BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2017

Albums of the year 2017 graphics

Yes, it’s that time of year again, lists, lists and well, more lists – and from every angle possible. That said, compiling an annual list of my favourite records from throughout the year is one of the most enjoyable aspects to the blog.

There was lots of great music in 2017 (as with every year) but here are my 20 favourite records from the year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2017:

20. Czarface – ‘First Weapon Drawn’

For album number four, Czarface (Esoteric, Inspectah Deck and 7L) teamed up with Marvel Comics to create a soundtrack to an actual hardcopy comic of the same name. The previous installments have featured rapping from Esoteric, Inspectah Deck and other guests, however, on this occasion it’s just the superbly evocative instrumentation, with narration tacked on throughout. In fact, 7L’s production is some of strongest found throughout all the releases. Not quite at the level of albums 1 – 3, it provides an excellent little stop gap while we await a new album proper.

[Stream on Spotify]

19. Nouveaunoise – ‘Nouveaunoise’

Galway duo Nouveaunoise – Conor Gaffney & Niall Conway – had earned themselves a rep for finely crafted electronic productions, intricately weaving crackling samples, jazz-sampling percussion and warm melodies and crisp beats a la Four Tet or Boards of Canada. The pair released their debut back in 2010 and their self-titled follow-up sees them continue to shine when it comes to elegant, lush and intricately produced pristine electronica. Eight years is a long time but it was worth the wait!

[Stream on Spotify]

18. The Courtneys – ‘The Courtneys II’

With their 2013 debut, The Courtneys peddled lo-fi fuzzy slacker garage-pop with the ’90s casting a pretty long shadow and for the follow-up, the Vancouver trio have repeated the trick. Endearingly ramshackle, the dreamy vocals and laid-back sunkissed vibes are pumped with fuzzed-up distorted guitars, sweet licks and heavy, driving bass lines. Rarely has ramshackle indie been so appealing and so pretty damn irresistible. This is the sound of long, hot summers.

[Stream on Spotify]

17. Girlpool – ‘Powerplant’

Girlpool’s sound gets bigger on their second LP, beefed up with addition of a drummer crafting that classic alt-rock loud-quiet-loudness throughout but Girlpool know where their true power lies: Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s voices still sit front and centre. The unsettling magic that exists between makes them Girlpool distinct, lending their patented fragility and vulnerability. Powerplant is sparse and explores the energy and shape of contrariety and emptiness.

[Stream on Spotify]

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Kevin McWha Steele – ‘Front Page News’

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Based in New York City, songwriter, poet and musician Kevin McWha Steele brilliantly versatile modern singer/songwriter, whose got a way with brewing extremely well-crafted and catchy songs

Heavy on the retro-rock vibe ‘Front Page News’ is the first single lifted from forthcoming album The Nightly Howl (#2 album in three album series The Ariel Trilogy). Taking its influence from late-’60s/early-’70s stalwarts, ‘Front Page News’ bears comparison with stellar names from those eras – The Kinks, Small Faces, T. Rex and Faces; not bad company at all. Fitted with sweet licks, addicting riffs, ballsy swagger and a stomping beat and groove, this is a sumptuous slice of retro rock ‘n roll cool. The confidence and ambition of both the arrangement and song, makes for an irresistible three-minutes of stellar songwriting and rock and roll.

You can listen to ‘Front Page News’ below now:

Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #26

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A regular slot on blog, a relatively short weekly Spotify playlist featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears over the course of past seven days.

Clocking in at just over an hour, it’s an easily digestible slice of new music, just in time for the weekend. There’s a nice mix of genres and styles too, allowing me to share even more crackin’ tunes. Well, without further ado, here’s #26 – Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist. Get stuck into the tunes & enjoy the weekend! You can follow me on Spotify here.

Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #25

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A regular slot on blog, a relatively short weekly Spotify playlist featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears over the course of past seven days.

Clocking in at just over an hour, it’s an easily digestible slice of new music, just in time for the weekend. There’s a nice mix of genres and styles too, allowing me to share even more crackin’ tunes. Well, without further ado, here’s #25 – Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist. Get stuck into the tunes & enjoy the weekend! You can follow me on Spotify here.

Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #19

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A new regular feature to blog, a relatively short weekly Spotify playlist featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears over the course of past seven days.

Clocking in at just over an hour, it’s an easily digestible slice of new music, just in time for the weekend. There’s a nice mix of genres and styles too, allowing me to share even more crackin’ tunes. Well, without further ado, here’s #19 – Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist. Enjoy the tunes & enjoy the weekend!

You can follow me on Spotify here.