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Best 7 Alternative Rock Albums of 2017

posted by Kevin Lannister

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This is an interesting period for music and all the people who listen to alternative music today. We know that alternative and guitar music isn’t as popular as it used to be but still, there are a lot of groups that are doing something interesting, and here we are going to present 7 of the most popular alternative rock albums of 2017.


7. Near To The Wild Heart Of Life – Japandroids

Label: Anti/Epitaph

Here we have a cool, simple record that’s constructed of standard elements – guitar, bass, drums – layered on top of one another and it creates that perfect tension that every good record needs to have.

This is the third studio album from this Canadian duo and it is recognizable. They haven’t moved away from their sound, but you can hear how they evolved and grew as a group.

The single from this album does not really represent this album though. It is maybe too soft, too relaxed with some lyrical clichés, “I used to be good but now I’m bad”. The lyrical content is pretty much what we expected.

The themes are pretty much the same, drinking, girls and their hometown, Vancouver. In the song “North East South West” – which is probably the best song on the album – the singer/guitarist Brian King sings about his thoughts on the autobiographical experience of the touring life of the band with some nice acoustic guitar playing.

The thing that this album lacks is probably that sense of humor that the previous one had so this one will not put a grin on your face. A nice surprise is a seven-minute song called “Arc of Bar” which is a centerpiece of this album but it doesn’t move anywhere and in the end, you again get this feeling of lyrical cliché.

The rest of the album has a Foo Fighters or Black Keys type rock sound, with some nice riffs and melodies which are probably the strongest point of the band. The album is pretty short, only 36:45 and we think this band holds their point still.


6. Life Without Sound – Cloud Nothings

Label: Carpark Records

The long awaited follow-up to their 2014 album Here and Nowhere Else is finally here. It was recorded in El Paso with John Goodmanson taking the role of a producer. It has 9 songs and the song “Modern Act” as the single.

We can say that this record presents a huge expansion of their previous work. With the addition of their new guitarist, it seems that the band took it up a notch in creating this chugging, precise, brisk record. The jams and longer songs are replaced with raw power, energy, and a clear sense of focus. Sonically, it presents soft piano mixed with sharp guitar lines creating this dissonant, melodic atmosphere.

The jams and longer songs are replaced with raw power, energy, and a clear sense of focus. Sonically, it presents soft piano mixed with sharp guitar lines creating this dissonant, melodic atmosphere.

The record’s second half forwards the more unhinged, volatile character we’ve come to expect from Cloud Nothings. There we have the last two songs “Strange Year” and “Realize My Fate”, that are more looking into the past of this band and the latter is almost six minutes long. “Strange Year” is very dynamic, starting with rickety guitar picking before heading to a grungy wall of sound.

This short album that tops in at  37:37 is closed with the song “Realize My Fate” is a messy chaotic number, with the lyrics “I find it hard to realize my fate”. Overall, this record is full of ups and downs and it feels like it is standing in one place with the narrative not moving that much.


5. I See You – The xx

Label: Young Turks Recordings

It seems that on this album the band tried to incorporate everyone’s talents and capabilities in order to create a more diverse version of their sound. Before we could see that they arranged their songs in order to be performed live, the Jamie xx samples created the basis of the song.

With great production, we feel that the vocals are playing a bigger part of the sound in the group than before. So basically this is in many ways,  Madley Croft and Sim’s album. They are both resourceful singers and it seems that Sim is singing more directly while Madley Croft emphasizes the deeper parts of the song. What can we feel from these voices is: helplessness, fear, loneliness.

It is obvious that they moved away from their pop style but when listening to the album, you can still sense their old songs. In “Performance,” Madley Croft sings about keeping up appearances, giving the illusion that everything is OK while she’s dying inside. “Brave for You” is a tribute to her deceased parents but still it can easily be about something else that’s close and personal.

Anyway, this album is fantastic, the production is amazing, no wonder this one is already topping the lists.


4. The Boy Who Died Wolf – Highly Suspect

Label: 300 Entertainment

Highly Suspect is a relatively new band that started in 2015 and this one is their second album. Their first album received excellent critics with great singles such as “Lydia” and “Bloodfeather,” and it was even nominated for the Grammy award.

