Oioi, here’s the biguns.
And here we are! As you must know by now, we at Stuff And That like us a bit of music, so a better to kick of 2018 than taking a look at the best of the year passed I cannot recall. Of course, we’ve got more Best Thangs coming up, but for now, let’s look at the year in choons! Firstly, here are the albums I’d’ve loved to have listened to this year but couldn’t find the time:
Orc – Oh Sees
Dead Cross – Dead Cross
Paper Parachute – Ninet
A Compendium Of Desperation, Morality And Dick Jokes – The Fat Dukes Of Fuck
Savage Sinusoid – Igorrr
I Tell A Fly – Benjamin Clementine
Flying Microtonal Banana – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Yo, this be Reuben. Ayyyyy, 2017’s over and 2018 has taken its place. 2017 was the most, shall we say, interesting year of my life. It was the worst, but by far the best, both at the same time. I spent a lot less time playing games, watching movies, TV and all that in favour of dedicating more time to people, and music. I could get all poetic about the year, but I’m sure you don’t want me to do that here. Plus, I would like to apologise for neglecting this site. I know Milo’s done a good job keeping it up even when I haven’t been poking my nose in though.
Anyway, music was the most important thing in the year that wasn’t a person. 2017 was the year in which I realised that music truly is my passion, the year I got my bass guitar, and the year in which my music taste changed so much. I’ve gained a huge new appreciation for the softer spectrum of music, and have connected to music on an emotional and much deeper level than ever before. The thing is, however, there wasn’t too much new music, as released in 2017 itself, that I listened to. I mostly listened to old music which I hadn’t previously heard, and this was the most important music of the year for me. Anywhom, before we get this started, I did miss a few albums:
Dead Cross (Eponymous)
Primus – The Desaturating Sun
Cherry Glazzerr – Apocalipstick
Nothing But Thieves – Broken Machine
Steven Wilson – To the Bone
Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
Bands We Say Goodbye To In 2017.
But first, a quick goodbye to the acts we’ll be hearing no more of.
Best Old Album We Listened To This Year.
Even if we wanted to (which we do), there’s no way we can listen to every great album in a year, so here’s some we missed the first time round.
As with last year, mine’ll be produced in a “nominees-award” kinda style.
My nominees, in no particular order:
Are You Experienced? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967) – Just really perfect,
slightly very psychedelic classic rock. Legendary for a reason. Honourable mention: Axis Bold As Love
The Number Of The Beast – Iron Maiden (1982) – Maiden’s best, sublimely furious and top-to-bottom hits. Honourable Mention: Powerslave
People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm – A Tribe Called Quest (1990) – Pure hip-hop perfection that was way ahead of its time.
The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails (1994) – Musically twisted but all the more engaging because of it. Honourable mention: Pretty Hate Machine
Reign In Blood – Slayer (1986) – SLAY-ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles (1967) – Yeah, this is pretty good. I see what literally everyone meant. Honourable mention: White Album, Let It Be, Help!, Abbey Road
Tenacious D – Tenacious D (2001)
After finally getting my hands on this at the top of the year, I knew that there was very little chance I’d hear anything better in the next 12 months. Not only are the songs obviously hilarious, with tracks like Kielbasa and Double Team, as well as the various skits, putting me in fits of giggles even upon replay, but also brilliantly performed. JB’s almost operatic vocals are endlessly entertaining and charismatic, while Rage Kage’s guitarwork serves as yet more evidence to why I think he’s one of the most underrated guitarists ever. It’s just a really well put-together rock album that just so happens to be hilariously funny.
Pearl Jam – Ten (1991)
Before 2017 had started, I had never listened to even a minute of Pearl Jam. By the end of the year, I’d listened to at least 250 hours. Now, I don’t know how accurate that really is, but what I do know is that after I’d got this album on March the 2nd I listened to it pretty much daily, sometimes two, three times in a day, until September, and still many times since. For me, this album is a masterpiece. At its best, it is my definition of perfection in music. It has become my favourite album of all time, and Black has become my favourite song of all time. I associate Ten with love. It is just so youthful and raw, but at the same time masterfully crafted and produced. The energy, the skill, the grungey bite, the blissful guitar solos, Vedder’s pouring out of his soul in his lyrics and his vocals, the sense of fun, the sense of deep emotion, and the sense of power, all jump out at you in every single song on this record. This album can make me smile, cry, and give me many more goosebumps than anything else can.
