Louder Than War Albums Of The Year 2017 – part two
And now the rundown from number 25 to number one – as voted by the contributors to Louder Than War website!
Mario Batkovic – Mario Batkovic
Mario Batkovic reminds me of why I fell in love with music in the first place. It screams of passion and hard work. It speaks a thousand languages and can console and terrify in equal measures. (LTW’s Simon Tucker ) Read full review here.
Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
It took me a long time to grasp everything on the album, but with time I can see how good an album it is. Lyrically, it is satirically sharp, prophetic, sarcastically witty and worth the immersion to gain complete enjoyment. (LTW’s Dom Walsh) Read live review of album here.
The National – Sleep Well Beast
The National’s seventh studio album. The title track sees Matt Berninger’s deep half spoken baritone floating a bleak industrial synth driven soundscape, the album, a paean to middle age, lost loves and relationships. Tough in parts, gutsy indie driven beats in others.
St Vincent – Masseduction
A remarkably consistent album. The funk, guitar and inventiveness of Prince haunts the tracks without ever being derivative. Whilst presenting as a cohesive piece of work it boasts enormous range and ambition, from Los Ageless to New York it goes from coast to coast both sonically and in terms of subject matter, from big statements to the intimately personal. Viva St Vincent! (LTW’s Lee Ashworth)
Slowdive – Slowdive
A beautifully realised album drawn from their classic sound but without becoming a repeating cliché grown bloated on the current nostalgic penchant from all things shoegaze.
Liam Gallagher As You Were
One of the most striking aspects of ‘As You Were’ is that all the songs have a purpose. There’s no flab, nothing to cut. They all feel directed at something or someone, setting the record straight or getting his side of the story over, be that the swinging, Bo Diddley-like ‘Greedy Soul’, which incinerates someone who’s the “ungrateful dead” or the mega-ballad ‘For What It’s Worth’ which serves up the album’s biggest chorus. (John Robb) Read review here.
Depeche Mode – Spirit
Stadium gloom at its best from the long-term Basildon band whose music mirrors the dark clouds of 2017 without ever relenting from their magical pop touch and lead singer David Gahan’s perfect croon.
The Cravats Dustbin Of Sound
Dustbin of Sound is probably one of the most perfectly strange and strangely perfect album you will hear all year. I hope it will be heard by everyone seeking something joyfully different in music – people bored with the generic and the targeted, the tired and the past their prime, running on empty once-heroic (no names, no packdr..THE FALL!). (LTW’s Ged Babey) Read full review here.
The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension
Classic post pixies grinding indie cranked up for the 21st century that makes what was once the future still sound thrillingly electric and contemporary.
Laibach – Also Sprach Zarathustra
35 years on from their genesis in the then-Yugoslavian industrial town Trbovlje, Laibach are still the most internationally acclaimed band to have come out of the former Communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Founded in the death year of the country’s founding father Tito, and rising to fame as Yugoslavia steered towards self-destruction, Laibach can make you think, dance and march to the same music. Read full review here.
British Sea Power – Let The Dancers Inherit The Party
“an album which subtly reflects the wider world – the post-fact era where doublespeak is the order of the day, and distraction and doubt are political tools of choice – it’s one which brings a glimmer of brighter days by being anchored in the individual, in the tales of life going on.” Interview with the band about the album in issue 9 of Louder Than War magazine
Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology
A rare example of a passionate and resilient artist who re-creates, re-invents and refreshes where many others come and go. Her synth-pop psych and conceptual pop LPs have earned her a faithful fan base which has extended to a long discography of collaborations. Modern Kosmology is the first time Weaver has taken uninterrupted recording time to finish an album start-to-finish and was recorded using all-analogue vintage machinery.
Peter Perrett – How the West Was Won
Of course, it is not an Only Ones album. (So don’t expect it to be.) It’s different, mellower, but the songs carry on in exactly the same tradition, with similar themes, idiosyncrasies and nuances. There are no kick-ass rockers like Language Problem or Me and My Shadow. Peter is 65, he wants his lyrics to be heard, relished and enjoyed. He wants to leave his own distinctive mark on the frantic, disorientating timeframe of 2017. Amongst all the madness of the year, here is an oasis of languid joy, melancholy, fatalism, love, pain and redemption. He sings, as ever, about his life, from his viewpoint and in his own unique way. His voice has actually never sounded better. Not so much honey-dripping off a spoon, more like the purr of a contented old tom-cat. (LTW’s Ged Babey) Read full review here.
Queens of the Stone Age – Villains
Criticised in some quarters for going pop the desert rock titans suited the shift on their most focused album for years – a brilliant exercise in how to get the wonk into the mainstream and not tarnish your palette. (LTW’s John Robb)
The Evil Has Landed is fast, furious and blooming marvellous while Make It Wit Chu is sexy, melodic and really shows off Homme’s smooth vocal tones. The show draws to an explosive close with classic Go With The Flow only for the band to reappear for a two track encore finishing off with a dark and moody A Song For The Dead featuring a lengthy drum interlude. (LTW’s Paul Grace) Read live review here.
