Phosphorescent – C’est La Vie
“If you’d have seen me last year I’d have said, ‘I can’t even see you there from here'”. Matthew Houck may have become a parent and started writing songs about his young son. But fear not, the essence of the old Phosphorescent still shone as brightly as ever.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Sparkle Hard
“This is a verse about a man who dared, To fall head over heels for a woman who shared, Similar interests, similar looks, Similar taste in similar books”. A typically eclectic mix from the (grand)father of indie rock. Includes the best song about a bike lane that you’ll hear all year.
The Rock*A*Teens – Sixth Sense
‘Take a deep breath and blow the cobwebs away”. The Rock*A*Teens returned with a new beginning, proving that teens still know how to rock, even once-upon-a-time ones.
Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up
“Tonight!, I’ve got nothing on my mind but you, Somewhere, somehow, You’ll feel it too”. Alejandro Rose-Garcia really doesn’t like Abba. The song ‘Aibohphobia’ confirmed that.
Mount Eerie – Now Only
In a category of its own. Do not send these songs to your friends or play them at parties! They are some of the most emotional pieces of music of the year though.
Mount Eerie – Now Only
Now Only is Phil Elverum’s second encomium to his wife, Geneviève, who died of cancer in 2016. Like its predecessor from last year, it’s a record that’s easier and perhaps even wiser to ignore than to put on and listen to for the first time. That’s because you know the simple act of pressing play will inevitably lead to intense and prolonged feelings of morbidity and loss. They’re inescapable and almost unbearable. But then you knew that when you decided to press play. Like A Crow Looked At Me before it, Now Only is a testament to the immediacy of grief and its “feral eruptions of sobbing”. It’s also a checklist of the everyday banality of death, which is no less upsetting. “I went and wrote a check and got a cardboard box, full of your ashes, and a little plastic bag with your necklace, and I drove back home truly alone.” Perhaps more so than last year’s record, though, it’s also an album that hints at the next part of the grieving process. The desire to keep the past as alive as it once was, but the recognition that it’s bound to disappear in its previous form. “I don’t want to live with this feeling any longer than I have to, but also I don’t want you to be gone”. And the realisation that the future will hold only imperfect memories of a life that once was. “I know that you are gone and that I’m carrying some version of you around, some untrustworthy old description in my memories”. Some albums are uplifting in their sadness. They make you feel less alone by making you aware that you’re like many others. Like its 2017 counterpart, though, Now Only is not one of those albums. “No. No one can understand. No. My devastation is unique.” But it’s still an absolutely beautiful album. A crushingly emotional album for sure. But then you knew that when you decided to press play.