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Lady Amelia writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2017: Amelia Hruby

CHIRP Radio Best of 2017

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2017. Our next list is from DJ and Features Director Amelia Hruby.

I'm on air bright and early every Tuesday morning, and each week from 8-9am CT I host Girl Power Hour -- an hour-long set featuring music by women, femmes, LGBTQIA+ individuals, non-binary and gender non-conforming persons, and girl power allies. I started Girl Power Hour over two years ago now, but with this year's political climate/chaos, I feel like the effort to center marginazlied voices has been more important than ever. Plus, it's a blast to host and has helped me make the best of challenging times. This 2017 best of list is a compilation of 2017's most-played Girl Power Hour anthems. They're in no particular order (because competitive hierarchies are for patriarchy, etc.), but I reserved the first half of the list for some of my favorite locals.

 

Gruñona by Half Gringa (self-released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Half Gringa GruñonaHalf Gringa is a project from Izzy Olive, one of the most genuine, thoughtful people I've met in the Chicago music scene. This album manages to be both blunt and cerebral, warm and sharp, and the line "I mistook my loneliness for bravery" (off the album's penultimate track "The Architect") has soundtracked / made sense of some of my most challenging moments from the past year. I spoke with Izzy about the album and her "half gringa" heritage for CHIRP podcasts almost a year ago now. You can listen here.

 

 

Midnight Moonlight EP by Ravyn Lenae (Atlantic)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Ravyn Lenae Midnight Moonlight EPI'm not sure I've heard anything as smooth as Ravyn Lenae's music this year. The soulful hum of this brief EP creates a powerful yet soft atmosphere that hearkens back to my favorite '90s R&B while feeling new and fresh. Meeting her in person, I was thrilled to see that her presence carries the same vibration as her music. You can hear our conversation about colors, auras, and graduating high school here on the CHIRP podcast.

 

 

Reaching For Indigo by Circuit Des Yeux (Drag City)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Circuit Des Yeux Reaching For IndigoI feel like I've always been a bit on the outside with Haley Fohr's projects. I've admired her as an artist and respected her music, but that little thing inside that just clicks when music really moves you was never there for me. Until this album, that is. Reaching for Indigo is a force to be reckoned with, and more importantly perhaps, it's a forceful reckoning. I haven't interviewed Haley (sadly), but this interview with her from Loud and Quiet magazine really opened my eyes to her process and intensity.

 

 

Nothing Valley by Melkbelly (Wax Nine)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Melkbelly Nothing ValleyMiranda Winters is probably my favorite frontwoman in noise-rock right now, and it's been a real joy to see Melkbelly finally get the national attention they deserve this year. Nothing Valley is an exciting step forward for the band, and I really can't wait to see where 2018 takes them. I interviewed Melkbelly at the beginning of 2016, and you can hear that here.

 

 

Suck It Up by So Pretty (self-released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

So Pretty Suck It UpThe world needs more feminist punk, and I'm really glad to share a city with these snarky rockers. My favorite track is probably "Chub Rub," their ode to summer for us not-so-skinny girls featuring the lyric "We don't skinny dip, we chunky dunk."

 

 

Everybody Works by Jay Som (Polyvinyl)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Jay Som Everybody WorksI love the way Melina Duterte writes hook-heavy, indie pop/rock that basks in early-twenties glory/hardship while also transcending those narratives. To me, her songs reflect the small romances we find in this capitalist hellscape we inhabit and the often paintful joy we take in doing simple things like riding the bus (see "The Bus Song") and working toward our art (in "Everybody Works"). Hear CHIRP volunteer Marites Velasquez interview Jay Som on the CHIRP podcast here.

 

 

Take Me Apart by Kelela (Warp)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Kelela Take Me ApartI have had many, many good nights with this album since it came out in October. That's probably all I'd like to say about that on the internet.

 

 

Swear I'm Good At This by Diet Cig (Frenchkiss)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Diet Cig Swear I'm Good At ThisListening to Diet Cig reminds me of being 19 (or maybe 23) and feeling so entirely free that I also felt more lost and confused than I'd ever been. Swear I'm Good At This is saccharine at times, and perhaps masquerading as more punk than it should (Pitchfork panned it, go figure), but something in this album really speaks to someone I once was, and that landed it a prominent place in my "most played" list on iTunes this year.

 

 

CTRL by SZA (Top Dawg)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

SZA CTRLPetition to kick all men out of music and reinstate SZA as Top Dawg (see what I did there?) reigning over us all. I love this album. We all love this album. Let's stop reading best of lists and go listen to it again right now.

 

 

Melodrama by Lorde (Republic)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Lorde MelodramaI debated for quite a while what was going to get 10th place on this list. Any one of the honorable mentions easily could have been here, but when I really can't make a decision about "best" albums, I go back and look at the numbers--number of plays that is-- and Melodrama was, by far, my most-played album of 2017. I'm not sure I ever even played a track from it on air at CHIRP (oops), but if you were in my car the second half of this year then you heard Lorde at some point. Highlight of the album for me (and Sadie DuPuis) is definitely "Writer in the Dark."

 

Honorable Mentions

Alvvays, Antisocialites
Torres, Three Futures
Phoebe Bridgers, Stranger in the Alps
Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds from Another Planet
Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Navigator
Fever Ray, Plunge
Sheer Mag, Need to Feel Your Love

 

 

 

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2017

Next entry: CHIRP Radio Best of 2017: Mike Bennett

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