Drunk Noise's Best Songs of 2017 // Part Five
Every weekday for five days we'll be giving you ten of our favourite songs from 2017. There'll be no arbitrary ranking, no shortchanging on info, and only some obvious answers.
'GOD IN CHICAGO'
"But it's so goddamn sad in her house right now
He’s still here in everything
She just needs a break from it
Said she wants to come with"
'God in Chicago' is really something. That's not really much to work with, but just half of this problem is how ineffably momentous it feels. Though, at once modest it's also so sprawling... so engulfing. Indeed, the centrepiece from the brilliantly titled We All Want The Same Things could easily be a misremembered movie, or even a hyper-specific fever dream coming into reality. And, this partly occurs in the way that it straddles the line between the cinematic and the quotidian so expertly - but it's also due to Finn's microscopic, drawling lyricism.
It's an ingeniously prophetic picture of those that feel as if they live on the periphery, which just about happens to be everyone. It's achingly plain-spoken narrative touches on millennial hedonism and grief, but also in the challenge to just try to feel something. The poetic 'God in Chicago' does not pass judgement, it merely remains on the sidelines, in the near out-of-focus distance, much like it's characters. And, though these people exist with equally good and bad impulses, Finn's epithet never wavers, after all, We All Want The Same Things.
"And I saw an unbroken world where everything was explained
And the people survived
Everyone was alive
And everyone kissed and every kiss was forgotten"
On Fred Thomas', Lee Ranaldo-esque rambling, 'Voiceover' containment is not an option. It's shaggy, overweight almost, as if he wishes to just shed every fucking feeling that he's felt for god knows how long. It’s brilliantly dense as a result, but it's nonetheless a hook-filled eruption, one that contains no actual chorus but feels like every single last line could be part of one.
This stream-of-consciousness blast ultimately tackles sordid ephemerality, with Thomas' uniquely crystalline, self-deprecating notions of the inevitably of ageing. Though, inevitably it's just shouting into the void, there's obviously some transient bliss in just letting it all out. In a revealing, transcendental awakening he screams "I JUST WANNA FEEL BETTER!". I'm not sure if you do, Fred - but listening to 'Voiceover' just about makes everything make sense.
'LET'S TAKE MEDICINE'
"I hope that hell exists for Donald Trump
And the babysitter that made me touch his dick"
If there's something that's apparent on this is the last time every time it's that the world, and America is pretty fucking brutal right now. The pummelling 'let's take medicine' doesn't look for any true solace or solution from this cruelty, instead it's a desperate search for just about anything to dull the pain. With the fuzzier, more comforting sound of Cozy Body having long being shed a more emo-forward, twisting of thrashing guitars and off-kilter, spasming vocal interferences takes it's place.
And, it's this version of post-hardcore intensity that enables them to match, pound for pound, just what exactly they're up against. Subsequently, the scrappy earworm, 'let's take medicine' expertly reveals self-reflections of nihilism and existential dread. Though, if 2017 has proved anything it's that the small bit of relief we can find is by huddling together and resisting the tide, and Mineral Girls will do just that, however it has to happen.
“You know you’re worth it
You can’t afford it”
Our favourite from the underrated Multi-task arrives as a satisfyingly twitchy, jittering piece of staccato garage-rock. Somewhere between the recent 'Two Toes' from Palm and Human Performance era Parquet Courts, 'Equestrian' finds Omni on some of their finest form to date. With singer Philip Frobos' schizophrenic, deadpan delivery colliding superbly with Broyles' dance-ready riffs in a uniquely chaotic, and simultaneously regulating manner. It's wiry and angular, and all those other words critics love to use in describing sophisticated, intelligent lo-fi punk. 'Equestrian' will make you sweat, though you'll relish being given the run around.
'TO BE WON'
"Lots of work with no friends to be found
No they ain't hanging around"
Compromised of the Melbourne-born duo of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons, Good Morning have released to date what they call, two “mildly received” EPs and a handful of “similarly received singles”. But, this clearly does the lo-fi pair no justice. Having been picked up by label Bedroom Suck, the band’s first two EPs, Shawcross and Glory were compiled and reissued on a new 12-inch, something that will surely surpass their current career highlight of, "being unfavourably compared to Mac DeMarco a lot".
'To Be Won' is our pick of the bunch (though we might have a hard time defending it's a song undoubtadely from 2017). What's inarguable is that it's a thing of skeletal, wistful beauty. Though, comparisons to the likes of Beach Fossils, Elvis Depressedly or even early Youth Lagoon would certainly be apt, Good Morning's delicate, stark sound is something fantastic and entirely different in its own right. From the gentle, noodling guitar to the whispered vocals and gliding piano, 'To Be Won' feels truly intimate, and yet simultaneously nebulous. It's a soft-focus, grainy triumph.
"Oh my god
We just flipped a car
Now all my things
Are lying in the street"
Tearjerker have an unbelievable knack for the hypnotic, which is no more evident on 'Flipped' - a sepia-stained hunk of hazy indie rock. With this repetitive, mesmeric aesthetic, they appear to almost decelerate time entirely. Yet, this track furtively manipulates their typically blissful atmosphere as a more insidiously oppressive tone makes for a far more humid, suffocating affair. 'Flipped' sees a loss of control played not for an obvious emotional impact but a numbed realisation. Indeed, as the eight simple lines swirl and coalesce Tearjerkers' staple sound finds new heights with a deft, lovingly crafted touch.
FRANCISCO THE MAN
'I'll FEEL BETTER'
"I don’t think I believe in anything
Just bodies in the sun"
We've been fans of L.A quartet Francisco The Man for quite a while now, a love affair that started way back in 2013 with the drawling, summer anthem In The Corners. Though, they may have refined their sound a little, this gloriously sun-soaked track definitely fits their previous M.O; as a relentless wave of lush, droning guitars fuse with impeccable vocals, before Francisco are forced to come up for air after two-and-a-half minutes - only to reach again for those sonic peaks.
Although 'I'll Feel Better' is certainly an excellent showcase for the band's tight, rampant instrumentation, Scotty Cantino's high tenor is never washed out in the process. Indeed the singer's almost unintelligible cries resonate more powerfully in a purposeful, and perhaps failing struggle, not to be drowned out. 'I'll Feel Better' may be hook-filled indie rock but it's also an illusive gem that demands repeated listens, and one that'll certainly might make you feel even just a little better.
"I've been distracted and distant
And I'm all out of ideas
The bees keep swarming around me
The sun starts running on empty"
There's been an overabundance of great music in 2017, but nothing quite occupies the same ground as Prawn's superbly driving, 'North Lynx'. Finding the sweet spot between post-rock and emo, somewhere between American Football and Pianos Become The Teeth, they're a supremely underrated, atmospheric hybrid of sorts. On their latest album Run lead singer Tony Clark noted, “I grasped onto the fact that we’re always going to feel alienated" - and there's no finer example of utter defiance than on the daring, 'North Lynx'.
"Silence screams when it's unbroken
Boy, I try so hard on you
All you've thought but haven't spoken
Say it now I know you want to"
It's fair to say the rustic, winding pseudo-country solo album from Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage was a real breath of fresh air, late on in the year. The self-reflective, rolling 'Indian Style', is ultimately a love song about acceptance and equilibrium, like many of the other tracks on the superb Thawing Dawn. Yet, Savage's poetic drawl takes on a new power here, with a failure of communication his central motif. It's a deceptively simple, strummed affair, but one that demands revisiting time and time again. If it wasn't apparent already, Savage's 'Indian Style' once more proves he's a songwriter with no likely equal comparison.
"There’s no guilty party
I’m no holiday"
With Berninger now the de facto pied piper for a cult of emotionally tormented indie-rock fans, the fact still remained - would another album of gloomy microphone masochism really cut it? Well, of course it would. It's The National.
If The National have continually tried to make sense of ordinary or grand chaos on their previous outputs, there's no apparent answers on Sleep Well Beast. The aching 'Guilty Party' finds itself as the sombre nucleus for an album that refutes the notion that troubles or a more grand, deep unrest can easily be banished, or even contained. It's just a matter of living with them.
As Berninger reflects on his marriage disintegrating naturally rather than through actual incident, it's never been more true that he writes "sad songs to stay above water", and isn't that all we can ever do?