Best of 2017: 60-51

-60: Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White - Gentlewoman, Ruby Man

None of the Spacebomb releases have really been winning me over lately- production ain't everything. But man, this is some production. It's a set of covers from across the spectrum, all filtered through Matthew E. White's signature Richmond sound. Some hit more than others, but no matter what, this is a smooth listen. 

-59: Son Volt - Notes of Blue

Always getting lost in the shadow of that other band that came out of Uncle Tupelos' breakup, Son Volt puts out a brand of whiskey-soaked americana that has never really called out to me, but there are some beautiful forlorn tracks on here. Reminiscent of last year's Drive By Truckers masterpiece, minus the overt political tones. 

-58: Hurray For The Riff Raff - The Navigator

This is masterful, moving storytelling, simultaneously politically and musically ambitious. Warrants multiple listens, probably with a lyric sheet in front of you (if you're into that sort of thing). Pa'lante is a showstopper. 

-57: The XX - I See You

Three albums in, the XX are searching for new ways to tell the same stories. This one is a little more lush (reminiscent of Jamie XX's solo album a year or two back), but it still keeps the sparse chillness that defines them. 

-56: Jay Som - Everybody Works

This is a drifty/dreamy partially anxious album that I liked a lot more after seeing her live this summer. The melodies are effortless, but don't let that trick you into thinking they arent' there. 

-55: Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone

This is a sensitive, charming British rap affair with some jazzy instrumental beats and a mostly smooth flow. Comes off kind of toothless at times, but I found myself putting it on when I needed something easy to listen to.

-54: Mount Kimbie - Love What Survives

Mount Kimbie has always been a band whose songs seem to lack a narrative / focus, and I'm ok with that as long as the sounds remain this intricate and interesting. I've never really found much purchase with frequent collaborators King Krule and James Blake, but their cameos provide interesting contrast to the looping, glitchy backbeats that make up this album.

-53: Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart of Life

With this record, Japandroids prove that they can create more explosive rock masterpieces, but it comes off a little heavy-handed. The power is still there, but the energy feels slightly forced, like they are trying to replicate something they did more naturally on a previous album. Still glad to have it.

-52: Colter Wall - Colter Wall

Discovered this late in the year- hard to say if it's going to be something that I regret putting so far back but we'll just have to see how it ages. This guy is young, much younger than his voice lets on, and is real-deal classic country out of northern Canada. I'm very captivated, and if this one doesn't burrow deeper into my head, I wouldn't be surprised if his next release is a top 15 for me.

-51: Torres - Three Futures

On her third album, Torres reinvents her sound (again!). Gone are the angsty guitar ballads of her first album and the sorrowful introspective tracks of her second. This is an overtly sexual electronic opus, equal parts unsettling and confident.