In an ironic summary of what it has been like to live in 2017, the original version of this entire post (complete with thoughtful introduction paragraphs and witty banter) was wiped off the face of this earth by some unknown processing error when submitting for review. So in it’s place: here are some ten bright spots and a handful of EPs that make living in the darkest timeline a little bit more bearable. Happy fucking holidays.
Life isn’t turning out the way you want? Shitty dead-end job? Failing relationship? General frustration, despair, angst, and/or anxiety? Well The Dopamines are back and they’re just as pissed off as you. Their most aggressive album and put together album to date, the Cincinnati (now) quartet takes my album of the year title.
Standout track: the entire album.
Who thought a solo act based on a five-minute sketch from Kids in the Hall would lead to this? The first full length from mastermind Andy Slania is a fucking banger from start to finish. Football sucks. Tennis sucks. Baseball’s cool. But this album rules. And if you didn’t know it, you know now.
Standout track: “Stop Dreaming, Start Living.”
The debut release from what was formerly The Howl, a rebrand taking place after the departure of bassist Ryan Grillaert, they come out swinging with what is absolutely the best album opening of the year with “Some Friends.” If you’ve been following The Howl, you shouldn’t be surprised…guitarist/Singer Sam Porter is one of the most talented musicians Chicago has to offer. Expect big big things from these gentlemen.
Standout track: “Some Friends.”
DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A CIRCLE PIT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM? DO YOU LIKE HEADBANGING WHILE MAKING BREAKFAST? HOW ABOUT SLAMMING EIGHT TALLBOYS ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND PASSOUT ON THE LAWN? FUCKING RIGHT YOU DO. THROW ON THIS GOD DAMN ALBUM AND START SOME SHIT.
Standout track: “Dead with My Friends.”
Have you ever felt burnt out on hearing the same old Fest-core style pop punk? While I know that’s the musical bread & butter of so many of our lives, sometimes you just want something a little different. Like a corndog, specifically. Deanna & company did just that with the debut Rhombithian. It’s smart, it’s sassy, it’s catchy as all hell and the breath of fresh air the genre so sorely needs.
Standout track: “Overbite.”
Settle in for a good ole fashioned cry, because the most powerful artist per square inch packs an emotional wallop on her follow up to the 2015’s universally acclaimed Sprained Ankle. Depression and loss are once again featured themes, but it feels a little more hopeful this time around.
Standout track: “Shadowboxing.”
On Hiss Spun, Chelsea Wolfe furthers her decent into becoming a full sludge/doom artist with an ambiance that those already in the genre only wish they had. A wholly unsettling album, recorded in Salem, Massachusetts (of course), with Kurt Ballou (of course). If this is the direction her career is taking, I’m 100 percent on board.
Standout track: “Vex.”
When DFA1979 (is it still 1979? Whatever, it will always be to me) reunited in 2011 I was so excited to add some tracks to their limited listening catalog. Unfortunately The Physical World was a limp, heartless letdown. A few years later, they’ve shaken off the cobwebs and have put out one of the most danceable albums of the year. Well done, boys.
Standout track: “Caught Up.”
Much like DFA1979, I felt the last Bronx offering (Bronx IV if you don’t know how to count) didn’t pack the same punch as their previous material. But much like Thin Lizzy, the fucking boys are back in town and they came here to bloody some noses.
Standout track: “Stranger Danger.”
I first saw The Dirty Nil play at an empty show at Cobra Lounge one cold November night about two years ago. You would have thought the club was sold out, based on the energy they had during their set. That night I drunkenly dubbed them the mini-Hives. This album absolutely lives up to that moniker.
Standout track: “Cinnamon.”