Tag Archives: Best of 2017

2017: The Year in Stats

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Here we are, at the end of another year—just days removed from a holiday that means many different things to many different people. For music fans, the holiday season was a time to dig out their Phil Spector vinyl (or Imagene Peise). It was time for Becky Kelley sales to, once again, hit the roof. And now, we’ve arrived at that time just after Christmas—a time for companies to make easily shareable graphs and charts of their growth, thinly disguised as quasi-academic public interest factoids.

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The Best Contemporary Classical Albums of 2017

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The taxonomy of contemporary classical music—new music, contemporary music, whatever you want to call it—is a thorny issue. That ambiguity makes rating the year’s best offerings difficult, if not impossible, but embracing the big picture of musical diversity these 10 albums, listed alphabetically, have delivered all year long—they provided excitement, asked questions, and delivered disparate sorts of beauty. These are the best contemporary classical albums of 2017.  Continue reading

Artist Reflections: Pallbearer on Pushing Creative Limits in 2017

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How the metal band coped with isolation when the world was falling apart.

Despite the fact that it often seemed like, on a global scale, we were living in a fever dream, 2017 was a very good year for Pallbearer. We released our new album, Heartless, in March, and, as of a few weeks prior to this writing, we barely devoted time to anything else besides touring behind it. We did three tours of the U.S. and Canada, two European tours, and a tour of Australia.

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Artist Reflections: Jaimie Branch on the Surprise Success of “Fly or Die”

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The trailblazing jazz musician discusses resilience and patience.

When Fly or Die was released, I didn’t think it would do this. For me, the record made this band real, and I hoped it would be enough to get gigs for the crew. I was hoping that if people wrote about it, they would get it, and I think for the most part, people did, which is cool, but I wasn’t betting on that. I try not to think about those sorts of things too much.

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The Best Electronic Albums of 2017

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Dark times call for music that’s strange, wonderful, and yes, even dark, and we’ve certainly been getting plenty of that in 2017’s club sounds. Sometimes, that means adding urgency to escapist music, and that’s OK. But there’s also been a huge drive towards music that transmits powerful messages, or contributes strongly to real-world community building. Dance culture has, at its best, provided voices for the voiceless, spaces for expression, and a level playing field for people who wouldnt’t otherwise meet to connect. As we adapt to the radically networked world, electronic music is finding new ways of expressing those principles. Continue reading

The Best Soul Albums of 2017

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The year 2017 was a glorious cornucopia for soul music. From songs of empowerment and revival to songs that spoke directly to the social and political struggles of modern-day America, it was a year of thought-provoking, stand-out, new, and new-to-you music. If nothing else, these albums prove that great soul never goes out of style, and it’s never too late to make an impact on the world through song.

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Terminal Consumption: The Best Punk Albums of 2017

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In this installment of Terminal Consumption, our monthly reviews column focused on the margins of punk and hardcore, Sam Lefebvre recaps year’s best releases.

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Hi Bias: The Best Cassette Releases of 2017

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Welcome to Hi Bias, a monthly column highlighting recent cassette releases on Bandcamp, and exploring the ideas behind them with the artists who made them. 2017 was another great year for music on tape—here are 10 of our favorites from the past 12 months.

These selections are ranked, from #10 – #1 —ed.

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