Tag: Mac Demarco

7 Albums To Kick Off Your Summer

Favorites, Music Catalogs June 25, 2018

(Photo by Louis Cano)

School has let out, responsibility has lessened, and it’s getting a lot hotter outside — summer is finally here!! To prepare you for the relaxation, love, euphoria and adventure that this season has to offer, we are sharing some albums to kick off your summer. For everything from barbecues to star gazing at night, we’ve got you covered. We hope you’re as excited for summer as we are!



Mac DeMarco – 2

Mac DeMarco’s 2 will forever be an indie classic and especially an amazing one to listen to during the summer. Honestly, what Mac DeMarco album isn’t perfect for the summer though?? As most of his music, 2 has a way of making you feel nostalgic about those warm nights spent outside, those sunny days at the beach, all those concerts and music festivals you went to, and your summer crush, strangely even if you didn’t actually experience any of those things. The feel-good album is famous for its ode to Mac’s favorite cigarette brand, its sappy acoustic love songs like “Still Together,” and dreamy california-esque guitar riffs in “Freaking Out the Neighbourhood.” – Ashley Flamenco



Wonder Girls – Why So Lonely

The Wonder Girls’ ability to channel summer so cast fully on Why So Lonely is an amazing feat itself, capturing the summer vibe with spot on friendly tunes. They draw from 60’s & 70’s psychedelic rock influences as well as reggae to deliver a fun colorful EP that boasts with charm as well as persona and presence. They leave us with their catchiest melodies to date that shine brightly on a perfect summer day. – Miguel Anderson


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Tame Impala – Lonerism

Lonerism takes you on a colorful psychedelic trip that you don’t want to end. Powerful drums, lush keyboard, and John Lennon-esque vocals drained out just enough by the sound are used in conjunction to transport you to a much brighter and happier world filled with imagination. With Kevin Parker’s outstanding production and through classic rock influences, each song is like a warm pop of color. Ideally you’re laying in the warm grass, watching the clouds while listening to this. – Ashley Flamenco



The Avalanches – Since I Left You

No album is as transportive to summertime as Since I Left You. The infamous Avalanches record could take you to any summer scenario, just picture it. Envision the beach, the shady tree you were laying under, the family barbecue, the street party, and the hangouts with friends; just utter nostalgia. The warm sentiment is emphasized throughout the use of sophisticated samples layered upon each other. You get an obtuse mix of songs that match each other so wonderfully. You can get a simple 808 loop, a violin number, some synths, tropical beats, and magic voice samples that all fit together like the puzzle pieces to beautiful summer memories. The elaborate scheme is what makes Since I Left You the perfect record to play when you’re craving summer.



Bane’s World – Drowsy

Now, this isn’t your typical upbeat summer album; like the title suggests, it’s Drowsy — slow, nice and, mellow. It’s the type of album you listen to when you’re finally feeling at ease or you can’t get that special someone out of your head. Drowsy has this great way of depicting the freedom and liberation that summer brings through taking the relaxed route. The basis for most of the record is lo-fi guitar riffs combined with vocals that sound as if they were recorded underwater. And the infatuation filled lyrics only add to the melodiousness of Drowsy. This is definitely something you want to play at late night picnics at the park with your friends or with a date. – Ashley Flamenco



The Growlers – Chinese Fountain

It should not be a surprise that the kings of Beach Goth made it onto this list. Any album by The Growlers will easily remind you of sunny days spent at the beach but Chinese Fountain does this best. The surf rock magic behind this album is great at portraying the dreamy and never-ending summer atmosphere that is often associated with California. If you’re ever driving down Sunset Blvd. on a hot day, this is the album you’ll want to play. – Ashley Flamenco



Kanye West – Graduation

What kicks off summer better than a graduation ceremony? Kanye West’s Graduation replicates summer matched by the feelings at a graduation. While listening to the album, the listener is able to feel like they’re walking across the stage again. The feelings of accomplishment, empowerment, and achievement come back to the listener as they are pushed a tenfold by dreamy and colorful production. Anthems like “Stronger,” “Good Life,” and Champion” exude this energy, showcasing a simple story of rags to riches that anyone can reconcile with. – Miguel Anderson


The 50 Best Albums Of 2017

Favorites, Music Catalogs January 3, 2018

2017 started off a bit slow for music lovers, it didn’t really start picking up until the later months but once it did, we were gifted with tons of grand and surprising releases from everyone from Kendrick Lamar to King Krule. 2017 saw musicians make music about life intertwined with politics, capturing ideas in a changing nation. Themes of self-appreciation and empowerment became more apparent in music, along with more personal and intimate themes. This year, so many innovative changes were made by artists that lots of listeners definitely weren’t expecting. Hip-hop and Rap really proved to be a force in music while we saw a big rise in the indie scene, having an interesting set of strings pushed on it. We believe it’s safe to say that 2017 was an excellent year for music.



