Like many music and arts blog tends to do, we’ve put together an end-of-year list, featuring a selection of top 20 songs. It’s a diverse variety of artists, ones that you probably won’t find on the Coachella 2018 line-up.
Tha Black Angels – “Half Believing”
We featured “Currency” on The Chelsea Tribe, as soon as the group released their video, because it features trippy visuals and was clearly a strong showing from the Austin band, who’ve been consistently releasing exceptional albums for over a decade now. “Half-Believing”, off of Death Song, is something a shitty band like Of Monsters and Men might have been going for, but were unable to reach. Death Song is a solid slisten, end to end.
Mark Lanegan Band – “Beehive”
Friend of The Chelsea Tribe, Martyn LeNoble, contributed bass to Mark Lanegan’s latest album, Gargoyle. While Martyn’s bass lines notably shine, we see Lanegan veer into some dark territory and themes. His distinctive voice is fitting and continues to be full, amidst many indie contemporaries. “Beehive” will sting you with its pounding drums:
Depeche Mode – “Where’s the Revolution”
It’s been 4 years since Depeche Mode’s prior album, Delta Machine. The latest, Spirit, is not a major departure in sound, but is rather a testament to group’s experimentation since 2005’s Playing the Angel. We are seeing more contributions from Dave Gahan within the group, but overall, it’s a sound fans have come to expect under Martin Gore’s guidance. Thematically, the lyrics for “Where’s the Revolution” hint at the political turmoil we’ve seen from the rise of Trump, etc. Accordingly, the video is directed by their long-time collaborator, Anton Corbijn.
The Horrors – “Press Enter to Exit”
“Press Enter to Exit” should have been the lead single off the Horrors latest album, V, as that particular track is like the best hip-hop song that isn’t really a hip-hop song. That aside, “Machine” was one of the first songs to be previewed off of V and the video, along with the album cover, feature some interesting 3D aesthetics. Overall, the album is a well-produced effort by the British band and should not be overlooked for 2017.
MGMT – “Little Dark Age”
Receiving a lot of airplay on SirusXM’s XMU, it’s about damn time that MGMT returned with something as electronically pleasing and / or accessible as their material off of Oracular Spectacular. “My Little Dark Age” is catchy and should hopefully indicate a strong fourth album by the group, but we shall see…
Sunflower Bean – “I Was a Fool”
Essentially, this lead single by the New York trio, Sunflower Bean, sounds exactly like an old Fleetwood Mac song and it may be easy to dismiss it as such, but it grows on you after repeat listening. With keen pop sensibilities, Sunflower Bean still rocks hard, having just toured with the Pixies. The band knows how to fill a large stage and are seriously worth catching live, as I did for a second time at Desert Daze this past year.
Chelsea Wolfe – “16 Psyche”
Even better than many tracks off 2015’s highly praised album, Abyss, which of course made our list for that year. Chelsea Wolfe will be touring with industrial icons, Ministry, for a slew of shows in 2018, including Levitation. Chelsea Wolfe’s Hiss Spun is an absolutely phenomenal album, end to end. Heavy, dark and worth an entire listen. “16 Psyche”, one of the heavier tracks from the album, also features Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age on guitar.
Slowdive – “Star Roving”
It’s quite an astonishing feat that Slowdive has managed to reform all original members and put out a new album, 22 years after the previous one. It has been a warm reception for the English shoe-gazers and “Star Roving” was a nice taste of 2017’s long-awaited self-titled album.
METZ – “Cellophane”
Plenty of people throw around the buzz-word “Nirvana” when describing METZ. So much so that perhaps it indirectly motivated the group to seek out In Utero producer, Steve Albini, for their third album, Strange Peace, but that’s just my conspiracy theory. If the group didn’t already nail the heavy 90s alternative sound, shit just got very real with Albini getting behind the mixing desk. Appropriately enough, the band is signed to Sub Pop and apparently, Liam Gallagher is an avid fan.
Las Robertas – “Waves of the New”
Speaking of Nirvana, Las Robertas is Costa Rica’s vastly underrated indie rock trio. Raw, stripped-down rock from a heart-warming place. This a band working their ass off and finally getting around to making a towering “wave” in the U.S.A. Waves of the New is fresh with dominant female-fronted vocals, crushing guitar fuzz and trademark high-tempos.