Going deeper, in Even Flow, for example, you can just hear and feel the enjoyment the band experienced while playing the song, and it’s just such a joyful song. Then you have Alive, with its attention grabbing guitar lead and incredibly catchy hook, all delivered with raw emotion and precision. With the aforementioned Black, the emotion is even more on display to make for the ultimate “sad song”, the most powerful and fantastic power ballad and an incredibly meaningful song which never fails to make me FEEL EMOTION. Jeremy has a very similar effect. I could go on and write praise for every single song, but let’s not ramble in this article. I just love this album so much. It never fails to bring me peace, and it never fails to lift me up. STOP LAUGHING MILO, AND YOU, MARK, SHUT UP.
Vs. (1993) – It may be 2 years younger but it’s even more youthful and raw than Ten. Not as powerful in the same ways, but still an incredible album and has quickly become one of my favoruites of all time.
Yield (1998) – I listened to this one a lot and connected to it for whatever reason particularly in the summer. Nowhere near as masterful as their early 90s efforts but still a brilliant record.
Eponymous (1970) – The beginning of metal and a fantastic, bluesy record.
Paranoid (1970) – Stuffed to the brim with classics and hyped as it is for very good reason.
Master of Reality (1971) – Same with this one really.
Nevermind (1991) – Feral, youthful, very listenable and just a brilliant album and a classic for a reason.
In Utero (1993) – Again, pretty much the same with this one.
Led Zeppelin II (1969) – Rock n’ roll at its finest.
Houses of the Holy (1973) – Some more great rock n’ roll and some amazing gentler stuff. The Rain Song, boi.
The Number of the Beast (1982) – The perfect 80s metal album and the band’s best effort.
Powerslave (1984) – TWO. MINUTES. TO MIIIDNIIIIIIIIIIIGHTTT
Tenacious D (Eponymous, 2001) – The greatest comedy album of all time.
Meshuggah – Nothing (2002) – CHUNK.
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998) – This album is just very cool.
Clutch – Blast Tyrant (2004) – Quite possibly Clutch’s best album. GROOVE.
Radiohead – The Bends (1996) – Joyously relaxing and energetic at once. Goosebumps galore. (I may have taken that from my fave albums page, sorry)
Faith No More – Angel Dust (1992) – Absolutely off-the-wall and ridiculous but in this unique, brilliant and energising. (same here, sorry)
Gojira – L’ Enfant Sauvage (2012) – Gojira at, almost their best.
Let’s have a big award to kick us off proper, eh? Here are the best tracks of the year.
Dirt – DJ Format & Abdominal – Classic track from the duo; groovy jazz samples and witty raps galore.
Honourable mention: Behind The Scenes
The Sky Is A Neighbourhood – Foo Fighters – A track with a surprising dream-like quality to the band’s signature heaviness, channeling Beatles fused with Black Sabbath.
Honourable mentions: Run, Arrows
ELEMENT. – Kendrick Lamar – 2017’s strongest rap song from a rapper at the top of his game.
Amsterdam – Nothing But Thieves – Calling back to the indie rock of the 00s, Mason’s voice here is simply astounding.
Honourable mention: Broken Machine
Nuclear Bomb – Cherry Glazerr – Yet another great shoegaze fuzz rock track from one of my new favourite bands.
Don’t Don’t Do It! – N*E*R*D – Though the group’s return was decidedly underwhelming for me, the hyperactive beat, summery guitars and anthemic vocals here are pure 00s class.
We Know Where You Fucking Live – Marilyn Manson – Even at his most introspective, Manson still provides hate anthems with the best of ’em.
Call Me Mother – RuPaul – Yes, the majority of Momma Ru’s music isn’t my jam, but this brings out my inner gay man like little else.
Pariah (Ft. Ninet Tayeb) – Steven Wilson – A beautifully tender track that introduced me to the wonders of Ninet’s soulful vocals.
Head Like A Haunted House – Queens Of The Stone Age
Do I honestly have to get into this again?? Never before have I anticipated a song I had never heard before. However, after watching a teaser for this track three months prior to the Villains being released (a loong three months they were as well), that’s exactly the state I was in. The vicious energy of the track, mirrored in the acid-drenched guitars (helped enormously by Mark Ronson’s skeletal production) and jungle beats, surges the listener (me) with a burst of electricity, like a shot of gasoline if my veins were filled with FIRE (except that’s not how electricity works (shut up)). Homme’s vocal performance is easily the top of the year, as is his swagger-laden lyricism, and the bassline is something to overdose too. It has shot up into my favourite songs of all time like not many other songs have, so it’s gotta be my pick of the year.
