The best of 2017’s indie rock

It was a great year for music across the board — this writer zeroes in on a genre that particularly had lots to offer.


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2017 was a great year for music, if absolutely nothing else. I was ecstatic about all the indie rock in particular that I got to listen to in the past 11 months and compiled a list of my personal favorites that are worth checking out.

Alvvays — Antisocialites

This Toronto-based group delivers perfect dream-pop. Molly Rankin’s songwriting captures the intimate feelings of past relationships, and she’s backed by a group of incredible musicians. Songs like “Dreams Tonite” and “Not My Baby” are more introspective and reminiscent of the band’s first album, while “Saved By A Waif” and “Lollipop (Ode to Jim)” bring the upbeat songs you need with catchy choruses including lines like “You cut your hair; now you look like a little boy.” Alvvays’ second album shows growth while still sticking to the dreamy synth sounds of its first album.

St. Vincent — Masseduction

St. Vincent’s fifth album has more of a pop quality than much of her past work. It still has her weird, enigmatic flair, from the cover art to the music videos to the song “Savior.” St. Vincent’s music is unlike anything you’ll hear. Songs like “Young Lover” are poppier, faster and easier to jam to. But the album still features the classic heart-wrenching tracks like “Happy Birthday, Johnny,” where singer Annie Clark sheds it all and lets the listener in. The album is vulnerable, honest and sometimes haunting. Some of these songs simply won’t leave your head.

Sylvan Esso — What Now

If you were lucky enough to see Sylvan Esso at The Blue Note back in September, you know how fantastic this album is. What Now feels so natural, it seems like a continuation of the duo’s first album. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn put out an incredibly dynamic album featuring the high-energy songs like “Radio” that made them popular in the first place. It’s an album full of nostalgia and creates feelings that are relatable to everyone, especially in “The Glow” and “Signal.”

Ohmme — Ohmme

This Chicago-based duo released its first EP over the summer and made a stop at Cafe Berlin earlier this fall. Their rock has a very unique sound — sometimes it’s gritty, with songs like “Furniture,” while songs like “Bully Clouds” are deep and soft. These two women have incredible work to share with the world. Though they have released only seven songs, it’s clear that they will be making waves in the next few years.

Tame Impala — Currents B-Sides & Remixes

Following the release of 2015’s Currents, fans were eager to hear more from Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala. Lucky for them, Kevin Parker delivered just that in November. The EP features three previously unreleased songs as well as remixes of Currents’ “Reality in Motion” and “Let it Happen.” Hopefully that will be enough to tide everyone over until Tame Impala’s next full-length album.

Angel Olsen — Phases

Phases is a collection of covers, b-sides and demos from Angel Olsen’s catalog. These songs beautifully display her voice, which has a unique vibrato that sounds like it comes from the middle of the 20th century. This album is chilling and beautiful. She croons each word and creates a sense of authenticity in every song. “California” is beautifully detailed and conveys longing and love, while she makes Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest” fuzzy, faded and melancholy. This album is one that you can get lost in.

We also saw a lot of great local music this year. It’s Me: Ross released the single “The Knife,” which details a lost love that didn’t go as planned. We also saw two EPs from local artist emospacebird., Red Light on Love and Just Take Me. This project by Erin Dillard is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re looking to support local artists.

This barely scratches the surface of the great music year that we’ve had. We can only hope for this much new music from favorites in 2018.

Edited by Brooke Collier |

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