5 new(ish) records that you need to hear: The best and last albums of 2017 (Issue #9)

The last days of 2017 managed to squeeze out some incredible albums, with some of them breaking out on the last day of the year. I’ve selected five of them, from local Irish artists to international noise makers. Please, give a proper musical farewell to the strange year that was 2017.

#1 Utopia – Björk (November 24, 2017)

Label: One Little Indian Records.

Listen: https://open.spotify.com/album/0LcLPN3pPMWxXt4YSXZvSj

In her tenth release, Björk reminds us once again that her voice is a powerful instrument. The (unofficial) Icelandic queen of avant-garde folk pop and electronic waves, said earlier on in 2017 that this album was “her Tinder album”, and was about being in love. The album was co-produced by Björk and electronic producer Arca, and remained unnamed in the lead up to its release. Some of those chilling soundscape moments include ‘Features Creatures’ and ‘Future Forever’.

#2 Depravations – New Pope (December 31, 2017)

Label: Recorded independently in Galway, Ireland.

Listen: https://newpope.bandcamp.com/

This is a really wonderful collection of relaxing and dreamlike pop. The songs are written and performed by David Boland, and he has that soothing lazy way of sounding out lyrics with the instruments. An array of musicians also feature on this album, and Galway is no stranger to authentic musical talent. You can hear some local place names in ‘Don’t Wait Up’: “from College Road to William Street / in The Blue Note getting lit nice and early / and tonight is going great”.

#3 Ladies of Synth, Volume 2 – Scott Forte/RetroSynth Records (December 31, 2017)

Label: RetroSynth Records.

Listen: https://retrosynthrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ladies-of-synth-volume-2

Ladies of Synth Volume 2 is a compilation of forty-eight tracks of synth music by women, compiled by Scott Forte. It accompanies Volume 1 which was released on the same day. Volume 2 was selected for the hazier downtempo artists it contains, such as Night Vision, 2DCAT, and Ships in the Night. There are some gems in here, and for anyone that appreciates darkwave for all its ethereal weirdness, this is exactly what you need.

#4 Feeler – Alien She (November 24, 2017)

Label: Art for Blind Records.

Listen: https://alienshe.bandcamp.com/album/feeler-3

Hailing from Dublin, Alien She are an experimental punk trio that say what’s on their mind. Feeler is their debut release, and the lyrics that can be crisply heard over the drums and classic punk basslines are political, and speak about life. The trio are Katie, Aoife, and Darragh, and they released their first record ‘Cold Brain’ in 2016. They speak about their influences being poetry and punk, and in tracks like ‘Cover the Holes’ you can hear that. A good breakthrough release from an emerging Irish punk band.

#5 RMFTM – Subversive III: Splende de Mens (December 1, 2017)

Label: Fuzz Club Records.

Listen: https://radarmenfromthemoon.bandcamp.com/

RMFTM (Radar Men from the Moon) brought us the third installment of the Subversive Trilogy which began in 2015. Their roots are in the Netherlands, and their latest record lies squarely in a new kind of electronic territory for the group. The four piece band combines psychedelic rock with droning ambient tracks, and continues to experiment with tempo, like in ‘Beeldenwereld’. Definitely worth a listen.

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