Exclaim!'s Top 29 Albums of 2017 So Far

Exclaim!'s Top 29 Albums of 2017 So Far

Original Source

29. Ryuichi Sakamoto - async

Ryuichi Sakamoto - async
April 28, 2017
Ambient
Critic Score
81
8 reviews
User Score
77
60 reviews

async is a luxurious, picturesque recording. It showcases that Sakamoto's unique ability to create genuine beauty with a varied — at times abrasive — palette.

Full Review →

28. Paramore - After Laughter

Paramore - After Laughter
May 12, 2017
New Wave
Critic Score
81
15 reviews
User Score
75
254 reviews

27. Gas - Narkopop

Gas - Narkopop
April 21, 2017
Ambient
Critic Score
79
10 reviews
User Score
74
108 reviews

Not only is Gas' Narkopop a top candidate for best microhouse album of 2017, it may also be the best drone album and the best classical album — and possibly just the best album you'll hear this year, period.

Full Review →

26. Timber Timbre - Sincerely, Future Pollution

Timber Timbre - Sincerely, Future Pollution
April 7, 2017
Art Rock
Critic Score
73
14 reviews
User Score
70
68 reviews

Sincerely, Future Pollution is Timber Timbre's most confident record. The lyrics remain obtuse, but even if it's not clear that Kirk knows what he wants to say, he surely knows how he wants it to sound.

Full Review →

25. Future Islands - The Far Field

Future Islands - The Far Field
April 7, 2017
Synthpop
Critic Score
76
27 reviews
User Score
74
162 reviews

This is pop music designed to give you all the feels, and even with a disruptive pseudo-reggae track thrown into the mix ("Candles"), Future Islands prove that they can do it better than anyone else right now.

Full Review →

24. (Sandy) Alex G - Rocket

(Sandy) Alex G - Rocket
May 19, 2017
Indie Rock
Critic Score
79
20 reviews
User Score
77
178 reviews

Rocket is a true tour de force that cements (Sandy) Alex G snugly in the company of indie rock's great auteurs.

Full Review →

23. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana
February 24, 2017
Psychedelic Rock
Critic Score
73
15 reviews
User Score
76
151 reviews

While this experiment (and use of the zurna) might perhaps not being everyone's cup of tea, Flying Microtonal Banana is a rollicking groove machine of a record, as explorative and endlessly searching as the band themselves.

Full Review →

22. Incendiary - Thousand Mile Stare

Incendiary - Thousand Mile Stare
May 5, 2017
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
64
1 review

21. Do Make Say Think - Stubborn Persistent Illusions

Do Make Say Think - Stubborn Persistent Illusions
May 19, 2017
Post-Rock
Critic Score
81
8 reviews
User Score
77
50 reviews

Stubborn Persistent Illusions can seem daunting with its hour-long runtime, but it's a worthy monolith that can be explored on the listener's own terms.

Full Review →

20. Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer

Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer
February 24, 2017
Grime
Critic Score
81
18 reviews
User Score
72
134 reviews

Both sides of Gang Signs & Prayer come to a head on pointed closer "Lay Me Bare," in which he writes about depression and his absentee father. Far from a weakness, that vulnerability brings welcome depth to Stormzy's explosive and emotional debut.

Full Review →

19. Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound

Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
January 27, 2017
Indie Rock
Critic Score
73
20 reviews
User Score
70
168 reviews

The cleaned up sound does wonders for Baldi's songwriting, always his strength yet still often overlooked. Producer John Goodmanson shines some much deserved light on the small nuances that make Cloud Nothings' music so intriguing, giving a proper, polished showcase to some of the band's most hook-filled material to date.

Full Review →

18. Full of Hell - Trumpeting Ecstasy

Full of Hell - Trumpeting Ecstasy
May 5, 2017
Grindcore
Critic Score
78
4 reviews
User Score
73
22 reviews

Trumpeting Ecstasy is the culmination of Full of Hell really coming into their own, exuding the confidence that comes along with refining their stylistic approach and honing their sound into something that is completely theirs.

Full Review →

17. Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens

Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens
March 24, 2017
Tech House
Critic Score
81
10 reviews
User Score
77
163 reviews

Kelly Lee Owens is warm, emotive and well-produced, the work of a natural talent that will only get better with time. I can't wait to hear what she'll do next. 

Full Review →

16. Code Orange - Forever

Code Orange - Forever
January 13, 2017
Metalcore
Critic Score
80
6 reviews
User Score
73
60 reviews

With their latest offering, Forever, they've surpassed themselves on multiple fronts. By incorporating unconventional dynamics, sounds and structuring, the band have pushed their sound to new and interesting places.