50. Toro y Moi – Boo Boo

Label: Carpark
Release date: July 7, 2017

Boo Boo is an emotional roller coaster into Toro y Moi’s personal life and his process with dealing with newfound success. He contemplates in retrospect, relationships, self-discovery, and mediocrity on stellar funk & groove production that shines with synths and definitive 80’s production giving off an ambient and dreamy yet nostalgic atmosphere. From what Toro y Moi has released in the past, Boo Boo is his most cohesive and personal album yet, resting as a great album for the chill wave movement and hypnagogic pop scene. – Miguel Anderson



49. Drake – More Life

Label: Republic / OVO Sound / Young Money
Release date: March 18, 2017

Drake’s More Life is a collection of songs that were disguised as an album but were really apart of a playlist. As a follow up to views, More Life is a refresher, arriving with a warm welcome and applaud. More Life follows Drake who is curious in different sounds and a different direction. He pulls from his thorough OVO team and catalogue to bring us a variety of different songs that cover R&B, trap, dancehall, and pop, which all settle down to a nice blend through Drake’s versatile pop-rap and his collaborators who don’t outshine him. – Miguel Anderson



48. Moonchild – Voyager

Label: Tru Thoughts
Release date: May 26, 2017

Jazzy R&B trio, Moonchild, return with a more subtle, mature, dreamy effort about the innocent and lustful intimacies of a relationship that go beyond a romantic one. It’s more light-hearted, but light-hearted in a way that has aged, putting down infatuation and exhibiting true love. Lead singer, Amber Navran, sings beautifully with an added style of soul to blend in with the jazzy and R&B instrumentation that surrounds her built by Max Byrk and Andris Mattson who switch off between keyboards, flutes, trumpet, and saxophone. Voyager comes off as therapeutic and calming, calling on mellow romantic tunes to fuel it. – Miguel Anderson



47. Miguel – War & Leisure

Label: RCA / ByStorm Entertainment
Release date: December 1, 2017

War & Leisure is faintly different from the intense sensual R&B that Miguel is widely known for, it’s more summer-y and light-hearted with infusions of pop that are an enjoyable change from his earlier work. The album definitely has a bit of a political side to it, thus the “War” part of the title, but it covers politics in a subtle way that’s not as dark as many other albums we’ve heard this year. And the “Leisure” section of the record is very apparent in the chill funky tunes that formulate it. War & Leisure is a laid-back groovy psychedelic album that moderately alters Miguel’s usual style while balancing and keeping in with some of the romantic passion we know and love from his music. – Ashley Flamenco



46. Sabrina Claudio – About Time

Label: SC Entertainment
Release date: October 5, 2017

From uploading covers to YouTube to releasing her first full length project, Sabrina has truly outdone herself with this collection of songs. The mixtape kicks off with an alluring intro, “About Time (Intro),” where she talks about changes that will and have taken place throughout her life. Each song touches on the subject of time in a different unique way whether she’s singing about how long a relationship will last, how many times she’s made excuses, or the amount of time her and her lover have to develop a stronger relationship. The mixtape is a mash-up between R&B, jazz, bossa nova, samba, and soul which is one of the factors that make this project so different from anything else released this year. Sabrina Claudio is one of the names you’ll see more often in the upcoming years, she’s only just begun her musical journey. – Louis Cano



45. J.I.D – The Never Story

Label: Interscope / Dreamville
Release date: March 10, 2017

Dreamville’s J.I.D was rap’s breakout artist this year, cementing and establishing his presence with one album. The kid shows that he isn’t here to play games, but to take the crown. Simply put, on his debut, he shows that he understands the rap game and the economics that come with it, he understands flow, bars, delivery, and versatility (going personal while having definite club bangers). His raspy unique voice and his mysterious presence make him come out as Dreamville’s latest prodigy, creating a lane for rap artists whose ideal isn’t always “lyricist.” – Miguel Anderson