Honourable mentions: The Evil Has Landed, Fortress, The Way You Used To Do
Mastodon – Sultan’s Curse
Anyone remember the first impressions article I wrote on this song back in January? Well, if not, read it now and you’ll get the jist of how much I like it. I mean, I love it a bit less now than I did then, but I still love it enough to let it win this award ahead of some very fierce competition.
Ex Deo – The Rise of Hannibal – THICC ROMAN METAL.
Loathe – It’s Yours – An awesome and unique metalcore track from an exciting new band.
Steven Wilson – Pariah – A magical effort from ol’ Stevey.
Novatines – Medicine – BATH REPRESENT, YEA BOIIIIIII
Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE. – I did not expect to write this here but IT IS JUST SO CATCHY.
Joji – Will He – It’s just so chill bro.
Nothing But Thieves – Amsterdam – I may not have got to hear the rest of the album but man is this song good.
Jonathan Bree – You’re So Cool – Aww, thanks! You’re really cool too.
Anathema – Leaving it Behind – The atmosphere on this thing, oh boi oh boi oh boi oh boi.
Foo Fighters – Run – This song got me into Foo Fighters.
At the Drive In:
Hostage Stamps – At the Drive In back at their powerful, punky best.
Incurably Innocent – Not as heavy as Hostage Stamps but just as powerful in different ways.
Queens of the Stone Age:
Fortress – Emotionally strong and catchy. A good mix indeed.
Feet Don’t Fail Me – G R O O V E F U N K
Mastodon – Steambreather – Not too far off Sultan’s Curse’s tail and just an exceptionally cool track.
Best Album Art.
Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” was a chump.
Emperor Of Sand – Mastodon (Medusawolf) – I’m a massive fan of most Mastodon artworks, and this one doesn’t disappoint — represents the desolate soundscapes excellently.
Red Before Black – Cannibal Corpse (Vince Locke) – Slight less graphic necro-rape sexual guttery? Sure, but sometimes, and hear me out, that can be a good thing.
Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator (Eric White) – Uber-stylish, fits the GOLF brand brilliantly.
Melodrama – Lorde (Sam McKinniss) – Appealing to the crappy art student in me, this fauvist portrait is one of the most eye-catching pop covers of the year.
Different Creatures – Circa Waves (We Art You) – Very Them Crooked Vultures in colour palette, very B-movie in subject matter. Haven’t heard the album but I kinda wanna because of it.
Arca – Arca (Jesse Kanda) – Ononononon, I don’t like (but I do like a lot).
Villains – Queens Of The Stone Age (Boneface)
First being drawn into his work on …Like Clockwork, hearing Boneface would be returning for Villains was joyous, as he had become my favourite cult artist (and artist in general) since then. His stark black lines, acid colour palette and pop culture inspiration always draws me into his stuff. This is obviously the work of a more mature artist, with less emphasis on bold outlines and a less eye-catching colour. However, I do love the awesome design of Homme with the devil on his back, and the alternate print makes me sexually enlightened.
Loathe – The Cold Sun
In an age when metal bands struggle to be unique in amongst the rubble of all the samey core metal music and such, Loathe, while kinda qualifying as a “core” band, manage to do just that. Their music is exciting, very cool, and very dark, and the album art gives it perfect representation. With its Akira-like style, the band certainly know how to pick their influences. I don’t know, I’m not good about talking about art or anything. It’s just really cool.
Mastodon – Emperor of Sand – Me likey very much. Especially with the return to the old band logo.
Queens of the Stone Age – Villains – Matches the music very well.
Beastmaker – Inside the Skull – Simple but effective.
Best Music Video.
What’s better than a good music video, eh? What’s that? Love? I don’t know what that is…
Who Dat Boy? – Tyler, The Creator – Dementedly funny and meta.
Run – Foo Fighters – Bit of a Thriller rip-off? Sure, but I won’t tired of seeing Dave Gr-ohld anytime soon (or that pun).
Show Yourself – Mastodon – While the song itself is one of my least favourite by the ‘Don, it’s an undeniably great video.
The Way You Used To Do – Queens Of The Stone Age – Joshy-boy isn’t the smooth mover he thinks he is (he’s 8ft though), but that doesn’t stop this batshit cacophony of images from being entertaining.
Permenating – Steven Wilson – You wouldn’t expect flourishes of colour and Bollywood dance numbers from the brooding genius behind Porcupine Tree, and it’s a fun video!
