20. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
A Deeper Understanding is not very far from his older brother Lost In The Dream, on the contrary it really looks like its natural follow-up, improving Granduciel’s “deeper understanding” after getting “lost in the dream”. So if you are a The War On Drugs fan and you found their highest moment in Lost In The Dream then you’ll find yourself struggling to find any real growth. However, although A Deeper Understanding doesn’t give all the missing answers, its new consciousness and authenticity found especially in tracks like “Pain”, “Strangest Thing” and “Nothing To Find” seem to suggest that for Granduciel and The War On Drugs the destination is not as important as the journey. And after all we really don’t mind.
Best track: Thinking Of a Place.
Read more in A Deeper Understanding review.
19. Actress – AZD
On his fifth album, Actress has created a slight and beautifully lifeless masterwork of electronic subtlety. Many were uncertain of his return, but AZD’s surprise release has indeed made waves in Electronic circles and is perhaps one of his best albums. Its silver sheen and cyborg, post-human aesthetic make for something humanly emotive but robotically diffident, music perfectly placed between dance and ambience.
Best track: THERE’S AN ANGEL IN THE SHOWER.
Read more in AZD review.
18. The Horrors – V
With their trademark gothic aura still there, on V The Horrors don’t hesitate to shuffle cards and take tangible risks: this could be one of the reasons why they’re one of the few alternative bands of their generation still having huge success. V us a record which succeeds in combining in 54 minutes synth pop atmospheres from the ’80 with flickers of a modern shoegaze and a hint of noise rock, adding a pop-up dancefloor to the formula. A consistent step forward from their enjoyable yet harmless previous record Luminous.
Best track: Ghost.
Read more in V review.
17. Lcd Soundsystem – American Dream
Best track: How Do You Sleep.
16. Clark – Death Peak
For British musician Chris Clark, creation and destruction can both be used as ways to alterate shapeless sound waves, and executed with the same precision and care, leaving nothing to chance. “Death Peak” develops to its fullest the “cyber-apocalyptic” sound he achieved in his 2014’s self-titled album, in which every single distortion and every “broken-machine” sound was intentional. It is the work of a mature artist that has full control of his music palette, a perfectionist who is deeply in love with the art of making music.
Best track: Slap Drones.
Read more in Death Peak review.
15. Brockhampton – Saturation III
It’s not easy to manage a trilogy like Saturation in a chart with the best albums of the year, the artistic maturity they reached in Saturation II is fully expressed in this release without any kind of lack in quality. Saturation III confirms that Brockhampton are one of the best hip-hop producers of our days and their creativity doesn’t seem to have a limit. They will surely be the protagonist of the hip-hop scene in the next year as well, when they set to release their new album Team Effort.
Best track: BOOGIE.
14. Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives
The third full-length from the British Indietronic duo signs a marked shift to a sound that is less digital and more “bandish”, especially from the percussions and bassline side, which gives every track a more concrete paste, no matter the tempo. Its dynamic arrangements and the featuring of young artists like King Krule and James Blake allows this peculiar vintage freshness to overcome the mere pastism, making “Love What Survives” one of Mount Kimble most accomplished work yet.
Best track: We Go Home Together.
13. Björk – Utopia
Björk has always made exceptionally innovative Avant-Pop Electronica. She has always gotten the best producers to design the best sounds for her to make the best music she can. On Vulnicura and now Utopia, she and Arca have been able to bring her classic formula into the modern age, and consequently she’s made work on par with her 90’s and early 00’s classics. Utopia positions itself as a love album for the future, and that premise is executed well with luscious results.
Best track: Arisen My Senes.
Read more in Utopia review.
12. Slowdive – Slowdive
On Slowdive’s return after 22 years of absence, the legendary shoegaze band releases a self-titled album that is full of ambient beauty, dreamy soundscapes, and blends of new ideas and nostalgia. Despite the teenage angst being somewhat pivotal to success of their previous albums in the 1990’s, ‘Slowdive’ is still very much the same, however they manage to mature and progress in a different direction to their previous projects by creating something that fits very well in the musical landscape of 2017. A comeback album worthy of Slowdive’s ethereal reputation.
Best track: Sugar for The Pill.
Read more in Slowdive review.
11. PAN – Mono No Aware
The label PAN gave birth to an 80-minute mix that satisfyingly hangs together as an album, introducing in the ambient music scene some relative anonymous producers who appear to be well focused on their work. Each track, besides maintaining a distinctive personal approach, is somehow part of a unique flowing experience, making this gorgeous compilation a vehicle for exploring our own feelings rather than an effort to evoke particular emotions such as sadness or joy.
Best track: Held.