This album “The Boy Who Died Wolf”, has a feel of that post-grunge sound and it gives off a punk-rock vibe. The opening of the album talks about isolation and struggle, with some fuzzy guitars and distorted keyboards behind it.

After that, they hit us with the song “Look Alive, Stay Alive,” where vocalist Johnny Stevens sings about the lethargy of people and society today.

With other members of the band – his siblings Ryan and Rich Meyer – we go into a song “Little One,” that deals with the past, questioning ourselves and our acts. The two final songs “Chicago” and “Wolf” — offer soul-baring moments reflecting on the past and dealing with the resignation of moving on.

Also, we would like to mention, “Serotonia” that was issued as a single and “Postress”, a really catchy track with piano and the guitars being the main force that drives the song. After that, we have a song “FWYT” which is an instrumental track with great rhythm. We think that this album can easily leave a mark on the 2017 charts of alternative music.


3. I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it – The 1975

Label: Dirty Hit/Interscope Records

This the second album by The 1975 with the previous one being released in 2013. This album is pretty long, almost one hour and fifteen minutes, with 17 songs. The first single “Love me” was released in the middle of their European tour. This album is proving their quality and confirms that they are another great Manchester band.

Produced by Mike Crossey, this album is different from their debut, it is a more synthy new wave while also being atmospheric. Despite their name and their ear for ’80s synthesizers, the British outfit sounds much more flamboyant than their contemporaries.

This is primarily due to the contributions of lead singer Matthew Healy whose overly wordy lyrics and weird, playfully dark persona – sort of like a sexual Fraggle – can sometimes put listeners off of the pop scheme. As he sings on “The Sound,” “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me/A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic, junkie wannabe.”

In the track “Somebody Else” we get this moody vibe, followed with the track “Paris” which is mellow and romantic. Also, we should mention the song “If I Believe You,” which features a solo from jazz star Roy Hargrove. This album is a step up for this band and we hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.


2. A/B – Kaleo

Label: Elektra (NEK)

No doubt that we have a great album in front of us from this four- piece from Iceland. Like we said, this is a band that started in Iceland but they moved to the USA. This maybe explains the diversity and dynamics in the group’s sound.

It is obvious that this album has some blues rock influences like The Black Keys, but also some soul that builds up an enjoyable listening experience. The singing parts have very wide range and the instrumentation is fantastic all the way. The album opens with “No Good”, an explosive blues-rock tune that sets the vibe of the album.

After that, we go to a more slower, relaxed vibe with the song “Way down”. The song “All The Pretty Girls” is more like a Coldplay-type pop song and although you can’t understand it, the track “Vor í Vaglaskógi” just drags you in. Strongly recommend this album, we are probably going to see a lot from this band in the future.


1.  Revolution Radio – Green Day

Label: Reprise

After 26 years, there is no need to specially introduce these rock veterans. With this new album “Revolution Radio”, the band had a purpose and that was by the words of Billie Joe Armstrong to destroy the phrase pop-punk forever.

Revolution Radio opens with “Somewhere Now,” an Americana-affected folk song Armstrong kicks off with “I’m running late to somewhere now that I don’t want to be,” perhaps a critique on this boring life full of trivialities, without any real excitement.

After that, we have the song “Bang Bang”, which is the first single and here we have more direct statements “Bang bang, give me fame / Shoot me up to entertain / I am a semiautomatic lonely boy / You’re dead / I’m well fed.” As the album’s title track song, we get Green Day on top of its game with fast palm-muted power chords.

But then, for a change, we have the song  “Outlaws”, a nice simple Queen-inspired emotional composition. Overall this is a solid album, it’s not going to give you anything new but if you are a diehard you will enjoy it.

So there you go, here we have a list of some alternative rock albums that deserve to be heard. The world of music is infinite and we hope that we helped you in choosing the type of music you really enjoy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Lannister (see all articles)

Hello, I'm Kevin. If you like my articles, please subscribe to my notifications emails.

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