Moonlight – Jay-Z
With Moonlight, one of my favourite tracks from Jay-Z’s excellent (what I’d consider) comeback 4:44, the rapper, with help from director Alan Yang, creates a thoughtful and respectable video commenting on black representation in the media. While, as a white English white WHITE WHITE teenager WHITE boi, I don’t really think it’s my place to comment on the nitty-gritty of the issue, and a big issue it is, this video, recreating scenes from an iconic Friends episode (I do love Friends (as I said, WHITE)) and bringing a great bit of introspective humour. For a song that obviously refers to the infamous Oscar snub earlier in the year, I don’t think Hov could’ve done a better job.
MILO WHAT ARE THESE NONSENSE CATEGORIES?
… Nah I’m just playin’ around.
ACTUALLY SCREW YOU IT’S WAY NONSENSEY.
they’re not nonsensey they’re really good categories…. didn’t see you moaning on the album art one….
s o r r y
No winner, just a few links for what I think are the best-uns:
If an album is a gift, the production is the wrapping paper. Now, let’s tear into this one…
Villains – Queens Of The Stone Age (Mark Ronson) – While many have criticised the skeletal style on Villains, I adore the rockabilly swagger Ronson brought to the project.
Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator – Neptunes, classic soul, funky-funk funk-funk, the inspirations Tyler adds to the contemporary hip-hop production here speak for themselves.
Apocalipstick – Cherry Glazerr (Joe Chiccarelli) – Very Scott Pilgrim in sound and, ergo, very friggin’ cool.
Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey (w. Rick Nowells) – Surprisingly dug this album, love the lucid, almost sensual atmosphere.
Crystal Fairy – Crystal Fairy (Chris Common) – THEE FUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Process – Sampha (w. Rodaidh McDonald) – Tranquil and beautiful from a deserved Mercury winner.
To The Bone – Steven Wilson (w. Paul Stacey)
Though a huge Porcupine Tree fan I am not (try Reubs), one thing I always found consistent with what I had heard from them (which, at that point, was 2007’s Fear Of A Blank Planet and that’s about it) was their methodical and brooding production style, which I found to be, on a base level, very reminiscent of moments on OK Computer. When I picked up To The Bone, I wasn’t expecting to like it nearly as much as I did, with Wilson’s songwriting and surprising pop-esque appeal taking me to shock. As I said in my review, the guitar mixing on this thing particularly impressed me, as they weaved and bounced off each other within the instrumentation. I also appreciated how the duo managed to retain the ethereal edge of Porcupine Tree whilst also added a refreshing splash of colour to the tracks.
Rich Costey/Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – At the Drive In
I don’t want to try and sound like I’m an actual music buff who knows a lot about music production or mixing or anything like that. I’ve done a few months worth of a music tech A-Level course, that’s it. So yeah, I can’t say much. But, although this clearly isn’t the best produced album I’ve ever listened to, and no albums really stood out for me in 2017 for their production quality, in•ter a•li•a does sound great, and the order of the songs and the whole feel of it is very consistent. It’s a very concise album. You can hear all of its instrumental intricacies, and it does manage to be really rather powerful at a lot of points.
Brann Dailor – Mastodon – One of the best technical drummers of the moment delivers yet again with Emperor Of Sand, while also sanding down and polishing his rougher spots.
Tony Haijar – At The Drive-In – AhhahahaHHAHAHAHhahAHahahahHAAHHh — An accurate representation of the drumwork on in•ter a•li•a.
Jon Theodore – Queens Of The Stone Age – Very close to my pick, brings a level of complexity to QOTSA’s music like no-one before.
Brad Wilk – Prophets Of Rage – My favourite drummer of all time. His work on the disappointed Prophets album served as a highlight fersure.
Taylor Hawkins – Foo Fighters
Another inspiration in the drumming world of mine, the Foos’ stickman has been one of my favourite drummers since I began enjoying music. With 2017’s Concrete And Gold, he’s continued to solidify this fact with yet anotherrrr fantastic performance, as he’s had on every Foos release since he joined in ’97. His versatility, in particular, has become apparent to me with this album, with the delicate, hi-hat driven work on the verses of Arrows coming in three tracks after the grand, massive sounding beats on The Sky Is A Neighbourhood. As well as this, he continues to be an excellent showman live, which is a tough thing to prove if you’re in a band with Dave Grohl.
