I think I started with the wrong one (of four!) King Giz albums this year and it wasn't quite my bag, but this is a jazzy, eclectic, psychedelic romp. Much different than their other, noisier releases. It's got a clear 70's jazz vibe but also reminds me at times of some past releases by Unknown Mortal Orchestra or Tame Impala.
Best of 2017: 90-81
-90: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Sketches of Brunswick East
-89: Grandaddy - Last Place
This is a sensible piece of early 2000's indie rock that I'm far enough removed from now that it seems pretty welcome. Maybe mostly for nostalgic purposes, but I think this is still a pleasnt listen.
-88: Trevor de Brauw - Uptown
This album is 90% drone but I stuck around for the last 6 minutes or so when the guitar wakes up and does some cool stuff. Was mostly seeking a fix while waiting for the next album from his OTHER side project (non-Pelican) RLYR, who put out one of my faves of last year. The last bit of this gave me a little taste...
-87: Michael Chapman - 50
I first heard Michael Chapman on the excellent "Parallelogram" split series put out by Three Lobed a few years ago. An elder statesman of British folk, here he provides a set of rugged finger-picked songs that dabble with darkness and reflection on a long career with help from Steve Gunn.
-86: A Giant Dog - Toy
A Giant Dog continue their relentless streak of fun, glammy garage rock. It's singalong rock that doesn't ask too much of the listener but should generally keep you in a good mood.
-85: Shannon Lay - Living Water
This is a pretty, ethereal quiet folk record. Lands more on the maudlin side, which serves it well. Some tracks have kind of a Nico vibe.
-84: Daniel Romano - Modern Pressure
I cannot classify this music- it's kind of western in nature, pretty experimental in backing sounds, occasionally bombastic with kind of a weird spanish flair at times. It's never unpleasant, and moments are downright beautiful, but I never know where it's going.
-83: Land of Talk - Life After Youth
Returning after a 7 year break (but entirely new to me), this is a kind of fuzzy pop record of wisdom and contemplation.
-82: Lone Bellow - Walk into A Storm
This isn't quite as original or stirring to me as their previous efforts, but I prefer growth and change over rehashing a formulaic sound. The harmonies and enthusiasm are still there, and they experiment with a few different genre sounds that I think will be interesting to see live.
-81: Future Islands - The Far Field
I think this is an improvement on their massively popular "Singles" from a few years back, but the things that make it an improvement also make it a less immediately gratifying listen. I like the vibe, but it got lost in the shuffle for me this year.