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Albums of the Year 2017

It’s that time again.

Top Albums Top Reissues Bestsellers Top Stiffers Near Misses

'Near Misses'

Bubbling just under the Top 50, here's a bunch of records we definitely rate but couldn't quite squeeze in to our Top 50.

Rips
Rips

NYC's proud lineage of jangle nods in approval as Rips make a chiming rock record full of watery guitar hooks and ramshackle virtuosity. Recorded at a scruffy fidelity with a half-snarly, half-sad vocal clamouring its way through the riffs, they make the kinda summer sentimentality you'll like as fans of Horsebeach, Hoops and Beach Fossils.
  • Vinyl LP (FAUX48LP)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (FAUX48CD)
  • In stock and ready to ship

William Ryan Fritch
Behind The Pale

Clanging dark-hued composer William Ryan Fritch wrote this album around the time he was expecting his first daughter so the album naturally has the air of worried expectancy. This is a powerful music that will appeal to fans of Swans, Godspeed and Jon Mueller the latter of which Fritch collaborated on his similarly scary 'Tongues' album.  
  • Vinyl LP (LTS-030)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Limited edition
  • CD (LTS-030)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Limited edition

The Moonlandingz
Interplanetary Class Classics

The Moonlandingz are a kerrrazy side-project band, comprised of two members each from Fat White Family and Eccentronic Research Council. Oh, and members of The Village People and Yoko Ono also feature. Debut Interplanetary Class Classics is a messy electro-indie-punk pile-up with its tongue in its cheek. Out on Transgressive.
  • Vinyl LP (TRANS266X)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (TRANS266CDD)
  • CD (TRANS266CD)

William Basinski
A Shadow In Time

William Basinski pulls another couple of tape loops out of his voluminous archives, this time containing sounds from the rare Voyetra 8 synthesiser. A Shadow In Time is devised as a tribute to ‘David Robert Jones’ (aka David Bowie), and is a typically gorgeous, slowly-expanding work of Basinski-drone. Available on CD or vinyl, with exclusive, slightly different mixes on each format.
  • Vinyl LP (TRR278LP)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (20621701)

Selffish
He She Them Us

Having not been heard from much since 2004, except for the odd remix here and there and his last full length 'Ena' being released on Thinner in 2004 you couldn’t be blamed for thinking Selffish was now deep into semi retirement. He was busy though gathering source material and solace from the Latvian countryside. Layering these samples with piano, double bass, strings, saxophone and guitar you can expect a return to his deep and warm minimal electronica meeting jazz seen on his earlier albums.
  • CD (SERE011)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy

Omni
Multi-task

Omni's debut 'Deluxe' was one of those records which seeped rather than marched into your consciousness. The fact that we sell a copy seemingly on a daily basis exemplifies it's popularity. The band have the nimble fleet fingered sound of fellow Athens group Pylon and in guitarist Frankie Broyles they have an ex Deerhunter nimble on the fretwork.  This second LP expands their musical palette whilst keeping their minimalist agit-pop sound intact.   
  • Vinyl LP (TIM124LP)
  • Vinyl LP (TIM124LPC1)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Limited edition
  • Indies-only
  • Last copy
  • CD (TIM124CD)

Julie Byrne
Not Even Happiness

Julie Byrne, currently a New York resident who has lived a rather nomadic existence, plays gentle, dreamy, ethereal psychedelic folk. He lush voice is backed with strings to match. On her second album Not Even Happiness, is it apparent that Byrne’s talent for pitching a song just right comes as naturally as it did on her 2014 debut Rooms With Walls And Windows. Perfection takes time though, and this album has been a full two years in the making. It’ll be worth it, you’ll see.
  • Vinyl LP (BR001LP)
  • CD (BR001CD)

A Winged Victory For The Sullen
Iris

A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the top-tier collaboration of Adam Wiltzie (Stars Of The Lid) and Dustin O’Halloran, continue to make deeply inspiring music together. In this case, they have made music to soundtrack Jalil Lespert’s film Iris, deploying electronics and a large string orchestra to realise their grand visions. CD and vinyl (black or clear) editions on Erased Tapes.
  • Vinyl LP (ERATP093LP)
  • CD (ERATP093CD)