Brann Dailor – Mastodon
Although the mix on Emperor of Sand muffles his work a little bit, the sheer skill of his rhythmic beatz can still be heard clearly and he is as good as ever. I can’t claim to know a huge amount about drumming, but it sounds to me like he is one of if not the best in the game right now. His work on their 2017 releases is just as awesomely fill-heavy and showy as ever, and in Emperor of Sand in particular it’s more interesting with his greater use of different symbols and percussion.
Tony Hajjar – At the Drive In – Just as good as he ever was with the band before.
Matt Greiner – August Burns Red – One of the best metal drummers of today.
Reuben likes this one cus’ it makes him feel valid.
Les Claypool – Primus – Okay, The Desaturating Seven was one of my biggest disappointments of the year, but Les is still the bes…t.
Tim Commerford – Prophets Of Rage – Timmy C never fails to lay down a funky line, and that’s just science.
Michael Shuman – Queens Of The Stone Age – For QOTSA’s ‘dance’ record to work, they needed some proper groove. Thankfully, Mikey was so SO on it.
Nate Mendel – Foo Fighters – I just… I love Nate. He’s my boy.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Crystal Fairy – alright i’m okay noW NO I’M NO—THE FUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Mike Kerr – Royal Blood
Since they burst on the scene with a suspiciously backed debut album that launched them into national fame, Royal Blood has had countless people compliment the guitars on their music. That is, of course, until an oily-pastel-twat such as myself jumps out of a bush and goes “*pants* there’s no guitars *pants* it’s all bass *pants* *vomits* VALIDATE MY KNOWLEDGE”. It’s true, though, all the sweet riffage on RB’s sophomore album, How Did We Get So Dark?, is all thicc groovy 4-string goodness. While the album may be lacking in creative progression, Kerr’s basswork never fails to be entertaining.
Les Claypool – Primus
As a bassist myself (a beginner, yes, but kinda one nonetheless, come on, please grant me this, I BEG YOU), this is the most important award for any of the musicians. Yes, yes, I didn’t actually listen to Primus’ new album. BUT, I did hear one song from it, and it was good. And, how the hell can I not give this award to Les Claypool in a year that he’s active? That would be impossible. He is, and for me, probably always will be, the best bassist this world has ever seen. His skill is unmatched. He’s also a great guy, and I really want one of those SeaPops.
Paul Hinojos – At the Drive In – His best basswork with the band to date, it really sticks out at points as the focal point of the music and I like that.
Mike Kerr – Royal Blood – Yeah, what Milo said.
Michael Shuman – Queens of the Stone Age – Very solid and with some awesome little quips scattered around Villains.
Troy Sanders – Mastodon – Although the mix doesn’t bring it forward to the same level as Once More ‘Round the Sun did, this may be his best work yet for the band.
Shredding, licking, axing and (if we’re taking Mr Homme as a role model) kicking. Feet don’t fail me now, amirite?
Brent Hinds/Bill Kelliher – Mastodon – These sludgy motherf*ckers have lightened up over the last few years but keep pumping out that RIFFAGEEEE.
Troy Van Leeuwen/Josh Homme/Dean Fertita – Queens Of The Stone Age – Some of QOTSA’s best hooks are found on Villains, so these guys are CUH-LOSE to my pick.
Vernon Reid – Living Colour – Getting into Living Colour this year with Shade was good choice. Particularly, the funKEEE indigo riffage on that badboi blew me away.
John Gallagher – Dying Fetus – OSHITT SO CHUNKY. SO BRUTALLY CHUNKY.
Chris Shifflet/Dave Grohl/Pat Smear – Foo Fighters -Just some proper rocky rock shit.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – At The Drive-In
‘Oly moly, Omar, one of my favourite guitarists from both his work in ATDI and Mars Volta, has, thankfully, remained as consistently crazy as he always was, making it the gap between in•ter a•li•a and the 17-year old Relationship of Command seem much smaller than it is. In particular, lead single, and my favourite song on the album, Governed By Contagions, personifies Omar’s wreck-loose but extremely-skilled style, with both wailing hooks and punchy punk-riffs pervading through the tracks. And, as always, his guitargasm face is on point.
Brent Hinds – Mastodon
Only just missing out on the award last year to ol’ Ben Weinman, this wizard really stepped up his game with Mastodon this year and made sure we heard as many guitar solos and just general cases of wigging-out as possible in Emperor of Sand, completely stealing the show on the album time and time again against the backdrop of Bill Kelliher’s oh-so-fine riffage and the fantastic rhythm section.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – At the Drive In – Less impressive than a lot of his past work but still very impressive stuff from my favourite guitarist, being some of the best punk guitar work I’ve heard.
