ProtomartyrRelatives In Descent

Unsettling, noisy, bleak, wrathful, feverishly pored over by those who scrutinize the fine print… 2017 was a hell of a year, am I right? Oh, we’re talking about the Protomartyr record.


Nadine ShahHoliday Destination

Urgent reportage transmitted via globally sourced sounds and Nadine Shah’s authoritative, ass-kicking rock.


ElderReflections Of A Floating World

A master class in epic, air-guitar rock. It was hard to keep my hands on the wheel when this album plays.


Oh SeesOrc

This gleeful headbanger vindicates Thee Oh Sees’ 20-album career as garage-psych legends.


Hurray For The Riff RaffThe Navigator

2017 marked the musical arrival of Alynda Segarra with this hungry, stirring album — one of the year’s most powerful.


Sleepy SunPrivate Tales

Sometimes you gotta alt-rock like no one’s watching. The British group Menace Beach made this year’s best new Breeders album with Lemon Memory, while this Bay Area group learned the musical secrets that no one knew the Catherine Wheel had kept hidden.


Alice ColtraneWorld Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda

Reissue of the year: swooping, spacy spiritual blues that Alice Coltrane recorded with a Southern California vedic worship community in the 80s.


Acetone1992-2001 / Sam SweetHadley Lee Lightcap

Combination reissue/book of the year. Acetone were the enchanting, druggy trio that Los Angeles didn’t realize it needed back in the day. Sam Sweet’s valentine of biography restores their place as the proto-Highland Park band.


Jade ImagineWhat The Fuck Was I Thinking?

Seems a lot of women from Melbourne, Australia, released auspicious albums this year: Courtney Barnett (with Kurt Vile), Gabriella Cohen… Jade McInally released my favorite of the bunch with this cynical slacker gem.


Sunrot – Sunnata

So much metal in 2017! I kept returning to the debut of this adventurous, devastating band from New Jersey. Yes, I believe that’s a sample of Dionne Warwick’s “(Theme From) The Valley of the Dolls” buried inside.


∑tellaWorks For You

Greece had it going on in 2017, as I enjoyed the snarling death rock of A Victim of Society and the grade-A retro psychedelia of Acid Baby Jesus. But hands down, Stella a.k.a. ∑tella grabbed the ring with her cocktail of Mediterranean café-pop.


Castle Face Records

so much excellent music came from the California label Castle Face this year: two records from John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees projects, another Male Gaze album, Kelly Stoltz’s no-frills rock. I’m especially grateful they turned me on to French duo Magentix, whose Live in San Francisco kicked my ass over and over again.