Andrew Stewart Poop 2017

BEST: 2017

Buy Khalid / American Teen New or Used via Amazon
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1. Khalid / American Teen: 2017 was all about finding ways to enjoy the moment, and this year no other album so consistently delivered a feeling of joy. From the purely soulful vocals, to the spare and simple production, to the timeless and uncomplicated emotions about which he sang, this year we just needed more of Khalid – and less of everything else. (playlist: “Shot Down”)

Buy Rostam / Half-Light New or Used via Amazon
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2. Rostam / Half-Light: Stepping out from behind the mixing board, this former Vampire Weekender presents a beautifully sophisticated solo debut. Here it’s the production that really stands out, every song lovingly polished and bejeweled, for maximum enjoyment. (playlist: “Half-Light”)

Buy Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile / Lotta Sea Lice New or Used via Amazon
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3. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile / Lotta Sea Lice: This feels like it might be a gimmick, until you hear them play. Great songs, patiently developed, simpatico. Their styles mesh perfectly, their languorous sounds layered and latticed into more than the sum of their parts. (playlist: “Over Everything”)

Buy Spoon / Hot Thoughts New or Used via Amazon
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4. Spoon / Hot Thoughts: Though this one didn’t completely convince until the double-header live shows at Brooklyn Steel and The Chance, this quantum leap forward now makes perfect sense. All-in on the synths, and they’re spitting fire. An all-time favorite band. (playlist: “Can I Sit Next To You”)

Buy Kevin Morby / City Music New or Used via Amazon
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5. Kevin Morby / City Music: Ridiculously, this guy hits a home run every time he’s up to bat. Here he’s definitely having fun, but he remains a determinedly serious songwriter. With magnetic lyrics full of remember-me moments and vocals that evoke icons, he’s the real deal. (playlist: “City Music”)

Buy (Sandy) Alex G / Rocket New or Used via Amazon
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6. (Sandy) Alex G / Rocket: A reasonable contender for LP of the year but for some mid-album missteps, this one is bursting with amazing moments, conflating country-folk and a twisted music-box psychedelia. Young, sharp, and most definitely walking his own weird path. (playlist: “Sportstar”)

Buy Fred Thomas / Changer New or Used via Amazon
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7. Fred Thomas / Changer: Side-alley hyper-literate punk rock, this time with a warmer, fuller sound. These razor-sharp stream-of-consciousness narratives finally get the rich, layered production they deserve, and the songs just jump out of the speakers. A total pro. (playlist: “Brickwall”)

Buy Bleachers / Gone Now New or Used via Amazon
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8. Bleachers / Gone Now: Oh, how we wanted to loathe this. Jack Antonoff’s got his hands in every cookie jar in town, writing for Lorde and St. Vincent, among others. Problem is, this album is insanely great. Takes time to crack, but with so many great songs, he can’t lose. (playlist: “Everybody Lost Somebody”)

Buy Ty Segall / Ty Segall New or Used via Amazon
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9. Ty Segall / Ty Segall: Showing no signs of slowing down, he’s still surfing the wave of maximum possible productivity. As he did on the magnificent Manipulator, here he dials it back a hair, leaving room for his songwriting to shine through – and it sounds as classic as ever. (playlist: “Papers”)

Buy Moses Sumney / Aromanticism New or Used via Amazon
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10. Moses Sumney / Aromanticism: Over the past few years, his singles have floated up here and there like thought bubbles, always fascinating but somehow obscure. Finally, here’s a suite of songs that tell the story: soaring, magnificent future-soul ballads, sung by a fallen angel. (playlist: “Quarrel”)

11. Kendrick Lamar / DAMN.: Trading respect and even awe for flat-out superstardom has got to feel good, and it looks good on Kendrick, who’s doing just fine as the newly-anointed king. (playlist: “Humble”)
12. Hurray For The Riff Raff / The Navigator: High-concept, like something Aimee Mann would do; but musically it’s a rich folk sound, shot through with punk and Latin influences. (playlist: “Hungry Ghost”)
13. Future Islands / The Far Field: The basic formula stays: 80’s-influenced synth ballads, murmured; but the sadness here just oozes through, and it’s affecting. Debbie Harry is a nice touch. (playlist: “Shadows”)
14. Sheer Mag / Need To Feel Your Love: Lo-fi Philly crew has perfected their tongue-in-cheek pop-punk ripoff, and taken it to another level. Raw, real, and seriously amazing. (playlist: “Expect The Bayonet”)
15. Waxahatchee / Out In The Storm: Her lyrics have always woven strength and vulnerability together in complex fashion, and here she finds the right sound to complement her words. (playlist: “Brass Beam”)
16. Lorde / Melodrama: Though it’s the same sound and setup as last time – spare, synthesized club-pop songs – she’s now cutting more sharply to the bone of the thing: love, and losing it. (playlist: “Liability”)
17. Big Thief / Capacity: They’re hauntingly beautiful songs, but the magic here is in the lead singer’s voice, which bristles with texture and vivacity the more quietly she sings. Magical. (playlist: “Objects”)
18. New Pornographers / Whiteout Conditions: Seriously, is there any other band that so consistently delivers satisfaction with each new album? Electric, alive and stunningly good. (playlist: “Colosseums”)
19. Sorority Noise / You’re Not As _____ As You Think: This Hartford, CT band commits entirely to the task at hand with a great set of emo-punk songs about hope and hopelessness. (playlist: “A Better Sun”)
20. St. Vincent / MASSEDUCTION: She induces both fascination and revulsion with her transparent desire to Make Art; and yet her talent is so goddamn magnificent, she cannot be denied. (playlist: “New York”)