J.B Brubaker – August Burns Red – Offbeat and different lead guitar awesomeness.
‘Cus who likes instrumentals?
Conor Mason – Nothing But Thieves – A lack of stage presence maybe, but one of the best voices of the year.
Josh Homme – Queens Of The Stone Age – AWHSHIT he was gonna win this but then he kicked the photographer in the faceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. shit mang.
Teri Gender-Bender – Crystal Fairy – I also got into Le Butcherettes this year. She is so cool. She just is.
Abdominal – THESE DAYS I’ve been listening a lot to this guy, he’s my favourite rapper, so he’s gonna be here innit.
Kendrick Lamar – Wow, this guy is extremely popular AND extremely good? He’s got it on.
Cedric Bixler-Zavala – At The Drive-In – He DOES bring the mental.
Clementine Creevy – Cherry Glazerr – Offbeat and quirky chic to the fullest.
Marilyn Manson – Marilyn Manson – Shock rock with a bit of proper bite.
Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters
He’s just my favourite person ever, so winning this isn’t a surprise really, especially after the year he’s had. Okay, I missed the Cheese And Grain show that WAS FREE AND 30 MINUTES AWAY. Okay, I didn’t watch the livestream and still have not because it upsets me. Not a great start. BUT, in their first headlining show at Glastonbury, Foo Fighters blew it out of the park and Grohl’s hypnotic stage presence, as well as his stunning performance, made it, in my opinion, the best Glasto performance ever. Then, in September, they released Concrete And Gold and, while it was a slight disappointment for me, Grohl’s vocals on songs like Run and Arrows did blow me away. Moreover, because I snagged tickets for the Foos’ Wembley show in June (CONCERT DROPPPPP), you can expect him to be winning next year too.
Josh Homme – Queens of the Stone Age
Yes, he may have kicked that photographer, in a moment when his damn feet did fail him. And yes, he may even be a bit of a tool of a person. But, for one, I don’t know him personally, so I can’t really say that, and two, he’s a fantastic singer and one of my favourites in the game right now. His vocal tracks on Villains are some of his finest contributed to QOTSA. With all the charismatic charm of his voice on show throughout the album, he also really shows us his vocal range as his lower range is more powerful than ever in tracks like Domesticated Animals and his higher range is great in songs such as The Way You Used to Do.
Cedric Bixler-Zavala – At the Drive In – Some of this legend’s best vocal work, and that’s saying something.
Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters – I’ve gained a new appreciation for this lad.
Every year, we get some shit. That’s only natural. Let’s shovel it, eh?
Crooked Teeth – Papa Roach – THIS. WAS. AWFUL. Jakey Maddix (or whatever his name is) needs to stop immediately. Dude. You’re in your 40s. Stop.
Feed The Machine – Nickelback – And, also, Nickelback. What the f*ck is that about?
17 – XXXTentacion – “ooh i’m so broken”. I don’t care, you damaging prick.
Road Rage – Quiet Riot
Who the f*ck thought it’d be a good idea to bring glam rock back. 80s glam rock. What the hell. I didn’t even know about this until one of you lovely people mentioned it as their worst album of the year. Thank you for that, because you’ve made my job a lot easier. While the music on this thing isn’t TOTALLY hideous (not great though), the vocals, delivered in disgusting fashion by James Durbin (people need to stop adding American Idol dickheads to classic rock bands), make me lose the will to live but also gives me hope that we can progress as a nation and join together against a common evil.
Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid
Milo, I do not understand why you have even the slightest desire to listen to this album. Okay, for about 3 minutes they have a certain degree of comedy value, or just shock factor, but once that’s over you’ve got another 30-40 minutes of pure unadulterated ear stabbing. It’s unique, it’s very different, there’s nothing else like it, these are all true factors, BUT what a lot of people don’t seem to recognise is that despite this, IT’S CRAP. It is incredibly try-hard, obnoxious, horrible music to listen to. This is coming from a person who can get enjoyment out of the heaviest, most brutal metal, but I just cannot get anything out of this ungodly mess of an album.
Bleed Again – Momentum – Bad, bad metalcore.
Malevolence – Self Supremacy – With this one, I understand it’s quite well made and I understand why people could like it, but I just cannot get along with it. The singer isn’t for me and the album does little anyone else hasn’t before it.