44. Zola Jesus – Okovi

Label: Sacred Bones
Release date: September 8, 2017

Okovi feels like a thunderbolt of dramatic instrumentation and heart wrenching bass, striking the listener at the right moment for the arrival of her deep moving vocals which recall a warrior cry. She implements a minimalist approach to using strings and hard industrial production to carry her voice to the grandest extents. Over the hitting production, there are hints of lightness which Zola Jesus puts in EDM and electro-pop, all of which seem like a great return Zola Jesus takes and a grand new chapter she is opening. – Miguel Anderson



43. Lil B – Black Ken

Label: BasedWorld
Release date: August 17, 2017

Since Mac Dre died, the hyphy train has been taking a slow ride down the tracks with only little to keep it moving. The Bay Area can thank HBK members for moving that train, but only slowly. But recently, Lil B has been reviving the hyphy movement, moving that train faster, and any Bay Area native can appreciate that. Lil B is utterly funny and self made on Black Ken, using production style that is identifiably Bay Area-esque. His flow is like no other, disagreeing with the production that plays under it but also matching so weirdly well, while calling out the best of the Bay Area and his upbringing. Black Ken will make us want to shake our dreads and do the thizzle dance at the side show. – Miguel Anderson



42. Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe

Label: Rough Trade
Release date: September 4, 2016

About a year ago, Princess Nokia released the standard edition of 1992 Deluxe, this year she put out the highly anticipated deluxe with 8 new songs and reworked versions of a few others. 1992 Deluxe is all about female empowerment, women of color, loving yourself, self-acceptance, pride in your culture, brujeria, and much more. To celebrate the release of the album, Nokia put out a visual for Flava which had a beautiful intro about the features women of color have and how others pay thousands just to look like them, an example of the powerful statements that encompass her music. Nokia isn’t your typical rapper, she has sick flows and is a lyrical genius. While other rappers rap about the same things, Nokia takes it to a whole other level with this album. – Louis Cano



41. Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up

Label: Nonesuch
Release date: June 16, 2017

After a six year hiatus, Fleet Foxes returns with Crack-Up, an album rich in folk instrumentation that transports you to a freeing nature-like atmosphere. The album deals with the concepts of self-discovery and the overcoming of life’s obstacles, a voyage that frontman, Robin Pecknold went on during his break from producing music. Crashing heavy guitar riffs that create traditional sounds and the constant changes in tempo on different tracks are what orchestrate the liberating feeling that the album brings; Fleet Foxes have made quite a comeback with Crack-Up. – Ashley Flamenco



40. Big Thief – Capacity

Label: Saddle Creek
Release date: June 9, 2017

Capacity comes from a place that is dark with it’s desolate folk instruments brimming over passionate unfiltered raw vocals and intense storytelling. Adrianne Lenker captures life’s profanities and it’s grandeur intimacies such as violence, sex, relationships, and growing up, all of which make Big Thief’s take on life honest. Capacity is personal and bittersweet, a bigger step for Big Thief that pushes them past contemporaries, brushing out fancy guitar work and calling for grandeur storytelling. – Miguel Anderson



39. HOMESHAKE – Fresh Air

Label: Sinderlyn
Release date: February 3, 2017

Fresh Air is Peter Sagar’s most sensual and sultry work, using affectionate lyrics and chill R&B influenced sounds to capture experiences of love and relationships. Listening to this album definitely feels like taking a breath of fresh air; it’s brisk, invigorating and allows you to take a moment to sit back and relax. In terms of instrumentation and the laid-backness that the album gives off, Fresh Air isn’t much different from most of Sagar’s past work however, this does not make it any less favorable. – Ashley Flamenco



38. Moses Sumney – Aromanticism

Label: Jagjaguwar
Release date: September 22, 2017

Aromanticism lives in its own world, created by a soulful falsetto backed by dreamy synths, theatrical instrumentation, and harmonious guitar creating a certain ambiance and ethereal experience for the listener, further putting Aromanticism on a cloud far from any other’s reach. Aromanticism examines loneliness, calling the need for intimacy and being a study for an aromantic-like identity. It exudes intimacy, as that’s what it calls for, but praises solitude. – Miguel Anderson


37. GoldLink – At What Cost

Label: RCA
Release date: March 24, 2017

Vibey feel-good electronic beats in front of hooking rap verses devise what Goldlink coins as “future-bounce,” the style that composes At What Cost. Songs centering around relationships, flings, hookups, and lustful attraction build on the fun carefreeness of the album that electronic pulses produce throughout the music, making it the perfect soundtrack to any dance-party. Contributions from a multitude of artists like Brent Faiyaz, Kaytranada, and Steve Lacy only amplify the excellent futuristic production of At What Cost. It isn’t typical to see anodic music combined with rap but that’s what makes At What Cost so ahead of its time, setting new standards for rap artists. – Ashley Flamenco



36. Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

Label: Atlantic / TSNMI
Release date: January 27, 2017

A lot of good music comes after a struggle and turmoil, Kehlani’s journey with SweetSexySavage is no different. She was able to turn over inner-city kid upbringings, unhealthy relationships, and the journey of self-discovery into refreshing pop filtered R&B songs about worthiness and self-respect with an unapologetic attitude on her well reflective debut. She soars and triumphs and isn’t afraid of vulnerability even when shes down to her lowest points which make SweetSexySavage’s most personal moments so savory. SweetSexySavage allows the listener to get a glimpse of Kehlani’s world that we hadn’t heard or seen before. – Miguel Anderson



35. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

Label: Captured Tracks
Release date: May 5, 2017

This Old Dog is Mac’s most personal album yet, leaving behind the goofiness, slight immaturity and reminiscing of his “salad days” that typically surround his music. On This Old Dog, Mac opens up about his fear of growing older (hence the album title), discusses the uncertainties of love and relationships, and dealing with depression and the pain of knowing that he’s losing his father. The album’s subject matters may not be so cheerful but, using delightful acoustic guitar and lots of synth, Mac still manages to continue with the wonderful lightheartedness that we’re used to hearing from his work, making it so enjoyable. – Ashley Flamenco



34. Alvvays – Antisocialites

Label: Polyvinyl / Transgressive
Release date: September 8, 2017

The Canadian quintet on their sophomore release has produced their most memorable and best work yet, continuing the potential and endless wonder feel that was captured on their debut. “Dreams Tonite” captures that wonder and memorability, using a well worked pop frame that fuses dream, jangle, and indie-pop altogether. Antisocialites is short and sweet, using the best from the group to create innocent light-hearted melodies and fun upbeat infectious pop songs. – Miguel Anderson



33. Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life

Label: Interscope
Release date: July 21, 2017

One cannot simply listen to Lust For Life and not cry towards the end of the album. This is her most personal album ever where she lets listeners in on her life and expresses her thoughts on this insane world we’re living in. On it, she worked with legends like Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon. This album touches on topics like freedom, love, growth, change, strength and much more. And it closes with the most powerful uptempo track, “Get Free,” where Lana sings about being liberated from a dark space she once was in to moving into a more positive space. Lust For Life is a 180 flip from her debut album, Born To Die, she’s in a different mindset now. Lana has grown personally and musically, it’s reflected on this album and will do the same on upcoming projects. – Louis Cano



32. Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives

Label: Warp
Release date: September 8, 2017

An album that is primarily instrumental isn’t always easy to pull off, it can quickly become boring, but Mount Kimbie definitely keeps their listeners entertained on Love What Survives. They manage to master a transition from their older typical simply electronic work to something that is much more instrumental. And features like King Krule and James Blake help exemplify Mount Kimbie’s style change, backing up instrumentals with vocals, providing breaks from the solely instrumental tracks of the record. The slight electronic ambience that Love What Survives produces is what makes it so instrumentally alluring. – Ashley Flamenco



31. Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel

Label: Asylum
Release date: March 10, 2017

In Number 1 Angel, it seems that Charli XCX has finally found her style of pop after years of experimenting with different types: pop-rock, electro-pop, synth-pop, and dance. It seemed that she was never able to fully master one of those genres however, she has now found her lane alongside PC production and help from SOPHIE and A. G. Cook who has synced her style and energy perfectly. Her constructed industrial and experimental pop world is a great place for her to let out her emotions further develop her sound that boasts with glitz, bass, and loud acute techno glitch-pop queues. – Miguel Anderson



30. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Label: Sub Pop
Release date: April 7, 2017

Father John Misty takes listeners on a satirical journey with Pure Comedy, making a well-deserved mockery of the American political sphere. This is certainly a change from the affectionate I Love You, Honeybear but a good one that utilizes despairing piano and lots of acoustic guitar (as per usual) to accompany the misery-filled lyrics that compose Pure Comedy. As depressing as it is to be reminded of the fear and division that has plagued the U.S., the album is actually quite comedic and refreshing to hear. Considering the state of the country, it’s something that was definitely needed this year, not only to provide some sort of comfort and make people laugh a bit but also to remind them that there is wrong on both political sides and that it’s important for people to come together during a time like this. – Ashley Flamenco



