The 20 Best Albums of 2017

From a universe of 123 albums (view all of them at, here is the cream:

  • Destroyer – Ken. Obtuse but brilliant.
  • My Friend The Chocolate Cake – The Revival Meeting. Buoyant musicality aligned with David Bridie’s searing lyrics.
  • Conor Oberst – Salutations. Today’s singer-poet backed by terrific musicians.
  • The National – Sleep Well Beast. Sophisticated, propulsive, yet dreamy.
  • Teleman – Fünf. In search of the perfect pop toon, plus five different producers.
  • Robert Plant – Carry Fire. Still the supreme voice, now controlled and allied to a rattling, eclectic band.
  • Grandaddy – Last Place. Back to his hypnotic catchy best.
  • Angel Olsen – Phases. Outtakes and offcuts showcase the heir to Dusty Springfield in arresting form.
  • The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding. Songs of yearning buried in that wall of sound.
  • Fischer-Z – Building Bridges. After so long, mighty and distinctive, sounding 18 years old.
  • Mountain Goats – Goths. Guitar-less masterpiece from another poet of modernity.
  • Eluvium – False Readings On. Elegaic even when fuzzy, ambient electronics at its peak.
  • Kelley Stoltz – Que Aura. Brilliantly written garage pop classics.
  • Tiny Little Houses – Snow Globe. Australia’s best band, a spitting, sneering showpiece.
  • Tobin Sprout – The Universe and Me. Lo-fi gems penned with genius.
  • Elbow – Little Fictions. Another stately, chugging set filled with grand homely stories.
  • Beach Baby – No Mind No Money. Fizzing classy example of Brit-rock.
  • Arcade Fire – Everything Now. Singalong yet oblique, repetitive, varied songs that don’t let go.
  • Slowdive – Self-titled. Original shoegazers produce career-best triumph of burning, melodic distortion.
  • The Shins – Heartworm. Exploding joy, melodious and bouncy as all heck.

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