According to that Spotify “top tracks” thing that made its way around Facebook earlier this month, my top artist for 2017 was Billy Bragg. A revelation that surprised me, but shouldn’t have. I’m just sitting back here listening to “The Warmest Room” and “St. Monday” on repeat pretty much any time I’m alone. And I guess I was alone a lot this year. Despite that awkward realization, I did manage to stuff some new music into my ears this year.
So, in no particular order here are my favorite songs released in 2017 along with a handy-dandy playlist for your listening pleasure.
Apparently somewhere between 2015 and now it became cool to not like The Menzingers. When After The Party came out this year I was dismayed to find you weren’t all listening to this record on repeat. Leaps above the lack-luster Rented World, this record was exactly what I want out of the Menzos: Building, dramatic and easily scream-cry-sang along to. Maybe it’s the slow death march toward 30 I’ve been experiencing all year. Or maybe I’m melodramatic, that’s on you to decide. Either way I can’t get “A decade taken hostage by a guilt conscience / When you gonna quit this nonsense?” out of my damn head. Also the big, crashy intro to this song gets me every damn time.
Derek Zanetti has a gift for using song as a storytelling medium. If this track doesn’t just so eloquently describe my little small-town foray into punk music: “Kids with purple hair were out there somewhere / and I would be god-damned if I didn’t find them.” This song has spent most of the year on every playlist I have from biking to working, reaffirming that I, too, will never be normal.
“CA in July” has been a steady pick for every playlist I’ve put together for myself this year. I wrote a little bit about how much I wish I could have seen bomb-ass ladies like Poli and Jen on the stage when I was younger in my FEST preview earlier this year. Getting a skate punk band like The Bombpops on Fat’s roster is a reckoning for me after spending my youth staring at faces I couldn’t relate to hold the stage.
This band has been on just about every end of the year list for a reason. This sophomore release is a banger and has powered me through a tough year of huge changes. “Stronger each day / making my way / out of retrograde” pushed me up both literal and mental hills this year.
This is the Anti-Flag song (and record) I’ve been waiting for since The People or The Gun. The bouncy, forward bass line, upstroke guitar and gang vocal-style chorus are an upbeat contrast to a song about confronting our own innate biases and privilege. Hopefully this song gets put into the band’s touring setlist because I can’t wait to scream-sing along.
Hate your job? Pro tip: Play this track next time you have to drag your uninspired corpse into work. It won’t make your crappy job too much easier, but it will help inspire you to fix your resume when you finally get home.
Get out of my head, get out of my head, get out of my head, get out of my head, get out of my head.
If you’re a fan of singing along, The Penkse File has got you covered. This track released as a single on October 6 and I managed to listen to it enough that it was one of a handful of songs released this year on my “most listened to” list Spotify generates. If this is a taste of their next full-length, it can’t come soon enough.
Garrett’s first solo release was on most best-of lists for this year. The song captures the ennui of trying to get by and the angst over the state of the world wonderfully without being a full-on sad song. The sultry little horn line during the bridge is my jam.
What could be better than Garrett Dale’s whisky-soaked crooning? Combining it with the rest of Red City Radio for those OKC harmonies. Rumors abound that they’ll be putting out a new release on a new label in 2018, and “If You Want Blood” is the perfect appetizer.
Inviting Light was a bit of a slow-grower on me because of it’s muted feel. But once I saw the new songs performed live, it all felt like classic Flatties. “Hang My Head” is the record’s stand-out track with Chris Cresswell’s signature vocal fry given full range.