2017 best albums: The rest of the top 40

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

Here are the rest of the top 40 albums of 2017 listed in alphabetical order by artist.

Click here to see this year’s top 10.

John Andrews & the Yawns

Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

Mac Blackout Band – Burning Alive

Blanck Mass – World Eater

The Courtneys – The Courtneys II

EMA – Exile in the Outer Ring

The Feelies – In Between

Fresh & Onlys – Wolf Lie Down

Kendrick Lamar – Damn

Land of Talk – Life After Youth

LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

The National – Sleep Well Beast

Oh Sees – Orc

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Echo of Pleasure

Pile – A Hairshirt of Purpose

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

Rays – Rays

Run the Jewels – RTJ3

Ty Segall – Ty Segall

Sheer Mag – Compilation

Splashh – Waiting a Lifetime

Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

Colin Stetson – All This I do for Glory

Torres – Three Futures

Uniform – Wake in Fright

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference

Woods – Love is Love

The xx – I See You

Riot Fest is a music geek’s dream

Riot Fest announced its Chicago lineup this week and it’s a fantastic mix of old and new (though it skews toward older bands). At the top of the bill for the three-day event in September: The Cure, Jane’s Addiction, the National, Rise Against, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Social Distortion, Slayer, the Offspring and Wu-Tang Clan.

But a festival falls apart pretty easily if the earlier shows are duds. That’s not the case here. Punk pioneers like the Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers are playing the middle of the lineup. The schedule includes ’80s and  ’90s stalwarts like Descendents and Mudhoney, legends such as Patti Smith, Paul Weller and Thurston Moore, Chicago’s very own Naked Raygun and the great Superchunk. Even forgotten bands like Hot Snakes makes an appearance. It’s a music geek’s dream. The history of punk and indie music is acted out live over three days.

Some of the best current indie artists are performing as well, including the National, Kurt Vile and Wavves. A couple of members of Pussy Riot will play as well. The fest is September 12-14 at Humboldt Park. There are also a few more bands that haven’t been announced yet.

An ATYP list roundup

The 2013 lists are done here at ATYP. So here’s a rundown.

The No. 1 album of the past year is Arcade Fire’s Reflektor but I also loved SavagesSilence Yourself. See the full list here:

The best album by a Chicago band in 2013 was DisappearsEra. Read the post here.

Some of the year’s top reissues included the MicrophonesThe Glow Pt. 2 and the CoachwhipsHands on the Controls. See the list here.

And here are 10 more favorite albums from last year, including Fidlar’s debut.

Finally, here’s a little history:

In 2012, the ATYP’s album of the year was WoodsBend Beyond.

In 2011, the No. 1 album was GirlsFather, Son, Holy Ghost.

And, in 2010, the National’s High Violet was voted the year’s best release.

The best albums of 2013: The top 20

Arcade Fire made the best album of the year and Savages released the top debut I heard. Mikal Cronin recorded pure pop joy, while the new Deerhunter album reminded me how lucky we are to have Bradford Cox churning out intriguing music. See the full list for the year’s top 10 albums below.

1. Arcade Fire – Reflektor. The latest from Arcade Fire is far more diverse and imaginative than the Grammy-winning album The Suburbs. Produced by James Murphy, Reflektor mixes disco, Caribbean, dub and other styles. There is more than a nod to the Clash’s Sandinista!

2. Savages – Silence Yourself. This is an aggressive debut from a U.K. female quartet that pays homage to earlier post-punk bands. Think of Siouxsie and the Banshees only tougher.

3. Mikal Cronin – MCII. Cronin makes great music, but he really over achieved on this hook-laden record. Irresistible pop from Ty Segall’s collaborator.

4. Deerhunter – Monomania. Even by Deerhunter standards, this album is pretty edgy and raw. It’s one of the more overlooked albums this year.

5. The National – Trouble Will Find Me. The latest from the National doesn’t hit you in the face. But the depth of the songs will pay off after repeated listens.

6. Bill Callahan – Dream River. Callahan more often resembles a poet than a singer, speaking through his songs in his deep, impassive voice.

7. Kurt Vile –  Walkin on a Pretty Daze. As meditative as this album sounds at points, Vile lays down some serious guitar licks. An original musician with a distinctive sound, he sometimes reminds me of mid-70s Neil Young.

8. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt. This is a personal-sounding album from Katie Crutchfield, who performs as Waxahatchee. The songs and music are reminiscent of the very best parts of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville.

