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TLMT’s Top 20 Albums of 2017

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Stephen White

With the holiday season almost here the Last Mixed Tape has delved deep come up with its top 20 albums of 2017. As with every year, only albums reviewed by TLMT make it on the list. 

20. Planet Parade – Mercury
What TLMT had to say: 
“The serene pop sound of Mercury is a welcoming one. And from beginning to end you can hear the craft Planet Parade put into their debut. Throughout the record the duo keep the calming tone of the music in tact, whilst also introducing elements of R&B, funk and synth-pop. Resulting in a solid confident debut that never wavers from what it sets out to do.”

19. This Other Kingdom – Rêvuer
What TLMT had to say: 
“With Rêveur This Other Kingdom achieves two things. One: they find the sonic heft their debut lacked with a strong overall production, and two: they give a very promising glimpse into their future explorations with a closing run-in that is truly inspired. And that is what second albums are all about.”

18. Rews – Pyro
What TLMT had to say: “Pyro is straightforward indie-rock, with a hint of pop added to the mix. And while this may sound like a path well trodden at this point, the collision of brute-force and care at the centre of the album makes for an interesting prospect, especially given this is the first full-length offering from Rews. There’s something bubbling underneath Rews as a band, and Pyro gives us a hint of that future potential.”

17. Bear Worship – Was
What TLMT had to say: 
“Oddities, Curios and the unexpected all shape Was. The album is not afraid of its stylization, nor is it afraid to fail. The entirety of the record feels like a journey led by Bear Worship into a world of his own invention, and a worthwhile one at that. Slightly manic, partly baffling, but fully charming.”

16. Ships – Precession
What TLMT had to say: 
“Brilliant in its execution, Ships’ Precession is truly impressive to behold. Shirking my expectations from the start, the record is as wide as it is deep while also keeping the central sound that makes clear Ships synth-pop sensibilities and delivers several stand-out tracks that will make their way into “press play and repeat” territory. Precession is a self-assured start from Ships.”

15. Ye Vagabonds – Ye Vagabonds
What TLMT had to say: 
“As organic an album you’re likely to hear this year, Ye Vagabonds debut is an uncluttered offering that moves with deft songwriting rather than bombast. Making for an intricate, handcrafted listen. While they don’t add anything new to the folk milieu, the duo captures the best aspects of the genre they so clearly love craft a record that is a joy to experience. Subtle but beautiful.”

14. Columbia Mills – A Safe Distance To Watch
What TLMT had to say: 
“Built from ambition and drive, A Safe Distance To Watch is a scene setter for Columbia Mills. The culmination of years of work, the result is exactly what they have been journeying towards since day one, a large-scale stylisation of their own music. Emotive, powerful and affecting, A Safe Distance To Watch holds nothing back.”

13. Frankenstein Bolts – Aglow & Spark
What TLMT had to say: 
“There will certainly be more bombastic, attention-grabbing albums released this year. So much so that the subtle soundscape building of Aglow & Spark may get lost in the shuffle. However, this would be a pity as the record is definitely deserving of considerable attention and time. Indeed for those with the patience and appreciation for the tranquil characteristics of dream-pop, the deep textures and gentle nature of Frankenstein Bolts will make for a wholly satisfying experience.”

12. And So I Watch You From Afar – The Endless Shimmering
What TLMT had to say: 
“And So I Watch You From Afar’s The Endless Shimmering is an album that seeks to evoke rather than impact. You take from it what you bring into it. Nothing is explained, there is no hand holding, all the inherent drama that the music creates is given further context by the listener.”

11. Candice Gordon – Garden of Beasts
What TLMT had to say: 
“There can be no doubting the ambition and epic scale seen on Garden of Beasts. On this record, Candice Gordon holds nothing back and ultimately delivers an album filled with flickers of absolute brilliance. Feeling like a deep dark road trip on miles of empty highway, this debut never plays it safe and is all the better for it.”

10. Marlene Enright – Placemats and Second Cuts
What TLMT had to say: 
“Why Placemats and Second Cuts seems so utterly relatable is because it is just that, relatable. The emotions conveyed by Marlene Enright on her debut are by no means new, but how Enright is portraying them and how real to her own life they seem is what makes them sound fresh to our ears. We’ve all felt distant or the need to breathe and take stock of our lives, and hearing that in Enright’s music is compelling because of its honesty. And you can’t ask for much more than that from a songwriter.”

9. Seamus Fogarty – The Curious Hand
What TLMT had to say: The Curious Hand is unique. Although it takes many of its inspirations from various places, the cubist way in which Fogarty dismantles and re-uses these different parts to create his singular music is what gives the album its sense of abstract personality. A journey into the world according to Seamus Fogarty, The Curious Hand is a trip worth taking.”

8. Fangclub – Fangclub
What TLMT had to say: 
“A big loud love letter to post-grunge, Fangclub’s debut doesn’t disappoint. Delivering on the hype-filled build-up to its release, the trio side-step the industry artifice by doing what they do best.”

7. Party Fears – Party Fears
What TLMT had to say: 
“To-the-point and unashamedly different. Party Fears are a band who have thrown many of the affectations that go along with the art-pop scene out the window and instead focused on creating a music that stands alone. A truly individual new album, from a truly individual group.”

6. James Vincent McMorrow – True Care
What TLMT had to say:
“True Care is dreamlike. Beautifully textured and bathed in a glistening haze, James Vincent McMorrow’s fourth outing is the culmination of what has come before it and what is happening now. On this record, everything has come together.”

5. Lankum – Between The Earth And Sky
What TLMT had to say: 
“Between The Earth And Sky isn’t an ode to traditional Irish music, it simply IS. A natural result of experience and inspiration, Lankum’s debut is authentic. The inherent atmosphere of the music takes hold right from the beginning, and like all good records runs right through the heart of it. A landmark for modern Irish trad music.”

4. Come On Live Long – In The Still
What TLMT had to say: 
“In The Still is an album built from a clear sense of space and depth. A quietly ambitious record, Come On Live Long’s sophomore outing is cast across a great widescreen production, populated by echoing beats and reverb-drenched vocals, and punctuated by large jolts of dynamism. All of which works to move the group’s electronic alternative-pop sound forward in the years since Everything Fall.”

3. Talos – Wild Alee
What TLMT had to say: Wild Alee is monolithic. An imposing body of sound that reaches right into the depths of its creator’s music, and delivers an atmospheric tour de force. In short, Talos has arrived.”

2. Alien She – Feeler
What TLMT had to say: 
“Feeler is garage-punk that finally gets the punk aspect of the term. While the music of Alien She’s rough and ragged debut certainly has the chanting thrash of a garage record, the trio also adds some much-needed backbone and atmosphere to the album’s overall sound.”

The Last Mixed Tape’s Album of the Year 2017 is…

OTHERKIN - React

1. Otherkin – OK
In a year where the Irish indie music scene has been subjected to a trilogy of blandness from the Coronas, Picture This and the Script, Otherkin’s debut was a shot in the arm that Irish indie-rock needed not only locally but from an international perspective. Sleek, raucous and, most importantly, fun Otherkin’s OK is the Last Mixed Tape’s album of the year 2017.

What TLMT had to say: 
“I adored OK for all the things it is, and all the things it is not. The fact the album tries so hard to entertain and the band give their all into each track to make it as memorable and catchy as the last is wholly impressive. An album of singles in best possible way, OK is hopefully the wrecking ball that tears down the wall of sonic wallpaper that has stood in the way for so many indie groups for so long.”

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