It’s that time of year at Gigs and Tours, where we reflect on the music which 2017 has brought us and choose a selection of albums which have stood out amongst the rest. From icons and comebacks, to breakthroughs and newcomers, here is a roundup of our staff picks…
The xx – I See You
2017 saw the long awaited return of Mercury Prize winners, The xx. After a four year hiatus, the band released their third album, ‘I See You’, in January. The album presents a more upbeat, distinctive sound; heavily influenced by the band’s producer, Jamie xx’s debut album ‘In Colour’. Critic’s praised the album, stating the ‘band’s willingness to explore musical influences from Smith’s In Colour album gave the tracks a “richer and fuller” quality than on their previous records.’ It became their second number one album in the U.K.
Stand out tracks – On Hold, Dangerous, I Dare You
Chosen by Caitlin – Marketing
Stormzy – Gang Signs and Prayers
Stand out tracks – Big for Your Boots, Cigarettes and Cush, and Shut Up.
Chosen by Natalie – Social Media
Crooked Calypso is the third album by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, both formerly members of The Beautiful South. Critics praised how Heaton delivers “observations about British society’s ironies and inequalities” through his lyrics from subject matters such as obesity on ‘The Fat Man’ to the divide between rich and poor on ‘People Like Us’ and political views on ‘The Lord is a White Con’. However, Heaton shows they can still effortlessly knock up an infectious, upbeat love song with ‘I Gotta Praise’ and ‘Love Makes You Happy’.
Stand out track – I Gotta Praise
Chosen by Carl – Marketing
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Yesterday’s Gone is the debut album by British hip hop artist, Loyle Carner. Released in January, it received universal praise, being named the best album of 2017 by The Independent, and nominated for the 2017 Mercury Prize. Highlights include guest appearances from Loyle’s mum on Sun of Jean and Tom Misch on Damselfly. The album focuses on relatable subjects and issues surrounding family, friends, love and pain, doubt and loyalty.
Stand out tracks – NO CD, Ain’t Nothing Changed and The Isle of Arran.
Chosen by Chloe – Admin and Tabatha – Press
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
DAMN is the fourth album released by Kendrick Lamar, which received widespread critical acclaim once released in April, described as ‘a brilliant combination of timeless, modern, old school and the next level’. It has received nominations for Best Rap Album and Album of the Year at the 2018 Grammy’s. The album includes contributions from James Blake and BadBadNotGood.
Stand out tracks – DNA, Humble and Loyalty.
Chosen by Emma – Ticketing
Hercules and Love Affair – Omnion
Omnion is the fourth album from dance collective, Hercules and Love Affair, released in September 2017. It features vocals from artists such as Sharon Van Etten and Faris Badwan of The Horrors over their renown disco sound. The album also takes influences from 80’s pop and techno.
Stand out tracks – Controller and Omnion
Chosen by Chelsea – Marketing
Cabbage are an indie-rock band from Manchester who emerged on the local scene in 2015 with their scuzzy neo post-punk music and wild live shows. Cabbage released a collection of their early EPs, called ‘Young, Dumb and Full of..,’ in January 2017. The album was critically praised for highlighting current political and social issues through their lyrics such as terrorism, austerity, war and the NHS.
Stand out tracks – Uber Uber Capitalist Death Trade and Terrorist Synthesizer
Chosen by Becky – SJM Management
War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
A Deeper Understanding was released in August and is the fourth album by American Indie Rock band, The War on Drugs. It received acclaim from music critics and has been nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards. A Deeper Understanding shows a step forward for the War on Drugs, and is arguably their most ambitious, consistent, and emotional pieces of works yet.
Stand out track – Holding On
Chosen by Annie – Promoter Assistant and Ida – Marketing
Thundercat – Drunk
Thundercat is an American multi-genre bass guitarist, producer and singer from Los Angeles. Drunk, released in February, has been Thundercat’s third yet most successful album. It fuses his untouchable jazz credentials with punk, hip-hop, psychedelia, funk and 80’s soft rock.
Stand out tracks – Friend Zone, Them Changes and Show You The Way.
Chosen by Mark – Marketing
Stand Atlantic, are a female-fronted pop-punk band from Sydney, Australia. The band released their debut E.P. Sidewinder in September, and has been critically acclaimed by the likes of Triple J, Rock Sound and Hysteria Magazine. The EP offers a fresh blend of melodic hooks and power-driven instrumentals that allows them to sit at the top of a currently saturated genre. The band are hotly tipped to be the next band to breakthrough through the Australian rock scene.
Stand out track – Push
Chosen by Hannah – Promoter
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon?
‘Who Built the Moon?’ was released in November 2017, and is the third studio album by indie-rock band Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The album is said to be inspired by French psychedelic pop as well as classic electro, rock, soul, disco and dance, and features guest appearances from Johnny Marr and Paul Weller. It debuted at number one in the UK Albums Chart.
Stand out tracks – Holy Moutain and Fort Knox
Chosen by Caroline – Marketing
Everything Now is the fifth album from Canadian indie-rock band, Arcade Fire. The 13-track album was released in July 2017, and produced by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Pulp’s Steve Mackey. The album has been described by critics by ‘bigger, bolder and more fearful of the future than ever’.
Stand out track – Creature Comforts
Chosen by Fay – Production
Baxter Dury, the son of the great British post-punk icon Ian Dury, shares his father’s talent in songwriting and eclectic music taste. Prince of Tears was released in October 2017 and features emotional tracks such ‘Tears’ and ‘Wanna’, inspired by the end of a relationship, as well as subtly hinting at political issues such as Brexit in ‘Listen’.
Stand out track – Miami
Chosen by Luke – Promoter
LCD Soundsystem – american dream
american dream is the first album from LCD Soundsystem since it was revealed that the band was reuniting after a disbandment lasting nearly five years. The album has features dance, new wave, post-punk throughout and it’s lyrics deal with issues such as depression, the ending of friendship and love.
The Rest of Our Life is the first collaborative album by American country music artists and husband and wife, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The album was released in November 2017 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and went straight to No. 1 on Top Country Albums.
Stand out tracks – The Rest Of Our Life, Speak to a Girl and Telluride
Chosen by Alex – Marketing