Something You Said’s top albums of 2017

It’s that time when our contributors vote for their favourite things from 2017. Here are the top albums of the year, as voted for by our team:

1. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – American Dream 
If you’re going to retire your band in a hail of glory, then perform the mother of all u-turns and reform, you’d better make sure your next release is pretty decent. Well, James Murphy has done more than that with American Dream. This is an album which moves their sound(system) forward while not losing any of the things that made us fall in love with them the first time round. American Dream is energetic and murky and futuristic and reminiscent and represents an absolute triumph of a comeback. Bobby Townsend

2. KANE STRANG – Two Hearts And No Brain 
Here in the UK we seem to be lacking great up-and-coming guitar bands with any spark of life. So rejoice in New Zealand’s Kane Strang. Sharp guitars that echo Interpol at their most majestic. Married to lyrics that seemingly celebrate the mundane but are some of the best words I’ve heard all year. Gary Page

Britain’s finest songwriter returns with a wonderful collection of impeccably written and played pop classicism. I can’t name a better scouse songwriter or band. Neil Martin

4. FATHER JOHN MISTY – Pure Comedy 
While Josh Tillman’s songs are surreal and at times can seem somewhat irreverent, you don’t have to scratch far past the surface to discover some real gravitas to his subject matter in this impressive third outing. Jayne Cheeseman

5. BECK – Colors 
A brilliant, concise, fun slice of pop from Mr Hansen. It doesn’t outstay its welcome, just leaves you feeling great. Just what I needed this year. Gary Page

6. ST VINCENT – Masseduction
In her fifth full-length studio release, the Grammy-winner deals with the topic of power. As she told Buzzfeed, the record asks, “What does power look like, who wields it, how do they wield it – emotionally, sexually, financially?”

7. ELBOW – Little Fictions
Elbow returned with another beautiful set of tunes. The outwardly dour tone of Guy Garvey disguises one of the best lyricists of the last 20 years. Little Fictions, as with their previous record, ditched the big anthems for understated tunes with no less heart and the usual northern charm. Gary Page

8. FLEET FOXES – Crack-Up
The most recent record from Fleet Foxes might have been a long time coming, six years in fact, but it was worth the wait.

9. BJORK – Utopia
The ninth studio album from Björk deals with optimism, lightness and utopia, and it does so wonderfully.

10. GRIZZLY BEAR – Painted Ruins

11. GRANDADDY – Last Place
Ten years on since their last album, it’s nice to have Grandaddy back.

12. THE SHINS – Heartworms
The first self-produced record from the band since their magnificent debut album, Oh Inverted World, is a cohesive reminder of why we fell in love with them in the first place.

13. MOSES SUMNEY – Aromanticism
This record glides gracefully and cosmically through electro-soul and jazz, creating something truly beautiful. Bobby Townsend

14. ROYAL BLOOD – How Did We Get So Dark?
Brighton’s rock heroes returned with the second album and it was a belter which elevated them higher on the world stage.

15. SLOWDIVE – Slowdive
Shoegazey, dreamy vibes? Yes please. Welcome back, Slowdive.

16. RIDE – Weather Diaries
In the grand scheme of reunion albums, Weather Diaries can be hailed as an absolute success.

17. PUMAROSA – The Witch
In a year personally dominated by the triumphant return of so many “retired” artists (LCD, Ride, Slowdive, OMD and The Dream Syndicate to name just a notable few) gracing us with brilliant releases, it was the debut LP of East London’s Pumarosa that provided me with the greatest listening pleasure in 2017. The Witch is a brooding, boisterous masterpiece oozing with emotion, incredible musicianship (check out the mesmerising horns by John Tomoya Forster on Priestess for proof) and the compelling vocals of Isabel Munoz- Newsome. Pumarosa narrowly edged out the continued and consistent brilliance of Bristol’s Secret Shine LP There Is Only Now as my personal 2017 album of the year. G William Rex

I never thought that an album containing the lyrics,
“I steep the wool in a cauldron
Of pummelled gall-nuts afloat in urine
Ad river-water thrice-boiled with a bloodstone​”
would top my personal end of year list but here it is. The most exciting, well-crafted, intelligent and compelling album I have heard this year. A concept album about the inhabitants of a medieval settlement in northern Britain. It’s not the easiest listen and certainly didn’t jump instantly to the top of my list when I first heard it in June. Over the months it has slowly become an obsession and in recent weeks has become pretty much the only thing I listen to. Dawson’s songwriting and characterisation is masterful as is his guitar playing in this avant folk evocation of old wyrd Albion​. There are wonderful melodies and euphoric moments that leap out from atonal dissonance and alienating soundscapes, Dawson’s voice is both rich and fragile and the whole album is dragged along by a almost tangible physicality. Wonderful stuff. Neil Martin

19. NEON WALTZ – Strange Hymns
After promising demos and a couple of years in the wilderness (literally for a band from Caithness, Scotland), Neon Waltz soon regretted signing for a major label, now signed to Ignition records they brought us their debut album this summer, Strange Hymns. An album full of indie anthems, sing-a-long choruses and guitar fuelled walls of dream pop. Imagine the lovechild of Inspiral Carpets and DMA’s with a splash of The Coral and if that floats your boat then you have a debut album to die for. Dylan Hibbert

20. BROCKHAMPTON – Saturation
Brockhampton hit me from side-on and then got stuck in my vestibular like a very pleasant form of varicella. Not my usual cup of pash juice, they drive across a variable landscape of sound and beats that I couldn’t help falling in love with (great music videos too). Honourable mention to Rackett who played a killer set this year at Frankie’s Pizza and put out a great EP. Damon Collum

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