AOTY 2019
Pitchfork's 20 Best Rock Albums of 2017

Pitchfork's 20 Best Rock Albums of 2017

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20. White Reaper - The World's Best American Band

White Reaper - The World's Best American Band
April 7, 2017
Critic Score
9 reviews

Their sophomore album is smart, well-polished, and cheeky—loaded with more riffs than you can fit into the trunk of a Camaro.

19. Destroyer - ken

Destroyer - ken
October 20, 2017
Critic Score
24 reviews

Like one of Lynch’s filmic worlds, ken is elegant and perverse, a reflection on where we came from, and the unbelievable place we seem to have ended up.

18. Tonstartssbandht - Sorcerer

Tonstartssbandht - Sorcerer
March 24, 2017
Critic Score
6 reviews

For the most part, Sorcerer succeeds, moving their sound forward while maintaining their penchant for detours.

17. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland
November 17, 2017
Critic Score
6 reviews

Prog rock is a genre known for disregarding traditional structures and often failing to land perfectly, so King Gizzard drag it out of the basement and into broad daylight with Polygondwanaland to make every triumph and flaw visible.

16. The National - Sleep Well Beast

The National - Sleep Well Beast
September 8, 2017
Critic Score
36 reviews
They don’t reinvent the band’s image so much as carefully muss its hair a bit, unfasten one more button on its shirt collar. They are still a good dinner-party band, but now they’ve made the album for when the wine starts spilling on the rug, the tablecloth is rumpled, the music has imperceptibly gotten louder, and all those friendly conversations have turned a little too heated.

15. The Courtneys - II

The Courtneys - II
February 17, 2017
Critic Score
8 reviews

Vancouver’s the Courtneys capture the shambolic spirt of New Zealand bands like the Clean and write effortlessly catchy songs about heartache and longing.

14. The Afghan Whigs - In Spades

The Afghan Whigs - In Spades
May 5, 2017
Critic Score
18 reviews

Bolstered again by the louche and ravaged voice of singer Greg Dulli, the latest from the indie rock icons is delightfully stuffed with romance and rancor.

13. Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm

Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm
July 14, 2017
Critic Score
28 reviews

While lacking the close mic’d intimacy of her early work, Out in the Storm is equally immersive, with songs that play like fiery exorcisms. It proves that Crutchfield’s music can retain its honesty while aiming at larger audiences, gaining its power from the raw, relentless energy that’s always fueled her best songs.

12. Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder

Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder
July 7, 2017
Critic Score
30 reviews

More so than Forgiveness Rock Record, Hug of Thunder presents Broken Social Scene as a rock band making rock songs, a coherent montage rather than a patched-together highlight reel.

11. Girlpool - Powerplant

Girlpool - Powerplant
May 12, 2017
Critic Score
21 reviews

Girlpool's sound gets bigger on their sophomore LP, but Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s voices still sit center stage in all their vulnerable glory.

10. Vagabon - Infinite Worlds

Vagabon - Infinite Worlds
February 24, 2017
Critic Score
7 reviews

Guided by a more mature sound, Infinite Worlds is the rock music we need nowadays, when it seems like home, wherever it might be, is getting farther away.

9. Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up

Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up
June 16, 2017
Critic Score
33 reviews

Put aside the inclination to strip it for singles, and Crack-Up’s generosity can feel bottomless. Rather than a show of contempt for the confines and craft of a three-minute pop song, Crack-Up is one of trust, applying its harmonic and textural gifts with the same free-flowing intuition as Joanna Newsom’s Ys or Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House.

8. Slowdive - Slowdive

Slowdive - Slowdive
May 5, 2017
Critic Score
29 reviews
This is an album as thoughtful as it is beautiful.

7. Jay Som - Everybody Works

Jay Som - Everybody Works
March 10, 2017
Critic Score
11 reviews
Just a few years into her adult life, and only one album into her recording career, Melina Duterte has swept past a milestone many musicians never even get in their sights.

6. Priests - Nothing Feels Natural

Priests - Nothing Feels Natural
January 27, 2017
Critic Score
13 reviews

Priests’ debut expands into a rich diorama of stinging guitar, funk, yearning indie pop, and jazz; there hasn’t been a punk debut this certain and poised since Savages’ Silence Yourself.

5. Big Thief - Capacity

Big Thief - Capacity
June 9, 2017
Critic Score
21 reviews

Capacity is a remarkable record, one that proves that Big Thief are not a one trick pony, they are the full circus.

4. Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights

Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights
October 27, 2017
Critic Score
27 reviews
The second album from Tennessee songwriter Julien Baker wrestles with self-worth, rejection, and God. Centering on her voice, guitar, and piano, Baker begins to sound defiant.

3. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
September 1, 2017
Critic Score
37 reviews
The rebirth of LCD Soundsystem is marked by an extraordinary album obsessed with endings: of friendships, of love, of heroes, of a certain type of geeky fandom, and of the American dream itself.

2. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding

The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
August 25, 2017
Critic Score
36 reviews

The obsessive studio work of Adam Granduciel creates a hermetic experience like no other. A Deeper Understanding is his most layered and meticulous album, a twilight world in which to lose yourself.

1. King Krule - The OOZ

King Krule - The OOZ
October 13, 2017
Critic Score
26 reviews

The world is a filthy, utterly debased place, his music suggests, but there are rewards of sorts for those determined to survive it. In this spirit, The OOZ drops at our feet like a piece of poisoned fruit, a masterpiece of jaundiced vision from one of the most compelling artists alive.

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