Run The Jewels
RTJ3

Excite! After two killer collaborations that have already made big waves in the rap world and beyond, Run The Jewels (that’s Killer Mike and El-P of course) drop their third full-length. RTJ3 continues to flaunt swagger and creativity in spades, not to mention the high-flying guest appearances from Kamasi Washington, Danny Brown and Tunde from TV On The Radio. CD and gold vinyl double LP editions, on Run The Jewels’ own imprint.
  • Vinyl Double LP (RTJ003LP)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Last copy
  • CD (RTJ003CD)

Hauschka
What If

Hauschka is a modern master of prepared piano music, successfully transferring this esoteric approach to the instrument into lovely melodic songs. What If sees Hauschka adding automatic player pianos into the mix, which opens up even more possibilities for this eternal sound-tinkerer. Released by City Slang.
  • Vinyl LP (SLANG50117LP)
  • CD (SLANG50117)

Thundercat
Drunk

If you move in certain areas of music (the LA Brainfeeder / cosmic jazz axis and surrounds), you will appreciate Thundercat as a god-like figure. The man plays electric bass like nobody’s business, but he is also a mighty songwriter, and Drunk is his own record. It features an amazing cast of collaborators (Kendrick Lamar! Kamasi Washington!), and is presented on one CD or four 10” vinyl records.
  • Vinyl LP box set (BF064)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (BFCD064)

Jlin
Black Origami

Juke and footwork producer Jlin builds on her unique sound with her second full length for Planet Mu. Skittish and direct percussive trills come at you from all directions with feverish energy and underlying groove. Black Origami features collaborations with Holly Herndon, William Basinski, Fawkes and Dope Saint Jude.
  • Vinyl Double LP (ZIQ376)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (ZIQ376CD)

Noveller
A Pink Sunset For No One

Noveller is filmmaker Sarah Lipstate’s solo musical project, in which she extracts whole oceans of sound from her electric guitar. A Pink Sunset For No One is a broad selection of her sound: Noveller is probably best known as a drone artist, but this album gets involved in territory that goes as far as psychedelic rock. CD / LP release on Fire.
  • Vinyl LP (FIRELP401)
  • CD (FIRECD401)

Thurston Moore
Rock n Roll Consciousness

Thurston Moore has kept himself very busy since Sonic Youth disbanded in 2011, working with numerous small projects, playing with countless collaborators and running Ecstatic Peace. Rock n Roll Consciousness is his first properly distributed full length for a while, and flutters between avant-garde, no-wave and poetic pop. A warm and engrossing oddity.
  • Vinyl Double LP (CAROL15LPX)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • Vinyl LP (CAROL15LP)
  • CD (CAROL15CD)

Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales
Room 29

How about this for a team-up: witty Pulp man Jarvis Cocker and multi-faceted German entertainer Chilly Gonzales (and on Serious-Proper-Classical-Music-Label Deutsche Grammophon too!). Room 29 is a theatre piece the two devised about a certain famous Hollywood hotel room, complete with spoken word, piano interludes and showtunes. CD / LP release.
  • Vinyl LP (4797011)
  • CD (4797010)

Big Walnuts Yonder
Big Walnuts Yonder

I was all ready to call this a supergroup until the press release specifically told me not to. Still though, with Mike Watt, Nels Cline and Greg Saunier all on board (so that’s representatives of Minutemen, The Stooges, Wilco, Deerhoof…), this group is inarguably quite something. This debut album from Big Walnuts Yonder is a spontaneously-combusted set of high-energy funky-skronky art-rock super-pop. Hard to describe, but a joy to hear! Out on Sargent House.
  • Vinyl LP (SH173LP)
  • CD (SH172CD)

Waxahatchee
Out In The Storm

Waxahatchee presents her fourth album Out In The Storm, which is borne out of the ashes of a relationship collapse. As ever, music and songwriting provide a vehicle to self-love and renewal. With a mostly live-in-the-room production, Out In The Storm is a strong indie-rock record with a real personal punch behind it. Out on Merge.
  • Vinyl Double LP (MRG594LPDLX)
  • Vinyl LP (MRG594LP)
  • CD (MRG594CD)

Damaged Bug
Bunker Funk

Damaged Bug is the cracked-up solo project of Thee Oh Sees frontman and all-round garage-psych mastermind John Dwyer. Bunker Funk is a cool little thing, wrapping songs in lots of strange sounds and textures. Electroacoustic garage-funk? Yeah, something like that. Out on Dwyer’s own imprint Castle Face.
  • Vinyl Double LP (CF087CV)
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Limited edition
  • Vinyl Double LP (CF087)
  • CD (CF087CD)

