1. Haim – Something To Tell You
There was a lot of expectations on the 3 Haim sisters to provide a solid follow up to their 2013 debut “Days Are Gone”, and they really delivered. The songwriting, performance, and production on “Something To Tell You” is so impactful and down right awesome. This is a powerhouse album from start to finish. It’s hard to find another record this year that I loved, re-played and sang along to as much as this one. HIGHLIGHTS: “Want You Back”, “Little Of Your Love”, “Ready For You”, “You Never Knew”, “Kept Me Crying”.
2. Seaway – Vacation
This record was a late in the year surprise for me. I interviewed some of the boys from Seaway on the Y108 Indie Show back in November, and really dug the songs enough to pick up the record. It’s evident from Track 1 that the band worked really hard on the production and songwriting of this album and it shows. Every song on the album is great and it’s a really fun catchy listen all the way through. Some say that pop punk is a faded genre, but when the songs are this good it’s worth re-visiting. HIGHLIGHTS: “Apartment”, “Neurotic”, “Lula On The Beach”, “Something Wonderful”, “Day Player”, “Car Seat Magazine”
3. Liam Gallagher – As You Were
As a lifelong Oasis fan, I knew that I would enjoy Liam Gallagher’s first solo effort, but I didn’t know I would enjoy it this much. Liam teamed up with some solid producers and songwriters to help flesh out his first record without Oasis or Beady Eye, and the results are simply spectacular. Liam’s voice hasn’t sounded this good in years, and the songs are all great. “As You Were”, along with Liam’s brother Noel’s solo record, is among the best music either Gallagher has ever put out. HIGHLIGHTS: “Wall of Glass”, “Greedy Soul”, “I Get By”, “Come Back To Me”, “Doesn’t Have To Be That Way”
4. Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
After the documentary/album combo of “Sonic Highways” from 2014, I was hoping that the Foos would abandon all the big ideas and just make a great record, and they did just that. Teaming up with producer Greg Kurstin was a bold move that definitely payed off. “Concrete and Gold” is everything you want from a Foos record while still pushing the band’s sound forward: great riffs, great melodies and a new focus on harmonies that gives the album a rich, heavy rock sound. HIGHLIGHTS: “Make It Right”, “La Dee Da”, “Dirty Water”, “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)”, “The Line”
5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon?
Yes, I am as shocked as you that my main man, Noel Gallagher, is at #5 on this list. I absolutely love this record, and rate it among some of Noel’s best solo work to date. Like a lot of the bands on this list, he teamed up with a new producer (David Holmes) to freshen up his sound and challenge his songwriting. And like the other bands on this list, it worked out. Noel’s solo work up to this point has been mid-tempo for the most part, but “Who Built The Moon?” is full of upbeat and joyous tracks, and his voice has never sounded better. HIGHLIGHTS: “Holy Mountain”, “Keep On Reaching”, “It’s A Beautiful World”, “She Taught Me How To Fly”, “If Love Is The Law”
6. New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick
I was never a huge fan of New Found Glory back when they were first hitting the scene in the early 2000’s, but I’ve been a huge fan of their recent material. I loved their 2014 record “Resurrection” and this is a worthy follow up. In an era where guitar bands with big guitar sounds are few and far between, New Found Glory provide the goods. The songs have nice big, crunchy guitars and the melodies stick in your head in the best way. Just like Seaway, New Found Glory prove that the pop punk genre is still alive and well in 2017. HIGHLIGHTS: “Your Jokes Aren’t Funny,” “Party On Apocalypse”, “Call Me Anti-Social”, “The Sound of Two Voices”, “Say It Don’t Spray It”
7. Weezer – Pacific Daydream
Weezer once again divided their fan base in 2017 with their 11th studio album, but I am firmly on the side of those who love it. I’ve been on the journey with Rivers Cuomo and company since the beginning, and this is another great stop on the journey. It’s a poppier, more electronic driven album but the songs are still awesome, and Rivers has never sounded better behind the mic. This is a true gem! HIGHLIGHTS: “Mexican Fender”, “Beach Boys”, “Feels Like Summer” “Happy Hour”, “Weekend Woman”
8. Incubus – 8
It’s been six years since the last full studio record from Incubus, and I was curious to see where they would go with their sound after the low key “If Not Now, When?” record from 2011. They definitely turned the amps back up again for this one and I think it’s their best album since “Morning View”. There are some really great Incubus moments on this album, and the production from Skrillex adds a lot of life to the tunes that you wouldn’t expect. Bands teaming up with new producers to make fresh sounds seems to be a running theme on this list! HIGHLIGHTS: “No Fun”, “Nimble Bastard”, “State of the Art”, “Glitterbomb”, “Familiar Faces”
9. Wavves – You’re Welcome
I love the fuzzed out, stoner rock that is Wavves, one of the hardest working indie bands out there. Everytime I listen to them I am transported to stoned out, sunny days in California and I love it. I’m not usually into noiser kinda rock, but the songs that Nathan Williams writes are so damn catchy that I can’t turn away. I love all their records and this is among my favs from Wavves. HIGHLIGHTS: “Daisy”, “You’re Welcome”, “Million Enemies”, “No Shade”, “Come To The Valley”
10. Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
Royal Blood is one of the newer bands out there that is keeping rock alive. These two fellas produce a sound that is heavy, sexy, and catchy. I liked their first album, but the songs on “How Did We Get So Dark” stand out a lot more, with tons of great melodies and copious amounts of fuzzed out bass/guitar riffs. The music just flat out rocks, and we need as much of that as possible going into 2018. HIGHLIGHTS: “How Did We Get So Dark”, “Lights Out”, “I Only Lie When I Love You”, “She’s Creeping”, “Hook Like & Sinker”
TOP 5 SONGS OF 2017
1. Hollerado – Born Yesterday
Canada’s own Hollerado wrote one of the catchiest rock songs of the year, and the album of the same name is awesome.
2. Fitness – Get Dead
The side project of Eve 6 frontman Max Collins released this song earlier in the year and it’s still a gem.
3. Phoenix – J Boy
Nobody does catchy electronic pop like Phoenix, and this song will get stuck in your head in the best way.
4. Day Wave – Something Here
I’m not that familiar with the rest of Day Wave’s music, but this song is a pop rock masterpiece.
5. Nine Inch Nails – Less Than
I haven’t kept up with NIN as much as I used to, but this is a really solid rock single from Reznor and Co.