Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Shanies: Album of the Year

It's official... this blog is dead. The last post I wrote was 1 year ago with an identical title, thus flushing almost a decade of music blogging down the drain. But, in one final death rattle, why not at least throw up a top 10 from 2017, right?

10. Propagandhi - Victory Lap
Call me a sucker for angry, Manitoban punk rock, but don't you dare say that this band is any less needed when they came on the scene ~25 years ago. Victory Lap represents another step in the continuous progression of this band where they continually balance between sticking true to their roots on tracks like Failed Imagineer while still pushing the boundaries on musicality and lyricism.

9. Triggerfinger - Colossus
My crazy 'ol favourite Belgians put forth yet another riff rocker this year. Though it is also tempered with a new fusion of electronic music and beats (presumably after a collaboration with Method Man), their true nature of being beautifully sleazy old men still shines through and reminds us why they're Belgium's best (ok, maybe only) hard rock band.

8. Dirty Projectors - Dirty Projectors
One might have thought that the end of David Longstreth and Amber Coffman would have been the end of Dirty Projectors. However, this album came back stronger than ever and with all kinds of exceptionally diverse influences from hip hop, pop, and techno. As with all DP albums, it makes no sense, and yet is somehow incredibly accessible.

7. Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?
I love this band, and I even love this album, however, the fact it only made #7 on this list after topping my list with their debut 3 years ago, I see as a minor failure. Again, it's still a great album, and I dig the direction they're going in with more groovy, turned-down songs like She's Creeping, however, I worry that this band may run out of things to say before too long.

6. Daniel Caesar - Freudian
I'm sad to say that I was late to the game on learning about this incredible artist in my own backyard of Toronto. I only started listening to Daniel Caesar 2 weeks ago, yet already in that time, I'm hooked. I'd call this man a modern-day incarnation of D'Angelo, but even that might be putting limitations on what he's capable of with his elegant mix of R&B, gospel, rap, rock, and lord knows what else.

5. Alert the Medic - Let Them Have Their Fun
I just love this band. They consistently put out albums chalked-full of infectiously happy rock n roll with beautiful harmonies, catchy riffs, and ever-shifting rhythms. It's pop-rock at it's finest and I'll not apologize for worshiping how damned good AtM are at it.

4. Queens of the Stone Age - Villans
Yes, Josh Homme is an asshole who likely has a drug problem and he kicked a photographer in the head a couple of months ago. That sucks, and so does he. But we've always known he was a bit of an asshole, and that's part of what makes him so intriguing. Moreover, hate me if you must, but this albums is REALLY FRIGGING GOOD. Working with producer Mark Cuban, QOTSA has tamed their sound a bit, but added in all kinds of strange dixie and swing influences to rock n roll that make for yet another head rocking, ass-swinging album.

3. All Them Witches - Sleeping Through the War
Epic epicness continues. Their albums seem to string together like one long, stoner-rock arc that continuously blends the beautiful sonic evolution of this band. This is likely their most diverse album from a songwriting perspective, but it still holds together as an exceptional piece of music and leaves plenty of tracks to chomp in on (personal favourites of Alabaster and 3-5-7)

2. Death From Above - Outrage! Is Now
It's official The Physical World  was not a one-off or flash in the pan - DFA is here to fucking rock. This album blends so many of the influences that you've heard across their previous albums (and remixes) into a cohesive sound that jumps back and forth between epically-headbang-worthy and infinitely-all-night-danceable.

1. Bonobo - Migration
Never one to surprise my rock disciples with my top picks, one of my most spun albums and artists this year was British DJ Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, and his 2017 masterpiece, Migration. In some moments, this album is pure to its electronic roots, however, in the true style of this mischievous monkey, other tracks come off as ambient, epic orchestrations. At first glance, this album is great background to a long day, however, as you dig deeper, a wealth of treasures and audio delights await you with each listen.