THE TEN BEST ALBUMS OF 2017

A pile of progressively growing numbers that will flood your veins with fire…

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION
BCCIV

Apparently, the initiative for the BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION fourth album came from Joe Bonamassa, who contacted the members of the Anglo-American supergroup of supergroups in 2016 to see if they might be willing to return to the studio to work some more.

Like its predecessors, “BCCIV” was overseen by Kevin Shirley, whose catalog has made him the most wanted & best producer on the rock circuit. The result is a compendium of hot keys, gelatinous guitar slides, sizzling vocals, bone shaped rhythms, muscular patterns and a pile of progressively growing numbers that will flood your veins with fire…

Euro-style poppiness and snippets of culture stuffed between the briquettes of walloping soundwaves…

FOXYGEN
Hang

FOXYGEN are an American indie rock duo from Westlake Village, California comprising of instrumentalist Jonathan Rado and vocalist Sam France. They have gained a following for their slightly wonky psychedelic psych-rock songs and outlandish 1970’s musical-theatre set-piece stage-shows.

Tracks on their January album Hang don’t disappoint — each features a 40-plus-piece symphony orchestra arranged and conducted by Trey Pollard with additional arrangements by Matthew E. White. The result is as if ABBA entered a jazz studio in New Orleans to record instrumental fragments from various famous Hollywood musicals… so expect exaggerated overtones, chopped Euro-style poppiness and snippets of culture stuffed between the briquettes of walloping soundwaves.

Vocal invocation, diaphanous grace and even tense and anxious shade —

KELLY LEE OWENS
Self Titled

Welsh indie rocker, vocalist and producer KELLY LEE OWENS mixes the effervescent happiness of the pop dream with the nuts and bolts of techno, then she takes the moonshine from the spectral end of pop, and the antiamoral rhythms of krautrock to do something unique, extravagant and electro without losing its own identity in the process.

So on this homonymous album published in March we find vocal invocation, diaphanous grace and even tense and anxious shade. There are unbreakable pulses, harmonic alterations and enough gurgling synthesizer motifs to please everyone, except those unfortunates who were born with a heart of stone. For lovers of Goldfrapp.

Lots of brilliant riffs, clever rhymes, tense and bent rhythms & resplendent guitar

KING KING
Exile & Grace

The fourth studio album from Scotland’s blues-rock legends KING KING titled “Exile & Grace” is sharp and energetic… it’s a mass of solid, robust and durable shapes.

If you can imagine the dynamic nature of Blind Faith, perhaps with the radiant finish you might expect from Lovehunter-era Whitesnake, then you’re on the right track.

There are a lot of brilliant riffs, clever rhymes, tense and bent rhythms, resplendent guitar and, of course, that 80’s style rooster-rock to carry you back safely and happily to a Yazoo dreamland of a misspent youth.

A beautifully floating, angelical work, delivered with exquisite instrumental themes…

LONDON GRAMMAR
Truth Is A Beautiful Thing

We’ve been fans of the English indie pop band LONDON GRAMMAR and Hannah Reid’s emotive singing since 2013 when we saw them play live at Blissfields. Since then they have broken into America and won themselves an Ivor Novello Award in the Best Song Musically and Lyrically category for their down-tempo electronica hit “Strong.”

Their 2017 album “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” released in June is up there with their platinum-selling debut. It is a beautifully floating, angelical work, delivered with exquisite instrumental themes… and these allow Hannah the room she needs to stretch out all her octaves and reach for the stars. Impressive without being revolutionary.

Honeyed oxide ‘n’ fig vocals —

MOLLIE MARRIOTT
Truth is a Wolf

MOLLIE MARRIOTT is the talented daughter of the former singer and guitarist of Small Faces and Humble Pie, Steve Marriott, and the stepdaughter of singer Joe Brown. Until 2017 Mollie spent her musical career on the wings, having worked as a support vocalist with many artists, including Oasis and her own stepfather. Over the years she has shared stages with The Who, Mick Hucknall, Jeff Beck and many other top names.

But her album “Truth is a Wolf” demonstrates what an impressive artist she is in her own right. The 2017 release has interlacing layers of sound, descending planes of light and darkness plus a hugely impressive atmosphere. And her vocalisation propels from guttural soot ‘n’ nickel to honeyed oxide ‘n’ fig. The album proves to be a thoroughbred, luxury blues offering and is filled with strength, cunning and even claws & sharp teeth.

Nuanced and vulnerable vocalizations —

SAMPHA
Process

The singer, composer, producer and British electro-soul artist Sampha Sisay [or simply SAMPHA] spent six years disseminating his undisputed talents through rewarding collaborative work. In fact, he remains a frequent collaborator in the Young Turks family.

With his solo album, “Process” he has released the most confident and experimental R&B album of the year. Yet, even though he has worked with the most famous hip-hop stars on the planet, this is certainly not a hip-hop collection. Rather it’s a collection of passionate  nu-soul songs, and with his nuanced and vulnerable vocalizations (in particular the impressive falsetto) it remains ever-dignified, meditative and gently immersive.

An ever-growing pepper stew of boiled vocals and crying vibes, soaring instrumental moments, and energetic fretwork…

SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE
Californisoul

SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE is a superstar project with Lance Lopez (guitars/vocals/songwriter), Fabrizio Grossi (bass, producer & chief songwriter), and Kenny Aronoff (drums.) They produce hefty, rough-hewn but definitely polished rock ‘n’ rollers.

Recorded at Fab’s Lab in North Hollywood the 2017 album ‘Californisoul’ is an ever-growing pepper stew of boiled vocals and crying vibes, soaring instrumental forays, and moments of energetic fretwork. These boogie-night jams, fast tempo riffs, exciting blues hikes [with harp-in-hand] and exquisite electric guitar solos will make any Band of Gypsy fan happy .

TENNIS
Yours Conditionally

Philosophical choristers and lovey-dovey husband-and-wife team Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley aka TENNIS released their fourth studio album “Yours Conditionally” on their own label in March.

It’s lyrical and dancey, with a rusty mellowness that brings-to-mind Dusty Springfield and a pinch of Living for the City funkiness as well a speck or two of dream-pop fun to add to the overall atmosphere.

WAXAHATCHEE
Out in the Storm

Former member of pop-punk sisterhood P.S. Eliot and now a solo project named WAXAHATCHEE the Alabama singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield created ripples on her fourth studio album released this year…

Out in the Storm”  was rockier than pervious low-fi indie folk outings. Emboldened songwriting and compelling emotions.

 

Words & Main Image : @neilmach 2017 ©

Agree? Disagree? What’s your favourite 2017 album? Tweet @rawrampmag

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