As junk as 2017 was (“dumpster fire of a year” is the term most frequently used), it did have one amazing outcome: reigniting my love for independent music. Last year saw the release of a whole bunch of great records, so here’s something I, personally, haven’t done in a while: a best-of-the-year list.
These are my favourite records of 2017, in no particular order.
The OBGMs – The OBGMs
I had been waiting for this record for a long while, so I was already excited when it was released in the fall. I was even more thrilled to hear that it was well worth the wait. Between the fast and ferocious jams and the surprisingly soft ballads, this is one record that will be staying on repeat well into 2018.
Partner – In Search of Lost Time
Partner’s latest release is just as fun as its lead single, “Everybody Knows.” The record is something of a concept record, with a series of phone call interludes. I didn’t love it at first, but after several listens, those skits became some of my favourite parts of the album.
Sc Mira – Keep Crawling EP
Even though the latest from Winnipeg’s pop-rock group is only three songs long, it packed quite the punch—and left quite the impression. The band also released a series of music videos for the albums, adding an amazing visual element to the medium.
Not You – Misty
This album made me fall in love with these East Coasters. The album is equal parts beautiful and raw and edgy and noisy. I love everything about it, and can’t wait to hear more from the group.
*Bonus: Read our interview with Not You!
Mise en Scene – Still Life on Fire
I’ve been following Mise en Scene for quite some time, and their 2017 effort was a beautiful ode from a grown-up band. With Still Life on Fire, the group truly came into their own, blending the pop flavours of their past with an edgier take.
The Nursery – Life After Wartime
You can always count on The Nursery to deliver something delightfully weird. You can also count on the Toronto band to offer up a poignant undercurrent. Life After Wartime delivers on all fronts.
*Bonus: Read our interview with The Nursery!
HotKid – Late Night Mornings
It was appropriate that HotKid’s buzz-worthy album would feature buzzy guitars (sorry). In all honesty, the album was my first listen for the band that would quickly become my new favourite of 2017. They’re hazy and heavy and eerie, and the entire album is a trip from start to finish.
LOLAA – LOLAA
2017 also brought the much-anticipated release of LOLAA’s debut record. The sisters’ new sound wows with its mesmerizing vocals and enchanting beats and lofty synths. It’s the type of album that deserves—nay, requires—several listens.
Mad Ones – Regretless
Mad Ones surprised us with a new record just a few months after their Sanciety release, and it blew me away. The band is known for its loud and unforgiving brand of rock’n’roll, and Regretless has that, but it also introduced the band’s beautiful softer side.
Mac Demarco – This Old Dog
Alright, so this one might slightly blur the line of unknown independence, but I’d be remiss to not mention Mac Demarco’s latest. This Old Dog is a beautiful record, and a real stand-out of the year. It’ll calm you down and make you cry; it’s the perfect way to forget about your 2017.