Review: Top Tracks of 2017
Every day in December 2017 I posted a track recommendation on my Twitter account, here is the Spotify playlists of all the tracks and the summary from Twitter for each. I hope you enjoy the selection and let me know what you think - you can find me on Twitter: @MDennyMusic
Day 1: MGMT - Little Dark Age
Psychedelic, catchy and progressive - a strangely hypnotic pop beast which channels Gary Numan, Sonic the Hedgehog and the hugely successful Stranger Things soundtrack.
Day 2: The Luxembourg Signal - Fall Feeling
I first heard ‘Fall Feeling’ on 6 Music and was hooked by its mix of 80s and 00s indie - for me this channels The Cure, British Sea Power and Interpol while still sounding new…the rhythm changes around the 1.40 mark are clever too!
Day 3: Declan McKenna - Humongous
A wonderfully constructed pop track from a songwriter still in his teens - as the opening track to his debut album, Humongous is a strong and catchy signal of intent.
Day 4: Maximo Park - The Hero
Returning with a sixth album in spring 2017 Maximo Park once again delivered something new while maintaining their infectious pop hooks and trademark vocal deliver from Paul Smith.
Day 5: Ride - Charm Assault
With their first new single in 20 years, Ride deliver a classic jangly indie riff reminiscent of Johnny Marr, driving drums and a bold chorus - a great comeback track.
Day 6: Royal Blood - Hole In Your Heart
With any Royal Blood record you know what you are going to get (hint: your face torn off). Their second continues where the first left off with pounding drums, massive riffs, infectious melodies and epic breakdowns. More of the same on album three please.
Day 7: Roddy Woomble - I’ll Meet You By The Memorial
‘The Deluder’ is Roddy’s most abstract solo album, taking a left turn from his established folk tendencies. This track is the standout with the perfect combination of experimental textures and a familiar uplifting melody.
Day 8: Steven Wilson - Nowhere Now
Porcupine Tree legend Steven Wilson might well be the most successful songwriter, musician and producer you’ve never heard of. With his latest solo album he invaded the charts reaching number 3.
Day 9: Feeder - Figure You Out
Following 2016’s brilliant ‘All Bright Electric’ Feeder released a ‘Best Of’ compilation including new tracks. Lead single ‘Figure You Out’ encapsulates this great band with Grant’s fragile vocal, soaring choruses, driving guitars and strong hooks.
Day 10: Beck - Colors
The latest album from Beck once again sees him take his music in a totally new direction while being unmistakably Beck. Album opener and title track ‘Colors’ is the catchiest and most infectious song I’ve heard this year - a pop masterpiece.
Day 11: The Dears - Of Fisticuffs
There’s something about The Dears ‘sound’ across all their records that remains timeless, lo-fi and simultaneously uplifting and melancholic. ‘Of Fisticuffs’ is the most memorable track from another strong album from the band.
Day 12: Blink 182 - Last Train Home
Earlier this year I took a trip down memory lane and went to see Blink 182. Travis Barker was the highlight, quite simply and astonishing drummer who seems to play rhythms no-one would even think to attempt - this track is a great example.
Day 13: British Sea Power - Bad Bohemian
Lake District oddballs British Sea Power have released a number of interesting records since their early noughties Pixies-esque debut. 2017 comeback single Bad Bohemian sees them return with their popiest effort in years.
Day 14: Mogwai - Coolverine
20 years into their career, Mogwai have just released their most successful record to date - lead track ‘Coolverine’ ticks all the boxes with a driving rhythm section, soaring layered guitars and a classic post-rock build and climax.
Day 15: Liam Gallagher - Bold
Whether you wanted to or not you couldn’t miss the return of Liam Gallagher. Liam is not a songwriter, but regardless of who wrote the tracks, ‘Bold’ is the highlight with Liam sounding at his classic rock n roll star finest.
Day 16: Cut Copy - Standing In The Middle of a Field
The return single from 80s influences indie dance poppers ‘Cut Copy’ was the perfect summer hit for sunny vibes. If you’ve never heard it, check out their 2008 album ‘In Ghost Colours’ - an absolute pop masterpiece.
Day 17: Everything Everything - Night of the Long Knives
I first saw Everything Everything in a tiny venue in Leeds around 2008 and was blown away by there intricate pop, catchy riffs and falsetto vocals. Their fourth album is the slickest yet full of amazing tracks.
Day 18: Arcade Fire - Everything Now
For me Arcade Fire will never top their first 2 records and while I am not sold on most of their work post Neon Bible there is something insanely catchy and hypnotic on the ABBA influenced title track Everything Now.
Day 19: Idlewild - (I Am) What I Am Not
Today’s song is a break from tradition as this evening I am seeing one of my favourite ever albums performed live - Idlewild - The Remote Part. Bring it on.
Day 20: Bayley - Sun Goes Down
This year saw the return of The Open frontman and songwriter Bayley. His mix of influences can be heard across the new EP from indie to jazz and my personal favourite track is ‘Sun Goes Down’.
Day 21: Kiasmos - Blurred
Olafur Arnalds is one of my favourite composers and it is great to see how his career has developed into soundtracks. I recently discovered his side project Kiasmos and I love the increased electronic elements to his sound.
Day 22: Nick J.D. Hodgson - Suitable
The first release from former Kaiser Chiefs drummer and songwriter takes a turn away from straight up pop tracks with a Beatles meets The Beach Boys acoustic led dreamy ballad.
Day 23: Toothless - Palm’s Backside (feat. Marina Hackman)
For me this track is what an ‘indie’ track sounds like; a lo-fi and dreamy atmosphere combined with guitar and vocal hooks. This is a fun debut album that worms its way into you head - check it out.
Day 24: Little Cub - Death of a Football Manager
Signed to Domino Records, Little Cub continue the labels reputation for undiscovered gems and cult heroes. Little Cub sit somewhere between Hot Chip and Wild Beasts and their debut album ‘Still Life’ is well worth a listen.
Day 25: Balmorhea - Sky Could Undress
Balmorhea have been a big influence on my instrumental music this year including my solo records and my work for Calm. Sky Could Undress beautiful combines organic and synthesised tones.
Day 26: Public Service Broadcasting - All Out
All Out is the heaviest offering from PSBs third album and it harks back to the rougher sound of their debut. PSB are one of the UKs most unique and underrated bands, check them out, you won’t be disappointed.
Day 27: Kasabian - You’re In Love With a Psycho
On every album Kasabian have always put out a great indie pop single - this track from the latest album is catchy, upbeat, weird and hypnotic - try and get it out of your head.
Day 28: Jeremy Holland-Smith - Dancer In The Dark
This track stood out for me when watching the BBC documentary ‘I Shot My Parents’ - it encapsulates the subject perfectly; its simultaneously dark, brooding, eerie and yet strangely forgiving.
Day 29: Sewage Farm - Alien Alone
Fronted by Nine Black Alps legend Sam Forrest, Sewage Farm have a lo-fi indie aesthetic. While I cannot wait for the return ofNine Black Alps the Sewage Farm albums have kept me going with my quota of grunge.
Day 30: The Cribs - Rainbow Ridge
The Cribs latest record is raw, scrappy, energetic and in your face. There is a heavy influence from Nirvana here with the classic ‘quiet / loud’ structure and production from Steve Albini.
Day 31: Noel Gallagher - Dead In The Water
I commend Noel for trying something different on his latest record, the standout track ‘Dead In The Water’ harks back to early Noel led tracks ‘Sad Song’ and ‘Talk Tonight’ but with songwriting maturity reflecting his sustained career.