It is December 31st, and 2017 is quickly drawing to a close. As you prepare to celebrate with family and friends, take a minute to read about and listen to the RC staff's favorite 2017 releases. Here is the accompanying Spotify playlist.
The Album: Vagabon
The Artist: Infinite Worlds
Why We Love It: Infinite Worlds, while only 8 songs in length, is one of the most beautiful albums of 2017. Laetitia Tamko, aka Vagabon, perfectly melds together personal experience and universal emotion through her self-produced beats and her expressive lyrical content. She lets us into her world in a way that allows us to dance, shout, and even weep along with her. My two favorites are “Cold Apartment” and “The Embers,” both re-works of tracks from her 2014 EP Persian Garden. Infinite Worlds is an album full of growth, something that I certainly searched for in 2017.
– Cleome Barber
The Album: Arca
The Artist: Arca
Why We Love It: On his latest album, Alejandro Ghersi, who performs as Arca, steps back from the chaotic, jarring production he’s known for and embraces his fragile singing voice, presenting himself unadorned for the first time. Despite the often violent videos accompanying it, Arca is tender at its core.
– Peyton Alie
The Album: What Do You Think About the Car?
The Artist: Declan McKenna
Why We Love It: McKenna manages to blend various important political and societal themes with upbeat rhythms to form his eclectic album, What Do You Think About the Car? Featuring several songs off his previous EPs, no song on McKenna’s premiere album misses a beat. Each song ranges with complex meanings from the FIFA world cup scandal in “Brazil” to teenage freedom and independence in “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home.” At just 18, McKenna clearly shows his talent and his drive to represent the thoughts and lives of a new generation.
– Paulette Arnold
The Album: Tara Jean O’Neil
The Artist: Tara Jean O’Neil
Why We Love It: All eleven songs on this album fill you with warmth. Each one unfurls slowly, floating by you, uncomplicated and simple. I found more serenity in Tara Jean O’Neil than anything else I’ve heard this year.
– Tim Vallancourt
The Artist: Melaina Kol
The Album: Face Eating Phantom Men
Why We Love It: Face Eating Phantom Men is Logan Hornyak’s first full-length release under the alias Melaina Kol. He introduces a world and a voice, or rather entire characters,that balance the horrid and the beautiful, homicide and tender caresses, death and love over fourteen diverse tracks. Like most bedroom singer-songwriters, Melaina Kol aims to create sounds and moments of nostalgia. However, Hornyak, without being gimmicky or derivative, is able to execute this sense of longing with a precision and even catchiness that rivals Alex G’s early work. Whether it's tender pillow-talk or insidious under-the-breath insults, Hornyak has a way of rendering it realistically and beautifully.
– Patrick Ronan
The Album: Steve Lacy’s Demo
The Artist: Steve Lacy
Why We Love It: The Internet's Steve Lacy had a busy 2017, and among his other work this year also saw the release of Lacy's first solo effort, a six-song lo-fi bedroom tape he self-recorded on his iPhone. Demo is a promising showcase of the producer's vocal prowess, as he easily lapses between a sensually-distorted falsetto and a soulful mid-range tinged with yearning. Standout tracks include funky lead single "Dark Red" and the "Haterlovin" interlude, whose frenetic drum pattern and sparse, sinister guitar riff offset the EP's otherwise-fluid flow of languid grooves.
– Paris Parker-Loan
The Album: Yellow and Such
The Artist: Gus Dapperton
Why We Love It: New York-based newcomer Gus Dapperton's particular brand of melancholy shimmers with resilient optimism as he slurs lyrics about love on the brink over synth riffs and jangly percussion. Dapperton’s often-strained timbre provides a rich textural complement to this sleek instrumentation. Of the debut EP's four songs, "Gum, Toe and Sole" is the bounciest, as it harnesses the nervous potentiality of a budding relationship; closing track "The Fool" delves into an ambient dreamscape whose hypnotic lilt threatens to distract from a gloomy narrative of misplaced trust.
– Paris Parker-Loan
The Artist: Boy Band
The Album: Begin
Why We Love It: NYC-based folk trio Boy Band made their triumphant debut this year with the release of their EP, Begin. These “modern day female crusaders” balance grace and strength, fierceness and gentleness over five harmony rich tracks. Begin is a promising start to what is sure to be an illustrious career of shattering gender norms one melody at a time.
– Tatiana Becerra
The Artist: A Will Away
The Album: Here Again
Why We Love It: Here Again is a testament to the healing power of good music. In a year that was filled with challenges and tragedies, A Will Away’s release provides comfort and solace over thirteen artfully crafted tracks. The honesty and range of emotion on the album explore the “cyclical nature of life.” A Will Away continue to prove the power of good ol’ rock and roll and their genuine spirit permeates throughout the album.
– Tatiana Becerra
The Artist: jodi
The Album: Karaoke
Why We Love It: Karaoke at first listen is deceptively simple. Clean vocals and subtle instrumentation underlie markedly honest songs about self-discovery. However, each time I listen through this EP I find myself learning something new. These songs traverse complex memories, both good and bad, and also surprise musically. "Passerine," which comes at the middle of the EP, is a highlight and the zenith of Karaoke, both musically and lyrically.
– Lena Nelson
Listen Here: https://jodii.bandcamp.com/releases
From all of us at Rare Candy . . . HAPPY NEW YEAR!