9. The Men – New Moon. While New Moon explores a hodgepodge of styles, the new love for country rock stands out. Maybe because the album was recorded in a cabin?

10. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin. Some day, I expect Thee Oh Sees will make the No. 1 album of the year (at least on my list). Frenetic, infectious rock ‘n’ roll. Sheer enjoyment.

Rounding out the top 20:

11. Superchunk – I Hate Music. Elder indie rock statesmen make a record to keep your head nodding and feet moving. A strong offering from a band who has been going for almost a quarter century.

12. Foxygen –  We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. This has to be one of the most fun albums of the year from guys who take a real tongue-in-cheek approach to ’60s and ’70s musical genres.

13. Cass McCombs – Big Wheel and Others. Here is an excellent collection of songs from a great singer-songwriter. If you pare it down to the very best tracks, this would be a top 10 album.

14. Polvo – Siberia. What a great comeback for these ’90s noise warriors. Essentially, they stick to the same formula but it sounds fresh today.

15. Ty Segall / Fuzz –  Sleeper / Fuzz. We again see the two sides of the prolific Bay-area rocker. With its slow to mid-tempo acoustic and electric numbers, Sleeper is similar to Segall’s 2011 release Goodbye Bread, while his new band Fuzz pays tribute to stoner rock from four decades ago.

16. King Khan & the Shrines – Idle No More. If you listen to just the upbeat, soulful music, you’ve got a great dance party. Underneath, Khan wants to make a statement about the wretched world we live in after battling his personal demons.

17. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork. I really didn’t think Josh Homme had another good album in him (at least not as Queens), but Like Clockwork is a rollicking good time.

18. The Love Language – Ruby Red. Listening to the full sound of Ruby Red, you wouldn’t know the Love Language originally started as a guy making bedroom recordings. Stuart McLamb created a powerful pop album that’s also a blast.

19. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II. The second album from Unknown Mortal Orchestra is quirky, funky and sometimes breezy like its predecessor but I like the songs better on this one.

20. Wavves – Afraid of Heights. The latest album from Nathan Williams doesn’t stray far from King of the Beach (2011). Afraid of Heights is tighter and rocks harder.

Honorable mention. Here are some other albums you should check out: Majical Cloudz, Impersonator; Swearin’, Surfing Strange; Crocodiles, Crimes of Passion; Iceage, You’re Nothing; Oneohtrix Point Never, R Plus Seven; No Age, An Object; Yo La Tengo, Fade; Fidlar, Fidlar; Suuns, Images Du Futur; and Charles Bradley, Victim of Love.

Albums of 2013: Mikal Cronin, Deerhunter, the National helped year get off to good start

In July, I did my midterm report on best albums released as of that point. Here are the 10 albums I liked as of the middle of the year (alphabetically from my July 17 post):

Mikal CroninMCII: This is great power pop from Ty Segall’s buddy.

DeerhunterMonomania: Bradford Cox teased this album before its release by calling it a “mystery disc of nocturnal garage.” Cox is one of the most interesting musicians out there today.

FoxygenWe Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic: First of all, I’m a sucker for bands who can work a clever foxy reference into their band names. These guys bring a light-hearted approach to ’60s and early ’70s music worship.

The MenNew Moon: The rockers go a little more country than their last album. But this is a record full of multiple genres, punk, classic rock, post punk and more. This has to be one of the most under appreciated albums of ’13.

The NationalTrouble Will Find Me: I’ll be honest. As much as I love the National, I had to warm up to this one. But patience pays off. This is good stuff and it’s potentially another classic from one of our national treasures.

SavagesSilence Yourself: It begins with a snippet from a John Cassavetes movie and then explodes into an old-school post-punk beast. As I said in a previous review, this is a brutally good album.

Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin. Do Thee Oh Sees make new albums or do they just record the same one over and over. I would argue that the band branched out a bit on its last two or three releases. Floating Coffin even includes a ballad. And who cares if each album is so freaking awesome?

Unknown Mortal OrchestraII: Like Mikal Cronin, the band didn’t spend a lot of time on a creative album name, but this is highly original music from a band you should get to know.

Kurt VileWalkin on a Pretty Day: Kurt Vile is Mr. Reliable as he always delivers great albums. As mellow as this one seems at points, it ranks among his best.

WaxahatcheeCerulean Salt: Katie Crutchfield, who performs as Waxahatchee, reminds me of the best parts of Liz Phair’s debut Exile in Guyville. That’s not to say she’s copying Phair, who flamed out quickly. This is great, honest music.