Gorillaz – Humanz
Fifth album from the virtual band fronted by Damon Albarn and featuring collaborations from Benjamin Clementine to Grace Jones and De La Soul. Albarn wanted to create “an emotional response to politics” according to an interview with Radio X in March ’17. The album is a massive mash-up of hip-hop, metal – well, you name it! it’s crammed into this dense cornucopia of an album.
Read full release here: http://louderthanwar.com/gorillaz-announce-new-album-and-unveil-epic-new-video/
The Top 10
The nineteenth album from this San Francisco garage rock band trio. It is the band’s first studio album to be released under the name Oh Sees after it was announced that they would be dropping Thee from their name. Outrageous screaming garage rock, fractred guitars which stray in to Alice Cooper meets progressive territory: Listen to The Static God:
Shah utilises a rich armoury of textures, see-sawing dynamics, kraut-rock inspired hypnotics, gristly pulsating vocal movements and hair-raising harmonic writing that all fuses into the kind of music that insistently works its way into the darker recesses of your mind and won’t let you forget it so easily. Listen to How You Gonna Sleep Tonight:
Seeing this live for the first time, an understanding is quickly gained as to why this album is critically acclaimed. Is this the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Magnum Opus? Everyone who has ever been a fan of them has to consider that to date, this is their Crowning Glory -even more so than Psychocandy. (LTW’s Harry Mulligan) Read his live review. Listen to Always Sad:
Continuing his hot run of recent for Numan hit number 2 in the charts with this dark and enthralling work tinged with eastern melody. (LTW’s John Robb)
“It takes a long time to make them, and it’s quite an emotional journey of fear, hope and expectation as you try your best to create the best work you’ve ever done. When it’s finished you are so close to it it’s impossible to be objective so you drift into a kind of uncertain, nervous no mans land…Once the early tracks start to drift out and early reviews start to come in you get a much better idea of how it’s going and that can either lift you up, or drag you down.” LTW’s Phil Newall Interview with Numan here. Listen to My Name Is Ruin:
Mark Lanegan switched his sound to pulsating loop driven dark clouds that perfectly suited that most cracked and gorgeous of voices. (LTW’s John Robb)
Mark Lanegan has rock pedigree oozing out of his pores, having been a founder member of grunge pioneers Screaming Trees and a member of Queens of the Stone Age, his albums are critically acclaimed, yet he remains something of an outsider when it comes to the music buying public. Maybe the outsider tag suits him. He looks the epitome of a rock outlaw; his face grizzled, his stanch cock-sure rebelliousness and his voice sounding like the world weariness of a down at heel grizzly bear. But to those who have discovered him, he is a special talent. (LTW’s Mark Ray) Read full review here Listen To Beehive:
The long awaited return of the mysterious Montreal band was yet another exercise in dark post-rock with swirling strings and a perfect snapshot of these troubled times (LTW’s John Robb)
Listened to as a whole piece, Luciferian Towers contains enough drama and high tension to stand up to repeated listens. The bands playing is at once fierce yet subtle and there is no doubt that this will be extraordinary to witness live on the band’s forthcoming tour. It may not be an instant favourite for those fans wishing for a return to the more original GY!BE sound but it is certainly one that will grow in stature. (LTW’s Simon Tucker) Read full review here. Listen to Anthem For No State (Pt. 1 & 2)
Their last album took you into space. From the Earth’s stratosphere to its substrata, 2017’s release gives you the demise of the South Wales mining industry. PSB share having a handy, three-letter acronym with GLC. Conceptually, that’s probably where the similarities end. With highlights such as They Gave Me A Lamp and Progress, Public Service Broadcasting give you thoughtful intelligence delivered with down-to-earth compassion. (Louder Than War’s Jon Kean) Michael Brumby’s live review of their gig in Hull. Listen to Every State:
The fourth album from the Brooklyn based electronic rock band following their reunion in 2015. Opening with punchy beats the album has elements of Talking Heads (Other Voices) , Hot Chip and Krautrock, (You can hear Autobahn in Oh Baby!) – all punctuated by James Murphy’s achingly, dreamy vocals. This album is beautifully put together, full of full-on soaring pop melodies. A hark back to British synth groups from the early 80s. It sits squarely as one of their most commercial and easily accessible releases. Standout track Tonite which is featured below has one of the biggest, squelchiest beats every put on record!
Listen to Tonite:
According to Joe Talbot’s words on the track, Mother, “The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich.” Politicians of any persuasion ought to be bricking it for fear of attracting the disdain of Bristolian post-punk pugilists, Idles. All manner of puffed-up modern egos are deflated, yet rather than just being chopsy hatchet men, there’s a real love of life and desire to get back to living with honesty and integrity that underpins what they do. (Louder Than War’s Jon Kean) Listen to Mother:
The fact Sleaford Mods create at such a prolific rate means that suddenly we have a band who hark back to the days when the likes of The Specials, The Jam and The Clash would write and release material relating to what was happening within Britain at that very moment – a part of British music that seems to have been lost as record labels consider marketing strategies ahead of creative relevance and art. (LTW’s Michael Halpin) Read full review here. Listen to BHS
Louder Than War 2017