29. Jay Som – Everybody Works

Label: Polyvinyl / Double Denim
Release date: March 10, 2017

Jay Som’s debut, Everybody Works, is an enduring and relatable work of art that is all Melina Duterte. It shares its moments of intimacy and sensibility with the listener taking us into Jay Som’s uniquely crafted world of rough indie and dream-pop. Everybody Works showcases Duterte’s best, starting from her personal and honest songwriting showcased throughout every track, to the guitar solo on “One More Time, Please,” and to her soft singing which bounces beautifully off acoustics. Everybody Works is beautifully refreshing and comfortable in it’s honesty. – Miguel Anderson



28. Jlin – Black Origami

Label: Planet Mu
Release date: May 19, 2017

Black Origami is the final draft of JIin’s work which he developed rightfully so and picks right where he left off on Dark Energy. It’s a dark hyperbreed monster of production that is complex and vastly layered. Jlin uses a variety of different elements such as different production techniques, varied samples, and a diverse range of instruments intermixed which layer atop of each other building steady paces and delivering epic crescendos that get more grandeur through every track. Black Origami is ever so pressing and exciting, taking abrupt swift turns that leave the listener curious for what Jlin has in store for us next. – Miguel Anderson



27. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Label: Dead Oceans
Release date: July 14, 2017

Soft Sounds From Another Planet intimately captures the process of grief and recovery experienced after a loss in a way that is beautifully vulnerable. After losing her mother, Michelle Zauner began making music as a way to help her cope; Soft Sounds From Another Planet, her second project, deals with her healing process and her becoming more at peace with the concept of death. Inspired by the Mars One Project, Zauner uses a heavy mix of dream-pop and shoegaze to produce ambient sounds and plays guitar chords that make her music incredibly reminiscent of 90s alternative-rock bands such as Mazzy Star and Hole. Soft Sounds From Another Planet will definitely cause listeners to think about death but the beauty in it is that it will also remind them to appreciate life a little more. – Ashley Flamenco



26. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

Label: Atlantic
Release date: August 25, 2017

You can be lost in The War On Drugs’ music, they have a charm that is unmatched supported by dreamy folk-americana instrumentation, layers of rich synths, and passionate vocals creating a vibrant soundscape. A Deeper Understanding is no different from that. It’s a step forward, expansive on influence and is timeless, moving the listener to another atmosphere filled with a beautiful rush and driving melodies. Adam Granduciel’s craftsmanship shows on A Deeper Understanding, an album aware of its roots and that’s breathtakingly new. – Miguel Anderson



25. Milo – Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?!

Label: Ruby Yacht
Release date: August 10, 2017

Poet, philosopher, and pioneer of the underground hip-hop scene, Milo, is back extending his reach into the world of abstract and conscious hip-hop to make a more personal and intimate side of him shown. Bits of spacey cloud rap, music samples, and classic hip-hop beats run the show, while Milo’s spoken word raps offer the punchlines giving us food for thought and a mind to run wild over his terrain. His word play is applied with wit, giving a unique delivery to his nerd-like raps, helping aid Milo’s deep delved curiosity. – Miguel Anderson



24. The National – Sleep Well Beast

Label: 4AD
Release date: September 8, 2017

Sleep Well Beast is the National using all of what they’re known for, and adding more spunk to it. They delve deep into the sound which they’ve worked so well with since Boxer, but go for a more amplified experimental version of their own, using catchy hooks, blood-pumping drums, and guitar solos that shine with an electronic, post-punk, and art-rock type of warmth and glow. Sleep Well Beast celebrates the doom and gloom of life with nocturnal and dark vocals, calling for urgency in the face of a shaping nation. – Miguel Anderson



23. Chicano Batman – Freedom Is Free

Label: ATO
Release date: March 3, 2017

Chicano Batman makes a bold empowering statement with Freedom Is Free. In an industry and area of music that has been dominated by white people, Chicano Batman holds on to their culture, creating Mexican influenced rock that has a groovy soulful touch. On this album, they protest and discuss issues that have affected people of color such as enslavement, gentrification and the stealing of one’s culture, ideas that are especially prominent in “The Taker Story.” With a heavy cultural influence and powerful message, Freedom Is Free is certainly unlike much of the music that we’ve heard this year but it’s something that everyone can enjoy and should take in. – Ashley Flamenco



