It wasn't the year for music - that much can be said for 2017. In saying that though, there were a few standouts for us here at Rug Lane. In tune with our theme for August we have decided to do our yearly countdown of favourite albums a little differently this year. Rather than rate albums against each other, we're giving you our favourite albums for 2017, in no particular order. Each of these albums made us smile from the inside out, some made us cry, others were great to get up and dance to and all cracking in our books. Some took a while to digest and really get into but eventually stole our speakers for significant repeat listening sessions. In total, 7 albums that made our 2017!
Future Islands - The Far Field
Baltimore trio Future Islands (Rug Lane's Band of the Month for April) dropped their incredibly likeable and relatable 5th album, The Far Field, in April this year. With a monster tour to back it up, averaging close to a show a night, these guys have done nothing short of a great follow up to their 2014 release Singles, which projected them into the spotlight thanks to a 'I can't look away' Letterman appearance. The Far Field explores failed relationships, deflation and sorrow however, like most albums this year not the most positive themes, the sound is still as catchy and addictive as their previous works and we have played this baby on repeat for months.
LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
It was the comeback we weren't sure we were ready for. After calling it "quits" only 6 years ago, LCD Soundsystem (our Band of the Month for May) came back with American Dream an album of rebirth, endings, pop culture references, love, fandom and, in fitting with the times, that American Dream. Take single "Tonite", Murphy's musical nerd reference track with a not so subtle stab at the youth's inability to understand where he is coming from or perhaps his resentment that not everyone knows what he knows as a 47yr old New Yorker who's been here there and everywhere. Either way we love the obsessive compulsive/ dream state musical ongoings LCD offer on this new album and are sure glad they're back in action.
The National - Sleep Well Beast
If you ask me, Matt and the band of brothers could do no wrong. It doesn't help I'm hopelessly in love with him/them but this album wasn't a first listen love I'll admit. It took a few listens and some concentration to really appreciate it's finer parts but don't be fooled, it's full of as much life and love as per the other National releases. We grew to love every minute of it.
Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
Following the release of stand alone banger "Real Love Baby", Josh Tillman aka FJM, the father of witty lyrics himself came back with a killer album Pure Comedy. Less about love and marriage, this album is full of satirical references to the state of the world and where he thinks we're all headed, starting with "Bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the oculus rift" (apparently it just rhymed so well). Do yourself a favour and go read the great interview he did with Pitchfork back in March here!
Sampha - Process
Process was one of the first albums to come out of 2017 that really knocked us over. The debut LP from London native Sampha Sisay was a soulful, meditative Process (per se) we were privileged to be able to feel part. Taking out the well deserved Mercury Prize for Songwriter of the Year, Sampha delivered his self discovery in this beautifully mastered album and we couldn't help but love it.
Pond - The Weather
Perth locals Pond (RL's December Band of The Month) came out with their cracking album The Weather in May this year. Described by lead singer Nick Allbrook in an interview with NME, it's a "concept album, not completely about Perth, but focusing on all the weird contradictory things that make up a lot of colonial cities around the world. Laying out all the dark things underneath the shimmering exterior of cranes, development, money and white privilege. It’s not our place, but it is our place. British, but Australian, but not REAL Australian. On the edge of the world with a hell of a lot of fucked things defining our little city, still we try and live a wholesome respectful life, while being inherently disrespectful. At the end of all this confusion in our weird little white antipodean world, there’s the beach, purity and nature that brings us all together".
The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
12 years on from the official formation of The War on Drugs, singer and songwriter Adam Granduciel has birthed an album that nails the feeling for connection and a deeper understanding - of what, that's not so certain. It's the production and technique mixed with Granduciel's obsessiveness that made this album a 2017 standout.