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Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2017: Shawn Campbell

CHIRP Radio Best of 2017

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2017. Our next list is from Founder, General Manager, and DJ (Saturday 12-2pm) Shawn Campbell.

2017 was a year. Rather than dwell on the darker parts, though, I want to celebrate the great music that came out as we finally achieved the founding dream of the organization and launched our broadcast at 107.1FM. It's been so gratifying to see how much that still means to people, and I've been so happy to get to play these records (and tons more) on the terrestrial, as well as the internet, airwaves.


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

Half Gringa GruñonaThe album I listened to more than any other in 2017. Izzy Olive and company deliver a tough, intimate, timely record about identity and finding a comfortable place in an uncomfortable world.



#2   Just Give In / Never Going Home by Hazel English (Polyvinyl)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Hazel English Just Give In / Never Going HomeActually two EPs from the young Aussie recently transplanted to Oakland, both deliver satisfying, fuzzy dream pop filled with timeless 20-something angst. Am I crazy? Am I alive? Will I find love? The quarter-life crisis has never sounded so lovely.



#3   Uyai by Ibibio Sound Machine (Merge)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Ibibio Sound Machine UyaiA mix of West African funk and electro coming out of London, this album never failed to make me want to dance, but the lyrics take on far more serious issues than the dance floor, with a true global consciousness.



#4   The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Southeastern Records)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit The Nashville SoundA passionate, angry, deeply loving record that offers a good reminder that America's heartland doesn't consist solely of folks in MAGA hats, and that there's always been a lot more interesting music coming out of Nashville than what's played on mainstream country radio. Hope the High Road is a terrific rocker, and an anthem for 2017.



#5   Echo of Pleasure by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Rainbow)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Echo of PleasureI'm a sucker for the warm, soaring pop songs with great big choruses, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart always felt like my custom band, so a new record from them is cause for celebration even if, in this case, it's more of a Kip Berman solo effort and the highs don't hit quite the same heights. But the new songs still provided plenty of opportunity for me to pogo and throw my hands in the air when they hit Lincoln Hall this past summer.



#6   Bedouine by Bedouine (Spacebomb)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Bedouine BedouineA relaxed, self-confident debut from singer-songwriterAzniv Korkejian, there's an outside of time quality to the record -- it could've come out any time in the past 40 years, and its subtlety rewards multiple listens.



#7   A Deeper Understanding by The War on Drugs (Atlantic)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

The War on Drugs A Deeper UnderstandingMore spacious, soaring anthems from Adam Granduciel. This is a band I only came around to on the previous record, but I'm glad I did. Springsteen and Dylan have always been obvious touchstones, and there's never been anything wrong with songs that make you want to hit the open road in the middle of the night, top down, radio up, searching for transcendence in the American landscape.



#8   Infinite Worlds by Vagabon (Father/Daughter)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Vagabon Infinite WorldsAn uncategorizeable, highly personal, sometimes jarring record, Infinite Worlds wasn't always the album I was in the mood to put on, but it's a powerful, interesting debut that I'm glad was part of my 2017 listening diet.



#9   Antisocialites by Alvvays (Polyvinyl)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Alvvays AntisocialitesAntisocialites is the prototypical, "more mature" sophomore effort -- the songs aren't as immediate; the hooks aren't as plentiful as on Alvvays' first outing, and there's an underlying sense of melancholy that runs through many of the tracks -- but spend a little time with the record and the strengths of the songwriting shine through.



#10   Crybaby by Beach Bunny (self-released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Beach Bunny CrybabyMaybe it's wrong to include a three-song EP in your list of records of the year, but since this one showed up in my inbox over the summer, I've listened to these charming, well-crafted pop songs as much as anything else that's come my way this year shy of my #1 record. Really digging the warm Pacific coast vibes from this group of Chicagoans.


Also good this year:

Curtis Harding - Face Your Fear
Sacred Paws - Strike a Match
Allison Crutchfield - Tourist in This Town
Cupid Youth - CYEP
The National - Sleep Well Beast
St. Vincent - Masseduction




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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2017

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