Drunk Noise's Best Songs of 2017 // Part Two
Every weekday for five days we will 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.
'CALL THE POLICE'
"It moves like a virus and enters our skin
The first sign divides us, the second is moving to Berlin"
Its fair to say LCD's wake was perhaps, in hindsight, a little premature. But, if you're willing to avoid the inherent cynicism this can only be something utterly brilliant. Indeed, if they had returned with anything other than this balls to the walls brilliance they would have justly been in for a hammering. Instead what we've been given is Heroes era Bowie crossed with latter U2 which is nothing short of staggering, both in its scope and its genius.
You make me full
You also make me horrible"
'In Us' from the brilliant, and brilliantly titled Record Time sees Greta Kline (Frankie Cosmos) lament a turbulent break-up, though there's a fantastically bittersweet fortitude in the midst of the aftermath. Unsurprisingly it's an all too short affair, yet in its brief, winding course Kline's lyrics effortlessly turn the quotidian into the poetic.
Backed by suitably churning drums and guitar licks, a visit to Chinatown acts as a cutting metaphor for overindulgence, and over-reliance. While Lexie may appear to be broadly a side project, 'In Us' undoubtedly packs in some of the best music recorded this year, albeit in a rather slight package.
'A PRIVATE UNDERSTANDING'
"In this age of blasting trumpets
Paradise for fools
In the lowest deep a lower depth"
Protomartyr have never been one to pull punches, but despite their sometimes oblique messages 'A Private Understanding' is vicious, insightful rage. It's your favourite 'alcoholic uncle' in superb form once more, like a man sick of a vacuous Christmas party, finally snapping. Indeed, Joe Casey's vitriol feels distinctly figured by a 'Falling Down' mentality with his latest shots fired at disinterest, and general apathy. That's not to say its not accessible or dry, far from it - its a hook filled diatribe that echoes a little louder each time you spin it.
"This last week
I slept 8 hours total, I barely sleep
Maybe that's why I've been weak
The same things that plague you still plaguing me"
On the brilliant You're Not As _____ As You Think Sorority Noise proved above all else that catharsis is catchy, in turn becoming the kind of band people rightly run off to get tattoos about. And in, a year of new and old genre favourites disintegrating, the fact that Sorority Noise remain with us, even if that was the hardest thing to do at one point, is some achievement.
'No Halo' is an unashamedly bombastic and cutting testament to just about hanging in there. But, it also reflects the major emo-inspired paradigm shift in modern alternative rock, while being one of the finest tracks in the oeuvre to date.
"The gleam sticks
I need this
I feel it
Strange Ranger have always seemed like a bit of an unknown quantity. It's not really because of a name change, nor a lack of information despite acclaim, more their ability to covertly switch from Modest Mouse inspired straight indie rock to more hazy, immersive Microphones-esque fair.
On new record Daymoon this heavy fog persists, but much like on the sorely underrated Rot Forever, warm chinks of comforting sunlight do appear - and especially so on the languid, sprawling 'The Future'. It's a brilliantly shapeshifting track that superbly serves up ambiguous indie-rock with a nod to their distinctly Pacific Northwest heritage. However, it's also an uncanny example of their own uniquely cultivated talent.
"Is loving you enough?
Or is it half of me?"
So begins 'Separation' an immediately, and pretty staggeringly beautiful song from former Youth Lagoon touring guitarist Benjamin Jones. With a deft piano line and a warm, spindling guitar Jones weaves isolation and heartache touchingly. But, if 'Separation' begins with a loving slow dance it winds deliberately into an unavoidable, and transcendental ambivalence.
As sepia-stained memories are eventually found to be incomplete, an offhand Sufjan (or even Foxygen) reference would not be wide of the mark, based not just on the soft timbre of Jones' voice but also for his defeated sentiment. 'Separation' tracks the seasons of disappointment sincerely, and insightfully. It's a ceaseless, swirling gem, that proves the heart might not always grow fonder.
'WAY WE WON'T'
"Damned if we do
(Dumb if we don't)"
Ten years after the release of their farewell album Just Like the Fambly Cat, the Californian indie rock giants returned with this anthemic, and typically bewitching track. Dogged by feelings of alienation the utterly inspired, 'Way We Won’t' is a heartbreaking and entirely ironic tale about a homeless couple living on the roof of a big-box retailer. Basically, it's a song that only Grandaddy could write, and we're pretty darn pleased they did.
"I don't know how but I can say
That I found my religion
When nothing was ahead of us
That week in California"
Recalling the halcyon times of an almost spectral holiday, vocalist Austin Getz's irresistible refrain is pervaded by a deep sense of nostalgia on 'Super Natural'. Smothered in their enticing, warming instrumentation, Turnover somehow find fertile ground in the sandy shores. Somewhere between meandering beach rock, and something far more longing, they once more navigate an untraveled path, and in doing so have uncovered something quite brilliant.
DANIELE LUPPI & PARQUET COURTS
And I can only walk!"
It's safe to say the charming 'Mount Napoleon' was easily our favourite from Luppi's all-star cast on Milano. Subtle differentiations are key here between Parquet Courts' superb Human Performance and what's on display, although a delightful Pink Panther-esque backing adds a playful base for Andrew Savage to deliver his wicked epithets upon.
And it's Savage's fashion conscious, biting lyricism that really comes to the forefront, as Luppi's brilliantly delicate instrumentation dissolves into a thrashing guitar, and a satisfyingly wailing saxophone. It all feels rather agile, even if Savage thinks he'd get a "nosebleed in those heels".
'WHAT I WANTED TO HOLD'
"What is love if not Violet,
A beam of light on an Autumn afternoon
That slowly fades to Blue
I have always wanted you"
'What I Wanted To Hold' is undoubtadely a modest affair with Emily Sprague's soft, warm, whispered vocals placed at the forefront alongside a gently strummed guitar. What is perhaps most remarkable about this effort is an unerring immediacy that coalesces with contemplation and specificity. At once it's an evocative, ethereal portrait, where stunning colours slowly come into focus through misty-eyes.
If 'What I Wanted To Hold' holds an unerring beauty in its lyrical colour symbolism, its delicate melody possesses a more unknown quality in, and of itself. As Sprague untangles life with care, Florist find a soft optimism, with new colours coming to the fore in a pseudo-Synesthesia quality that is entirely awing.