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GIITTV’s Top 50 Albums of 2017


After much debate, votes and input from our team we have compiled fifty of our favourite albums of 2017, by no means definitive, in truth we could have selected fifty more albums. Nevertheless this list is a snapshot of our diverse tastes and some of the cream of the brilliantly bold music we have enjoyed in the last twelve months!

50.  We Three And The Death Rattle – Entrances and Exits
Anyone in search of one of the greatest modern songwriters needs to look no further than guitarist Jon Bennett, who composed all of the tracks here and deserves the ultimate respect, for this is an album you’ll want to listen to all the way through every time you spin it. (Loz Etheridge)

49.  Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
Demi Lovato is a queen when it comes to pop music, as shown on Tell Me You Love Me.  Demi is always unashamedly herself whatever she does, and it’s that – mixed with a lot of fun and a little cheek every now and again – what makes this album so good. (Toni Spencer)

48.  LIFE – Popular Music
Comprised of 11 tracks and clocking in at less than half an hour, Popular Music is a frenzied workout (the only reprieve coming in the shape of ‘Beautifully Skint’, which is reminiscent of the fabulous Adorable), and boy will it make you feel good about yourself afterwards.  Throw yourselves in as deep as possible and help LIFE change the world. (Loz Etheridge)

47.  Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
The title track from this, their debut album, is a far cry from the politically-charged anthems on 2014’s Bodies and Control and Money and Power EP.  It’s a slow, charming tune about being depressed and frustrated.  And with a far-right US President in office in their hometown, their only becoming more relevant.  (Madeleine Jones)

46.  Nordic Giants – Amplify Human Vibration
For once, a record where slipping in the adjective ‘cinematic’ is fully merited.  Amplify Human Vibration is a stupendous record and really cannot be described any other way.  Utterly beautiful, expansive, foreboding, and deeply impressive.  (Vosne Malconsorts)

45.  Gnod – Just Say No To The Psycho Right Wing Capitalist Death Machine
Based in Salford, Greater Manchester, Gnod have established themselves over the last decade as a force to be reckoned with.  Incorporating krautrock, noise, punk, and other influences; their rotating line-up consistently makes for a breath of fresh air. (Madeleine Jones)

44.  Baxter Dury – Prince of Tears
Baxter Dury’s fifth album is his best – and one of the year’s best too – for a number of reasons.  The initial impetus came from a breakup, but it also dips into politics, and childhood nostalgia to become a truly rounded lyrical affair.  But it sounds relaxed and irresistibly groovy, real luxury-end DIY, and is beautifully orchestrated while never going over the top. (Ben Willmott)

43.  Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface
The vocal experimenting, layering of melodies, depth of compositions and dimensional approach to recording (whatever that is, Catherine Marks and John Congleton both worked behind the scenes so it was always to be a ‘sonic’ album) throughout ABMTTS should propel them to National type adoration.  (Madeleine Jones)

42.  Sevdaliza – Hubris
The debut album from Sevdaliza portrays the vulnerability and fragility of being human.  Its constantly mesmerising production is full of glitches, disorientated beats and a mysteriously alluring voice that occasionally gets stuck like an old CD player to demonstrate the ease at which our species malfunction and succumb to faultiness.  (Matt Hobbs)

41.  Deerhoof – Mountain Moves
Deerhoof are – understandably – concerned about the state of the world as it is in 2017.  But they’re encouraging us not to go down without a fight.  For an album born out of such anger, this is not a hard listen not a depressing experience.  It’s like walking to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in terms of listenable treats.  (Ed Jupp)

40.  KOYO – KOYO
Every once in a while something gets passed in your direction that changes the course of everything.  This debut album from KOYO is that something.  As anyone’s album anywhere in their career, this would be special but as a debut, it’s pretty mindblowing.  So far, they have built their young career on their live power.  (Helen Angell)

39.  Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra – Jordan Ireland With The Purple Orchestra
The album is a musical fever dream; nine hazy, gossamer-delicate songs seemingly made as the soundtrack to one of Watteau’s Fetes galantes or some other kind of imagery – or, in this case hallucinatory, Sylvan idyll.  The music sounds like some extended pastoral jam session. (Tim Russell)

