50 More Must-Hear Albums of 2017

X.Y.R. – Labyrinth

Mystical synth music, transposing that Blade Runner aesthetic to ancient Mayan temples and dream logic puzzles. I’m keeping an eye on this enigmatic Russian artist.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Frank & Tony – Odes

Delirious deep house music, continuing the dream team of Francis Harris and Anthony Collins for one more brief collaboration.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Claude Speeed – Infinity Ultra

Alternately soothing and noisy experimental synth music, sounding like the uncertain future, made for the confusion and insanity of today. Appeared on the Deep Future mixtape.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Johnny Jewel – Windswept

The moment I heard the title track on David Lynch’s masterpiece, Twin Peaks: The Return, I knew Johnny Jewel had left the electro-dance of his Chromatics project far behind. This is beguiling, smoky, jazz-infused psychedelia.

Buy it right from Italians Do It Better.

•  •  •

Nosaj Thing – Parallels

The balletic beat conductor returns with an album that expands in every direction at once, reaching new appeal with future-leaning ornate production.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Gabriel Saloman – Movement Building vol. 3

The former half of Yellow Swans continues his streak of intricately crafted, asteroid-blasted music that defies genre categorization. Come for the shoegaze peals, the drone washes, the arpeggios, the noise, and stay for his most comprehensive statement yet.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Daphni – Joli Mai

Caribou’s Dan Snaith has jumped to a new moniker to celebrate another radical shift in sound, elevating his beats to pure club atmospheres but keeping the widescreen cinematic glow of his production. It sounds timeless already.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Sun Ra – The Space Age is Here to Stay

Another year, another Sun Ra compilation, right? Well, this time most of the songs are never-before-released or otherwise very obscure, even to devoted fans of the celestial jazz god. Running from 1958 through 1985, these songs lean more toward accessible, even including a non-curse-filled version of Nuclear War.

Purchase the set right from Sundazed.

•  •  •

Seb Wildblood – The One With the Emoticon

Pure balearic house bliss, with soft humid beats and effervescent synths and horns skittering through the atmosphere. Instant transport to summertime warmth.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Destroyer – Ken

Destroyer’s unique brand of immaculately designed, flawlessly delivered pop continues on from the blueprint established by 2011’s Kaputt. If you dig his deadpan narratives already, you should own this too.

Buy the album right from Merge Records.

•  •  •

Bing & Ruth – No Home of the Mind

This album is a bespoke set of endlessly disarming, hauntingly gorgeous live-action ambient tunes. It’s a sort of hushed, gentle take on modern classical chamber music, but more spacey, more transcendent.

The album, out on 4ad, can be found at Boomkat.

•  •  •

Milo – Who told you to think​?​?​!​!​?​!​?​!​?​!

Rap tunes that find a really approachable meeting point between self consciously intelligent and relaxed, just-here-for-fun vibes.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Brainwaltzera – Poly Ana

This is the album that sounds like 90s IDM superheroes made their own Justice League or something. Big shades of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, and Boards of Canada. The creator is a mystery, so maybe it is one of them?

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Steffi – World of the Waking State

To put it most simply: this is contemplative, exploratory techno that affects the body and brain equally. It’s deeply affecting, endlessly repeatable. Just give it a try.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

DJ Sports – Modern Species

Future-forward mixture of ambient house and techno, jungle percussion, dub bass, and a heavenly cyberpunk-balearic feeling. Absolutely fresh sound.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

William Basinski – A Shadow in Time

It’s Basinski. You either know you enjoy his particular strain of ultra-slow-motion ambient decay or you don’t. If you do, don’t miss out.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

The Bug vs Earth – Concrete Desert

So picture The Bug’s depth-charge bass work and Earth’s psychedelic desert soundscapes meshing. That’s exactly this and it’s really good.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Ahnnu – Special Forces

Ahnnu returns with more stripped-down weird elegance, a set of songs that label NNA Tapes described perfectly: “maximum effects from minimal presence.” He seems to boil down the essence of a complex set of elements and then build his music by smearing their residue on a canvas.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Laurel Halo – Dust

The enigmatic, experimental Laurel Halo returned with something more alien, yet more recognizably “Laurel Halo” than ever before. This is experimental, sure, but almost encroaching on Björk territory in terms of tunefulness.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

M.E.S.H. – Hesaitix

Frantic, abstract, atmospheric electronic music scouring its own path outside of genre convention. This is the best work yet from the Berlin artist.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

L’Rain – L’Rain

L’Rain makes dreamlike, jazzy soul music, fueled by the experimental krautrock energy of Broadcast and Stereolab. This is her first and only release and I can’t wait to hear where she goes in the future.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

Karen Gwyer – Rembo

This album is seriously immersive, curious techno that blurs the line between dance experience and pure head trip. Yeah, that describes a lot of my favorite stuff, but she does it particularly well.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

The War on Drugs –  A Deeper Understanding

The one relatively traditional rock album on my list. What can I say? Maybe it’s because I became a father this year, but these guys’ nostalgic dream rock gets me on rare occasion.

The album is available on all formats on the band’s website.

•  •  •

Suryummy – Photon Slobber

Suryummy returns with another set of closely interlinked, exotic synth sculptures, impossibly lush, the kind of sound I want to burrow inside and get really cozy with.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

DJ Python – Dulce Compañia

I have no doubt in my mind that, if I hadn’t heard this the final week of December, it’d be in my top 20 albums of the year at least. Sumptuous, meditative techno. He calls it “deep reggaeton” and I can’t disagree.

Stream and buy on Bandcamp.

•  •  •

So that’s it! Thank you for reading. I hope you found some music to love. I know I did. As always, my favorites shift and grow and change right until the last minute, several of these could have been on my main 50 best albums of 2017 list. It doesn’t matter though; I just want to spread the word about these great artists. I can’t wait for the next year’s crop of brilliant music.

•  •  •

Part 1 | Part 2

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.