In all seriousness, however, it’s inevitable that we were to lose some legends this year. That makes these losses nonetheless as devastating.
OOh, it’s time for the biguns’, eh? Here are the best bois and gals of the year.
Mastodon (5 Nominations) – These guys are just wicked. Thought Emperor Of Sand was a great album and they’ve continued to impress throughout the year.
Nothing But Thieves (4 Nominations) – A really, really good indie rock band is hard to find, so these guys are a bit of a rarity.
DJ Format & Abdominal (4 Nominations) – My favourite hip-hop duo, and they retweeted my top ten!!
Cherry Glazerr (5 Nominations) – One of the biggest up-and-comers of the moment — so excited for these guys.
Marilyn Manson (4 Nominations) – I used to think these guys were all gimmick and, while that still may be a little true, these riffs are like sandpaper dipped in f*ckjelly.
At The Drive-In (4 Nominations – Winner of Best Guitarist) – A new appreciation for these guys, their new album was excellent and I’m beginning to really love Relationship of Command.
Foo Fighters (7 Nominations – Winner of Best Drummer and Vocalist) – They are Foo Fighters. That’s it, that’s all I have to say about that.
Queens Of The Stone Age (10 Nominations – Winner of Best Song and Album Art)
What a year it has been for the QOTSA bois. Kicking off in mid-June with release of The Way You Used To Do, an Eagles Of Death Metal-esque dancey rock track that I enjoyed a lot, Queens followed that up with The Evil Has Landed, now one of my favourites of theirs, and a mind-blowing performance at Reading/Leeds in August, a month which culminated in the release of Villains, their seventh studio album and their full-length with ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. Needless to say, it’s an awesome album, with enough swagger and bite to distinguish itself completely from the rest of their discography. Finally, I saw them in November in London (CON.CERT.DROP.), where they performed the best show I’ve ever seen in terms of song choice (almost all my favourites) and atmosphere. Yes, he did kick that photographer, and he has been punished for that, but I can’t deny 2017 has been the year of the Queen.
At the Drive In (7 Nominations, Winner of Best Producer)
At the Drive In actually did come back in 2016, sure, but 2017 was the year in which they truly reinstated their presence, and they did it with a bang. With in•ter a•li•a, they released a fantastic new record, and with Diamante, they’ve released what looks to be a nice li’l EP on top of that. They have kicked off from where they left off in 2000, and they’re actually more active now than they ever were in the 90s, with two releases in one year and a huge amount of touring. For a bunch of 40-somethings they’ve got a hell of a lot of energy in them. I am so happy they are back, and I REALLLLLYYYYY WANT TO SEE THEM LIVE THIS YEAR. Ahem. Also, a Mars Volta reunion next, please?
Mastodon (7 Nominations, Winner of Best Song, Guitarist and Drummer) – If Emperor of Sand was a better overall album, these guys would have surely won.
Queens of the Stone Age (6 Nominations, Winner of Best Vocalist) – Very, very close to winning this.
Loathe (2 Nominations, Winner of Best Album Art) – An exciting, new British metal band who released a fantastic debut album.
Primus (Winner of Best Bassist) – Okay, I didn’t hear the whole album, but they’re Primus, I had to mention them here. Just seeing them active again is great.
And we get to the biggest award here. Shall we honour the greatest set o’ tracks of the year?
Cherry Glazerr – Apocalipstick – One of my most anticipated albums going into 2017 didn’t disappoint, with a dreamy shoegaze twist in the power-pop genre.
Still Hungry – DJ Format & Abdominal – Abs & Format have definitely proved their hunger with this release, featuring some of their best tracks to date.
To The Bone – Steven Wilson – A dynamic colourful album from a musical genius, with an eclectic prog-pop mix.
Heaven Upside Down – Marilyn Manson – While a mature and introspective record, Manson still manages to provide us with some roaring industrial metal classics.
Broken Machine – Nothing But Thieves – An excellently written sophomore album from another promising band, with some flawless grooves and vocal performances.
Villains – Queens Of The Stone Age
To anyone who read my review of this album, this won’t be a surprise. After taking us down an ocean of sorrow on …Like Clockwork, the band decided that dancing was their new direction, and sure went for it. Tracks like lead single The Way You Used To Do and Feet Don’t Fail Me were made for the dancing, with their swaying grooves and foot-stomp rhythms, contrasting against Fortress, one of the finest pieces of introspective songwriting I’ve heard this year, delivered with dramatic nocturnal cadence. Then, we have my favourite tracks on the album Head Like A Haunted House and The Evil Has Landed, which are standard QOTSA, riffs straight from the desert and diverse vocal accompaniments. It’s just an above-excellent album in a year of excellent albums, so it’s my favourite of the year.
