Honorable Mentions

  • Woods — Love is Love
  • Alt-J — Relaxer
  • Mount Eerie — A Crow Looked at Me 😭
  • Holy Holy — Paint
  • Julien Baker — Turn Out The Lights
  • Spoon — Hot Thoughts
  • Broken Social Scene — Hug of Thunder
  • Björk — Utopia
  • Twin Peaks — The Return (Various Artists)

Most Overrated

  • You know, I can't really list anything here.

Biggest Bummers

  • Fleet Foxes — Crack-up. I tried giving this numerous goes but it didn't land as a whole or come close to their previous records
  • Arcade Fire — Everything Now. One of my favourite bands didn't live up to all that came before with this release.

Winston Surfshirt

Sponge Cake

The Sydney six piece band have delivered my favourite summer 'chill' record of 2017. Discovered through the likes of Triple J Unearthed, the band is possibly best defined as funk/soul/hip-hop. ‘Sponge Cake’ is their debut and it’s a strong start. Highly infectious soul and whilst there’s nothing overly complex going on, it’s a fun, breezy album to listen to with the singles ‘Same Same’, ‘Ali D’ and ‘Be About You’ being the stand outs. Sometimes it’s not all about the technical brilliance or the lyrics, it just has to work and for me, ‘Sponge Cake’ sits well.

5.

The xx

I See You

Five years after the brilliant, ‘Coexist’, the English trio with amazing voices return with ‘I See You’ — one of their most personal records to date. Jamie xx’s influence from his record ‘In Color’ is prevalent throughout with his electronic rhythms grounding the songs well. Since they released ‘Coexist’ we’ve seen the likes of London Grammar and other indie bands try and share some of The xx’s vibe but the English trio continue to delve deeper and arguably offer more profound levels of emotion. Their singles ‘Say Something Loving’ and ‘On Hold’ are brilliant examples of modern indie songwriting.

4.

Kendrick Lamar

DAMN.

‘Damn.’ is my favourite hip-hop album of 2017 and arguably the best. This is Kendrick in his prime, his most succinct, and possibly his most commercial. Kendrick has always been a strong storyteller and working with a plethora on heavyweight producers, he unleashes new energetic heights with the likes of singles such as ‘DNA’, ‘LOYALTY’, and ‘HUMBLE’, the latter being one of my favourite songs of the year. The way he weaves the complex, the lyrics, the beats, and his point of view, is timely yet old school. In some ways, the album feels both at times likes underground 90’s/00’s hip-hop yet completely 2017.

3.

The War On Drugs

A Deeper Understanding

The first couple of times I listened to ‘A Deeper Understanding’, I felt like it was a step down from their brilliant 2014 record ‘Lost in The Dream’. My favourite record of 2014 and perhaps the past five or so years, how could it be topped? Well, ‘A Deeper Understanding’ doesn’t quite reach those heights but the more I listen, the more I love it. So much so, it’s been on constant rotation from beginning to end because that’s the best way to listen to any War on Drugs record. It feels like an excellent companion to their 2014 release, and on occasion, even better. ‘Holding On’ is one excellent single but it’s the epic 11 minute ‘Thinking of a Place’ that feels like when the band are at their peak.

2.

The National

Sleep Well Beast

I make no secret that I'm a massive The National fan. I've seen them perform three times, the first time when touring 'Boxer', a record that holds a very special place and at a very influential time in my life. Since then, each album has been phenomenal, some more upbeat than others. ‘Sleep Well Beast’ might the closest material they’ve released since ‘Boxer’ that feels like a complete band energised and firing on all cylinders. That said, don’t expect things to be all rosy in the lyrical department because what goes up, often comes down. Therein lies the genius with The National. They make you feel every inch of your bones and that’s why ‘Sleep Well Beast’ is my favourite album of 2017.

1.