Albums of 2017: Editor’s Pick

It's been a year for reflection and righting past wrongs. From holding musicians accountable to their actions and empowering victims to speak up through social media and supportive underground communities, music fans - if not the industry - have come to champion a long-overdue iron fist against abuse.

Accepting the quirks of my mental health has underpinned a personal battle and something that's not easily married with the life of a music blogger. Fortunately, the two timelines have found a common solution, and I've found solace in my own little pocket of noise.

To a backdrop of social media humdrum and the sometimes deafening scream of social anxiety, these 10 albums have filtered through my headphones to drown out the din of things ticking over in my brain. Here's to the all-powerful medicinal value of ginger tea, cats, and music, and the musicians who've helped me to find my path in 2017.

These are my top 10 albums of 2017:

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10\\ Siv Jakobsen - The Nordic Mellow

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"Siv Jakobsen [...] manages to make relatively straightforward situations like travelling to Brooklyn and breaking up with her boyfriend sound like a fairytale. "Like I Used To" [...] somehow echoes and builds throughout until it's firmly lodged in your brain, like a nursery song your mum used to sing to you but you've long since forgotten about. It'll stick with you for days."

(Read my full review of The Nordic Mellow here and my interview with Siv here.)

9\\ Marika Hackman - I'm Not Your Man

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"I'm Not Your Man is more than a homage to the music and art scenes that have influenced Hackman. This is the sound of a talented individual calling to rank, to produce a comprehensive snapshot of her mind. It's an obvious thing to say: music will always influence musicians. What matters and makes great art standout is the creator's ability to prioritise their own version of events."

(Read my review of Marika Hackman's I'm Not Your Man here.)

8\\ H Grimace - Self Architect

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Gutsy, raw punk with Pins-style urgency is backed by slow descents into sonic experimentation on Leeds band H Grimace's standout Self Architect. The London-based four-piece have swanned on and off our screen since their formation a few ago. With this album, they've claimed a permanent spot on my CD highlights rack (yes, I still have one of those).

7\\ Charly Bliss - Guppy

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In our Introducing article earlier this year, writer Paul Garry commented, "As is often the case with pop-punk, [this music is] created by young minds for a young audience." Well, this broad is getting long in the tooth, and she still loves the sound of Charly Bliss' Guppy. Think Slotface plus the best bits of Letters to Cleo, with an added twist of New Yorker macabre.

6\\ Jessica Boudreaux - No Fury

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"I was having relationship problems, [as I was] in love with someone who wasn’t reciprocating it," Jessica Boudreaux explains of the pop influence [behind No Fury]. "I wasn’t angry about it — I was sad, and my heart hurt. I didn’t feel the desire to write a loud rock song about it. I found myself wanting to listen to pop music like Whitney Houston and Carly Rae Jepsen and Tegan & Sara - stuff that’s emotional but still uplifting. It just seemed logical to try to funnel [my] emotions into [creating] something like that, rather than something like a Summer Cannibals record."

(Read my full interview with Jessica here.).

5\\ Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder

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The unmistakable sound of reigning champions coming back to claim their title. Enough said of this war cry from Broken Social Scene..

4\\ Big Thief - Capacity

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“[The songs have] changed involuntarily, through other people’s perception. They’re an undefinable blob of energy. If no one had paid much attention to them, they probably would have dwindled and died by now. People inject new energy and new life into them, and it keeps them alive.”

(Read my interview with Big Thief, written at the end of last year and just before the release of Capacity, here.).

3\\ Thumpers - Whipped & Glazed

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"With most of the songs underpinned by a dark, brooding tension, if Galore reached the heights of alt pop, Whipped & Glazed is in the basement. This album probably won't sit well with fans who turn to music for uplifting (and mindless, boring) escapism. Anyone who likes fuzzy indie pop meltdowns that last over four minutes with insanely catchy melodies (HI)... Well, get in the boat."

(Read my full review of Thumpers' Whipped & Glazed here.).

2\\ Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm

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"There’s a pivotal scene that closes out the first season of Spaced, the cult TV debut of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and director Edgar Wright, in which Tim has an epiphany waiting for his ex-girlfriend to arrive at the bar. “It's like walking in on yourself, you know? Like, ‘What are you doing?’ That's how I felt tonight feeling my heart miss a beat every time the door opened. ‘What the fuck are you doing?’” On her fourth album as Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s natural introspection transcends navel-gazing to place distance between herself and a toxic relationship, and the effect is both vituperative and life-affirming: in its most brutally honest scenes, we catch the Alabama native walking in on herself."

(Read Matthew Neale's bang-on review of Out in the Storm here.).

1\\ Joshua Burnside - Ephrata

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"Emerging singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside has taken the time to hone his craft, and his patience shows on debut album Ephrata. Borne out of the artist's native Northern Ireland, alongside travels to and from Scotland and Columbia, the full-length seamlessly combines elements of music that he's found across the globe, sometimes within the same track. But as much as the style of the album represents new beginnings for Burnside, Ephrata takes in the earworm melody that's punctuated his work since the release of his 2013 EP If You're Going That Way. Combined, the result is an impressive and year-defining release."

(Read my review of Ephrata here and my interview with Joshua Burnside here.)

Want more like this? Our Writers Poll will be released soon, and you can check out our Deputy Editor Matthew's Top 10 Albums of 2017 here.

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