When the end of the year rolls around, I’m excited for the holidays and the time off from school, but what really gets me going are the top 10 lists. So in the spirit of this longstanding tradition, I bring you my favorite records of 2017.
‘GT Ultra,’ Guerilla Toss
Guerrilla Toss has been one of my favorite bands for a while now, and their new record is on a whole new level. It’s as if the layer of fuzz and distortion that blanketed their previous work was wiped away to reveal a clearer, more defined, dancier sound. Where singer Kassie Carlson’s vocals are more intelligible than ever and where their new wave and jam influences are very explicit. I appreciate “GT Ultra” and Guerrilla Toss’s earlier stuff equally as they both satisfy my psychedelic, noisy desires like no other band ever will.
‘Screen Memories,’ John Maus
If you’ve read this column with any sort of regularity, you’ve heard me rave about John Maus before, and guess what? I’m doing it again. “Screen Memories” was Radio 1190’s December CD of the month. If you want to hear more about this ’80s gothic, synth punk marvel of a record, head on over to coloradodaily.com/columnist/on-air-next.
‘Need to Feel Your Love,’ Sheer Mag
Sheer Mag encountered a world of hype this past year. Luckily for them, it was hype they could live up to. 2017 saw the release of their official compilation album as well as the official LP “Need to Feel Your Love.” Both of them are rock and roll, incorporating elements of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy’s music but adding a whole new dimension with their super fuzzy sound and shrill, piercing vocals.
‘Next to Me,’ Lily & Horn Horse
Lily & Horn Horse is the project of Lily Koenigsberg and Matt Norman. I’ve enjoyed Konigsberg’s work through her experimental punk-trio Palberta. Apart from being experimental, this record isn’t very Palberta-like at all. It’s some kind of Kesha meets Arthur Russel experimental jazz fusion, and it really works. If you’ve been searching for a “pop” record to blow your mind, this is the one.
‘Guppy,’ Charly Bliss
There’s nothing quite like a good ol’ garage rock record, and what’s even better is that this one happens to have an especially sweet twist where ’90s punk pop collides with the sugariest vocals you’ve ever heard. This record bangs in the same way that The Breeders’ “Last Splash” or Veruca Salt’s “American Thighs” does. For fans of either, check it out.
‘Come On,’ Come On
I was so pleased to discover a compilation of Come On’s music reissued this past year. They’re one of those bands that are relatively undiscovered, and it’s so confusing why that is. Their weirdo, late-’70s art rock is comparable to that of early Talking Heads or even Pere Ubu. Their short-lived musical career produced a short collection of tense, frustrated, sarcastic songs, all of which are overflowing with a contagious and groovy energy.
I tried to keep it short but didn’t succeed. So here’s a shoutout to “Shadow Expert EP” by Palm, “Nothing Valley” by Melkbelly, “How to Slip Away” by Zach Phillips and “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson” by Ariel Pink. Luckily, a lot of the records I loved this year I’ve written about in this column, and you can also hear them spinning on Radio 1190.
Tune in to 1190 AM or 98.9 FM, or online at radio1190.org.
Klefeker is Radio 1190’s music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists