Drunk Noise's Best Songs of 2017 // Part Three
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.
'NO KNOWN DRINK OR DRUG'
"And no known drink
No known drug
Could ever hold a candle to your love"
When Japandroids incredibly, and effectively, killed of their own band at the pinnacle of their power the reverberating effects where not quite felt till their timely return. With a cult legacy built on carpe diem to the max bangers, 'No Known Drink Or Drug' certainly fits to the formula of call and response greatness. However, it's a decidedly sweet, mature pivot which in time will undoubtedly prove just how lucky we are to have this band back around.
COURTNEY BARNETT & KURT VILE
"When I'm outside in a real good mood
You could almost forget about all the other things
Like a big old ominous cloud in my periphery"
It's pretty apparent that on 'Over Everything' Barnett and Vile are indulging, or rather enjoying themselves quite a bit. For any other set of artists this could feel a little cloying. But, there's no such danger here for the ever-charming duo. The lead single feels inherently Vile driven compared to many of the other tracks on Lotta Sea Lice, but that's by no means a bad thing.
Like the collaborative LP itself, 'Over Everything' is effortlessly endearing in its winding, delightful experimentation. Indeed, it feels entirely as if they are both following every little spark of an idea, and chasing it to its natural conclusion. It's the kind of record you could put on every single morning. You make breakfast to this. You drink coffee. You vicariously immerse yourself in Vile and Barnett's relationship. 'Over Everything' is the pinnacle of this long-distance relationship, but most of all it's a lot of fun, for everyone involved.
'ONE MORE FLUORESCENT RUSH'
Following the outstanding The Frontier would surely be no small task for Avalon Emerson but it's abundantly clear, even on first listen, to this tune she's more than up for it. On 'One More Fluorescent Rush' slight, arpeggiated synthesisers intertwine in a thick, tropical mix. But, just when we think we've acclimatised to the dually humid and airy repetitions of this bewitching track, Emerson once more spins us off into the dark undergrowth.
Flickering and flowing from dense bass to tense hi-hats, its would be easy to get lost in its evergreen nature, but thankfully we are carefully guided through, with each transition occurring naturally and deliberately. It's a propulsive, luminescent, hook-filled hybrid of tropical electronica and weighty techno - and ultimately an athletic feat of nature.
'TALK A LOT'
"Your friends they seem to talk a lot
You know i’m not that type"
That bass line is hypnotic enough to warrant 'Talk a Lot' a place in this year's list alone. But, thankfully SALES' infectiously breezy summer jam has a multitude of other qualities for which we could also say the same the thing. It's a deceptively simple, mirage-like affair that blends a jazz/pop/hip-hop style that we can't really categorise at all actually. Yeah, sorry about that. What we do know is that the woozy, punch-drunk instrumentation alongside some rather deft lyricism makes for one of the best songs of the year. Fact.
'Tin' is a multi-faceted beast, both explosive and restrained, it's a hybrid of sorts, falling halfway between Caribou material, and the more club-ready Daphni project. It's stuttering, propulsive beats are sure to soundtrack many a moody, heads-down moment, in the twilight before the lights come up. Yet, it's clipped, longing vocals, which juxtapose the cold relentless thudding, also find real traction in purely being a headphones moment.
It's this multi-layered, intelligent form of controlled chaos that Snaith truly specialises in, and sets him apart from many producers in the game today. Though, it's undeniably dance-orientated, and somewhat of a swelling juggernaut, 'Tin' never pulls a sucker punch, it earns its euphoria deliberately - whatever the context.
Like much of World Eater 'Please' oscillates between brutal, colliding noise to uplifting, swelling ambient electronica. Most of all though it just sounds absolutely fucking huge. Cinematic is defitinely an understatement here, with Ben Power's lead single sounding powerful enough to break a film like Bladerunner 2049 rather than merely soundtrack it. It's perceptibly thrilling, and from a release called World Eater it's suprisingly, and overhwhelmingly more human than machine.
'THE PEOPLE AT THE SHOW'
"We get fucked up in the same places
But when the wave comes crashing down
Will you swim to me or watch me drown?"
Radiator Hospital are consistently brilliant at the blink-or-you'll-miss-it, and on Play The Songs You Like the four-piece are trying to heal through musical, emotional connections, with the same wryly cutting approach. But, if its an ointment from the drudge of the daily malaise, its covered in the brilliant veneer of happy go lucky thrashing cymbals and piercing guitars.
Indeed, if there's something this band are really good at it's playing happy, when they’re actually playing quite sad. ‘The People At The Show’ is mad at people being ignorant at a show thats really important to them, which in itself is worth a pat on the back. Its also probably about the ephemerality of blissful ignorance. Either way, over 1 minute 44 seconds it will mean a lot to quite a few people, for quite a few reasons.
'Loud Patterns' is just as sprawling as Kyle Molleson's previous outputs under his Makeness moniker, but there's a noticeable roominess present, a vacuum even, that is not too dissimilar to the airiness found on Love What Survives. However, at two minutes in the track fills this void with pure injected stimulation as it morphs into something a little more dance-punk with distorted guitars lines and a driving drum beat. As Molleson's vocals rattle off the empty walls they begin to knot tightly with the groaning instrumentation, forging more of a puzzle than a motif.
For a producer too often dubbed on the cusp of something, the announcement of a signing to Secretly Canadian might seem a little overdue when considering the body of work Makeness has built up (the snarling '14 Drops' was a secret weapon, and a real highlight of last year). Nonetheless, his latest is the perfect marker for a yearly celebration. A unique fusing of electronica, and post-punk it's an ingeniously coded riddle, and yet another musical evolution.
KELLY LEE OWENS
'MORE THAN A WOMAN'
No one quite asked for an Aaliyah cover from Kelly Lee Owens, but we sure are glad we got one. However, it's KLO's writhing, bass-house remix that is of particular significance for us, here. As entrancing as a firm favourite, 'Evolution', it harks to some of the best works from one of the best imprints around, Swamp81. It's pulsing - agitative almost, and so much more than just dancefloor fodder.
Like her self-titled release, its a hybrid of sorts, oscillating from something more accessibly tech-house to full on UK bass. Unrepentant sure, and in hands other than KLO's surely sacrilegious. Though, maybe not quite as minimal as her analogue cover, 'More Than A Woman', sees the producer maintain full control of the skittish hi-hats and squirming sub-bass throughout. It's an impressive feat, and another exhibition of KLO's unique ability to traverse genres with brilliant dexterity.
“I hate you for what you did
And I miss you like a little kid”
Somewhere stylistically between Julien Baker and Angel Olsen, Phoebe Bridgers arrives as an artist with a fair amount of fanfare. 'Motion Sickness' is itself a dually biting, and bewitching tale of betrayal where Bridgers sounds like she’s about to unravel at any moment, though she’s perhaps keeping it together for her own sake, rather than ours.
A simple rumbling drum beat with a vaguely 70s guitar lick allows Bridgers' angelic voice, and twisting lyrics to shine. At once oblique and intriguing, they're a car flashing by on the highway too fast to quite make out. Her evocative imagery and deceptively simple wordplay feels like an entirely unique talent despite operating in the somewhat crowded singer-songwriter vicinity. Indeed, 'Motion Sickness' is a dizzying and enchanting attempt to convey the feeling at the pit of your stomach when disloyalty begins to engulf you, and you can't come up for air.