After the Grammys last week, the excitement for new music in 2018 has grown. However, we overlooked some of the amazing releases from last year. Here is a list of five albums you probably missed out on in 2017, including three amazing female-fronted efforts that left a lasting effect on me:
- Wolf Alice — “Visions of a Life”
This album was my favorite of 2017. The band consists of Ellie Rowsell on vocals and guitar, Joff Oddie on lead guitar, Theo Ellis on bass and Joel Amey on drums. This album, dramatically different than their debut, “My Love is Cool,” reflects on Rowsell’s anxieties about love, growing older and planes. The lead singles, “Yuk Foo,” “Don’t Delete the Kisses” and “Beautifully Unconventional,” sound like they could be from three separate bands, which shows their variation and makes them stand out from the majority of the British rock scene at the moment. My favorite track, “St. Purple & Green,” does what Wolf Alice does best, shifting from soft and thoughtful to loud and raucous, while maintaining vulnerability in Rowsell’s lyrics about her grandmother. If I could suggest one album out of any from the past year, it would be this one. Don’t sleep on Wolf Alice.
- Alexandra Savior — “Belladonna of Sadness”
If you are an Arctic Monkeys fan, you’ll love this indie dream-pop project lead by Alexandra Savior McDermott, who worked alongside Alex Turner to produce this gem of a debut album. Aesthetically, this album is the soundtrack to a French New Wave film, or to an all-female Bond film. Stand out tracks include “Mirage,” “Girlie,” “Mystery Girl” and “M.T.M.E.” Alexandra’s eerie, low vocals erupt into choruses that get stuck in your head until you listen to the next song, where the cycle repeats.
- Marika Hackman — “I’m Not Your Man”
English-folk artist Marika Hackman created the beautiful “I’m Not Your Man,” an ode to ignorant men and the perceptions people have about lesbian relationships. Songs like “Boyfriend,” “My Lover Cindy” and “Time’s Been Reckless,” prove Hackman to have made so much progress since her previous record “We Slept At Last,” which was much less bright and much more folk. The guitar tones on these tracks are delectable, and her honest lyrics will get you hooked.
- Declan McKenna —”What Do You Think About The Car?”
Declan McKenna’s debut album, “What Do You Think About The Car?” is a beautifully-well done piece about growing up in a generation where kids genuinely have something to say. “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home,” “Paracetamol” and “Bethlehem,” the standout tracks, explore being LGTBQ+ and being challenged by ignorance, or having a mental illness and being told you’ve made it up, or being controlled by religious doctrines. It’s all amazingly serious stuff, especially when you realized he wrote these songs at the ages of 14 and 15. However serious, it’s masked with pop hooks and groovy melodies that are misleading, but incredibly catchy.
- Lewis Watson—”midnight”
English musician Lewis Watson came out with his second album, “midnight” in March 2017. It changed my life. As somebody who depends on music in times of stress and sadness, Watson’s music has always been a reliable source of hope and wisdom. “When the Water Meets the Mountains,” “La Song,” “Deep the Water” and “Little Light,” are four of my favorite songs from the last year. He writes about love and loss, but there is always a glimmer of hope hidden between the lines, which is what makes his songwriting so special to me and his niche-group of fans. If you want to support somebody who goes above and beyond for his music and his fans, he’s your guy (especially if you love acoustic guitar and raspy voices).