Written by Ben Casey. Media by Bre Pollitt.
It’s been a little over a month since 2016 ended. In 2017, don’t distance yourself from all of the incredible music that’s already been released! There might be some amazing albums you haven’t listened to yet. Check out my Top 5 albums:
Mom Jeans. – “Best Buds“
Mom Jeans. is the kind of band your cooler older cousin would have been in while you were a child. They mix twinkly, yet intense, pop-punk with a reckless abandon and humor that makes it impossible not to smile through. This will keep your head nodding even when the band explores darker places with their lyrics. If songs like “Movember“, “Edward 40hands“, or “Scott Pilgrim v. My GPA“ don’t make you jam out, I don’t know what will.
Conor Oberst – “Ruminations“
Conor Oberst, former front man of the famous folk-rock group, Bright Eyes, was called the next Bob Dylan as a teenager. In interviews, Conor grinned sheepishly and deflected the praise, but his new album, “Ruminations”, demonstrates Bob Dylan’s style. Conor is raw on this album using only an acoustic guitar or piano on tracks. There are occasional moments where a harmonica breaks up his vocals. The album focused on lyrics. He painted captivating, beautiful, and tragic images with tracks like the autobiographical “Gossamer Thin“, haunting scenarios of “Next of Kin“, and the personal, yet political, “A Little Uncanny.” If you like your music simple and lyrics dense, this album is for you.
Vulfpeck – “The Beautiful Game“
Known as the tightest rhythm section to come out of L.A. in the last decade, Vulfpeck can only be described as funky. This describes their groove, rhythm, and energy that oozes with every slapped bass, syncopated beat, and pristine note of electric keyboard. “The Beautiful Game” treads new ground in familiar territory, making a series of tight funk and soul tunes that are impossible not to dance to. I dare you to try and stand still while listening to the Jackson 5 inspired “Animal Spirits”, unhinged funk of “Daddy, He Got a Tesla“, or the impressively tight “Dean Town.” If you’re having trouble “getting into the Vulf” or just want to know more about the band, a dedicated fan made a Vulfumenary to introduce you.
Open Mike Eagle & Paul White – “Hella Personal Film Festival“
Another native of L.A., Open Mike Eagle raps with a mathematical and purposeful flow. He uses a dry sense of humor that you’d expect on a British comedy. The smooth flow aligns with lush instrumentals created by Paul White. Mike takes his signature sense of humor to the topics of racism, social media, and depression. Through a unique lens, his raps talk about the struggle and perseverance in a modern world. From the musically and lyrically offbeat “Check To Check“ to the dark comedy of “Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)” to the self-deprecation of “I Went Outside Today“, Open Mike Eagle created something truly distinct in hip-hop.
Mitski – “Puberty 2“
Mitski Miyawaki has been creating ambitious musical projects since her 2012 debut, “Lush”, and her 2013 followup “Retired from Sad, New Career in Business“. The latter featured a 60-piece orchestra. However, during “Puberty 2”, Mitski’s sound was reminiscent of early Weezer and Foo Fighters crossed with Lady Gaga and Regina Spektor. It has a quirky, solid brand of alternative rock that sings of her struggle to conform in American culture. These struggles include maintaining a happy face through adversity and how creating music can be taxing. Mitski’s anthems are catchy and emotive in nature. For example, “Your Best American Girl“, “Happy“, and “Thursday Girl emulate this description.
Thanks for checking out my Top 5 albums. Don’t be afraid to throwback and explore these great tunes!