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DJ Stranger Waves writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2017: Mel Marquez

CHIRP Radio Best of 2017

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2017. Our next list is from DJ and Assistant Marketing Director Mel Marquez.

I've been with CHIRP for a little over a half a year and I'm excited to say that I'll be hosting my own show in the new year on Sunday mornings from 6-9am. You can get a taste of the kind of music I'll be playing from this list. My aim is to showcase as many women, queer folks, and people of color as possible because I think they can be underrepresented and their voices deserve to be heard. Also, I want to have lots of fun and shake up Sunday mornings a bit, so I hope you'll tune in. Here are my faves of 2017 in no particular order...


Cut 7" by No Men (Let's Pretend Records)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

No Men Cut 7I got to see this band live earlier this year when they opened for The Coathangers and they absolutely blew me away. Lead by the awesome and androgynous Pursley who takes on vocals and dual drums, their energy is frenetic and exciting. Fellow Chirper Sophie Holtzman had this to say about them in their review of this album, "This three-piece act is angry, femme-fronted, vocal supporters of LGBTQ, and are just fantastic artists with a unique sound." Agreed - check out the rest of the review and give them a listen here.



It's A Myth by Sneaks (Merge)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Sneaks It's A MythBrevity defines the music that Washington, D.C.’s Eva Moolchan makes as Sneaks. On her new album It's a Myth, Moolchan logs ten tracks across 18 minutes. Using just a bass and a drum machine, Sneaks' punk is bare and hypnotic. On her first record on Merge, she maintains her raw sound in the powerful space she built for herself. My favorite track on the record is "Hair Slicked Back," where she sings, “You think you’ve got a lot to say/No you think you need a bigger stage/You think I can’t contain my rage.” The words could be a taunt at the males that dominate DIY scenes.



Ash by Ibeyi (XL Recordings)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Ibeyi AshIbeyi is a French-Cuban musical duo consisting of twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz (both 22 years old). Their music has elements of Yoruba, French and Afro-Cuban, and fuses jazz with beats, and samples with traditional instruments. The standout track for me is "Deathless" which is a recount of Lisa-Kaindé Díaz's experience of being 16 years old in France and arrested by a police officer who assumes she's a drug dealer. The lyrics, “He said, he said/You’re not clean/You might deal/All the same with that skin,” are chilling, but the song turns into an elated mantra for civil rights warriors past and present - “Whatever happens, whatever happened/We are deathless!”



Soul Of A Woman by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings (Daptone)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings Soul Of A WomanSharon Jones sounds anything but fragile on Soul of a Woman, the last album she recorded before her death in 2016 of pancreatic cancer. She wails, she shouts, she rasps, she exhorts, she fills phrases with teasing curlicues and holds pure tones endlessly aloft. She went back on tour and recorded the album after extensive cancer treatment, during a period of remission and as the disease returned, but her voice and songs stay bold, gutsy and down-to-earth. This is a fitting farewell and a return to where her music began.



Powerplant by Girlpool (ANTI-)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Girlpool PowerplantPart twee folk, part ratty punk, California duo Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker make music that’s nostalgic for '90s riot grrrl, while also effusing millennial ennui. Despite the addition of a full band this go 'round, Powerplant still manages to sound like a collection of lullabies. "Your Heart" is full of fragile introspection (“I’m louder than the thoughts I think”). With only two songs passing the three-minute mark, this is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it angst, but deserving of your attention nonetheless.



Multi-Task by Omni (Trouble In Mind)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Omni Multi-taskMulti-Task couldn’t be a more perfect name for Omni’s sophomore LP and follow-up to 2016 debut Deluxe. It’s the musical and lyrical equivalent of everything happening at once. A fresh, quirky and catchy sound. I hear bits of Devo, The Cars, XTC, Talking Heads & Pylon. Good stuff.



Please Be Mine by Molly Burch (Captured Tracks)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Molly Burch Please Be MineThe Austin-based Molly Burch is a force to be reckoned with, albeit a subtle one. Her debut LP Please Be Mine was released in February and is not only one of the year’s best albums by a newcomer, but one of the best period. The record is heartfelt, intricate and unconditionally romantic. A perfect listen for chilly days where all you want to do is snuggle up with a blanket and some hot cocoa.



Live & Livin' It by Sinkane (City Slang)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Sinkane Live & Livin' ItThe work of London-born, Sudanese artist Ahmed Gallab, aka Sinkane, blends styles including sub-Saharan pop, shoegaze, and afro-rock. Aimed at the heart and the feet, the release of Sinkane’s new album couldn’t be more timely. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard.



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

Jay Som Everybody WorksOn her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte, 22, solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. Duterte is as DIY as ever—writing, recording, playing, and producing every sound beyond a few backing vocals—but she takes us places we never could have imagined, wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk. First track "Lipstick Stains" has her hushedly cooing, “I like the way your lipstick stains / the corner of my smile.” - It’s memorable and sweet.



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

Melkbelly Nothing ValleyThere’s an intense alchemy to everything that this Chicago band does. Melkbelly sounds like they’re being constantly pulled in four directions at once, like a rubber band that’s about ready to snap, which makes sense considering each of its four members come from completely different backgrounds. Between them, their past projects range from poppy folk to crisp indie-rock to harsh experimental noise, and all of those elements fuse together into their mix of domineering hooks and cooly-controlled chaos.


Honorable Mentions:

Angel Olsen - Phases
St. Vincent - Masseduction
Sylvan Esso - What Now
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice




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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2017

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