10. Perfume Genius – No Shape
On the fourth album by Perfume Genius, No Shape, the beauty is found in the details. With lavish production that bursts with sparkling energy one moment then soothingly gliding across tracks the next, No Shape takes on a breath-taking aesthetic and that’s not even mentioning the songwriting by Mike Hadreas which take an empowering stance for anyone who feels out of place in the world of today. Another redeeming quality is the album’s versatility, for Mike never shy’s away from experimenting with his sound and as a result embarks upon new directions in his already experimental sound of soft lo-fi indie rock.
Best track: Slip Away.
Read more in No Shape review.
9. Arca – Arca
For the very first time, the Venezuelan producer entrusts the narrative of his heart to spoken words other than the usual (and beautiful) cascade of synths and drones, as always both dreamy and nightmarish. The result is a is a minimalistic Avant-Pop poetry which enchants the listener with the profoundness of its simplicity. The ecstasy and the torment of Arca’s loving soul, are in fact told without the use of any fancy words, but through the creation of a wonderful concert between his soprano voice, singing in his mother tongue, dreadful noises, synths, mourns, and then silence.
Best track: Anoche.
8. Charli XCX – Pop2
Against all expectations this year Charli XCX became a leading figure in pop music. With just two inspired PC-Music-Influenced mixtapes, and different collaborations with some of the best producers worldwide, she totally reformed the pop scene by exploiting fairly mature electronics to break through the mainstream field. Pop2 is exactly this, a manifesto of a new pop forged by underground trends which met the right experimentation to be proposed to the masses. The album features an amazing synergy between Charli charismatic sensuality and A.G.Cook’s powerful beats and percussive synths, which make a really easy and enjoyable listening of the whole album.
Best track: I Got It.
7. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
This year Phil Elverum returned with his solo project Mount Eerie, releasing the most heartbreaking album of the year. The album is entirely dedicated to the loss of his wife Geneviève Elverum who passed away from pancreatic cancer in mid-2016. Phil reminds his life before and after the death of Geneviève with passionate, agonizing lyrics from which is impossible not to suffer. The intensity is so strong that makes the whole album working without a refined song production mainly based on a guitar, a piano and rare kicks.
Best track: Real Death.
6. Brockhampton – Saturation II
For many Hip Hop fans, Brockhampton came out of nowhere, but in 2017, the Saturation trilogy has made them impossible to ignore. Of those three amazing albums, Saturation II probably pushes their sound the furthest with the most consistently satisfying results. Brockhampton are able to move from songs about queerness to songs about drug addiction flawlessly and with complementary forward-thinking production. Brockhampton is a one-of-a-kind group, and this is their shining masterpiece.
Best track: Queer.
Read more in Saturation II review.
5. M.E.S.H. – Hesaitix
On his first LP under the M.E.S.H. moniker, James Whipple realizes is most accomplished work yet and structures the very same sound he deconstructed in his previous works and leads the listener to explore these new sonic landscapes, that seems to have risen from the shattering of club music itself. Techno, Trance, Jungle and Ambient, after their death and rebirth process, become something different entirely, like corpses transfigured and set in motion by an unknown demiurgic power. “Hesaitix” is in fact permeated by a constant sense of mystery that will drag the listener to the end of this unique, post-club, sonic apocalypse exploration no matter what.
Best track: Search. Reveal.
4. King Krule – The Ooz
On The Ooz, King Krule takes his typical broken jazz to darker places and it mixes with post HC, punk rock, trip hop and even dub–musical elements that lyrically complement the album’s focus on solitude and detachment. The album only offers further proof that King Krule is one of the most passionate and intimate artists working today. Although it is undoubtedly a record about an ended relationship, as it emerges from most of the lyrics, The Ooz carries on the urban mythology that Archie developed since his first album with the moniker King Krule, Six Feet Beneath the Moon.
Best track: Dum Surfer.
Read more in The Ooz review.
3. Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent
Protomartyr’s music is both spontaneous and systematic, so it requires talent, urgency and a methodical process of song-writing. Relatives In Descent, the band’s fourth full-length album, is the outcome of those prerequisites. It maneuvers in an austere atmosphere, made possible by the band’s great knowledge of post-punk history while raising political and common issues. It’s a severe critique of the world today, punching you in the stomach with some unwanted truth, but it also caresses you with the beauty of the music itself. Protomartyr made treasure of late outputs from Preoccupations or Have A Nice Life, they found a sonic balance between new wave and modern rock managing to create their own imaginary, that is actual and contemporary like very few others. Ultimately, Relatives In Descent pictures a cold snapshotting of the current social problems and it will go down as one of the best post-punk albums that came out in recent years.
Best track: Corpses in Ragalia.
Read more in Relatives in Descent review.
2. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Kendrick Lamar continues to deliver one great record after another. This time being less seminal and less radical regarding the theme and the general concept of the album but kind of summarising all of his experience into a bunch of straightforward bangers. We definitely enjoyed this latest move, confirming once again how he is now definitely one of the most prolific and overall appreciated rappers of all time.
Best track: DNA.
1. Iglooghost – Neō Wax Bloom
If you listen to one groundbreaking album this year, make it Neō Wax Bloom. Within the rather limited genre of Experimental Electronic music, it dominates the competition—Iglooghost expertly moves between and blends together everything from Grime to Drum ‘n’ Bass to Trip Hop without breaking a sweat. His eccentric brand of IDM terrorism speeds through and combines genres madly without a second glance—and without giving the listener a chance to catch even the slightest breath. And in the larger scheme of things, among all of 2017’s great albums, we think Iglooghost has taken a brilliant step, one that will have lasting effects on the music world.
Best track: Peanut Choker.
Read more in Neō Wax Bloom review.