As threatened in A Best of 2017 on The Moon here is the first of monthlyish Top tunes of 2018 presented via Playmoss and so playable via any old internet connected device. Although, this playlist could be called “2017 – the ones that got away”, as it consists entirely of tracks released in 2017. Some were released too late in the year to be considered for A best of 2017 and some I have only got to checking out this year. A few are ones that I had checked out on release, but was then inspired to give it another go by various best of year posts.
Below is the 15 track version and here it is on Spotify
, but it does not include the last track as it is not available. As with The Moon
yearly best of posts there is a bit of guff on each artist beneath the playlist.
1. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Beginner’s Luck
This is the opening track from their 5th album of 2017 which was released on 31 Dec. It’s is another surprise as it is 10 songs of no more than 5 minutes and is a bit 70s soft rock in sound. I think it is my second favourite album of the 5. The first and best featured in a Moon post
and a best of all 5 would be quite something and why they were The Moon artists of 2017
2. Neil Young, Promise of the Real – Already Great
Until recently, I may have been the only Uncut magazine subscriber to have not listened to a Neil Young album. I was aware he had written a load of great songs but I often preferred the cover versions as I am not a big fan of his voice. But when I heard this track it was an instant boat floater and with the Promise of the Real he has brought together a cracking new band. The rest of the album is also mostly great, apart from a couple of tracks which sound like they should be part of an overly right-on musical, but the likes of Change of Heart is classic Neil Young and then there are the ones that are surprisingly different with some great backing vocals, one of which is Carnival which has one of my fave lines of recent times:
“I do exempt too much time was spent, in the tent of the strange elephant of enlightenment.”
Now I am only possibly the only Uncut subscriber to have never listened to a Bob Dylan album..
3. Lars Finberg – Born Shopping
The first track of many on this list which was brought or re-brought to my attention by A Finest Kiss, mostly from their ever excellent best of albums and singles of the year posts. Lars Finberg is the main man of the Seattle band The Intelligence who have released 9 albums since 2000. For this solo LP released in December, he has teamed up with Ty Segall to record what A Finest Kiss describe as a “record that sounds like an Intelligence record” And it is very good indeed with this track an excellent duet with Lauren Mikus.
4. Faith Healer – I Try 😉
Faith Healer was the solo project of Jessica Jalbert, but for this second album it has become a duo with the addition of drummer/multi-instrumentalist Renny Wilson and they hail from Edmunton in The Land of Enlightenment to the north of Trumpyland. The album was released back in September but I only came across it via the A Finest Kiss albums of 2017 post and it is one of the best albums from 2017 that I did not hear till thisyear. It is varied and hard to pigeonhole album with great vocals. This title track is one of the more straight up tracks but just one of many highlights.
5. Baxter Dury – Porcelain
This is from my fave album from 2017 that I did not get into until this year. Baxter is the son of Ian and when I first heard his music back in 2002 it was quite different to his father’s and very 60s sounding, but on this album he sounds a more like his dad, or to be more precise rather like Damon Albarn trying to sound like his Dad. The result is a cracking LP with great if rather potty mouthed lyrics and great melodies. He is also aided and abetted by some excellent vocals from ex Pippett Rose Elinor Dougall. She sings the lead on this track and all the others are duets bar one.
6. The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY – My God Has a Telephone
This has belatedly become my 2017 debut single of the year thanks to the A Finest Kiss singles of the year post. Hopefully more is to follow this year that matches it or at least gets close.
7. James Elkington – Grief is not coming to you
This is a Chicago based chap from Brexshit Blighty who has previously worked with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson and Tortoise. This, his debut LP, was recorded in the Wilco Loft and this track is a good representative of the general acoustic sound and one of many highlights.
8. Mo Trooper – Dictator Out of Work
From an album that was featured in the November roundup from A Finest Kiss but it took a prompt from their yearly roundup for me to fully appreciate it. It is his second LP and he is from Portland, Oregon in Trumpyland. His voice is not quite my cup of tea, but it is a fine 15 track album of varied and ambitious tuneage which is well represented by this track.
9. Jack Cheshire – Join the Dots
More great non-folk music brought to my attention by FRUK. He is London based and this is his fourth LP. This track is one of the more instantly gettable and as a whole it impressive sounding modern rock n’ roll, but it could do with a few more hooks.
10. Star Tropics – All The Way to Heaven
This is from a trio from Chicago in Trumpyland, that I had checked out earlier on in 2017, but then went back to it thanks to the albums of 2017 post from A Finest Kiss. And as they pointed out in their post, this is not a band that will win any rewards for originality, but their debut album does have a number of top tunes and a classic C86 sound, though this highlight is one of a couple with a male lead vocal and is a welcome introduction to a more robust alt-80s sound.
11. Cape Snow – Morning Sun
More late 2017 non-folk brought to my attention by FRUK. This is from the second LP from this “trans-Atlantic collaboration between the London-based singer Bree Scanlon and members of the long-running New England based band Tiger Saw”. This track is a good representative of a fine and gorgeous sounding LP.
12. The Beginner’s Mynd – Don’t Lose Your Mind
The Beginner’s Mynd is a Danny McNab from Washington DC in Trumpyland. This is his debut LP but he has also released an EP and three singles since 2013. He was first brought to my attention by the Rocksucker Blog in 2013 and also featured in the singles of 2016 from A Finest Kiss. But I only got to know of the album thanks to a Spotify or Record Bird email. Like Star Tropics, it won’t win any awards for originality, but it is full of top psychedelic and Byrdsian top tuneage.
13. Katie Von Schleicher – Going Down
This is from the second LP from this Brooklyn, NY in Trumpyland singer. It was released back in July 2017 and was brought to my attention by God Is In The TV. It should have been on A best of 2017 on The Moon, but it is a bit of a slow burner and I only really fully got into it recently. This is the one instant boat-floater on the album, but the rest is very much worth persevering with.
14. Voyages – New Year’s Day
From the debut 5 track EP released in December from a band based in Bath in Brexshit Blighty. Also brought to my attention by God is in The TV. There is not a lot of info out there on them, but their sound is so fully formed I suspect that at least some members may have been in previous bands. The vocals are very early Beatles Lennonesque, but with a more later 60s sound and a touch of Brian Wilson. All five tracks are very good, if all of a similar pace. I hope that their debut LP maintains the quality but adds a bit more variation.
15. cua – The Other Man
An actual folk song via FRUK and one of the songs of 2017. cua are from The Land that will still be in the (relative) Union of Enlightenment but have a border with Brexshit Blighty. Although this track is like a classic from the folk tradition, their album is apparently very varied and influenced by American West coast rock to East European folk. I say apparently as the album is not on Spotify or Bandcamp, there is just a couple of other tracks on Ubend and their debut is EP on Bandcamp.