The Best Albums of 2017

Okay, so that title is misleading. These aren’t necessarily the best albums of 2017 – who am I to judge? – but they’re certainly the new releases that I enjoyed most this year. (Presented alphabetically by artist.) I’m Only Dreaming by Eisley By the end of the album’s very first song, it’s clear that I’m […]

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Writing Young

A decade ago I sat in a collegiate music composition class and listened to a professor explain how, in order to write a truly great song, it was necessary to hone an idea over and over, fully exploring it and discovering the best way to implement it. Young people, he posited, struggled with this because […]

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Tessa Violet – Halloway

When discussing Halloway, the late-2016 EP from Tessa Violet, the natural inclination is to focus on the album’s jaunty electropop feel. While it’s true that ‘Dream’ moves along on the back of a bouncing hook and that ‘Not Over You’ sounds like the musical lovechild of Tillian and Carly Rae Jepsen, these salient points do […]

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This Is Ours Now

I. There was a time when Third Eye Blind’s self-titled debut was the only album I listened to for an entire calendar year. Literally. That seems like an exaggeration, an overreach of the figurative use of “literally.” It’s not. I was ten during the summer of 1997, when ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ took over every radio station […]

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The Best Albums of 2016

This post was originally included in a group discussion at Type In Stereo. 5. Letters to Lost Loves by Tyson Motsenbocker. There were a handful of albums contending for this final spot, from PUP’s rambunctious The Dream Is Over to Panic! At the Disco’s surprisingly enjoyable Death of A Bachelor but I’m going to go with a more subdued choice in Letters to […]

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Violet Days – Your Girl

I am nothing if not a (wayward, powerless) arbiter of pop music. Over the years I have advocated for indie darlings, universally acclaimed megastars and criminally underrated savants. And now I’ve got a new addiction: ‘Your Girl’ by Violet Days. I don’t want to get too technical here but, guys, that song is awesome. It’s got smooth hooks! It’s got […]

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Owel – dear me

Goddamn if this album isn’t beautiful. From the moment it begins, with three twinkling strikes of a xylophone, Owel’s dear me is a gorgeous, sweeping ode to the power of beauty in music. Each song across the album’s 66-minute runtime brims with tenderness and passion; when, for instance, vocalist Jay Sakong sings the titular syllables of ‘Pale Soft Light’ during […]

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Artifex Pereo – Passengers

There’s an old Jerry Seinfeld bit about the hazards of choosing a cold medicine. “This one’s quick acting, but this one’s long lasting,” he notes. “When do I need to feel good, now or later?” Weirdly, this is not so different from some of the listening choices that we make. Some albums use shortcuts to jump […]

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Parallel Lives

Two of my best friends are brothers; one is a comic artist and the other a musician. We used to play in a band together. Bands, actually. The most successful was probably our high school band, a pop-punk/screamo outfit that consistently covered both Finch’s ‘Letters to You’ and the Limp Bizkit version of George Michael’s […]

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