38.  Nadia Reid – Preservation
Preservation sees the New Zealand singer-songwriter looking ahead to a much brighter future.  The songs may still be tinged by a certain sadness but they find Reid emboldened by the passage of time and the creation of a far greater emotional distance from her past.  The end result is one of stark, spectral beauty.  (Simon Godley)

37.  Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
El-P and Killer Mike return for the third unmissable instalment of Run The Jewels.  Trump, police brutality, yawning inequality, and America’s descent into darkness are all topics that they take on with visceral lustre.  Each one is laced with wit, brutal lines, a range of guests, and futuristic beats.  (Bill Cummings)

36.  Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints
Siobhan Wilson produces the kind of heart-on-sleeve stuff that will see her performing on successively larger stages over the next few years.  Songs like ‘Disaster and Grace’ offer simmering hymnals to both the former and the latter, attempting a discourse at what might be found at the intersection of the two.  (Matthew Neale)

35.  The Jesus and Mary Chain – Damage and Joy
Of the recent returns, perhaps the first album in nearly 20 years from The Jesus and Mary Chain is the most unlikely, but also the most redemptive.  Damage and Joy balances spiky reaffirmations of The Jesus and Mary Chain manifesto alongside bittersweet tracks garnished with guest vocalist; a welcome return.  (Bill Cummings)

34.  Andrew Combs – Canyons of my Mind
This strange individual dichotomy is surely the catalyst for what is his most powerful collection of songs yet.  These are songs imbued with maturity, integrity, and huge responsibility, yet also remain riddled with apprehension for an uncertain future and a burning desire to see far greater social improvements.  (Simon Godley)

33.  Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
Once again, we laugh, we cry, our hearts warmed, and our minds transported, sometimes to a better world, and other times to places altogether bleaker.  Regardless of which destination we arrive at, The Nashville Sound is the work of a classic artist in one of the most prolonged purple patches in any musicians career.  (Loz Etheridge)

32.  Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
Goldfrapp conjure up a dream-like quality that links these songs and makes Silver Eye a very well-rounded listen.  Beautifully chilled lullabies dominate the rest of the album.  The way that Alison and Will slowly build the songs, using hushed velvety tones and adding subtle layers, is one of the things that makes their partnership special.  (Jonathan Wright)

31.  The LaFontaines – Common Problem
Common Problem is a real mixed bag of sounds and influences, with every track in contrast to its predecessor.  The LaFontaines are still very much a rock band, but there’s more of an electronic twist to things with this album.  It’s a small shock to the system initially, though I suspect that was the point  (Toni Spencer)

30.  Forest Swords – Compassion
In a year when it seemed as if compassion was often lacking, the second album by producer Matthew Barnes  – better known as Forest Swords – went on a mission to search for kindness and empathy.  Through it all, Compassion barely speaks a single word, yet manages to say volumes about the human condition.  Cinematic and atmospheric, it breaks down borders when the world seems intent on building them.  (Eugenie Johnson)

29.  Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
Gang Signs & Prayer is truly an apt name, and it seems to work better than when Prince used to tell his audience that “God loves all of us.”  It seems genuine and thankful, rather than preachy.  He may only be 23, but there’s vision within here that hints at further greatness.  (Ed Jupp)

28.  Sløtface – Try Not To Freak Out
That Sløtface exist should be enough for us all; we need energetic shouty young people to form bands, create catchy riffs, and remind us all that we were all young once.  Try Not Freak Out is no masterpiece but it’s their masterpiece, and quite frankly, that should be enough.  (Dean Mason)

27.  Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps
Teaming up with Mike Mogis, Bridgers has crafted one of the most emotive, affecting, and well-realised albums of 2017.  This is songwriting with a real personal, poetic, and heartfelt touch.  Phoebe’s crumpled tone and cutting poetic couplets have the ability to stop you in your tracks.  (Bill Cummings)

