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My Favorite Albums Of 2017

It’s that time of the year again that I so look forward to…unveiling my favorite music of the year that has brought me sonic joy and helped get me through the present year with the sounds of incredible tunes in my ear holes.

This year’s list encompasses even more variety than years past with bands/artists completely outside of the Heavy or Metal realms of the musical spectrum.  The list is also internationally diverse and many of the acts are either unsigned or signed to very small labels.  Please help some of these fledgling bands by buying their records.  I will provide links to where this can be done.  Thanks.

The list is in no particular order.  So, let’s get into it…

Holy Monitor - Self Titled (Primitive Music Records/Blackspin Records) – Hailing from Athens, Greece; this band blew me away with their shimmery, upbeat, psychedelic record that found itself in heavy rotation on my stereo.  It’s got a really neat retro vibe with the shiny synth sounds and the songs are very catchy and memorable.  Very unique and really good stuff.

Mountains - Dust In The Glare (Self Released?) – Fantastic trio from London, England.  This is a timeless Heavy Rock record which incorporates hints of Stoner Rock, Grunge, and Blues.  David Jupp’s vocals are clean and superb, but he also belts it out when the tunes swell with heaviness.  Top notch musicianship and the production/recording quality is stellar.

Crooked Bangs - Crooked Bangs II (Nervous Intent Records) – Now this is what true Punk Rock sounds like.  Punk from the 80’s…not what was labeled as Punk in the 90’s and beyond.  This Austin, Texas trio blazes through track after track of controlled mayhem.  Bassist/vocalist Leda Ginestra switches between French and English in her wonderfully smoky voice for a killer dual language lyrical assault.  Crank this to 11 and freak the fuck out.

Kat Dahlia - Body & Soul/Sirens/Friday Night Majic (Epic) – Love love love this girl.  Kat didn’t release a full album this year, but instead had a handful of singles.  ‘B&S’ is a sultry/smooth/sexy number with Kat softly crooning over a soulful beat.  ‘Sirens’ is a trippy electro track with Kat’s versatile and unique vocal delivery.  And ‘Friday Night Majic’ is an all out dancey pop song.  Can’t wait for more output from this uber-talented hottie.  See more about Kat in my Gonzogeek post here -

Hela - Death May Die (Lay Bare Recordings) – From Elche, Spain comes an unbelievably epic listen from start to finish.  Mireia Porto’s beautiful voice soars over a doom-laden soundscape that crushes everything in its path.  Lumbering and heavy yet captivating and beautiful at the same time.  The stunning album cover art completes this fantastic package.    

Earth Drive - Stellar Drone (Raging Planet) – Another awesome offering from the Iberian Peninsula, this time from Montijo, Portugal.  ‘Stellar Drone’ is an apt album title for this slab of Cosmic Heavy Rock.  The bass tones on this album are so hefty, so watch out if the ‘lows’ on your EQ are set pretty high.  Melodic female vocals on a backdrop of heavy, spacey Rock to traverse the universe to.   

Sasquatch – Maneuvers (Mad Oak Records) – Los Angeles’ kings of Boogie Rock are back with a kick-ass record of all killer and no filler.  It’s just one head-bobbin anthem after another.  Packed with huge riffs and memorable hooks.  You can’t go wrong with Sasquatch. 

Lousy Riders – Orphans (PRC Music) – Can’t remember how I stumbled upon this awesome duo from Toronto, Canada; but I’m so glad I did.  A really fun record of Heavy Stoner Bluesy Rock.  Snow’s (guitar/vocals) voice is huge and amazing.  This girl has some serious pipes.  And Chris holds it down behind the kit with solid beats and groove.   

Puta Volcano - Harmony Of Spheres (iota5 Records) – More great stuff from Athens, Greece.  And yet another band on the list with a bad-ass girl on vocals.  Driving Atmospheric Desert Rock that will have you movin and groovin.

L.A. Witch - Self Titled (Suicide Squeeze Records) – The beautiful ladies of L.A. Witch bring us their debut full length record of hazy, dreamy, lo-fi Rock ‘N Roll.  Many of the songs are re-recordings from previous EP’s and Singles, but this time around the songs pack more oomph with the slightly heavier production value. 

Goatwhore - Vengeful Ascension (Metal Blade) – Louisiana’s masters of Blackened Death ‘N Roll return with yet another blistering album of ferocious Metal.  Jaw dropping speed, power, and precision with grooves that sink their talons in your soul. 

The Cold Stares - Head Bent (Small Stone) – Incredible Blues Rock from this massively talented duo.  Top notch musicianship, infectious melody, and catchy/memorable arrangements that stay with you.

