Jubilant's End of the Year List!
2017 was a swift kick to the gonads. It left us shaken, never quite knowing if we were in some strange alternate timeline or waking nightmare. Every day the situation in the country and the world seemed to slog ever more closely to complete oblivion. We spent most of our waking moments attempting to deal with the dissonance created by feeling the impending holocaust but continuing to go through our every day motions in the hopes the world doesnt come crashing down...
...but godDAMN was there a ton of good music this year. Companies like Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp have allowed us to always expand our knowledge of music and explore new records and genres in a boundless freedom. This one thing (granted the pay structures in terms of reimbursing the artists themselves need to be addressed in a new way), at least, is a cause for joy. With the impending possible death of Net Neutrality, its days may be numbered, as well, but at least this year we got to experience a dizzying array of absolutely shockingly good records. So, without much fanfare, here are the top 50-or-so records of the year in Jubilant's humble opinion. Listen and support these artists and these releases.
1. Jackie Shane – Any Other Way
There was barely any contest. This loving re-collection of all of soul legend Jackie Shane's recorded output is a staggeringly beautiful monument and tribute to a little-known star.
2. 68 – Two Parts Viper
The Chariot is perhaps one of the best examples of an angry-sounding band creating out of pure joy. 68 is a continuation of that ethic, the tortured guitars and breakneck drums all accompanying Josh Scogin's poetic and beautiful lyrics in paroxysms of pure ecstasy.
3. Conor Oberst – Salutations
Salutations may be a redo of last year's mopey Ruminations, but it course corrected in a spectacular way. This is everything you loved about "I'm Wide Awake--It's Morning" plus a healthy dose of new tricks from a full backing band thrown in for good measure.
4. The Flatliners – Inviting Light
Inviting Light is a grower, not a shower. At first listen, something from the Canadian punkers feels slightly off, but a couple spins in you suddenly realize this may, in fact, be the best thing the Flatliners have ever released.
5. Iron Chic – You Cant Stay Here
Iron Chic are the existentially-confused, hopeful, beleaguered, and courageous human spirit animals inside all of us.
6. Son Little – New Magic
There are few records that manage to take something old and make it new. Son Little manages to do this with ease on New Magic, taking soul and blues and weaving it into a quiet and understated masterpiece.
7. Pallbearer – Heartless
You've probly already read a ton about this record--its sweeping 70's psych-influenced stoner metal landscapes and accessibility. It landed in our laps early on this year and struck immediately as a year-end contender.
8. The Contortionist – Clairvoyant
The Contortionist never stop evolving, but with Language and now Clairvoyant, an argument could be made for arresting that evolution, if only for a little while. Clairvoyant is a Cynic-inspired beauty and I cant wait to hear it a couple hundred more times.
9. Integrity – Howling, For the Nightmare Shall Consume
Integrity have been a hardcore institution for almost three decades. Banner-carriers of the Holy Terror sound, Howling...actually lands pretty squarely on the metal side of the metallic hardcore spectrum. What sets it so far apart from the rest of similar releases...as well as their own storied back catalogue is that the band seems to be having so much damn fun on this.
10. Counterparts – You Are Not You
No one crafts melodic hardcore like Counterparts. "Srscore" may have struck late in the 00's and faded since then, but Counterparts always prove themselves to be preeminent songwriters who can forge caustic, thoughtful mottos ripped straight from the heart of your tortured soul.
11. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy
Searing, howling walls of sheer noise that manages to somehow be not only the most accessible of their impressive catalogue, but maybe also the best since The Roots of Earth...
12. Converge – The Dusk In Us
Come on. Any time Converge releases a new record, its already a foregone conclusion that the legendary hardcore band will end up on that year's best list.
13. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss/Spun
Chelsea Wolfe's turn towards doom and post-metal is a triumphant acknowledgment of her own influences. It, like all of her recordings, is a challenging but rewarding listen.
14. Glassjaw – Material Control
Lightning can strike the same place twice. Or three times. Please god keep releasing records.
15. Bask – Ramble Beyond
Expansive, rumbling Savannah-style stoner metal. Like all of the best parts of Baroness, Red Fang, and the entire Georgia metal scene mixed together and fused.
16. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – Soul of a Woman
The soul singer's swan song is a fitting end to a beautiful career.
17. India Ramey – Snake Handler
Raw, wounded country that is unashamed and unafraid and soldiering on through a dangerous world.
18. He is Legend –Few
Southern rockers finally shed their post-hardcore roots and bask in the bluesy and gothic sound they have come to embody over the course of their career. Few is a fucking blast.
19. Red Death – Formidable Darkness
NWDCHC/thrash savagery. I underestimated this band and I am now properly contrite.
20. Shredders – Shredders
Nothing like POS and Sims (and Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak) having a goddam blast trading some of the best lines in rap this year.
21. Comeback Kid – Outsider
Another complete surprise from an established Canadian band switching up their own formula and creating something new, innovative, and absolutely stellar.
22. Unified Right – If I Can’t Listen to Unified Right In Heaven Then Send Me Straight to Hell
The best named record of the year is also one of the most impressive hardcore releases of 2017
23. Yasmine Hamdan – Al Jamilat
This Lebanese songstress manages to transcend language and craft a mesmerizing, personal, record that speaks to everyone.
24. Burn – Do or Die
There is not really another band, hardcore or otherwise, that quite sounds like Burn. The influential New York hardcore band managed to one-up their own discography with their first full length that cements their legacy.
25. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
Just...spin this album. Thank me later. Soft, thoughtful singer-songwriter ballads that capture the feelings of alienation and confusion we all feel in ways I never knew I felt until they crystallized in listening to this.
26. Citizen – As You Please
Though their sound's forebears shall remain nameless for the near future, Citizen managed to create a record that though clearly still resides deep within that band's sonic realm, creates a powerfully strong reason for the band to be appreciated and taken in on their own merits.
27. Sims – More Than Ever
Just...tons of fun. Doomtree killed it this year with three releases on this list. Sims managed to edge out POS simply on replayability.
28. Grave Pleasures – Motherblood
Deathrock of the highest order. Plus easily the best cover of the year.
29. Benjamin Booker - Witness
This one is a new find for me but managed to climb incredibly quickly. Somewhere in between Son Little, Bahamas, and Fantastic Negrito.
30. Bad Cop Bad Cop – Warriors
This is punk rock for the front lines of the revolution.
31. Christopher Paul Stelling – Itinerant Arias
I just love me some Americana and CPS manages to create some of the catchiest songs in the genre.
32. Incendiary – Thousand Mile Stare
Prophets of Rage might be a letdown, Stray From the Path might be a little too much for you, but Incendiary manages to scratch that same scathingly political and savagely angry itch.
33. Precious - Unravelings
This LA-based band managed to craft an incredible and unique release in the world of hardcore this year. Where most bands have leaned into the NYHC sound or the darkened-crust tinged metallic hardcore, Precious' touchstones lie somewhere between fellow unclassifiables Modern Life is War, Snapcase, and American Nightmare.
34. POS – Chill, Dummy
35. Unsane - Sterilize
Crushingly heavy noise rock. I just discovered the band this year and diving into their discography has been an unbelievable treat. Sterilize easily contends with Visqueen and Wreck.
36. Turnover – Good Nature
Sure, it wasn't at quite the level as Peripheral Vision, but Good Nature has some great songs.
37. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
This is another release you are going to see popping up all over the place. And it totally deserves it.
38. Nothing Nowhere – Reaper
Yeah. I said it. This record is fun and great and unabashedly terrible. More authentic and better crafted than the sadly departed Lil Peep and infintely better than dozens of other similar cloud rappers.
39. Quicksand – Interiors
As if they never left.
40. Happy Abandon - Facepaint
I dont evenknow anything about this record or where it came from but its sort of staggering.
41. The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers
When metal is simultaneously vicious and fun.
42. The Menzingers – After the Party
This landed really early on, but managed to bring me back into their sound after not being a fan of either Rented World or Impossible Past.
43. Limp Wrist – Facades
THIS RECORD RIPS.
44. Heaven in Her Arms – White Halo
Envy's status is still up in the air with the departure of vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa but the Converge-named Heaven In Her Arms are coming up as the dark horse of inheriting their throne. White Halo is a gorgeous achievement of Envy-style post-hardcore.
45. Code Orange – Forever
2017 was a banner year for Code Orange. The Pennsylvania band even managed to nab themselves a couple grammy nods on top of a string of crazy unbelievable shows and festival appearances, as well as the first live band on WWE.
46. Nick Hakim – The Green Twins
Forget neo-soul. Future Soul is now a thing.
47. Sievehead – Worthless Soul
A dark, angry cry of anguish from the rainy British isles.
48. Hundredth – RARE
Former hardcore band completely jettisons every trapping of their former genre and scene, completely changing their sound from Shai Hulud/Misery Signals to Nothing/Slowdive and...sticks the landing.
49 (TIE). New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick
Fuck all y'all I love NFG and Makes Me Sick is maybe not quite the same level as Resurrection (their best, in my opinion) still manages to create some fun new songs that has some interesting interplay with...
49 (TIE). Paramore – After Laughter
...in a back and forth conversation type way. Landing at roughly the same time, sharing songwriters who's long-term relationship dissolved, and some sonic similarities the two records are neck and neck with one another as far as I'm concerned, both now-old-dogs trying new tricks.
50. Higher Power – Soul Structure
Oh hey! Do you miss Shelter? Do you love Give? Did you think Burn's record was a total blast? Well then you're gonna love this.
51. Backtrack – Bad to My World
Good to your ears.
52. Full of Hell/The Body – Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light
Two deeply crushing bands collaborate on their second release together and its as meditative, spastic, vicious, and surprising as the last.
53. Curtis Harding – Face Your Fear
Funky soul goodness.
54. Axis – Shift
This band is one to watch. Shift easily tops Show Your Greed and is going to be a dark horse in the hardcore race for the near future, but I can't wait to see them get the recognition they deserve.
55. Circa Survive – The Amulet
Look, the Amulet is...mostly ok...at least as a Circa Survive release. As a release of any kind its still head and shoulders above most. But it does grow on you the more chances you give it.
56. The Ongoing Concept – Places
Imagine if Michael Jackson started a post-hardcore/screamo band with the equal members from Dance Gavin Dance and Lower Definition.
57. Nothington – In the End
I fucking love Nothington. In the End isn't my favorite of their stellar discography, but it is a solid release that equals out the songwriting and singing duties of their vocalists for the first time in an interesting way...but give me more Jay Northington anytime.
57. La Louma - Let the World be Flooded Out
Join the Bitchwave and listen to this record immediately, in case I havnt already written about it enough.
Hope to see you guys next year.