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algabor writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2017: Al Gabor

CHIRP Radio Best of 2017

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2017. Our next list is from CHIRP Radui volunteer Al Gabor.



#1   I See You by XX (Young Turks)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

XX I See YouI See You brilliantly combines the leanness of XX’s 2009 debut with the sampling magic of Jamie XX’s 2015 In Colour. The result is their best album yet.



#2   If All I Was Was Black by Mavis Staples (ANTI-)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Mavis Staples If All I Was Was Black“It’s like a rainy day/that never goes away” sings Mavis in “Who Told You That?” But Mavis is fighting back. On these songs, she shows that the fervor and drive shown by The Staple Singers during the '60s has not disappeared. An indispensable album for these times.



#3   Relatives in Descent by Protomartyr (Domino)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Protomartyr Relatives in DescentLead man Joe Casey sounds like a stand-up beat poet performing over ferocious shards of guitar noise, restless drumming and a prowling bass beat. The album seems to gain velocity as it goes on. A riveting, essential album.



#4   Slowdive by Slowdive (Dead Oceans)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Slowdive SlowdiveOn their first new album in 22 years, Slowdive hits a home run, hitting that sweet spot of taking the sound that we loved in the 90s and building on it. Nothing sounds like a rehash of previous albums, but a thoughtful evolution. The songcraft is high, and the new songs sounded great in concert. High praise, because Slowdive is one of the best live bands out there.



#5   Mental Illness by Aimee Mann (Superego)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Aimee Mann Mental IllnessThe production on Mental Illness is spare, with an acoustic guitar doing most of the heavy lifting. This stripped-down sound emphasizes the quality of Mann’s melodies, which are some of her finest.



#6   Three Futures by Torres (4AD)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Torres Three FuturesTorres zigged when everyone thought she would zag. Three Futures shows growth in every way. The gorgeous title song is one the year’s most haunting.



#7   The Order of Time by Valerie June (Concord)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Valerie June The Order of TimeWith a voice that sounds like it has been lifted off an Alan Lomax field recording, Valerie June can turn the simplest phrases into a revelation. Late at night, this is album I had to hear.



#8   Damn by Kendrick Lamar (Top Dog Entertainment)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Kendrick Lamar DamnKendrick Lamar contains multitudes.



#9   Colors by Beck (Capital)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Beck ColorsBeck set out to make an album with “a lot of light,” music that grabbed you right away, but stood up to repeated listens (think Stevie Wonder, Pet Sounds, late Beatles). I had some reservations during the first couple of listens (Too calculating? Too eager to please?), but the quality of the songs won me over.



#10   Sleep Well Beast by The National (4AD)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

The National Sleep Well BeastIt’s rare that a transitional album still delivers the goods, but The National pulls it off.


Also Need To Mention:

French Press by Rolling Blackouts
C.F. The Autobiography by Vic Mensa
Plunge by Fever Ray
Masseduction by St. Vincent
american dream by LCD Soundsystem
Revelations by Shamir




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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2017

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