The Aural's Best of 2017

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Hey all, we made it. Just a few more weeks and we can leave 2017 behind us! But besides all the political and cultural negativity in America and beyond that has pervaded this calendar year, 2017 has become the placeholder for many of the best events of my life in recent memory. And there’s been a lot (and I mean a lot) of good music released into the world as well. I’d like to remember 2017 for how good its music was as much as we all will remember it for its political flaming-roller-coaster-flying-off-the-tracks feeling, and its racist, sexist, poor-shaming, health-care debasing and misogynistic-encouraging overtones. Hey now, at least I’m trying! 

The one unfortunate update in my music world is that I now go to way fewer shows because of limited money and time while in graduate school out in Boulder. But last January I started writing for Indie Shuffle, and the 75 songs I’ve posted have now been played over 364,000 times! I wrote personally-inspired reviews of some amazing new artists like Caitlin Pasko and Black Books, fell in love with Sylvan Esso all over again, and fell asleep to WILSEN every night for weeks. I lived in Washington, D.C. for the summer and got to explore the city and see live music there, including photograph a show at the 9:30 Club. I road-tripped back to Colorado and listened to Foster the People and MEW and Wes Swing and old favorites for hours on end. I moved into a house full of amazing people in August and have met many more while traveling the country this fall.

It’s just easy to get overwhelmed by a busy schedule, endless responsibilities, and how it seems everyone else is out doing what you wish you were able to do, no matter how well things are going in life. (I don’t think I’m the only one with this predicament!). So although living well can feel far from easy and the world is currently kind of terrifying, music still serves as my number one solace and inspiration. As I wrote in a review of Sylvan Esso’s release What Now this summer: 

If you, dear reader, have given up, thrown in your cards, or plan to – prepare to have your plans ruined. We want to be in control, we want to think we know what will happen, we want to expect the worst. So if your life is getting you down, if current events are squashing your motivation, your umph, your desire to create, to contribute, to continue, I need you to ruin your negative negotiations… I need to you blast What Now in your room and dance. I need you to fall in love with someone, with something… Because when you’re dancing, it’s easier to feel convinced that the end is not an option. 

And assuming no one launches any nuclear missiles any time soon, here’s to a future of great music and positive social and cultural change in 2018!


Best Albums of 2017 
1. Phoebe Bridgers, Stranger in the Alps
2. Sylvan Esso, What Now (+ Echo Mountain Sessions EP)
3. MEW, Visuals
4. Hundred Waters, Communicating 
5. Black Books, Can’t Even 
6. WILSEN, I Go Missing in My Sleep
7. Said the Whale, As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide
8. Tomberlin, At Weddings 
9. Alvvays, Antisocialites 
10. Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spun 

Album Runner-ups:
(in no particular order)

Wes Swing, And The Heart
FYFE, The Space Between 
Caitlin Pasko, Glass Period 
Gordi, Reservoir
Mappe Of, A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone
Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
Overcoats, YOUNG
Odeza, A Moment Apart 
Foster the People, Sacred Hearts Club
Cigarettes After Sex, Cigarettes After Sex 
Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins
Paramore, After Laughter
St Vincent, Masseduction 
Kendrick Lamar, Damn. 

​Cut Copy, Haiku From Zero
Marika Hackman, I’m Not Your Man
Methyl Ethyl, Everything is Forgotten
Mutemath, Play Dead
San Fermin, Belong
Spoon, Hot Thoughts
Slow Meadow, Costero 
Andrew Belle, Dive Deep
Joywave, Content 
Low Roar, Once in a Long, Long While… 
Anna of the North, Lovers Album
Zola Blood, Infinite Games
Electric Guest, Plural 
Thrupence, Ideas of Aesthetics

Best EPs
Bien, Electric Dream
Absofacto, Thousand Peaces
Sawyer, Easy Now
Maggie Rogers, Now That the Light is Fading
Paul Cook & The Chronicles, Beck and Call EP 
Magnets, Perpetual Motion
Basement Revolver, Agatha EP
Vallis Alps, Fable EP
Kevin Garrett, False Hope EP
Elli Schoen, Gold Mess EP
Paperwhite, Escape EP

Top Songs
(more available for streaming at Indie Shuffle)

Electric Guest, “Oh Devil” 
Sylvan Esso, “Die Young” 
Now, Now, “SGL” and “Yours” 
The Japanese House, “Saw You in a Dream”
Said the Whale, “Miscarriage” and “Step Into the Darkness”
Methyl Ethyl, “Ubu”
The Killers, “The Man”
Alvvays, “Dreams Tonite” 
Jaws of Love., “Love Me Like I’m Gone”
Will Morgan, “Roses” 
St Vincent, “New York”
Mappe Of, “Unfound”
Toro Y Moi, “Girl Like You”
Typhoon, “Floodplains: Wake / Rorschach / Empiricist / Algernon”

Feivel, “Belong”
Anna of the North, “Always”
Mating Ritual, “Drunk”
Will Morgan, “Roses”
Buelow, “This is Not a Love Song”
Half Waif, “Tactilian”
VOKES, “Easy To Hate”
MASIONAIR, “Astronaut”
So Below, “Ruin”
shallou, “You And Me”
Porches, “Find Me”
SHAED, “Lonesome”
MONAKR, “Ophelia”
Elliott Root, “10,000”
Hundred Waters, “Forgive Me For Giving Up”
Overcoats, “Leave the Light On”
LANKS, “Comfortable”
Sam Frankl, “Gold Rush”
Litany, “Flaws” and “Bedroom”

FAIRCHILD, “So Long and Thank You”
Zola Blood, “Good Love”
FYFE, “Love You More” and  “Belong” ft. Kimbra 
JR JR, “Same Dark Places”
Chrome Sparks, “Wake”
​Dead Sea, “8.50”
Orchin, “Ego Deathbed”
Absofacto, “Light Outside”
POWERS, “Heavy”
LEVV, “Collateral Damage”
San Scout, “LMS”
Bernache, “Your Name”
Fenech-Soler, “Kaleidoscope”
San Fermin, “No Promises”
Jessica Mannin, “Homestead”
Our Man in Berlin, “A Lightbulb Mind”
Rubblebucket, “Not Cut Out For This”

Best Live Shows
Wes Swing, U Street Music Hall, Washington, D.C. 
MEW and MONAKR at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 
WILSEN at Larimer Lounge, Denver 
Overcoats at Globe Hall, Denver

Best Music Videos
The Japanese House, “Saw You in a Dream”
Sylvan Esso, “Die Young” 

Eagerly Anticipated Albums
Typhoon – January 2018 
Now, Now – …? ​​​​

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