Ian William Craig
Slow Vessels

Ian William Craig somewhat returns to his tremendously loved 2016 album Centres with an EP that relocates some of those pieces onto voice, piano and acoustic guitar, with just a few licks of subtle tape manipulation lapping at the edges. Slow Vessels proves that Craig’s songwriting is just as powerful when it stands naked as when it is wreathed in fuzz magic. 12” on 130701.
  • Vinyl LP (LP1326)

Demen
Nektyr

Slowed, ethereal and majestic debut album from Stockholm’s Demen. A solo project by Irma Orm, who is a person of few words and leaves the music to speak for itself. Standing somewhere between The Haxan Cloak, Julianna Barwick and oOoOO, Orm’s debut full length pushes to near overbearing tone, with ringing somber chords.
  • Vinyl LP (KRANK209LP)
  • CD (KRANK209CD)

Slowdive
Slowdive

2017 is an exciting year for shoegazers old and new as veteran bands take advantage of the resurgence in the genre by making new albums that would have been laughed out of court if the year was 1996. Slowdive follow on from Ride in unleashing new music and though they have prosaically only managed to self-title it, this is the moment for anyone who has been waiting since 1995 for new material. 
  • Vinyl LP (DOC132LP)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (DOC132CD)

Rolando Simmons
Yuo're Life

Swedish producer Rolando Simmons makes tracks that would have been right at home on Richard D. James’ Rephlex imprint if it was still going, but Aphex Twin is a fan, and you’ll instantly see why. The similarities and influence is prominent, squelching acid basslines, pristine percussion and floating oddities. A must for Aphex fans.

Kendrick Lamar
DAMN.

The biggest of big deals in 2017: a new full-length album from Kendrick Lamar himself. Damn features fairly large guests like Rihanna and, um, U2, but Kendrick doesn’t need any big-name support to tell a narrative and craft wonderful beats. This soon-to-be-album-of-the-year record is released by Polydor.
  • Vinyl Double LP (5761828)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (5761175)

The Heliocentrics
A World Of Masks

The Heliocentric, renowned for their collaborations with Mulatu Astake and Dj Shadow (among others), here add a new singer to their rich international brew, in the form of Barbora Patkova from Slovakia. A World Of Masks is another adventure in sound, mostly improvised, from a group who contain multitudes. Out on Soundway.
  • Vinyl LP (SNDWLP093)

This Is The Kit
Moonshine Freeze

Kate Stables’ project This Is The Kit has a new album out, and it is a beautiful and multi-angled thing, with instrumentation and production (by John Parish) that moves lightly around Kate’s songs. Moonshine Freeze feels playful and fleet-footed without being lightweight, making it a bit of treat. Out on Rough Trade.
  • Vinyl LP (RTRADLP870)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (RTRADCD870)

Broken Social Scene
Hug of Thunder

Big Canadian enormous band Broken Social Scene reconfigure for their most sparkling album yet. With 15 members to try to coincide diaries then it must be quite the undertaking but they’ve made a bold and panoramic album that should shift them to the next level and make all that admin worthwhile.  
  • Vinyl Double LP (SLANG50120LT)
  • Limited edition
  • CD (SLANG50120)

Love Theme
Love Theme

Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches, joined by Austin Milne and Simon Frank present a deeply melancholic blend of avant-garde drone and improvisation, made up of saxophones, synths and percussion. Recording their improv session they return to their very distant homes (London, LA and Taipei) to begin editing separately. Love Theme is looming, sorrowful yet graceful.
  • Vinyl LP (ALT34)
  • Tape (ALT34CS)
  • Limited edition

Full Of Hell
Trumpeting Ecstasy

Full Of Hell are much loved for their willingness to push hardcore punk, that most noisy of rock-derived forms, into the territory of actual noise. That’s particularly the case with their Merzbow collaboration from a few years ago, but also true on pure Hell records like this! Trumpeting Ecstasy is a proper harsh blast from these deathgrinding maestros. On Profound Lore.

Lab Coast
Lab Coast

Lab Coast have been doing their sweetly-flavoured DIY guitar pop thing for almost a decade now, so it’s a good time for this release to land. Lab Coast is a kind of introduction to the group, featuring tracks from throughout their career that have been hand-picked by Lab Coast and Dan Reeves of Faux Discx. What an excellent collection of lo-fi loveliness.