26.  Meursault – I Will Kill Again
There is no justice in this world (frequent perusal of the media will confirm this) but Meursault have made their most accessible album yet, without compromising what made them so special in the first place.  It would be great to think that not only will this make End Of Year lists, but take them to the next level commercially.  (Ed Jupp)

25.  Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination
Whilst the deepening refugee crisis and the highly chequered global response to this may be the catalyst to Holiday Destination‘s creation, Shah’s principal message is that of seeking to humanise all that dehumanises.  Through the vehicle of her words and music, she seeks to develop empathy and increase a greater understanding of difference.  (Simon Godley)

24.  Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
She crafts evocative soundscapes with subtle beats and deft-handed use of layered synths and samples, each one contains an intriguing sense of space, like small caverns being carved into your subconsciousness and your soul; modern, innovative, and bold.  (Bill Cummings)

23.  Taylor Swift – Reputation
Each of her albums since the release of Red has seen Swift reinvent herself as the mightiest of might pop queens, and Reputation is no exception.  Highly anticipated, she saw off some of her harshest critics as she released a flurry of hit records and creative videos, including one that saw her take several shots at herself.  (Toni Spencer)

22.  Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life
Following up 2015’s debut My Love Is Cool was always going to be a tall order, and perhaps I wasn’t the only one to fear that Curse of the Second Album.  But Wolf Alice were just getting started.  Bolder, braver, and wonderfully chaotic (in a good way), Visions… is a true delight.  (Toni Spencer)

21.  Thundercat – Drunk
It’s because of the maniacal shifts in tone, its massive melting pot of sounds and Thundercat’s (hysterical (sometimes in more ways than one) yet honest ramblings that Drunk will probably go down as his magnum opus.  It’s an intoxicating ‘Rabbot Ho’ you’ll want to keep diving down again and again.  (Eugenie Johnson)

20.  Bjork – Utopia
Utopia is an album where Bjork tries to regain the simple idea of being in love – described as a type of Utopia in an interview.  She comments on music nerds who fall in love due to similar music tastes and the shallow nature of Tinder screen-swiping.  (Matt Hobbs)

19.  Craig Finn – We All Want The Same Things
Finn’s solo career seems to be following a similar path as his exquisite band, The Hold Steady.  There is a whole sweetshop full of lyrical candy from which to choose, there being no better wordsmith alive right now.  The guy has lost none of his musical mojo and long may he hold us under his spell.  (Loz Etheridge)

18.  The Cactus Blossoms – You’re Dreaming
With its gorgeous harmonies beautiful country melodies, simple arrangements, gentle reverb, and a crisp JD McPherson production, the debut offering from Minneapolis sibling duo of Jack Torrey and Page Burkum will carry you back into the early ’60s and a far more innocent age.  Despite its nostalgic air, You’re Dreaming still sounds refreshingly new.  (Simon Godley)

17.  Arcade Fire – Everything Now
Everything Now demonstrates the band’s recent chapter into the grooves of dance-rock and embrace of eclecticism.  The choral baroque-pop of their beginnings may be long gone, but the character of Arcade Fire: ambition, epic power, and an empathetic consideration for society are still present.  (Matt Hobbs)

16.  OMD – The Punishment of Luxury
It’s the first album since 1981’s multi-million selling Architecture and Morality on which they’ve succeeded in perfectly balancing the creative tension between their experimental leanings and their ear for a pop tune to create a cohesive whole.  Really, it’s fantastic.  (Tim Russell)

15.  Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent
While they remain a band as much indebted to the thrashing melodic bitterness of At The Drive-In as they are to the flailing indie rock perfection of Guided by Voices, the righteous, seasick badassery of frontman Joe Casey ensures Protomartyr are still unpredictable and head-spinning.  (Laura Prior)

14.  Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith
From beginning to end The Water of Leith is an absolute aural delight.  Merging the primary elements of folk and jazz, Ross Wilson then welds this fusion to the identity of his home country, thus creating what is a most distinctive Scottish sound.  This is achieved, in part, with a little help from some of his friends and fellow countrymen and women.  (Simon Godley)

