Best of 2017: Singer/Songwriter and Rock


I split out Art Pop out of this category this year, so that genre is going to have a lot of my usual types of favorites too. This list contains many of my everyday listening music, and all of these albums are things that will be in regular rotation going forward.


10. A. Savage - Thawing Dawn - Parquet Courts frontman Andrew Savage satisfies a wide range and a probably narrower audience on his first solo record. Similar to PC albums, it has some great moments.  

9. Laura Marling - Semper Femina - This record has some of Marling’s best songs and some of her least memorable. The arrangements are lush and make the good songs especially captivating.

8. Joan Shelley - Joan Shelley - An understated collection of gorgeous folk songs produced by Jeff Tweedy. There are many moments of beauty and almost none that are out of place.

7. Anna St. Louis - A quiet, quick tape that makes me want more of this kind of thing, which is always a good phenomenon. The quieter the songs, the better on this one.

6. Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness - This record is beautifully imperfect, and I think everything she does will be beautiful, so it’s a matter of it becoming more perfect.

5. Ryan Adams - I almost wish I could dislike a Ryan Adams record for once in my life just to see what it feels like. I thought this sob-fest might be the one, but its as catchy as it is raw and sticks with you for both reasons.

4. Jens Lekman - Life Will See You Now - Jens continues to be an infuriatingly clever songwriter who I can’t help but love to pieces. It’s an immediately enjoyable record, but like all of his, it’s secretly a grower.

3. Wooden Wand - Clipper Ship - This is Toth’s first record that sounds like it was borne of contemplation and self restraint, but still is unmistakably a Wooden Wand record.

2. Raoul Vignal - The Silver Veil - Who is this serenading me with these hushed tones and ubiquitous fingerpicking? Some wonderfully talented frenchman who, like me, has listened to Pink Moon a lot.

1. Mac Demarco - This Old Dog - Salad Days sounded in between ideas, but This Old Dog sounds like Mac finding his groove as today’s premier lounge pop songwriter.


This list includes post-punk, art rock, alternative rock, synth punk, experimental rock, psychedelic rock, and some things in between. It's a really good list. 

10. Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent - Socially and sonically responsible rock from a very professional rock band.

9. Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts - MILANO - Just a wacky little concept record with Karen O, Andrew Savage, and Saxophone leading the charge. I don’t know about 80s Italian fashion but this is 2017 American fashion. 

8. Liars - TFCF.- Liars was always Angus’s baby, but I think it’s always shocking to lose your band out from under you. His way forward is to make another good Liars record, apparently.

7. PC Worship - Buried Wish - Idiosyncratic art rock that varies from sludge to art folk to drone and back again. A really fun listen.

6. Queens of the Stone Age - Villains - Josh Homme risks ruining his robot rock legacy with each record but instead keeps on adding necessary sounding records to his catalogue.

5. Snapped Ankles - Come Play the Trees - I think of the tribal percussion aspect of Animal Collective when I listen to this record as much as Krautrock and the dance-punk of the early 2000s. All good things.

4. UUUU - UUUU - The most expansive yet cohesive record made by a rock band in many years.

3. The Moonlandingz - Interplanetary Class Classics - The Fat White Family record that you’ve been waiting for is from an imaginary band that’s produced by Sean Lennon. 

2. B Boys - Dada - Brilliant debut album that has little to do with B Boying or Dadaism. If I had a band it would sound a lot like this, I say in the Velvet Undergroundest way possible. 

1. Guerilla Toss - GT Ultra - Hometown heroes do good on their promise to make insane psychedelic music that’s DFA friendly. The Hassle kids still want to hear their old stuff, but this is by far their best.