Top 5 Albums of 2017

This was a tough year to do this.  The emergence of Spotify in my daily life has made it more difficult for the whole album experience.  Only through sheer will and might was it possible to create a top 5 like never before (I base this on nothing).

5.

Arbouretum – Song of the Rose

This is a back to basics rock band that relies heavily on the vocals of their lead singer Dave Heumann.  While listening to this entire album I envision Dave standing on a mountain top with his long wind blowing in the wind bellowing these beautiful medieval lyrics.  This type of music is such a rarity now.  Straight forward guitar chords and drum beats that wrap themselves around the lead singer of the band.  I could see this album coming out in the late 70’s and being the opening band for a Deep Purple concert.  It’s a refreshing take on a style of music that has nearly been long forgotten.  Slow grooves (Dead Meadow’esque) rock the rest of the album after Fall From an Eyrie which is the highlight of the album.  All in all it’s a wonderful rock and roll album that will have you giving a double take at the year that it actually came out.

4.

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

It’s difficult for me to even rank this album.  When a band comes out with maybe the album of the decade (Lost in the Dream) how do you follow that up?  Their approach for this record is simple.  It’s basically a spin off of the song “Under the Pressure” from the aforementioned album.  Each song is a wonderful medley of a mumbling Adam Grunduciel that is kind of a mix of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Bryan Adams.  The vibe of the band is still phenomenal, and their live show is even better.  This album is the kind of background music that you can throw and every person that experienced Woodstock or wanted to experience Woodstock will be head-bobbing asking who this band is.  There is absolutely no question about it – this is a throw back to blue collar 80’s rock and roll.  One thing is certain they have perfected the chill vibe – putting you at ease like a bed-time story – followed with a 3 minute guitar solo.  Pain is the song to hear – enjoy.

 

3.

Real Estate – In Mind

Why mess with something that works so beautifully?  Real Estate does not go off of the tracks often.  The gorgeous beach vibe chords meshed with a flowing soft voice – that has been their bread and butter since day one.  Their main function to you is to make you feel like life is going to be good to you.  There is not a care in the world when any Real Estate album.  As mentioned in years their sound feels like you cleaning up your house after a wonderful house party the next day.  Sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you are slightly fighting dehydration.  This album has kind of stuck with me since it’s release.  I wasn’t overly impressed at the beginning, but as with nearly every one of their previous records it begins to imprint itself onto your soul.  The modern day Beach Boys wouldn’t be a stretch here.  Darling is the song to focus on here.

 

2.

L.A. Witch – Self Titled

This band came out of nowhere.  Three early twenties women that have a sound that is so bloody cool.  Like a Tarantino movie if it was made into music.  Their lead singer/guitarist Sade Sanchez is an absolute presence in every regard.  Whether it be her garage rock style of guitar playing or her Janis Joplin type of raspy singing.  The band revolves around her completely.  There isn’t an album that I’ve played more this year.  Each week I would wait for another single from the album to come out and be amazed when it was just as good as the previous.  There isn’t any other way to put this – there isn’t a cooler band out there in the world than these three ladies.  Drive Your Car is the single that really gets this thing going.

 

1.

Beach Fossils – Somersault

Well, this was an unexpected surprise.  The boys from Beach Fossils were at one time Real Estate lite.  They  have grown into an absolute powerhouse of a band with the adding melody and multiple instruments.  They have always had a nice vibe to them.  An easy- to-listen to approach.  This album still has those components.  What it adds is more depth to the band.  Giving them a sustainability they may not have had before.  Flowing vocals, beautiful acoustics, and percussion’s that play with a sense of urgency that I had not heard previously.  This could be the start of something great if they are able to keep the momentum of this album going.  Looking forward to what’s next.  Be Nothing and Sugar are the best two songs of the album.

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Anticipating 2017

I am not much for New Year Resolutions.  But, here’s a few things that I am going to attempt to curve or change for the upcoming year.

Limit my social media.  You would think that with the amount of things that are posted that you would actually learn something new or at least be able to have a chuckle at some thing.  This is not the case.  One thing is clear.  We find one topic and tear it apart until every single blade of the topic has been picked, and all that’s remaining is a wasteland of memes and wasted time.

Read more books.  There is so much good literature out there that nobody has ever heard of.  There isn’t a much more satisfying moment of setting that completed book down.  Hopefully this will equate to less of the above point.  This will require me to pay off my library fine unfortunately.  I feel that the library should send you a hand written letter when your book is super-overdue.  Also, if you are trying to right a wrong in retail; write a letter with pencil.  You will never see a company jump as quick as when head-office receives something written in pencil.

Look for more music.  There is quality music out there even if you don’t want to believe it.  Using Spotify and Apple Music has allowed me to find bands and solo artists that I never knew existed.  I am currently listening to Solange on Spotify, and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I know it’s extremely easy to get into that routine of only listening to what you know.  There are 75 radio stations that agree with you.  30 day challenge.  Find a solid album every 30 days, and post a review online about it.

See more live things.  Plays, music, stand up.  Need to support these artists.  There is so much talent out there, and they continue to struggle while fu**ing Chewbacca Mom becomes insta-famous.

Then there’s the obvious.  Eat healthier, hit the gym, less take out food.  This should always be a New Year goal for each and every person.

Stop eating those memberberries.  Reminiscing and focusing on when times were a certain way.  Brexit and Trump are both causes of memberberries.  People need to adjust to what the world creates.

Spend more face to face time with people.  Internet friends are cool, but nothing can replace the in person pint discussing what the Jays should do next with their ball club.

Try to only post original thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.  Need to keep this brain moving and shaking.  Can’t fall into the trap of complaining and trying to change every single thing that’s wrong with this world.

Farmers Market vegetables yo.  This is such an easy change.  There is a market that’s a 15 min walk from my place every Saturday morning.

Have a Happy New Year.