Fazerdaze – Morningside (Flying Nun Records) – Cutie-pie Amelia Murray of Auckland, New Zealand’s debut is a wonderful collection of Shoegaze Dream Pop.  Her voice is soft and soothing and the songs are super catchy and fun.  Guaranteed to put anyone in a good mood.   

The Flying Eyes - Burning The Season (Ripple Music) – Heavy Psychedelic Rock from Baltimore, Maryland.  This is a magnificent record of epic proportions.  The band weaves a rich tapestry of sounds that takes the listener on a musical journey of peaks and valleys.

Lord Crow - Gods Among Men (Self Released?) – This Philadelphia trio cranks out pummeling gargantuan sounds that will bulldoze your mind.  Sludgy, Doomy, and heavy as fuck.  Immersed in the heaviness is a certain melodic sensibility and the gruff vocals have an interstellar-ish vibe to them. 

Lamina – Lilith (Raging Planet) – More badassery from Portugal…this one from Lisbon and another awesome female fronted outfit.  A great mix of Doom, Stoner Rock, and Psychedelia.  

Buffalode - Graze Anatomy (Self Released?) – Heavy Fuzzy Blues Rock duo from Lincoln, England brings a sense of humor to the table with song titles such as – “Stalagmight, Stalagmight Not”, “Dinocalypse Now”, and “Discorduroy”.  The record is unrelenting in its full throttle approach, which gives it an over-all maniacal quality.

Dagny – Ultraviolet/Wearing Nothing (Universal) – Glossy well-crafted Scandinavian Pop by this Norwegian cutie.  Dagny is just coming off of a very successful US Tour opening for Lany and one of her songs has been featured in a recent Target commercial.  She’s breakin big!  See more about Dagny here -

Othman Wahabi - Night Trippin Vol 2 (Saidari Records) – The opening licks of this EP sound like something the late great Jimi Hendrix would have written.  Canadian/Moroccan singer/song-writer/multi-instrumentalist/producer Othman Wahabi hits it out of the park with this handful of Soulful Bluesy songs.

The Regrettes - Feel Your Feelings Fool (Warner Bros.) – Wow!  For a band comprised of teen-agers, this is fuckin awesome.  Teen Riot Grrrl Punk crossed with vintage 50’s and 60’s girl-group vibes.  A really talented bunch of kids led by the pretty singer/guitarist/song-writer, Lydia Night.

K.I.D - Poster Child (Columbia) – Indie Pop duo from Mississauga, Canada.  Tight, super catchy, biting songs about sex, mental illness, and insomnia.

Bask - Ramble Beyond (Self Aware Records) – From Asheville, North Carolina comes an ambitious effort of sheer brilliance and beauty which pays off in huge audible dividends.  A classic American sound that blends heaviness, psychedelia, and progressive into a masterpiece of ebb and flow.

Cortez – The Depths Below (Salt Of The Earth Records) – I love that this band of White dudes from Boston is called Cortez.  So much variety on this epic album as the band straddles the line between Fuzz/Stoner Rock and Trad-Metal.  Soaring soulful vocals, huge melodies, and big choruses as the rest of the band pumps out thick rhythms that hit you in the sternum.

Mothership - High Strangeness (Ripple Music) – Super talented trio from Dallas, Texas fronted by the Juett brothers along with kick-ass drummer Judge Smith.  Hands down one of the greatest live bands ever.  Psychedelic Southern Stoner Rock of the highest order.  Really nice and humble dudes that are riding an awesome crest of success with lots of great tours nationally and internationally.

The Afghan Whigs - In Spades (Sub Pop Records) – Greg Dulli and company are back with a great record in 2017.  Driving mid-tempo Rock songs coexist with moody, slow, somber numbers to make an exciting and diverse album.  They put on an incredible show at The Heights Theater.  Read more about that here -

Bahamacide – Self Titled (Self Released?) – Kick-ass no frills Rock from this Austin, Texas power trio.  The vocals kinda remind me of Chris Goss at times.  Really fun, raucous party Rock for your next rager.  An interesting tid-bit about this band…a couple of the dudes met as ex-pat kids while in Saudi Arabia. 

Woodhawk – Beyond The Sun (Self Released?) – Anthemic Stoner Rock from Calgary, Alberta.  Another great power trio belting out fist pumping jams galore.  Heavy, melodic, and they even have a song about Star Wars for all the nerds in the house.

Borracho – Riffography (Ripple Music) – Man, 2017 just keeps on giving.  Washington DC’s riff merchant’s Borracho give us a stellar package of previously vinyl-only tracks comprised of singles, B-sides, and splits.  Cascading riffs, fat mid-tempo grooves, and catchy melodies.
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