Favourite albums of 2017 (Part 2)

It’s time to continue on from my last post in regards to favourite albums of 2017.
Just to reiterate – I’ve been making a playlist of my favourite albums of 2017. I forget to do this every year. But this year I pulled up my britches and nailed that S.O.B!

What I didn’t mention in the last post is that this is albums that have been released in 2017. Not albums that I’ve discovered from other years… (which is a flipping LOAD)!

6. Brockhampton – Saturation & Saturation II

BrockhamptonThis was the year that made me fall back in love with hip hop. I’ll hold my hands up and say that predominately I listen to “guitar based” music. This wasn’t always the case. In my early teens I was still trying to discover who I was. I mixed with multiple friendship circles, all with different interests in music.
Around 1999 Eminem hit the mainstream with the Slim Shady LP. This had some massive play in my friendship group as well as DR.Dre’s 2001. I ended up on a hip hop path for a while listening to the above but also Busta Rhymes, Cypress Hill, Wu Tang etc etc… But eventually punk and metal took over my stereo.
I would look into the world of hip hop every so often, but modern Hip Hop never impressed me or got me excited… that was until this year.

Brockhampton a self proclaimed boy band are a California based hip hop ensemble, featuring LOADS of members. I’m kinda cheating here and featuring two albums, But they were both released this year (and word has it there will be a Saturation III before the year is out).
With a countless supply of amazing hip hop talent Brockhampton have something VERY special. They have a certain knack of producing something fresh, experimental and beautifully catchy.

Saturation (I) first track “HEAT” will knock your teeth out. HUGE, aggressive beat that you can’t help but nod to. This is followed by “GOLD” which is a lot smoother and has probably the best hook on the album.
Saturation (I) everyone is throwing ideas at it. You’d think with so many “cooks” working on one album it’d be an intense or messy experience. But the whole album flows amazingly. It’s thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
Saturation II also follows the same route. Many of the tracks are smoother here and less aggressive. Addictive hooks, amazing lyrics and sick beats are still present.

It’s hard to talk about these albums as there are SO MANY fantastical things to say about it. I’ll just leave it as this.
If you like HIP HOP – Listen now.
If you fell out of love with HIP HOP – Listen now.
If you hate HIP HOP – Listen now!

7. Goldfinger – The Knife

If you like punk rock music you would of come across Goldfinger. If don’t like punk rock and you’re around my age you would of played Tony Hawks Pro Skater and heard the song “SUPERMAN” at some stage.
Believe it or not, but Goldfinger have been about since 1994. It’s just a band that have always been there.
For me, I liked Goldfinger, I enjoy their music but never went out of my way to buy every album they’ve ever done.

Front man John Feldmann has been producing albums since the early 2000s. Working with bands like Panic At The Disco, Papa Roach and Good Charlotte to name but a few.
But what really caught my ear was his work on Blink-182’s 2016 album “California”. The production is over compressed and sometimes drums don’t sound like drums. But for some reason I REALLY loved it. Loved the sound and obviously it was awesome to hear a good Blink album again with the addition of Skiba on vocals.

This Goldfinger album is essentially California, it has the exact same punchy over compressed production and it even has Travis Barker on drums. The difference is that this album also features Mike Herrera (MxPx) on bass and ska songs.

For me, this album is just a good album. It’s just an example of why Goldfinger are still about. They’ve (well, he) have not produced anything shit here. Aggressive, catchy and OH the nostalgic feels.

8. The Regrettes – Feel Your Feelings You Fool!

This was the year I came across The Regrettes. The Regrettes are a Los Angeles based 60s girl group inspired, punk / garage band.
I had a live video appear on my YouTube feed that looked interesting – I was blown away, and what really knocked me off my feet is that the band are still in their teens and very early 20s!
Female fronted, the band are obviously inspired by 60s girl groups such as The Shangri-las but mix garage/punk vibes… Touching on Shannon & The Clams territory.

Front women Lydia Night’s vocals on this things are amazing. I believe she was like 17 when this was recorded. Her vocals are rich and aggressive. If this is just the start for her, it’s going to be very exciting to hear what comes out of her mouth in the years to follow.
If lightly distorted vocals, pop melodies and trashy guitars are you bag that I’d seriously consider checking this album

9. Charly Bliss – Guppy

Another female fronted band that caught my attention this year was Charly Bliss, a power pop band from Brooklyn.
Charly Bliss are a throwback to that era in the 90s when grunge was the mainstream norm and bands with female singers started popping up everywhere (Veruca Salt, Letters To Clio and The Breeders come to mind).

The 90s is making a come back at the moment in fashion and in pop music. It’s kind of embarrassing that I’ve turned into one of those people that say “I remember that the first time round”. However, just because the 90s are making a come back and this is where Charly Bliss’ inspirations stems from, I still think that they’d get their chance in the sun. Just because the write catchy poppy rock music.

As I said, Charly Bliss play power pop with a touch of 90s mainstream grunge. The real decision if you will end up enjoying this band will depend on the vocal style. The best way to describe Eva’s vocal is… “cute” (Imagine an angsty Nicktoon). It sounds that I’m taking the piss, but it is cute. However, it really works and I really love the style. Eva’s cute vocal, vocal breaks and excitable squeals really gives the band a fun sound.

I first heard the track “Percolator” on a Spotify recommended playlist. It caught my ear, i liked it… but then kind of forgot about the band after that.
It was a few weeks later that a friend of mine sent me the link to an Audiotree session they’d done. The brain remembered and I ended up playing their album pretty much constantly for a month.

If you like fuzzy, catchy grungy / power pop then this is definitely an album you need in your collection.

10. JD McPherson – Undivided Heart and Soul.

JD McPherson came out in 2012 with an album called “Signs & Signifiers” (after leaving his band The Starkweather Boys). Signs and Signifiers was probably my album of 2012 it got a ridiculous amount of play. An album that was unbelievably authentic and true to 50s Rock N Roll. It could of almost been a Little Richard album.

With JD’s fantastic soul/50s rock n roll style vocals it wasn’t too long before JD McPherson got recognition.
In 2015 he came out with the follow up to S&S called “Let The Good Times Roll”. The album didn’t strike as bigger chord with me. The album started moving away from the authentic Rock n Roll / Rockabilly sound for more of a fuzzy blues and almost glam rock sound. However, it started getting air time on mainstream radio.
As I say, personally it left me feeling a little disappointed as it didn’t give me that buzz the previous album had.

Then came “Undivided Heart & Soul”. When I heard the first single off it “Lucky Penny”…. oh man, there was that buzz again!
It’s further away from that authentic Rock n Roll sound that I loved, but the sound on this album is really refreshing. He combines the fuzz of Queens Of The Stoneage, with Bo Diddley, soul and moments of almost 90s Britpop.
It’s definitely an album that’s trying to get further mainstream recognition. I really hope it works as JD deserves it.

Final note on this. This album features Jason Smay on drums, who is one of my favourite drummers. He’s played for Los Straitjackets and The Hi-Risers.