The third of our personal countdowns…
20 Metz – Drained Lake
Angular, ear-piercing and provocative. Imagine the clatter of early Sonic Youth brought up to warp speed.
19 Cabbage – Fraudulent Artist
Cabbage’s Extended Play of Cruelty was our EP of the year by a country mile – a collection of brilliantly acerbic, witty and spiky tunes. Fraudulent Artist is a furious, up-tempo rant that comes across as the bastard son of Sham 69 and Half Man Half Biscuit.
18 Hiccup – Teasin’
Hiccup pen breakneck songs within the realm of girl-group pop meets buzzsaw distorted guitars that the Ramones pioneered. The effervescently infectious Teasin’, is a perfectly judged track of punk immediacy shot through with a classic pop sensibility.
17 Dream Police – Revenge
A driving but psychedelic bass line, droning organ, dizzying guitar leads, and haunting vocals – all vintage Dream Police. Perfect.
16 Lød – Folder
With nods to Neu! and Can, Denmark’s Lød create a sonic delight with the eight minute hypnotic groove of Folder.
15 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
The best gig we saw all year, The Moonlandingz debut LP was a delight of sleazy glam rock riffs and twisted lyrics that took it’s knowing influences from the likes of The Glitter Band, Sparks, Devo, The Cramps and Suicide. Vessels was a particular highlight – the grubbiest glam rock anthem of them all…
14 Young Fathers – Only God Knows
Danny Boyle called Only God Knows the heartbeat of T2: Trainspotting (one of our films of the year), and it is hard to argue with the song’s giddy soulful rush, thumping punk rhythm, and some spot-on backing vocals from the Leith Congregational Choir.
13 Sugarmen – Our Gallows
Hands down the catchiest opening of any song we heard in 2017, and backed up by edgy, razor sharp guitars and drums that come straight from 1970s CBGBs.
12 Beaches – Void
Australia psych-rock legends Beaches returned after a four year absence and nailed it straight off with Void, a churning, thoroughly addictive rocket blast of cavernous guitar and drums that sounds like the amphetamine fuelled best bits of Hawkwind and Spacemen 3.
11 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter
Amongst a plethora of excellent releases from the unstoppable King Gizzard this year, many of which featured in our Top 100 countdown, Sleep Drifter stood tallest for its perfect marriage of funky eastern rhythm and itchy, nagging riff.
10 Cool Ghouls – Gord’s Horse
Woozy, harmony filled, vintage tinged rock’n’roll with just the right amount of twang gives Gord’s Horse the perfect laid back slacker vibe. One to kick back and fire up a big one for…
9 together PANGEA – Money On It
Subtly diluting their more usual punk rock tropes, Money On It borrows some surf-rock vibes and not a little guitar jangle to fashion a strutting, intense rocker that, dare we say it, is a little more optimistic than we’ve previously heard from them, and all the better for it.
8 Idles – Mother
Our go-to punk anthem of the year. Amongst a whole album worth of them on their brilliant album Brutalism, Mother stands out for it’s pure vitriol, righteous fury and long-drawn out “Mother…. Fucker” chorus.
7 Black Angels – I’d Kill For Her
Just a typically brilliant slab of hypnotic, heavyweight psych that they do better than anyone else.
6 PINS – Serve The Rich
A needling ear worm of a guitar line is married to sparse, urgent production, and two and half minutes of politicised, post-punk perfection is the result.
5 Lo Tom – Covered Wagon
We’re suckers for a bit of Creedence style guitar chugging and Covered Wagon has it in spades. It is one of those four or five play songs, the ones where your head suddenly jerks up and you go “whoa, what is this again?”. From that moment on it was one of our favourite tunes of the year, one to keep going back to for its roughed-up, blue collar Americana that served as a great reminder that straight up rock and roll is often done best at its simplest.
4 Sun Seeker – Won’t Keep Me Up At Night
Reminiscent of the Quite Hollers who featured prominently in 2015’s Best Of lists. The sunny strum and cosmic Americana of Won’t Keep Me Up At Night explores introspective melancholy via laid-back psychedelia, all pollinated with tight harmonies and country rock spirit.
3 Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down
A perfect combination of indie rock rumble with a touch of classic Americana creates a strutting, catchy slab of pure Bay Area garage jangle.
2 Big Thief – Shark Smile
Oh where to begin? A doomed car ride, a fatalistic narrative, romantic heartbreak? All these and more in this rambling folk rocker anchored by a steady motorik percussion and its tragic, catastrophic finale, “It came over me at a bad time, she burned over the double line and she impaled as I reached my hand for the guard rail, the guard rail, the guard rail”.
1 Cabbage – Celebration Of A Disease
Simply the ultimate mix of mutated groove and indie rock. With a lineage that stretches back to the Fall and takes in The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, it is the latest addition to a long line of infectious, sing-along Manchester anthems.