Is 2017 really over? Let’s reminisce in all things music.
With December comes the holidays, time spent with friends and family, and for us music enthusiasts reflecting on music that changed us over the past year. Here are two albums that I could not get enough of in 2017 for your listening pleasure.
Out in the Storm – Waxahatchee
The ever-sought-after Katie Crutchfield is accompanied by a boss group of women including her sister Allison Crutchfield on the keys, Katherine Simonetti on the bass, Katie Harkin on the guitar and Ashley Arnwine on the drums, with the release of the 2017 album, Out in the Storm. I had the immense pleasure of catching the album release show in August of this year at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia. Let’s break down the album though. Following the story line of what listeners can ascertain is Crutchfield’s recollection or out-of-body perspective of a relationship that ended with pain. The opening track Never Been Wrong kicks off these inklings with lines in the chorus, “Everyone will hear me complain,” and “Everyone will pity my pain.”
Another favorite track from this album is Recite Remorse. Writing in first-person, a song showing how vulnerable a relationship can feel with lyrics in the second verse such as, “You wrote me in, gave me a part” and “See, I always gravitate toward those who are unimpressed. I saw you as a big fish. I saw you as a conquest.”
Crutchfield’s first-person directness throughout the album make the tracks overly relatable to the pain felt from a break-up. Listening to the album myself, it brought out feelings I’ve repressed from a past relationship. Certainly not a bad thing, I felt like I finally an album that understood how I felt. All of the different avenues you try to take to heal and that the answer is perhaps accepting that healing takes time, sometimes more time than expected. Listen to the album more closely though, whether you’re dealing with heartbreak or simply just trying to find your voice, the lyrics are sure to result in a reawakening.
Some of the most honest lyrics I’ve heard to date on an album. An album whose emotional relatabilities and introverted undertones produce music to be sung in unison by the masses.
Deep Dream – Daddy Issues
Nashville indie-pop trio, Daddy Issues released their sophomore album, Deep Dream, in May 2017. This was my first time checking out the music, I caught them touring with Diet Cig earlier this year which turned me onto them. I was hooked to their grunge-pop sound after I listened to the first track off of the album, Mosquito Bite. A song comparing a past relationship to a mosquito bite. HOW RELATABLE IS THAT.
Picture the scene in Bring It On, where Kristen Dunst is sitting on her bed, reflectively thinking about life’s struggles of being a popular high school cheerleader and her disputed love for that grungy bad boy, pops in the mix-tape that said boy crush wrote for her. CUE dancing and flailing on your bed like feelings are seeping out of your pores. That is precisely what I did listening to the track Lemon, but instead of a boy making me a mix tape it was three rocking ladies providing the tunes.
Listening to the album straight through, I pictured myself as a young awkward teen, attempting to figure out life’s dilemmas, desperately trying to understand why my quirks caused me to feel like I didn’t fit in. Needless to say, presently, the album cultivated feelings of nostalgia and reflection on how far I’ve come through life’s ups and downs. Tracks like Dog Years is both honest and liberating with lyrics like “there you are in the rearview/faking landings on the moon/here we are in the driveway/I’m deciding which tree to run us into”. A heavy bass coupled with purifying vocals that start soft and work their way up to shrieking leave you feeling almost relieved knowing the song is an outlet for some kind of rage.
Oh and don’t forget to check out the trio’s cover of Don Henley’s 1984 song, Boys of Summer. Very very stellar cover of the song. Not one to miss!
To sum up the album I would say go be unapologetic, be yourself, shatter whatever glass ceiling is in your way. Daddy Issues is made up of Jenna Moynihan (vocals, guitar), Emily Maxwell (drums), and Jenna Mitchell (bass). Please come back through Philly soon. With lyrics that are unflinchingly honest, I am eating up the mesmerizingly romantic sound the trio has.
Tons of honorable mentions from album releases this past year including, Post Animal, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Snail Mail, Cayetana, Square Peg Round Hole, Twin Peaks, Vagabon, The Districts, Jay Som, Adult Mom, Diet Cig, Big Thief, seriously I can keep going and so deeply apologize for all of the bands that I’ve missed on this list.
With 2017 coming to an end, my favorite season starts up again, the highly anticipated winter concert tours, new album release announcements and for me, a plethora of shows to photograph. Stay safe peeps.
Artist to watch for 2018 – Lucy Dacus
Sultry and soft, Lucy Dacus is for sure one of my top artists to watch for 2018. Lucy’s sophomore album, Historian, is expected to be released in March 2018. Singles are slowly making their way onto Spotify but if you’ve listened to Lucy’s first EP, No Burden, you should know what to expect from the singer’s rock tunes. A promising voice in the indie-rock world, the second coming album is expected to break through surface level inklings and scratch at the deeper realizations of life. In my personal opinion, I think Lucy is a wonder the way her uniquely soft vocals so perfectly communicate the emotions of her songs whether combined with strumming acoustics like in “Trust” or with a little more oomph from the guitar like in “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore”. Lucy’s unique sound reminds me of another badass lady whom I so dearly hope comes back through Philly soon, Margaret Glaspy.
Look for Lucy at Johnny Brenda’s on April 13th. Surely one chick you do not want to miss.
V – The Horrors
After three years since the release of 2014’s Luminous, The Horrors saw a burning world in need of an industrial-psych release, injected themselves with the air that Gary Numan breathes, and kicked in the door with their September release of the band’s epic fifth album aptly named V. V for Vendetta, or five? Either way it works with this bad-ass, dark, heavy bass, and synth-tastic garage punk record. Lead singer Faris Badwan’s storytelling lyrics make this album feel like a perfect indie movie soundtrack, while the instrumentals will take you on a journey of your own. Starting off strong with a magical “Hologram” that will make you think you have synesthesia, the record continues into a funky rollercoaster ride with “Press Enter To Exit”, then flawlessly enters into the dark and heavy “Machine”- and at this point you’re truly strapped in for the ride. The album plays like a classic vinyl, one that all fits together in it’s own story you have to listen to from start to finish- and you won’t want to skip around. Every track is truly a favorite. This record shows so much growth with the band you have to think they must had the best and most enlightening past three years of their lives, and thank goddess for that.
Ctrl – SZA
SZA. I mean, I feel like I don’t even need to be writing this right now, because truly, who hasn’t heard her long awaited debut album Ctrl and immediately had their lives changed? She’s had an epic year of praise reaching music lovers across the globe and it couldn’t be more well deserved. SZA released a record that created it’s own genre, nothing can compare to it. The way she narrates her life (and a lot of our lives) in her songwriting, brings a sense of closeness and friendship to the creator who, somehow can read you like a book. Gifting you with songs that make you laugh, cry, dance, and feel less alone through one perfect life soundtrack of an album. It was love at first listen with her first single “Drew Barrymore”, I listened to it on repeat basically every day until she released her album–and then I had fourteen more songs to listen to on repeat. Besides naming one of her songs after one the best actresses of our time, she further weaves her love for film in and out of tracks through her lyrics with “Doves In The Wind” while still telling us her life soundtrack. “Pretty Little Birds” flaunt her gorgeous vocals drawing you into the track right away, and keep you there for the layers of vocals taking you on a journey reminiscent of Imogen Heap. Her truthful and relatable lyrics throughout mixed with the stunning soundtrack she created to tie it all together hits a music fan hard, locks you in, and keeps you as a fan for life. Nothing but the best for this absolute queen, SZA.
Happy New Year and see you in 2018!!!
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Thanx for your wishes, all the best for you in 2018! Cheers, Jens