With a few days left in the year, I figured it was my turn to add my two cents to the “best records of the year” like so many of the blogs I follow. Where I differ from these posts, though, is that I don’t always listen to brand new music all the time and often uncover stuff that came out decades before I was even born, choosing to spend my time with it instead. Therefore, I’m breaking this post down into three parts: my 6 favorite new releases for 2017, my 6 favorite NOT new releases I jammed the most in 2017, and the 6 songs I blasted the most — both new and old — in 2017.
All three sets are in no particular order.
This is Part 1/3
— TOP 6 NEW RELEASES OF 2017 —
Mutoid Man – War Moans
Release Date: (June 2, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Afterlife; Kiss of Death; Headrush
The release date of War Moans marks the exact date I found out about these guys. Every Friday for the last year or so I check the Shit That Comes Out Today section of MetalSucks.net to see … what shit came out that day … and came across a favorably written review of this record. It sounded like something I would be into so I checked out the lead single Kiss of Death and was immediately hooked. From the chug-chug-chuging introduction and the man-making bass tone to the lyrical content and the melody with which it’s presented are unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time. No, I was not a fan of Cave In or Converge prior to this so don’t bother asking. I get it, you’re probably a bigger Brodsky fan than I am, and I don’t care. Mutoid Man rips. I said earlier that this is in no particular order, but this is easily #1.
The Lees of Memory – The Blinding White Of Nothing At All
Release Date: (November 24, 2017 )
My Favorite Tracks: Bring it Home to Me; It’s Too Late to Change; Last Thing I Wanted to Do
It might be easy to say I only added this to my list because I’m friends with the guys in the band (former Superdrag bandmates Brandon Fisher and John Davis) and you could easily say that I’m partial because I helped with the layout of the CD and LP … and you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect. However, this ambitious double album really highlights the musical genius these guys possess. I’m a big fan of John as a songwriter anyway from Superdrag to his solo stuff to Epic Ditch and beyond, but in my opinion this record contains some of his best work. Running hardcore with the Freedom Rock banner, this record runs the gamut musically from bare-bones Velvet Underground-esque tunes to songs with nearly stoner-rock-level guitar solos. Would a lot of bands be stretching to fit 24 quality songs onto four sides? Probably. Just not these guys.
Lana Del Rey – Lust for Life
Release Date: (July 21, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Love; Tomorrow Never Came; Cherry
Everyone knows I love Lana Del Rey. And I love every one of her records. She’s one of my favorite singers of all time right up there with Amy Winehouse, Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone. From her “First” record through to Paradise, Born to Die, Ultraviolence and Paradise, you listen to her voice and you hear pure beauty. There may be a lot of mystery and a lot of sadness, but it’s unmatched beauty. One of the things people immediately pointed out about the new record was the virtually nonexistent sadness. Songs on this record reflect a happier Lana — a more hopeful Lana. This is also reflected in her first-ever cover image portraying her with a smile and the overall vibe on the record. Add to that some quality collaborations with A$AP Rocky, the Weeknd, Stevie Nicks and Sean Lennon and you have one of Lana’s finest performances.
Tyler, the Creator — Scum Fuck Flower Boy
Release Date: (July 21, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Foreword; Who Dat Boy; I Aint’ Got Time!
July 21 must’ve been a great day for new releases! Tyler is back with his fourth studio album and it’s his most solid record yet. The beats and lyrics on this record hit me in a way that I haven’t heard from him since Goblin. Not to mention I Ain’t Got Time! has one of my favorite hooks in hip-hop. Is his language often unnecessary? Sure, but that’s Tyler, the Creator for you. Dude’s a talented poet with a unique voice in an otherwise boring sea of unremarkable artists. All 14 tracks on this record, including the short one-minute interlude Droppin’ Seeds featuring Lil Wayne is just ear candy.
Exhumed – Death Revenge
Release Date: (October 13, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Dead End; Unspeakable; The Anatomy Act of 1832
I was familiar with Exhumed from years of being a metalhead, but honestly, with the exception of some of the more popular selections (see Cannibal Corpse, Dethklok), I’ve just never been a huge fan of Death Metal. Exhumed set out to change that this year and they pulled it off in the most brutal way possible. I caught these guys in Johnson City just after Thanksgiving and saw firsthand why these guys are widely accepted as the Masters of Gore in a metal genre that solely exists to glorify gore (gorify?). Death Revenge is Exhumed’s first record since 2015’s Gore Metal: A Necrospective and despite it being 19 years since their first studio record — 25 years since their first EP — they’re tighter than ever. Death Revenge is arranged as a fun concept album. That is, if your idea of fun includes brutal murders and the underground trade of grave-robbed cadavers.
Cursed Moon – Rite of Darkness
Release Date: (October 27, 2017)
My Favorite Tracks: Gates of Hell; Rise of the Antichrist; Creatures of the Night
Just in time for Halloween, Cursed Moon (representing Hell’s Headbangers) comes out on a day where they could’ve easily been overshadowed by same-day releases by All Pigs Must Die and even Powerman 5000. Granted, I’ve not seen hardly any press talk about Rite of Darkness, but that’s not surprising since this very Black Metal record has been self-identified as Deathwave, bringing together the sounds of macabre basement Black Metal and the drum machine electronica of the 80s. When I first heard this record, I realized it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before so I coughed up the $6.66 to buy the digital record and headed over to Hell’s Headbangers to put an order in for a t-shirt. True story. This record is scary, it’s unique, and it’s one of my favorite listens of the year.
This is just me, though. Got any new releases you really dug this year? Tell me about them!