Nick Hakim
Green Twins

Nick Hakim’s debut album Green Twins, following up on a pair of very well-received EPs, is the result of a stack of musical experience and a battalion of inventive production techniques. Consequently, each track on Green Twins is positively brimming over with pleasing little sonic details, making the soulful and funky songs that much sweeter. Out on ATO Records.
  • Vinyl LP (ATO0384LP)
  • CD (ATO0384CD)

Sheer Mag
Need To Feel Your Love

Sheer Mag’s debut full-length album has arrived. Need To Feel Your Love is dressed in the guitars, production and sleeve design of a bunch of vintage 70’s rockers (just look at that band logo!), but with a thoroughly modern anti-bullshit approach and a garage-punkish twist to the vocals. Out on Static Shock Records.
  • Vinyl LP (SSR053)
  • CD (SSR053CD)

Chad VanGaalen
Light Information

Chad VanGaalen was of course the man who recorded those brilliant Women albums and also made the spectacular Diaper Island as well as a bunch of other excellent solo albums. Here he is with his first since 2014's Shrink Dust and has been inspired by bringing up his kids who even sing on one of the songs. Nice. 
  • Vinyl LP (SP1203X)
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Limited edition
  • Indies-only
  • Vinyl LP (SP1203)
  • CD (SPCD1203)

Ian Hawgood + Wil Bolton
Transparencies

Eight years into their collaboration, Wil Bolton and Home Normal main-man Ian Hawgood have finished their first full-length album. Transparencies is a tender release full of intimate interplay of instruments and sounds: Bolton and Hawgood are perfectly suited to one another, sharing a subtle melodic approach. Released on Home Normal in a limited edition of 500 CDs.
  • CD (HOMEN104)

Pierre Mariétan
Rose Des Vents

Rose Des Vents was commissioned in 1981 by the French Government (unlike most of the records you listen to), who wanted Pierre Mariétan to document the sound-life of towns near Paris. He did this, but he also applied plenty of treatments, additional instrumentation and serialist composition to the end result, making for some rather special electroacoustics. Double LP reissue on Mana.

The Clientele
Music for the Age of Miracles

Oh thank God a new the Clientele album and by the time it comes out it will be near autumn so you can listen to this while wandering down leafy lanes at dusk - the perfect setting for Alistair MacLean's melancholic form of 60's influence psych and jangle. They now have a santoor (a kind of Indian dulcimer) on board but this just sounds like the Clientele which is perfect news for when the days grow dark. 
  • Vinyl LP (TR375LP)
  • CD (TR375)

Angele David-Guillou
En Mouvement

Angele David-Guillou is a French composer who has previously worked under the name Klima and as part of Piano Magic. This is her second album under her birth name and is an album of modern composition that references the music of Moondog and Philip Glass taking this listener on a creative musical journey. 
  • CD (VGCD017)

Converge
The Dusk In Us

Their first album in five years, The Dusk In Us is the latest release from Converge. They certainly remain a big part of that metal and maths rock scene and they always will, however this record almost takes a Dillinger Escape Plan turn - for the better may I add - which gives the whole record an added kick. Available on black vinyl LP, indigo vinyl LP and CD and released on Epitaph. 
  • Vinyl LP (0640841637814)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (8714092754124)

Triptides
Afterglow

Triptides are just great and I'd be prepared to go into battle with anyone who says otherwise. They play superb jangle-some '60s inspired guitar pop with nods to the Byrds, REM and Pink Floyd. Their last album 'Azur' saw them at the top of their game so our entire office is on tenterhooks waiting for this to hit.  
  • Vinyl LP (RPUT19)
  • Vinyl LP (RPUT19X)
  • Coloured vinyl
  • Limited edition
  • CD (RPUT19CD)

Dälek
Endangered Philosophies

Dalek have long been one of our favourite bands here at the Towers. They have constantly been striving to blend Public Enemy styled socially conscious hip-hop with the sorts of vicious noise that appears on records by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Flying Saucer Attack and Young Gods. It's an intoxicating brew that never loses it's power. This is their 7th album and sees them back in Ipecac records. 
  • Vinyl Double LP (IPC194LP)
  • CD (IPC194CD)