Full Review →

15. Oddisee - The Iceberg

Oddisee - The Iceberg
February 24, 2017
Hip Hop
Critic Score
76
5 reviews
User Score
75
51 reviews

The Iceberg ultimately delivers a rich yet digestible musical main course worth more than one helping. If you've been sleeping on Odd, it's time to wake up.

Full Review →

14. Thundercat - Drunk

Thundercat - Drunk
February 24, 2017
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
81
23 reviews
User Score
77
355 reviews

No matter how many musicians he showcases, no matter how many sonic avenues he takes, no matter how many tracks he squeezes in, Thundercat sounds undeniably and defiantly like no other on Drunk.

Full Review →

13. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3

Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
December 25, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
86
29 reviews
User Score
82
365 reviews

Run the Jewels 3 is a rap armoury for hard times, a hip-hop bullhorn that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.

Full Review →

12. The xx - I See You

The xx - I See You
January 13, 2017
Indie Pop
Critic Score
80
33 reviews
User Score
75
616 reviews

The xx largely avoided any major pitfalls here, coming out the other side with a consistently rewarding pop album that retains enough of their sonic signature to please old fans and enough new sounds to pique the interest of the unconvinced.

Full Review →

11. Power Trip - Nightmare Logic

Power Trip - Nightmare Logic
February 24, 2017
Thrash Metal
Critic Score
82
6 reviews
User Score
76
84 reviews

Power Trip have returned, fiercer and unrulier than ever before, with their latest full-length, Nightmare Logic, outdoing their already-raucous LP Manifest Decimation and taking all elements of their sound to new heights.

Full Review →

10. Slowdive - Slowdive

Slowdive - Slowdive
May 5, 2017
Dream Pop
Critic Score
82
26 reviews
User Score
82
360 reviews
It certainly was a long wait, but finally Slowdive have given us the album that we have been dreaming about for the last 22 years.
Full Review →

9. Joey Bada$$ - ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$

Joey Bada$$ - ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$
April 7, 2017
Hip Hop
Critic Score
76
15 reviews
User Score
77
208 reviews

Courageous and passionate, Bada$$ is a well-timed soundtrack to social and political struggle.

Full Review →

8. Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog

Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog
May 5, 2017
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
77
27 reviews
User Score
75
271 reviews
With a fresh approach and a renewed outlook on life, DeMarco reaches a whole other level of cool, lush calm as well as an unprecedented degree of maturity and introspection.
Full Review →

7. Jay Som - Everybody Works

Jay Som - Everybody Works
March 10, 2017
Indie Rock
Critic Score
79
11 reviews
User Score
77
170 reviews

Everybody Works retains her economical songwriting while adding impressively intricate arrangements.

Full Review →

6. Drake - More Life

Drake - More Life
March 18, 2017
Hip Hop
Critic Score
77
22 reviews
User Score
66
268 reviews

While VIEWS served as an ominous soundscape to a never-ending winter and reflected a booming hunger in the city, his newest release, More Life, presents the fruits of that labour in a sunnier, more celebratory arrangement.

Full Review →

5. Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me

Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me
March 24, 2017
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
90
16 reviews
User Score
84
386 reviews

This record possesses immense power to make listeners reflect on their own relationships and mortality. A Crow Looked at Me is a grim memento of the grand injustice of losing those most precious to us.

Full Review →

4. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
April 7, 2017
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
83
33 reviews
User Score
77
386 reviews

Pure Comedy is packed with so much meaning and complexity, it feels as overwhelmingly absurd, joyous, curious, tragic, extraordinary and contradictory as life itself.

Full Review →

3. Feist - Pleasure

Feist - Pleasure
April 28, 2017
Indie Rock
Critic Score
79
27 reviews
User Score
78
174 reviews

She's more than capable of penning a good tune, but Pleasure presents a unique, uncompromising vision of intimacy and enjoyment. True to its name, this is the sound of Feist fighting through the bullshit of being human to have a good time despite it all.

Full Review →

2. Sampha - Process

Sampha - Process
February 3, 2017
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
84
29 reviews
User Score
80
490 reviews

Process was a long time coming, but the wait has resulted in one of the most assured debut albums in recent memory. Even if it should take Sampha another six years to follow it up, the wait, I expect, will be worth it.

Full Review →

1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
April 14, 2017
Hip Hop
Critic Score
91
31 reviews
User Score
85
856 reviews

DAMN. is the first time in Lamar's career that he hasn't broken new ground, explored old themes in new ways or exhibited sonic growth. That said, it's a small blemish on an otherwise spotless catalogue.

Full Review →
Original Source: http://exclaim.ca/music/article/exclaim_s_top_29_albums_of_2017_so_far

Check out our 2017 Year End Summary.