22.  Daniel Caesar – Freudian

Label: Golden Child
Release date: August 25, 2017

On his debut, Daniel Caesar uses R&B with a Gospel influence to create an intensely romantic album. He uses bass and guitar to create sensual sounds and tops it off with vocals from female artists Kali Uchis, H.E.R., Syd, and Charlotte Day Wilson. Freudian is an album full of emotion. Caesar sings about the struggles in a past relationship, physical and emotional connection, and fixing issues within the relationship. Songs like “We Find Love” talk about falling in love with someone who decided to give up and how it was probably meant to burn down because of all the issues they faced in their relationship. The album comes to full circle when he closes it with Freudian which is about him thanking his partner for helping him shape the person he is today and for being the reason he is alive. Caesar’s debut is what will take him far in the music industry. – Louis Cano




Release date: August 25, 2017

SATURATION II is the very essence of BROCKHAMPTON, it shows the effort of teamwork when so many different and unique pieces come together and displays how the camaraderie works so well in action. It’s a surprising non-stop joyride that blends and finds a true trailblazing star power formula that includes extremely catchy hooks, deep yet-complex verses, clever bars, bold statements, queer voices, unforgettable melodies, and a wild style which flow over a self produced production which can be bouncy, experimental, fun, hardcore, and light all at the same time. SATURATION II shows a relentless versatility where everyone is appreciated and acknowledged. – Miguel Anderson



20. Sampha – Process

Label: Young Turks
Release date: February 3, 2017

Sampha was never the one to have the focus on himself, and if he did it was never completely on him. Process sees Sampha changing that and fixing the spotlight on him, delivering a presence in his music and a deeply human record to call his own. Sampha pushes through on Process, giving us a scope where one can see his flaws and his method of dealing with personal devils & haunts. His melodic piano and synths create an ambient backdrop for his light voice and his aching. – Miguel Anderson



19. Brand New – Science Fiction

Label: Procrastinate! Music Traitors
Release date: August 17, 2017

The final Brand New album is a wonderful, mature, and memorable exit that keeps you on your seat with cryptic messages that unfold to seriousness and build-up to hardcore hits, making Science Fiction a very mysterious and sentimental but daring final effort. It’s a dark, eerie, and emotional album inspired by 90’s grunge and the heavy-rock scene. Science Fiction succeeds at its most brooding and melancholic, luring in a deep introspective atmosphere that will make you emotional with each bit of honesty left open. – Miguel Anderson



18. Jay-Z – 4:44

Label: Roc Nation / UMG
Release date: June 30, 2017

After being involved in years of controversy, negative press, and domestic issues that carried from 2014 and well into 2016, Jay-Z came out with his part of the story. 4:44 is Jay-Z’s truth in all the complications that surrounded him, and the bigger picture. It’s a raw and emotional personal account that sheds light on the human flaws we all have and the problems haunting him such as stereotypes, his perception in the media, and racism. 4:44 is bitterly honest in the face of doubters and grueling America. – Miguel Anderson



17. Arca – Arca

Label: XL Recordings
Release date: April 7, 2017

Arca’s self-titled album is a development of the artist Arca and the introduction to himself, Alejandro Ghersi. He juxtapositions concepts such as chaotic and melodic on this album. Chaos, which has pervaded his work since Xen and Mutant, shielding little and giving maximum exposure to hard edge and industrial sounds that wouldn’t normally fit against minimalist production style. And Melodic, fitting tiny pieces of tunes which actually move to — and if it means adding his ill-fitted vocals to the mix to shed light on his “queer” and closeted life then so be it. Nonetheless, Arca is an intimate project that comes from a place that has been hidden for years and is ready to come out. – Miguel Anderson



16. Iglooghost – Neō Wax Bloom

Label: Brainfeeder
Release date: September 29, 2017

The debut album from Iglooghost is extremely foreign, coming from another planet and immersive to his unique signature style. It’s a manic fusion of hip-hop, pop, colorful instruments, and vocal samples over energetic and dramatic beats pursued by distinct quirkiness and originality. Neō Wax Bloom shows great prospects and talent taking us into the dense and heavily chaotic mind of Iglooghost, pushing boundaries past it’s borders and flipping them on it’s head. – Miguel Anderson



15. Björk – Utopia

Label: One Little Indian
Release date: November 24, 2017

Utopia comes after pain, and that journey from pain to utopia is an account that consumes Utopia. She comes from an awfully hurt place to express her longed emotions and meets a new place, Utopia, carefully curated by her to keep all the past-ridden misfortunes, which have plagued her, out. She shares this utopia with her listener, giving them some grace and optimism to hold onto while amending the mistakes of the world and one’s feelings all in one place. Björk’s Utopia is sent with poise as elegant flutes, catapulting synths, and ambient animal noises project her ideal utopia. – Miguel Anderson