Hannah Peel
Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia

Imagine going from Barnsley to outer space. This is what Northern Irish electronic artist Hannah Peel explores on this new opus. It's the story of an elderly pioneering electronic music artist who dreams of leaving her Barnsley home and seeing Cassiopeia for herself. Peel realises this with horns by those responsible for Tubular Brass. She's also one third of the Magnetic North dont'cha know. 
  • CD (MOP08CD)

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band
Adios Senor Pussycat

One of the UK's most underrated yet much loved amongst those in the know songwriters Michael Head has a storied history in bands like the Pale Fountains, Shack and the remarkable Michael Head and the Strands. This is his first new material in over 11 years and it will be a joy to hear his music again. It's poetic and romantic and draws comparisons to Love, the La's and Nick Drake but with a ragged, workingman edge that ensures what he lacks in national treasure status is made up for with an enthusiastic cult following. 
  • Vinyl LP (VIO-025)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (VIO-025-CD)

Liars
TFCF

Liars are back. After a three year absence the off-kilter group return with a new footprint in their skewed journey in dark experimental lands. This time, with eleven-track TFCF, the band couple their line up upheaval with a revolutionised sound - one which smears the line between acoustic and electronic.
  • Vinyl LP (STUMM414)
  • Coloured vinyl
  • CD (CDSTUMM414)

John Maus
Screen Memories

John Maus returns! Six years have passed since ‘We Must Become The Pitiless Censors’ -- during which time Maus has toured, released a rarities collection and finished his doctorate in Political Philosophy. He sounds as towering and stately as ever on Screen Memories; the record is another personal one which will haunt and invigorate. He even designed and built the modular synths he plays on it. Polyphony abounds! LP / CD on Ribbon music. 
  • Vinyl LP (RBN072LP)
  • CD (RBN072CD)

Ibeyi
Ash

One of those acts who very quickly achieved ubiquity after their 2015 debut on XL, Ibeyi are here to make good on the promise of that record with another LP of emotive soultronica. As befits their elevated status, Ash includes guest spots from Kamasi Washington and Chilly Gonzalez, among others. The sisters channel Frank Ocean, James Blake and London Grammar across the dozen tracks here.
  • Vinyl LP (XL870LP)
  • CD (XL870CDX)
  • Limited edition

Unsane
Sterilize

It’s the eighth studio album from the NYC noise rockers Unsane and they don’t seem to be letting off steam. Sterilize sees the band still as fiery and gnarly as they were back in 1988, with their mix of punk, noise, metal and hardcore punching through on this release on Southern Lord. 
  • Vinyl LP (LORD244LP)
  • CD (LORD244)

King Krule
The OOZ

Having gone pretty quiet, the interweb returned ablaze for King Krule recently with announcement that his 2013 debut LP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon will be followed by The Ooz. It still has the bursting jazz and snappy drooling vocals of his debut but with a new sharp focus and grimy depth.    
  • Vinyl Double LP (XL872LP)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (XL872CD)

Golden Teacher
No Luscious Life

This here blurb writer thought that this band had broken up. He’s very happy to have been proved wrong. Anyone who has ever seen Glaswegian sextet Golden Teacher live can attest to their brilliance. Featuring members of Silk Cut and Ultimate Thrush, the group’s hyper-rhythmic acid tests are true dance music in the way they sweep you up in these great rushes of feeling. This, their seventh record but first LP, was recorded at old haunt the Green Door Studio.
  • CD (GT003CD)

Bibio
Phantom Brickworks

What has Bibio in store for us this time? Lo-fi pastoral electronics, hi-fi Clarkalike bangers, dollops of disco or some of his peculiar, warm-spirited hybrids of the lot? In fact, Stephen Wilkinson’s new offering unexpectedly consists of semi-improvised, rather long pieces (up to 17 minutes). As the title Phantom Brickworks sort of suggests, these unhurried fellows reflect on the shifting meanings and associations of places as time passes. Another feather for Steve’s bow!
  • Vinyl Double LP (WARPLP290)

Laura Baird
I Wish I Were A Sparrow

Laura Baird is one half of The Baird Sisters, and she carries that authoritative interpretation of Appalachian folk music over into her own solo music. Half of the songs on I Wish I Were A Sparrow are original Baird numbers and the other half are old folk songs, with a smattering of field recordings folded in here and there. On Ba Da Bing.
  • Vinyl LP (BING116)
  • £22.49 £17.99 (saving: £4.50)
  • In stock and ready to ship
  • Last copy
  • CD (BING116CD)