Friday, December 29, 2017

Guest List Week: Marisa's Best of 2017

#9: Marisa Plaice
#10: Mike Brand (Coming 1/1)
#11: Desa Warner (Coming 1/2)

I really dragged my feet on this list this year because, despite the fact that everything is terrible, it really was an excellent year for music, and I had a hard time narrowing my list down to a top ten (I finally settled on a top 12. I also realize that there isn’t a rule this has to be a top ten, but if I didn’t narrow it down we’d be here all day. If anyone is interested you can see my full best of list here, which is organized in order of release date). Not only that - it was an excellent year for female musicians. I guess that’s the thing about music - it can be a solace in the darkest of times. At the rate we’re going, it’s going to be an epic 2018 music-wise!

Honorable Mention #2: Allison Crutchfield, Tourist In This Town
Track: "Charlie" 

The lesser-known Crutchfield sister put out a beautiful solo album this year, and probably deserves to be referred to as something other than "the lesser-known Crutchfield sister". 

Honorable Mention #1: Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
Track: "Even"

Julien Baker took what she does best and released another album of heart wrenching songs, this time with the addition of strings and piano on some tracks. I saw her last week at The Fillmore and I have literally never witnessed an audience at that venue so quiet. It’s empowering to see a woman bear her soul to an audience and get met with such respect. Maybe we’ll be ok after all?

10: Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm
Track: "Sparks Fly" 

Katie Crutchfield released another stellar album this year - I’ve said that about her releases before, and I anticipate l’ll say it again. Out in the Storm showcases her at her most confident, and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. 

9: Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds from Another Planet 
Track: "12 Steps" 

I was nervous about this album - I didn’t think it could measure up to 2016’s Psychopomp. Not only did it measure up to that release, it surpassed it. I’ll never doubt you again Michelle. 

8. Jay Som, Everybody Works 
Track: "1 Billion Dogs" 

Highlight of 2017: responding to an Instagram post last February posted by Melina Duterte, offering pre-release copies of her new album to people in the Bay Area. I met up with her and got a copy of Everybody Works on vinyl. I also still have her number in my phone. #notacreep 

7. Cayetana, New Kind of Normal
Track: "Mesa"

Probably my favorite discovery of this year - they opened for Waxahatchee and almost stole the show. Listening to this album makes me feel like I’m in high school again, listening to female driven pop like That Dog. I just dated myself, didn’t I?

6. Kevin Morby, City Music
Track: "Come To Me Now" 

Kevin Morby wrote my favorite song of the year - I feel like he fills a songwriting void that Leonard Cohen left when he died. That is basically the biggest musical compliment I can give. 

5. Perfume Genius, No Shape 
Track: "Wreath"

Mike Hadreas is a treasure as both a musician and a human. I cannot stress this enough and you should be following him on twitter and you should definitely see him live. He is everything. 

4. Bleachers, Gone Now 
Track: "Everybody Lost Somebody" 

If you told me at the beginning of the year that my favorite live performer of 2017 would be Lena Dunham’s boyfriend who writes sort of cheesy, over-produced pop punk I’d probably have punched you in the face, but here we are. 

3. Big Thief, Capacity
Track: "Haley" 

Big Thief released another absolutely beautiful album, another treasure of songs that’s even better than last year’s Masterpiece (talk about appropriate album names). Still my favorite band I discovered the least cool way possible, which was via Facebook. 

2. The National, Sleep Well Beast
Track: "Nobody Else Will Be There" 

In my opinion The National is the musical equivalent of a Kazuo Ishiguro novel (author of Never Let Me Go and Remains of the Day) - themes of missed chances and mistakes that are so visceral and painful that at times you wonder why you’re putting yourself through this. But you keep coming back, because they’re beautiful and make you feel something, even if at times it feels a little masochistic. In other words - I really love this album and this band. 

1. Wolf Parade, Cry Cry Cry 
Track: "Lazarus Online" 

In 2005 I was at Amoeba in Hollywood and my boyfriend at the time told me to check out this record by this new band, Wolf Parade. Twelve years later that album still holds up, but was surpassed by this year’s release. This album is fantastic, unmistakably Wolf Parade but not a regurgitation of what they’ve done in the past. It’s joyful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s angry, it’s reflective, it’s hopeful. Basically 2017 in a nutshell. 

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