FEATURE: The Best Albums of 2017 (So Far)



IN THIS PHOTO: Robert Plant/PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian

The Best Albums of 2017 (So Far) 


IT is almost the end of the year - so it is a good time…


IN THIS PHOTO: Lucy Rose/PHOTO CREDITLaura Lewis Photography

to look at the albums that have come before. Everyone has their opinions regarding the biggest and best of 2017. I have brought together my choices and the albums, I feel, have defined this year. There is a mixture of male/female; various genres and nationalities thrown in – from mainstream Pop queens to poetic Indie; through Punk blasts and Hip-Hop.

It is a compelling and interesting blend that, I hope, people will agree with. It is evident this year has been very productive and assured – producing some incredible records from musicians at the top of their game!


Benjamin Clementine I Tell a Fly


But what’s particularly impressive is that it’s not a theme addressed simply in the lyrics, but evoked by a constantly shifting, discomfiting musical backdrop, in which polite piano and harpsichord motifs are disrupted by jarring bursts of throbbing, whining synthesiser and layers of Clementine’s own bizarrely operatic background vocal keening and muttering” - Independent

Release Date: 15th September  

Label: Universal Music Publ. K.K

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/user/indebanvan/playlist/0AbX0DppkiQHUPAlPmp9Tz

Wolf AliceVisions of a Life


Release Date: 29th September

LabelDirty Hit

In some ways, Wolf Alice’s second album is an extension of their 2015 debut, ‘My Love Is Cool’. That excellent record was restless, too, flitting from hypnotic, electronic folk to teeth-baring rock” – NME

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/4igFAe5sMPXBZRHj66tP8c


Lucy RoseSomething’s Changing


Release Date: 7th July


Something’s Changing is a culmination of much-welcomed growth for Rose. She has the ability to make listeners feel: when she’s struggling to find comfort in her own skin, finding joy in life and questioning her path. Her most recent body of work shows Rose finding her sense of self, but makes it relatable to listeners. It’s that connection that solidifies Rose’s career on the folk world” – Paste Music

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/1W9INKEeQf3OjBnSJSvSS3

Robert PlantCarry Fire


Release Date: 13th October

Labels: Nonesuch Records/Warners

Lyrically, Plant, like the best artists of his generation, takes a meditative position throughout, wistfully looking back as aging and mortality haunt the back of his mind. "And now the carnival is over," he sings on "Dance With You Tonight." "Someone turned out the light." It's a recurring theme on Carry Fire, even if Plant doesn't explicitly state it. The haunting loops that drift through many of the songs serve as a reminder of life's cyclical nature. "The seasons turn, and once again our world will change," he sings on "A Way With Words," driving home the point.

Plant occasionally carries his deep growl into higher registers here, but his "Whole Lotta Love" days are behind him. And he seems just fine with that. Carry Fire takes the same musical foundations Zeppelin leaned on all those years ago, mainly blues and the Eastern flavors heard on "Kashmir," and positions them into more natural and seasoned settings. Plant, in turn, sounds right at home” - Ultimate Classic Rock

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/4f7U9Rycl2d3KMLoiEZtve

Baxter DuryPrince of Tears


Release Date: 27th October

Label: Heavenly Recordings

It all adds up to a short, sharp blast of an album. Pretty much every punch lands. Dury is alternately very funny, oddly disturbing and genuinely touching, which is a lot of ground to cover in under half an hour. The shadow of his father still lurks around, but then, anyone who choses to deliver beautifully observed vignettes in a London-accented sprechgesang voice is going to find themselves working in Ian Dury’s shade, regardless of who their dad was. And on Prince of Tears, the songs are so good, the author’s parentage scarcely seems to matter” – The Guardian

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/3qb5B25qWfVjvWzFVmci0f



Release Date: 13th October

Label: Loma Vista Recordings

The sense with MASSEDUCTION is that Annie Clark puts all of herself into her creations. It was easy before to associate this with a face. It was enough that a video clip of her telling whoever watching that she loves them could go viral. But slowly we’ve associated St. Vincent with all of the complexity that is Annie Clark, turning her into one of the most complex, challenging, and fascinating figures in contemporary music. It’s not her goal to show that she’s worthy of being spoken of in the same breath as the great masters. But it’s her willingness to follow whims, to push herself, and to take her audiences along for the ride that does it for her” – Consequence of Sound