13.  Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator
A concept album of sorts, following the exploits of a street kid called Navita, whose journey takes her deeper and deeper into her heritage.  She becomes increasingly angered and, consequently, empowered by the knowledge of the sickening oppression her foremothers fought so fiercely against.  (Loz Etheridge)

12.  Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
The album continues the band’s praise-worthy wordplay, powerful commentary, and quirky mix of modern terminology meets erudite phrases.  It’s an end of the summer album alternative for intellectuals who prefer to sit and think about all aspects of contemporary life rather than dance mindlessly to same old songs about love on a party yacht.  (Matt Hobbs)

11.  EMA – Exile In The Outer Ring
Her latest release Exile In The Outer Ring has done little to dispel the notion that she is rare talent whose light is well and truly hidden under a mountain of bushels.  Engrossing, mesmeric, and absorbing, EMA should by now be one of the brightest stars on the planet.  (Dean Mason)

10.  Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
An album that sees the new Mogwai embrace the old to quite stunning effect.  Rather like New Order‘s landmark  Low-Life, it’s the sound of a band who’ve had a foot in both camps effortlessly blending the organic with the electronic to create pure magic, and it’s far and away their finest album yet.  (Tim Russell)

9.  All Time Low – Last Young Renegade
Last Young Renegade is a classic All Time Low album with their ever-enthusiastic energy, infectious guitar licks, and catchy choruses; where it differs from the previous, though, is their use of heavier electronic tones on quite a few of the tracks, and a much more personal approach, giving it an overall maturer sound.  (Clare Ballott)

8.  Out Lines – Conflats
Out Lines is a collaborative project between the acclaimed Scottish songwriter Kathryn Joseph, James Graham, of The Twilight Sad, and Marcus Mackay, each one brings different talents to this gorgeously bruised long player, replete with tender instrumentation and vocal interplay.  The album’s lead track ‘Buried Guns’ highlights each of their individual skills.  (Bill Cummings)

7.  Counterfeit – Together We Are Stronger
If ever there was an album more vital for the times we live in now, this would be the one.  This isn’t anger for the sake of being angry, this is frustration at the injustices of the world we know right now; this is the beginning of the fight back to restore things to how they should be, but we, they, whoever can only do it if we’re in it together.  (Toni Spencer)

6.  Desperate Journalist – Grow Up
Maybe it’s just the rare sensation of having all my sad old ’80s indie fan buttons pushed at the same time, but as the Gothtastic ‘Hollow’ storms out of the traps, sounding like no less a landmark than The Cure‘s ‘A Hundred Years’, to be followed by 10 more songs of equal brilliance, I feel like I did when I heard Doolittle, Bummed, or Isn’t Anything for the first time – in the presence of genuine, tangible, indisputable greatness.  (Tim Russell)

5.  Perfume Genius – No Shape
Hadreas’ strength as a performer is the ability to draw you into his world.  As a lyricist, he expresses his emotions clearly, yet his music is rich and full of mystery.  This album is another leap forward, only this time around he hasn’t just outdone himself, he’s outdone everyone else.  (Jonathan Wright)

4.  LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
Many albums reveal more with successive listens.  It has to be said that this album may not quite reach the heights of the first two, though those are pretty big landmarks in any music fan’s book.  It’s a successful comeback album – and hopefully will see Murphy stretch himself further on future albums.  (Ed Jupp)

3.  The Moonlandingz – Interplanetary Class Classics
Initially masquerading as a ‘fictional’ entity, on their debut, they proved that they are as real a band as you could ever wish for.  The delightfully varied Interplanetary Class Classics is both gloriously trashy and intelligently crafted pop nirvana.  Staggeringly good from start to finish.  (Loz Etheridge)

2.  Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet
This revealing and heartwarming record finds Zauner mastering her craft through the therapeutic experience of making music.  The more time you spend with these songs, the more you want to see life through her eyes, even in the hardest of times.  (Jonathan Wright)

1.  IDLES – Brutalism
Once in a while, a band completely reaffirms one’s love of music by making the point of making music earnest and worthwhile.  IDLES did just that with Brutalism.  IDLES do not take themselves seriously, yet their message is still one of anger, hope, and passion for change.  (Ioan Humphreys)

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