What Year Did You Say It Was?
2017 saw the return of some of the top indie bands of the last 20 years in fine form~~ Spoon, The National, LCD Soundsystem, The Hold Steady ( a new album please!), The New Pornographers, Grizzly Bear, Slowdive, etc. These bands are putting out some of the best music of their careers and fans and critics responded in kind (OK, there were a few former juggernauts who released new records in 2017 that didn’t work so well in my humble opinion ~see Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes).
As usual, there is no Top 40 in my Top 40, although maybe The War on Drugs is getting some mainstream radio play on the heels of their Grammy nod for Best Rock Album of the year? It’s well deserved.
But dig deeper and you’ll find a wealth of newer bands putting out fantastic music. England’s Archie Marshall (aka King Krule) is only 23 but put out one of the most flat out interesting records of the year, managing to sound like some space age combination of Joe Strummer and Miles Davis. Jazz elements also creep into Crumb’s music, another one of my favorite young bands.
Booking for Savannah Stopover has me spending a good part of each year listening to new music from up and coming bands and there’s a fair amount of worthy examples on here: Gus Dapperton, Cape Francis, Charles Fauna, Cut Worms, KOLARS, Sheer Mag, Men I Trust, Hazel English, Snail Mail, Nasau and Superorganism ( “Something For Your Mind” is an earworm). I’m excited that we’ve snagged at least 5 of these bands for Stopover 2018.
Most indie blogs/ radio stations/festivals don’t include much in the way of Americana/Country and Folk but I can’t get enough of it- in some ways, it’s my true north and as a genre, it’s on fire- with great new talent coming out of the woodwork and top producers, managers and labels lining up. Don’t miss the tracks from Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Colter Wall, and my favorite road song of 2017, “Highway Queen” by Nikki Lane.
And can we have a moment to pause and talk about Canada? While I wasn’t crazy about the new Arcade Fire record ( I just think they’re capable of better), the rest of the Canadian Music scene blew me away this year. Six of the 40 tracks on this list are from Canadian bands: The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Weaves, Destroyer, Men I Trust and Alvvays (who just killed it on their Sophomore album). Oh, Can-a-da!
I try not to get too, too hung up on which is song is #1 vs #6 or #13. In fact, I had a really hard time choosing from among the top 5 (what a breakout year for Big Thief!), but in the end the #1 nod goes to St. Vincent’s “New York”, one of those songs that punches you in the gut no matter how many times you’ve heard it. Never has the use of “mother fucker” sounded so damn sexy.
Enjoy! And get ready~~ 12 of these bands are playing Stopover 2018!