1. At the Drive In – in•ter a•li•a
As I said, At the Drive In had an awesome year in 2017, and this album evidences that. Although Queens of the Stone Age’s Villains is very close on its tail, for me in•ter a•li•a just about comes out on top. Sure, I didn’t actually listen to that much new music last year, and personally I think 2017 wasn’t actually that great a year for new music, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of this album. It’s much more sensible than Relationship of Command, less heavy and less mind-blowing, but you’d expect that from a band made of 40-somethings. Instead of completely in your face awesomosity like that legendary album, we’ve got concise, to the point punk rock with a lot of indie influences, lighter tones and catchy hooks, which makes for really fun and easy listening. The instrumentals are absolutely on point, with each band member playing to some of their best ability and working together in unison fantastically, with Cedric putting out a mature and energetic vocal performance that is one of his strongest to date. Moreover, we’ve got particularly strong lyrics in tracks such as Incurably Innocent, and that alongside Hostage Stamps and Governed By Contagions stand as three of the band’s best songs, and that’s saying something.
This was a very exciting release and it didn’t disappoint one bit. It’s catchy, it’s addictive, and it’s satisfyingly heavy. If you want, you can read my review.
2. Queens of the Stone Age – Villains
As I said, this album was very close to winning this award. Still, second place is honourable. This album is just as concise and to the point as the winner, with Mark Ronson’s slick production. It’s a great sequel to 2013’s …Like Clockwork. It’s got a lot of similar tropes as that album, but adds to it too. Not as good an album, definitely, but as a follow-up it does a good job. Through its 48-minute runtime you’re taken through a journey of G R O O V E F U N K, about as funky as Old Gregg’s proposition to take The Funk, delivered through awesome tracks like the boogie buster Feet Don’t Fail Me and the the photographer kickin’ The Way You Used to Do, and we also have more patient, meaningful material in deep cuts like Fortress and Villains of Circumstance, WHICH HITS ME RIGHT HERE, MAN, RIGHT HERE (you can’t see where I’m pointing, but I’m pointing at my heart). It may not be QOTSA’s best album to date, and I’m not quite sure where it ranks among their others, but for now, all I can say is that I love it.
Read Milo’s review, boi. He covers a lot of good points, even if I whole-heartedly disagree with his opinion of Villains of Circumstance.
3. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
Anyone remember my review of this badboi? Well, I’d prefer if you didn’t. While I don’t think I wrote it badly at all, I simply disagree with a fair amount of what I said about it back then. I gave it freakin’ 95/100. While I still really like the album, I would not go so far as to give it even 90 now, probably something more in the region of 80-85. Don’t let that make you think I’ve really gone off the album, because that’s still an admirable score. While I would not praise it so incessantly as I did then and Show Yourself is indeed a little crappy, along with a few disjointed sections of the rest of the album, it is a great album and shows Mastodon are not wilting or fading as some might try to make you believe.
Instrumentally, Emperor of Sand is incredibly impressive, and each member of the band work together in unity absolutely brilliantly, making them still the most skillful four-piece band out there and quite possibly the most skillful in general – Brent Hinds in particular is really a show off. The album sees the band return to their more progressive roots of Crack the Skye and Blood Mountain, and in particular sees a return of the emotional edge of the former, which I love. Furthermore, the songwriting, though a bit mix-matched at some points, does really blossom in tracks like Ancient Kingdom, Roots Remain and Word to the Wise in their choruses, which are some of their most catchy and powerful to date. And with Sultan’s Curse, we do have my favourite song of the year. So, it’s not the masterpiece I would have had you believe last April, but it’s far, far away from the sort of quality someone like Lord Melon Anthony Fantano would have you believe. I say kudos to Mastodon for having a great year, and this is the centerpiece of it.
Loathe – The Cold Sun – An exciting release by an exciting band.
Beastmaker – Inside the Skull – Brilliant doom record.
Sepultura – Machine Messiah – Yeah, Sepultura are still around. And yeah, this album is great.
And that’s that for the year’s choonage. Stay tuned throughout the week where we’ll be posting Stuff And That’s Best Thangs Of The Year Volumes II, III & IV – Game, TV & Film. Until then…
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations
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