Drunk Noise's Best Songs of 2017 // Part One
For our best of 2017 we wanted to do our list a little differently. There'll be no arbitrary ranking, no shortchanging on info, and only some obvious answers.
Our playlist is just below too, but make sure you check out each individual part, we guarantee they're more than worth your time...
"So I live with a deep regret
Of all I do on the internet
And I'm filled with a dirty white guilt
She's a brown on her doily frills"
Alex Cameron is something of a raconteur. In our Best of 2016 Restrospective, we called Cameron's, "bleached, seedy, squelching Jumping The Shark... a brilliant tour alongside the ever-popular anti-hero figure. It's a pulsing, thrilling tour-de-force that came out of nowhere".
'Candy May' certainly lives up to the billing - though its a far less queasy affair it's nonetheless intoxicating, or insidiously charming. Full of swagger, we find Cameron in genuine crooner mode as a sincere confession flips the switch on the toxic culture of public shaming. Though, Cameron's hyper-masculine character is undoubtedly a facade, it's most frightening quality on 'Candy May' is it's crystalline, hook-filled hatred. It's contemporary, 2017 versimilitude. It's riotously and almost dangerously catchy in this respect, especially when we often so easily forget nuance in the wake of feeling.
"You lie in bed at night and watch the lines of headlights through your screen
There is a child inside you who’s trying to raise a child in me"
Capacity quickly became one of our favourite albums of the year as it did for so many, so it's no surprise that its finest song would make the list. Where Lenker's tempered voice often darts covertly in building it's tension, 'Mythological Beauty' navigates a far different path.
Forging a loud-quiet-loud journey, it truly becomes an anthem for catharsis, untethered by its context yet inextricably linked to its past. In doing so Big Thief's essentially 'gone emo moment' strikes a nerve in such a brutal and effective way that it's unlikely many others would top it, this year or any.
ROLLING BLACKOUTS C.F.
"I'm all right if you ask me
But you never do"
So begins the opening track of Rolling Blackouts C.F.'s brilliant EP. It's a breezy slice of brilliant indie-rock, that turns and twists effortlessly, filled to the brim with clever wordplay and tantalising guitar hooks. It's summer listening, when the summer has long since passed.
Most of all, its a god damn shame that one of the most promising indie acts of recent years has released just two EP's since their conception in 2013. Then again, RBCF have never seemed like the band to exactly rush anything out. We'll carry on waiting patiently, then.
KELLY LEE OWENS
Kelly Lee Owens has proved her prowess at cutting ambient electronica on tracks like 'Anxi', but 'Evolution' finds her in a complete, dance floor ready mode. This bewitching track bubbles and builds, becoming as satisfying as it is threatening. With a deceptively simple, killer hook, its a piece of revolving, repetitive brilliance and a stellar reflection of Owens as one of the best crossover artists working today.
(SANDY) ALEX G
"Do you forget when we first met
You grabbed my hand
I tore your dress
I felt things I cannot express"
Alex G's burgeoning catalogue has an overabundance of everything from superb slow jams to frenetic singles, but immediately upon its release, it was clear 'Bobby' was a different kind of masterstroke.
With his typically personal, grainy, lo-fi tracks he’s been the real deal for a while now, even if he still might play in your living room. But, 'Bobby' alone seemed enough to propel him into the next echelon, both in terms of fanbase and artistry. It's experimental, effortlessly simple, and full of nostalgic sweetness.
'WHAT'S THAT PERFUME THAT YOU WEAR?'
"And it smells so good
And I guess I still love her"
Stumbling across Jens Lekman feels a bit like attending a wedding of a friend of a friend of a friend. At first it feels like you're entirely uninvited, you're giving people weird stares trying to work out just what exactly is going on.
But, then you've had a few slices of cake, a glass or two of wine. You're talking to the groom, then the brides mother. Then you're swept up in it all. At first its easy to be rather confused - isn't this all just a bit too... silly? Then slowly but surely, ever so gradually, you're swept up in the Balearic beat. You're singing along to every line. And, suddenly you've probably realised what all the fuss is about.
"Can't stand the modern act,
Whose war is this, what god is that"
Just try not to sing along to 'Modern Act'. Just try. Its the kind of track that makes the term 'earworm' seem like a completely and utterly gross understatement. Cloud Nothings just do it, time and time again. With 'Modern Act' they tackle the distinctly modern-figured phenomenon of self imposed isolation on one of their finest to date.
"One more time for old sake
I meet you by the BYOB place on Avenue A
A little drunk
Stopped for donuts
And I got robbed by the J Station"
Stumbling and eventually realising upon the sheer hurtfulness of a past relationship, 'J Station' sees Stephanie Knipe spiral from sweet to sad in a familiar, but nonetheless brilliant pattern. Though it obviously recalls the likes of Frankie Cosmos and Waxahatchee its packed deep with his its own uniquely deft wit, and distinctly emo-inspired lyricism.
While their latest album, Soft Spots is packed with humorous asides (See 'Fullscreen'), and an equally complex sincerity, it's the rawness, that wistful guitar sound and the all too fleeting nature of 'J Station' that makes it the perfect entry point to Adult Mom, and a pretty perfect track.
THE SMITH STREET BAND
"All I want occupying my mind
Is what is the highest thing we can climb before sunrise"
Wil Wagner and co. might just be Australia's greatest export, with 'Birthdays' being everything you expect (and hope for) from The Smith Street Band. It's brilliantly candid, has a fucking huge chorus, and a seize the day quality that seemingly no one else can quite muster.
"I guess there was nothing left out there
Your voice of ash whispers from the car stereo
When I breath, I choke"
Lomelda was conceived in some version or another way back in high school, and this undoubtedly tinges the project with Hannah Read's upbringing, where she lived in a tiny town from a huge state. Wavering from assured to anxious 'Out There' feels like the connective tissue of the empty roads from big cities to small homes.
With it's gentle instrumentation acting as the surrounding landscape, rolling and rocking gently, it allows Read to ponder and imagine what could have been. Staring at the highway’s horizon she asks, "Do I sit in darkness waiting for what’s out there? I don’t know what’s out there”. 'Out There' gives no sense of resolution, indeed there's no fixation on truth whatsoever, instead it feels like a small candlelight in the encroaching twilight of the known.