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/4RoOGpdrgfiIUyv0kLaC4e

Queens of the Stone Age Villains


Release Date: 25th August

Label: Matador

Yet there's no lack of crushing guitars. The single "The Evil Has Landed" squalls over brutally clipped beats, suggesting latter-day Led Zep if they'd wrapped their head around New Wave. "Head Like a Haunted House" goes further, a galloping assault pitched between Devo and the Buzzcocks, with theremin sounds wailing like a supercomputer meltdown in a trashy '50s sci-fi film. Headbangers may be put off that QOTSA is now targeting feet and asses; too bad for them” – Rolling Stone

Steam: https://open.spotify.com/album/6JdX9MGiEMypqYLMKyIE8a

Kendrick Lamar DAMN.


Release Date: 14th April

Label: Top Dawg Entertainment

He bobs in and out of this perspective, but the repeated pledges to loyalty and martyrdom evoke the life and mind of a young gang member who carries his neighborhood flag because no one’s proved to him that he shouldn’t. These choices, Lamar suggests, aren’t pre-determined or innate, but in constant dialogue with and in reaction to their surrounding circumstances. They aren’t above or beneath anyone who can hear his voice. Success and failure choose their subjects at their whim; we’re as grateful as Kendrick for his fate” – Pitchfork

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/4eLPsYPBmXABThSJ821sqY

Laura Marling Semper Femina


Release Date: 10th March

Label: Kobalt Music Group

Ms. Marling doesn’t cast herself as heroine or victim, angel or avenger. She does something trickier, and perhaps braver. Cleareyed, calmly determined and invitingly tuneful, she captures each situation in all its ambiguity” - NY Times

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/25vCo942umSnfQJl6MIOnn

Phoebe Bridgers Stranger in the Alps


Release Date: 14th September

Label: Dead Oceans

That’s not to say that she throws the proverbial sink at the record, though. The strings on the quietly devastating ‘Funeral’ roll away subtly in the background, just as they do on standout ‘Scott Street’. ‘Motion Sickness’ and ‘Chelsea’ are both nuanced and intelligent in their use of electric guitar, and when she experiments a little - see the downtempo electronic flourishes on ‘Georgia’, as well as its programmed percussion track - it tends to come off. ‘Stranger in the Alps’ is as accomplished a solo debut as you’ll hear all year - a quietly devastating listen worthy of Phoebe Bridgers’ obvious influences” – DIY

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/0AkAmg94XyiHODJaiGHh9O

Sampha Process


Release Date: 3rd February  

Label: Young Turks

The samples on Reverse Faults are melded into an insistent, slightly groggy pulse that’s both compelling and unsettling. Nothing feels in thrall to current trends in R&B, either sonically or emotionally: Sisay may have been a constant, quiet presence on other people’s records last year, but Process doesn’t sound much like any of them. Instead, it’s a weighty, powerful album with an identity entirely of its own. And while clearly not constructed with commercial ambition at the forefront of its mind, it’s certainly good enough to make an unlikely star of the man behind it” – The Guardian

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/2gUSWVHCOerKhJHZRwhVtN

Lorde Melodrama


Release Date: 16th June

Labels: Lava; Republic

It’s a rudely excellent album, introspective without ever being indulgent, OTT in all the right ways, honest and brave, full of brilliant songs with lyrics to chew over for months. The message might be that Lorde considers herself wild and flawed and bruised (“I’ll love you till you call the cops on me,” she sings, on the deliciously bitter ‘Writer In The Dark’), but we all do sometimes. That’s the neatest trick the album pulls off – universal connection, in spite of the squad and the praise and the superstardom and the pressure. Humanity intact. Artistry assured. Brilliance confirmed”- NME

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/2B87zXm9bOWvAJdkJBTpzF