21. Hiss Golden Messenger / Hallelujah Anyhow: More throwback country-soul tunes that just make you feel good. A nice addition to an already-solid back catalog. (playlist: “When The Wall Comes Down”)
22. Mac DeMarco / This Old Dog: Ol’ Mac sojourns from Rockaway to LA and, instead of going glam, he gets quiet. A wonderfully restrained and gently soulful album. (playlist: “Moonlight On The River”)
23. The xx / I See You: This quiet, luscious album is full of look-up-from-your-book moments of beauty, the dual vocalists pushing one another to new heights above the sinewy grooves. (playlist: “I Dare You”)
24. Jay Som / Everybody Works: Surprisingly layered guitar-driven indie rock album with plenty of vulnerability, and a playful side that really makes it special. (playlist: “One More Time, Please”)
25. Sinkane / Life & Livin’ It: Running with the William Onyeabor baton, Sinkane delivers propulsive songs influenced by West African rock and American blues-soul, beautifully produced. (playlist: “U’Huh”)

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy / Best Troubador: Will Oldham covering Merle Haggard is a can’t-miss
Blitzen Trapper / Wild and Reckless: like a too-fast drive through the desert at dusk, it’s thrilling and tense
Benjamin Booker / Witness: amazing blues-rock talent needs a more organic production sound
Amber Coffman / City of No Reply: less obsessed with the breakup than he is, she’s sad but cool
Andrew Combs / Canyons of My Mind: Nashville meets Nilsson, orchestral and seriously great
Deer Tick / Vol. 1 & Vol. 2: acoustic and electric are separate but equal on these gritty country–rock LP’s
Girlpool / Powerplant: slightly derivative, explosive punk-rock songs, with heart
Dirty Projectors / Dirty Projectors: almost list-worthy – but so gloomy and preoccupied, it gets heavy
Father John Misty / Pure Comedy: no extreme response here – it’s simply good, with moments of greatness
Hand Habits / Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void): a nice house concert, great people, and a solid album
Curtis Harding / Face Your Fear: compared to Leon Bridges, this is a danker, filthier retro-blues-soul sound
Kamaiyah / Before I Wake: somehow this force-of-nature rapper hasn’t blown up yet, but – just you wait
Kehlani / SweetSexySavage: she’s a natural hitmaker, sexy and vulnerable with a slick, poppy R&B sound
JD McPherson / Undivided Heart and Soul: this lo-fi bluesman has a way with the horns, and a phrase
Lil’ Yachty / Teenage Emotions: Yachty’s hit the big time, still weird and now more relaxed than ever
Mister Heavenly / Boxing the Moonlight: Nick Thorburn’s a machine, cranking out great albums yearly
John Moreland / Big Bad Luv: straight-ahead classic country out of Tulsa, this guy can really tell a story
Mura Masa / Mura Masa: young British DJ (and guests) spin magic beats on this album of fine electro-pop
Open Mike Eagle / Brick Body Kids Still Daydream: laid-back rap songs with a nice old-school feel
Paramore / After Laughter: blending contemporary pop tropes with an ‘80’s sound works out just fine
Real Estate / In Mind: sunny psych-gazers are a bit more determined to get where they’re going than before
Sampha / Process: very cool set of modern soul songs from this Brit is wanting just a bit more focus
Songhoy Blues / Résistance: Malian blues-rock, knife-edged and groovy – and featuring Iggy Pop!?
Leeroy Stagger / Love Vs.: modern country-folkster out of Alberta does a pleasing pop thing, too
Strand of Oaks / Hard Love: weird and almost great, this sounds like U2, The Cult and Pink Floyd at times
SZA / Ctrl: ridiculously overrated and on every year-end list, this is really good – but not groundbreaking
The Cairo Gang / Untouchable: a coulda-been top-ten album, great rock songs undone by muddy sound
The Mountain Goats / Goths: John Darnielle, yadda yadda: you either love him, or you’re dumb
The War on Drugs / A Deeper Understanding: after not drinking the Kool-Aid, I kept falling asleep to this
The World is a Beautiful Place… / Always Foreign: straight-ahead emo that shouldn’t work, but really does
Tennis / Yours Conditionally: Half Stevie Nicks homage, half mockery, it’s all good – and lots of fun
Weaves / Wide Open: like Sleater-Kinney songs sung through the nose, these tunes grab on and won’t let go
Young Thug / Beautiful Thugger Girls: this weird-ass pimp ride lasted all summer long

Fleet Foxes / Crack-Up
Grizzly Bear / Painted Ruins
LCD Soundsystem / American Dream
The National / Sleep Well Beast
Donald Trump / Shameless Animal

Andrew Stewart
Rhinebeck, NY