14. Slowdive – Slowdive

Label: Dead Oceans
Release date: May 5, 2017

After their break up, Slowdive returns with a polished and reassuring album unfurling on their stylistic shoe-gaze & dream-pop sound, a well return home to Souvlaki. It runs with a certain ambiance and moving atmosphere that contains lush and warm vocals, creating the ethereal one of a kind experience for the listener. It’s transportive and dreamy, rediscovering and still spreads the magic they had years ago. – Miguel Anderson



13. Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

Label: Mexican Summer
Release date: September 15, 2017

Dedicated To Bobby Jameson speaks to the very essence of Ariel Pink; a forward thinking artist whose colorful strides show his own account of weirdness and originality. Pink continues his weirdness and humor on Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, an album deep in psychedelic, quirky rock, and hypnagogic pop but also deep in his absurdity and himself where he inserts his best and intriguing work yet, filled with unique, bright, and playful instrumentation and eccentric songwriting. This record accurately reflects Ariel Pink as the weird, quirky, and fun genius we’ve always loved. – Miguel Anderson



12. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

Label: Def Jam / Blacksmith / ARTium Recordings
Release date: June 23, 2017

Vince Staples is vulgar, eager, and ready to speak on Big Fish Theory, his “official statement” album announcing his presence and cementing his status in the rap game. Big Fish Theory is his most ambitious effort yet, where he pursues other rappers lack thereof, an aggressive flow, the political climate, and an industrial electronic production which works well for him and his bold statements. He proves himself to be the Big Fish and the greatest rappers of our decade with clever bars, party bangers, and an introspective look at himself and the rap game as a whole. – Miguel Anderson



11. Perfume Genius – No Shape

Label: Matador
Release date: May 5, 2017

The follow up to Too Bright is not at all vulnerable acceptation of identify, in fact it’s a confident comeback that is prideful in it’s identity and an unbashful appreciation of being queer. Mike Handreas’ experiences as a queer male have painfully shaped this record to it’s triumphant highs and it’s devastating lows on his journey to self love, shunning any critics along his way using beautiful synths, different singing styles, and an array of different melodies and instruments making No Shape his best and most confrontational project yet. Mike on his new endeavor is boastful and unafraid, and that triumph is what makes No Shape so beautiful. – Miguel Anderson



10. Lorde – Melodrama

Label: Republic
Release date: June 16, 2017

Listening back to Lorde’s debut album, Pure Heroine, you can hear how much she’s grown musically. Pure Heroine was based on her experience growing up in New Zealand. Now she’s all grown and has experienced so much since her last album. Melodrama sinks the listener into a world of romance, heartbreaks, loneliness and personal growth. One of her most personal songs on the album is Liability which talks about her experience learning how to be alone for the first time and being okay with it. The song is something many listeners can connect with on a personal level and that’s what makes this album so amazing. Seemingly there’s a song for everyone to relate to on the album. And when this project refers to heartbreaks, it’s referring to the ones you learn to love yourself through. This is an album that no one should be ignoring. – Louis Cano



9. Thundercat – Drunk

Label: Brainfeeder
Release date: February 24, 2017

Thundercat is ever so charming on Drunk, a jazz and groove infested universal-yet personal diary that shed light on the good, bad, and ugly commonalities of everyone’s life. Drunk comes off as extremely relatable, humorous, and sometimes dark through content, setting, and vocals where he pairs his unusually high voice to a groove that take us into the mind of Thundercat, where life is on the pedestal, not for judgement or inspection, but for appreciation and praise. On Drunk, everyone shares a moment. – Miguel Anderson



8. LCD Soundsystem – american dream

Label: Colombia / DFA
Release date: September 1, 2017

LCD Soundsystem saw the end of their light in 2011, almost disbanding. Amid the complications, they have brought forth an album that shines from within. It’s a warm welcome filled with stunning guitar and drum performances with an electronic overfold that shines with a modern yet classic feel; it’s a funky electronic album disguised as a punk-rock one that pays homage to the past and looks forward to the future. American dream is a bold statement, made for the current social atmosphere and life itself. – Miguel Anderson



7. Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time

Label: Multi Alumni / BMG Rights Management
Release date: October 27, 2017

Big Krit is a name you will see soon on the hall of fame. Thats a statement Big Krit & Justin Scott makes explicitly clear on 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time. An introspective of two stories, you find yourself immersed with the man in the background and the man who takes center stage. Both stories are representative of where he came from and where he currently stands which is clearly southern to spotlight. It’s in his flow, his culture, his story, and production which stand still to hold up growth, respect, and loyalty. – Miguel Anderson


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6. King Krule – The OOZ

Label: True Panther Sounds
Release date: October 13, 2017

King Krule takes a very dark turn with The OOZ, straying away from the emotion-filled frame of 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, releasing something very different and inventive that goes beyond anything most would expect from him. Krule’s intensely deep vocals faultlessly suit the bleak creepy nonetheless pleasant sounds of The OOZ, created by distorted yet progressive guitar riffs and lots of jazzy instruments like the saxophone. This album gives you everything from blaring vocals and stormy electric guitar to unsettling however soothing mixes of blues, indie-rock and jazz. Having 19 songs, the album is over an hour long, making it seem daunting to listen to but The OOZ is without a doubt a worthy exception. – Ashley Flamenco




Release date: December 15, 2017

SATURATION III (sadly) brings BROCKHAMPTON’s SATURATION trilogy, a series of albums that took the music world by storm this year, to a close. Being just one part of the trilogy, it’s similar to the other two albums in many ways but what makes SATURATION III stand out as their best work yet is the boldness of it. The group keeps it real, conveying personal issues in a way that’s more in-your-face; they really don’t hold anything back on this project. BROCKHAMPTON, America’s favorite boy-band, surely made a memorable exit with SATURATION III, one that has us feening for more. (And a certain critical music website definitely didn’t do BROCKHAMPTON’s work justice). – Ashley Flamenco



4. SZA – Ctrl

Label: RCA / TDE
Release date: June 9, 2017

After being delayed over and over again, SZA released her highly anticipated debut album, Ctrl, back in June, which became one of the most talked about albums of the year. Though her other projects gained her some recognition, this album became her breakthrough. She sings about some of the struggles she’s dealt with, issues with past relationships, growing up, sexual freedom, and much more. A lot of the things she discusses on this record are real life situations that she’s gone through which is one of the things that makes this album so good and refreshing, it’s raw which isn’t something you hear in music often. – Louis Cano



3. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy

Label: Colombia
Release date: July 21, 2017

It’s the outstanding production, amazing features, and stunning instrumentation that make Flower Boy go way beyond any other Tyler, The Creator project. On Flower Boy, Tyler takes a more mature and personal route that’s free of anger and is much less vulgar than his previous work. He discusses a range of topics like loneliness, depression, emptiness, materialism, love, and sexuality, adding an intimate touch that makes this album so distinct from his others. Numerous features like Kali Uchis, Rex Orange County, and Frank Ocean make important contributions providing vocals, rap verses and instrumentation that the album wouldn’t be the same without. Flower Boy is an absolutely excellent work of art that’s very innovative, exceeding many’s ecpectations. – Ashley Flamenco



2. Kelela – Take Me Apart

Label: Warp
Release date: October 6, 2017

Kelela’s take of R&B is different than what R&B is currently bubbling over which is filled with heavy bass & drums, chill tunes, and soulful singing. Now, her version of R&B is remarkably different: it contains progressive explosive synths, rhythmic tempos, and silky immersive production that sonically cover and capture the past, present, and future of R&B. This new take on the genre quite literally sets Kelela’s Take Me Apart at the future of R&B. On Take Me Apart, she takes you on a trip which explores the future of her style while exploring the depths of her creation and trials and triumphs with relationships, allowing support for the new style of R&B, offering accessibility on all angles, and giving you a piece of sensuous vulnerability. Kelela lets you know that her sophisticated debut was ran with innovation in mind. – Miguel Anderson



1. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Label: Interscope / TDE
Release date: April 14, 2017

After To Pimp A Butterfly, one could wonder and ask “where could Kendrick go?” after producing an instant modern classic that stumped every human on earth, schooling them on classism, racism, and plain morality. How could Kendrick top or even put out an assuring follow-up? With DAMN., Kendrick pushes past said musical limitations which found him in a comfortable position. He pursues his music and even takes it to a new high, rapping over beats we haven’t seen since his early days on Section.80. This is the album that brings back K.Dot which we’ve all been waiting for. Pushing past new boundaries in a fiery way, DAMN. has impressively managed to appeal to such a wide audience of new listeners, something that is difficult for many artists to do, making it an album that so many have been able to enjoy. – Miguel Anderson