitting from wife Mandy Moore. Littered with tantalising angst and despair, the polished but vulnerable rock record explores being a prisoner of your own desire. Definitely worth a good cry.
Karen Elson – Double Roses
After seven long years, Nashville angel Karen Elson finally followed up her debut album with an expansive and mature collection Double Roses. Her sweet folk sound has blossomed into a rich soundscape, as harps, blues organs, strings, and harpsichord litter their way through the album’s 10 mesmerising tracks. The album also features a formidable list of collaborators including Laura Marling and Father John Misty among many others. We just hope we won’t have to wait another seven years before the next one!
Phoenix – Ti Amo
French indie kings Phoenix broke their four-year silence earlier this month with the release of album number six, Ti Amo. The band spent much of their childhoods in Italy and this experience has inspired the 10 jangly tracks, which are vivacious and flirty with a distinctly Italian flair. There is still an undercurrent of darkness however, with tense feelings in France following recent terror attacks creating a sense of shade in the album. Yet these moments just make the joyful melodies throughout the album even more euphoric.
Husky – Punchbuzz
Melbourne duo Husky have just released their dark, punchy, superstitious third album Punchbuzz. Compared to their previous offering Ruckers Hill, the boys have expanded their folk sound to an edgy, indie-rock kaleidoscope that infuses everything from psychedelic licks to harsh growling riffs. With vivid images of ghosts, vampires and other nightmarish treats, the album ventures into dark territory, but with enough pop goodness that you’ll be bopping along for the ghost-ride. Choosing not to shy away from faster, punchier songs, Husky have produced a slick rock record worthy of the repeat button.
Honourable mentions must be given to the EPs we wish were full-length albums.
Nick Murphy (f.k.a. Chet Faker) released a surprise EP called Missing Link and it was exactly the bridge between his previous and current work we were looking for. Full of rumbling synths, quirky sound effects and strong beats, it’s a dynamic expansion of his fresh pop sound.
Melbourne rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released a powerful six-tracker French Press. The combination of intricate guitars, catchy melodies and raw emotion create a collection that is simultaneously sophisticated and true blue.
Gentle duo nyck released their debut EP Alive earlier this month, and it’s a quiet bedroom treat. The result of 12 weeks of cathartic songwriting, Alive is a sparse and sublime exploration of breaking up and being okay being alone. All of the feels.
See you in December.