Top Singles of 2017
1. Alek Lee Sfarot 12″
2. Total Control Laughing At The System 12″
3. DJ Central & Erika Casier Drive 12″
4. Edward Giigoog 12″
5. Neutral När 12″
6. Joe Tail Lift / MPH 12″
7. Carla dal Forno The Garden 12″
8. The Minneapolis Uranium Club All Of Them Naturals 12″
9. Minor Science Whities 012 12″
10. As Longitude Blauer Part 12″
11. De-Bons-en-Pierre Crepes 12″
12. Burial Pre-Dawn / Indoors 12″
13. The Bug Humbug; Or, So Many Awful Things 7″
14. Samuel Kerridge The Silence Between Us 12″
15. Avalon Emerson Whities 013 12″
16. Anxiety Wild Life 7″
17. Niagara Comboios EP 7″
18. Giant Swan Celebrate The Last 30 Years Of Human Ego 12″
19. Newworldaquarium Chubby Knuckles 12″
20. Molly Nilsson Single 7″

Honorable Mention:
Neon Neon Is Life cassette
Burial Rodent 10″
Machine Woman When Lobster Comes Home 12″
Edward Shufflehead 12″

Top Albums of 2017
1. Charly Bliss Guppy
2. Davy Kehoe Short Passing Game
3. Kettenkarussell Insecurity Guard
4. Absolutely Wino compilation
5. Porter Ricks Anguilla Electrica
6. Charles Manier Luxus Steroid Abamita
7. Mount Kimbie Love What Survives
8. Exit Hippies Dance Maniac
9. Laurel Halo Dust
10. Leda Gitarrmusik III-X
11. Tilliander Compuriddim
12. Lone Taxidermist Trifle
13. Galcher Lustwerk Dark Bliss
14. Priests Nothing Feels Natural
15. B-Ball Joints Blue Boy Joints
16. Phew Light Sleep
17. Taiwan Housing Project Veblen Death Mask
18. Trapped Under Ice Heatwave
19. Roll The Dice Born To Ruin
20. girlSperm gSp

Honorable Mention:
Maraudeur Maraudeur
FNU Clone Binary Or Die
Civilized Chopping Block
Body Four Body Four
Horrendous New Wave compilation

Let’s raise a glass to another year worth forgetting – at some point, things have to turn around, right? Thankfully, even as streaming playlists continue to elbow out more respectful forms of underground music listening, helping to ensure less direct support for actual artists and indie labels (go read Liz Pelly’s article in The Baffler immediately if you haven’t already!), there is still a vast bounty of great new music coming out, even if it can be tricky to locate. And although it seems like every other music publication telepathically agreed that the same dozen albums were great this year (yes, we know, you all coincidentally love The War On Drugs, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, zzz…), I’m at least happy to share my personal faves, zeitgeist be damned. From a live setting, two performances really stood out as mind-altering this year: Una Bèstia Incontrolable in a batting cage, and Kite, who managed to squeeze their massive lighting rig into a fifty-square-foot bar. Kite didn’t put out any records recently, but I discovered them this year and have been playing their EPs incessantly – I strongly urge you to type “Kite Dance Again” in your YouTube search bar and start there. Besides Kite, I discovered Hey Ø Hansen a few months ago (from reading a harsh review of Actress’s AZD on Amazon, of all places), and their Sno Dub LP from 2016 blew me away – my favorite new-to-me-but-not-actually-new record of the year! I could get into favorite books of the year too (Alissa Nutting, Lindsay Hunter, Jac Jemc), and desserts (Natasha Pickowicz at Café Altro Paradiso), and wrestling matches, and runway shows, but I’ll save that for some other blog…

Alek Lee Sfarot (Antinote)
This one was immediate – the drums kick in like a Miami cop putting on his sunglasses, the melody hits like a gang of graffiti artists crawling the streets for vengeance, and by the time the gang-of-children vocal line arrives, I’ve already melted into the leather upholstery. “Sfarot” is so slick, so bad-ass, so righteously rude that I immediately transport to the fantasy world it invokes whenever I hear it. Dancing all the way, of course. The b-side cut “Harabait” is nearly as slick, a more reigned-in take on a similar motif, and it’s preceded by another “Sfarot” edit, because the world simply cannot have enough “Sfarot”. It took a friend to point out the inherent similarity between “Sfarot” and Eddie Guerrero’s WCW theme music (available for review on YouTube), and I can certainly hear it. Much like the theme, “Sfarot” has the ability to instantly transform the room’s mood into its own image, one of oceanside cliffs decked with colorful stone houses and winding staircases, speckled with roving crews of sunburned kids looking to settle a score. It’s like there’s an entire novel waiting inside “Sfarot” to be written, and I get wrapped into it deeper with each subsequent listen.

Charly Bliss Guppy (Barsuk)
If you told me on January 1st, 2017 that the best record I’d hear this year would be a pop-punk album made by twenty-somethings, I’d have softly cried into my turtleneck, as it seems a fitting punishment for what would be a brutal year. But once I’d actually hear Guppy, Charly Bliss’s debut album, I’d realize what a joyous godsend it truly is! Charly Bliss are all smiles, fun-loving posi kids from theater class who found out about punk through the Josie & The Pussycats movie, and I’ll be damned if that isn’t somehow the key to pop-punk perfection. Every track on Guppy is a winner, detailing some hilarious and relatable anecdotes of teenaged loserdom with flair, overloaded with layers of hooks. It’s like they borrowed handily from Weezer, The Strokes, The Get-Up Kids and Blink 182 but never to the point of pastiche, only to help enhance their own creations. And for all that feel-good familiarity, vocalist Eva Hendricks has a voice like no other – maybe That Dog’s Anna Waronker on a full balloon’s worth of helium? It’s alien and comforting, fresh and immediately canon, and sitting here writing about it just makes me want to go run and listen to it again. Bye!