While there were quite a few releases to check out (LPs and EPs alike), per usual — choosing 10 to highlight is challenging. As a list, this feels most like an overall representative picture of the music scene — diverse with hip hop, punk, experimental, indie rock, and more.
Check out our top picks for 2017. — Derian Silva
10. SUNNY TURE — YESTERDAY'S INTERLUDE
yesterday's interlude was recorded over a span of three years (2013-2016) by emcee Sunny Ture — somewhere between the storytelling and catchy melodies — this album hits all the spots with a lo-fi tone. This album feels like something from the late 90's to early 2000's — but it was crafted in 2017, so it's feels a bit fresher than one might expect.
Read our SPlog about yesterday's interlude.
9. CHAWLA — STILL WAITING
Catchy melodies with a sing-a-long chorus? That is mostly what you will find in Still Waiting — which stands as one of the more accessible albums released all year in C-U. There's are bites within Chawla's delivery that can appeal to anyone — though, in this capacity, being this accessible doesn't mean it is boring. Chawla finds a way to avoid that cliché pop sound.
8. 酸葬儀 ACIDFUNERAL — 放浪者 WANDERER
This album is extreme in many ways — the project of black metal duo acidfuneral — but it is also extremely representative of the imaginative and creative work done by this local artist. Most of it was recorded over a single day, and continued as a labored project for the next few months. Every song is meant to recreate what it feels like to be a wanderer in a dreamscape.
7. SNAYL — EP 2
Building an atmosphere with music has to toe a very distinct line — to not be overwhelming, but also sucking you in and keeping the listener's attention. Snayl's EP 2 does this with flying colors, telling a story with the melodies — something instrumental albums have to do well — maintaining this experimental project's appeal into Snayl's continued efforts in the genre.
6. THE DRY LOOK — JUICELESS GLARE EP
Punk!... with some elements of rock, of course. The Dry Look's Juiceless Glare is a straight throwback to the original days of punk — blended with slight hints of surf guitar, solos, in-your-face bass and drums that make you want to go into the pit at a show.
Check out our SPlog about Juiceless Glare.
5. CHASE BABY — GROWING UP IS HARD
Making 19 songs sound good is difficult, it's probably even more difficult when feature other artists in almost every song. And on top of that, even more difficult is making it all sound cohesive — and Chase Baby has done that on his record Growing Up is Hard. Perhaps it is a metaphor, but growing up does require carrying quite a bit with you along the way. All of these experiences combine to be uniquely you. A great album with great beats and the ocassional melody — that's a good combination.
4. GHOUL JR. — EP
Nothing beats a fancy date... to the Dollar Menu at Taco Bell, or a buffet at Pizza Hut when you're slugging it out in your late teens and early twenties. Perhaps Ghoul Jr.'s EP ends up being better than those things — on this record, they paint an amazing picture of living the college and tour life, with introspective lyrics and lofi instrumentals.
3. THE BASHFUL YOUNGENS — INFLOURESCENT
Although most often, The Bashful Youngens appear simply as the duo of Carrie Chandler and Aaron Short — which makes it seem much more shallow than the music they create together. The diverse array of mandolin, harmonica, acoustic and slide guitars, plus piano and more — we're provided with a much deeper textured release on Inflourescent. The Americana blend is an easy tag to place on the Bashful Yougens, but once you dive in a bit more, you realize there's more to focus on when the lyrics and stories start to emerge.
2. CJ RUN — FORGET ME NOT / "AQUAFINA" / "RUNS WORLD"
Technically, what you are reading here is not an album — though, these amazing sets of songs makes CJ Run's 2017 an exciting one. This, especially with the knowledge there's more on the way in 2018, after such a strong 2016. CJ Run will be on a new level soon enough, as they have proven to be so strong out of the gate in their young career thus far. They stand up, and you'll miss it if you're not careful — so go check it out, and keep a close eye on what's next.
1. ZXO — LP1
Released just in time to enter this conversation — ZXO's debut LP1 stands as the most complete release our fair cities has seen all year. Leading man Ryan Brewer's sketches blossom into a full-on psych rock project — and through it, ZXO stands as perhaps the best band performing music in C-U at this point in time. Stretched out over eight tracks, the album's mixture of the four members makes a cohesive vision of Brewer's ideas realized into a zenned-out construction. Eyes opened or closed, LP1 makes it easier to see and hear what we've hoped for all along from the band.