Readers, apart from my family, friends, nutrition and Manchester United, music is one of my great passions.
Here are my favourites from 2017, in no particular order (song, band). Enjoy.
Over Everything – Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile
Put two laid back storytellers together and what do you get? A masterpiece of a song. Sounds like it took them 5 minutes to write it, but sure it was more like 5 days. Pity the rest of the album is not quite as good.
On Hold – The xx
I always find this band a bit twee and morose, but they have really nailed it on this great pop song. Message to the xx: cheer up.
Drew Barrymore – SZA
New artist, pronounced “scissor”. Great debut and the rest of the album is just as good. My wife introduced this artist to me: reminds me of Amy Winehouse, Lolo and Mary J Blige.
Put Your Money on Me—Arcade Fire
OK, it sounds a lot like Abba, but who cares? Easy to be a snob about this band, but I think they are supremely talented and brave to give their pop sensibilities free rein. The album is underrated.
The Underside of Power—Algiers
There’s something about this song that reminds me of The Clash. It’s a highly structured song that sounds unstructured. The Clash did that a lot, but it also reminds me of The Clash because it is political.
Moonshine Freeze – This is the Kit
Saw this band in a record shop in Brighton. Had heard them before, but never live. Blew me away. Great debut album. Folky but playful, with great melodies. Think they will go far.
Have loved James Murphy’s music for the last 10 years and I was sad when LCD Soundsystem retired in 2011. So glad they are back. Album is great (Bowie-esque) but this song is a standout for me—just lots of fun.
Up All Night –War on Drugs
It must have been daunting to follow up 2014’s sublime album “Lost in the Dream” but 2017’s “A Deeper Understanding” nearly does it. My favourite is the opening track which just makes me happy.
Pa’lante – Hurray for the Riff Raff
Meaning “Go Ahead” or “Go For It” in Spanish, this song is really 3 songs in one—the first a personal challenge to “be someone”, the second part a Beatle-esque interlude and the third part a reprise of the first, but with a more political angle. A striking and moving song.
Love without Violins—The Gift and Brian Eno
Had the privilege of seeing The Gift (a Portuguese band) in Brighton this year. A large group of talented musicians that can play a wide variety of styles, I thought this collaboration with the unique Brian Eno was surprising and spectacular.