We all had such high hopes for 2017. After a disastrous 2016, the year in which soap operas actually became less depressing than real life, we were all hoping for something a bit lighter, a bit less heavy on the death, for the new year. Predictably, 2017 has been just as crappy. But at least we can take solace in the music. So far, 2017 has offered up a ripe crop of albums from established musicians and emerging talents, taking the edge off all the politics, the dying cultural icons and our impending climate-change-induced deaths. But because you can’t always keep up with the new releases, especially those from smaller artists, we’ve compiled a list of four of the best albums of the year so far that have almost definitely passed you by. Because we’re good people.
Tennis – Yours Conditionally
Husband and wife duos often give way to great music. ABBA, The White Stripes and Sonny and Cher are all good examples of this. Lesser known is Denver’s Tennis, an indie pop duo made up of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. Third album Yours Conditionally was inspired by a four month sailing trip, and it’s easy to imagine the breezy guitar melodies and gentle lilt of Moore’s soft vocals coming together while at sea, the carefully crafted pop songs reminiscent of a gentle boat ride in the sun. But not everything is holiday perfect, with tracks like ‘Please Don’t Ruin This For Me’ suggesting lurking danger behind the soothing, summery melody. No one ever said married life was perfect.
Deep Throat Choir – Be OK
Imagine an album of covers that isn’t shit. Thanks to the likes of Bradley Walsh and Alexander Armstrong, this is now impossible, but London’s Deep Throat Choir are making a strong case for the defence. An all female ensemble, the choir takes on tracks by a diverse range of artists such as Amy Winehouse and Electrelane, giving them an original new-age spin. A spellbinding cover of Björk’s ‘Stonemilker’ sits at the album’s heart, bubbling gradually as the women’s voices sing in unison about emotional respect, but it’s album closer, original track ‘Be OK’, that steals the show. One of three non-covers on the album, it’s a funky, uplifting track that shows the Deep Throat Choir is no run of the mill tribute band.
ShitKid – Fish
ShitKid is the moniker of 24 year old Åsa Söderqvist from Sweden. Having cut her teeth in a feminist punk band, ShitKid’s music is confrontational and raw, all buzzing electric guitars and lo-fi production. For much of Fish, ShitKid’s debut album, there is little more than a fuzzy guitar and Söderqvist’s cutting vocals, the album propelled by nonchalant cool and a shit-eating grin. If stripped back, sizzling, riff-heavy DIY rock ticks your boxes, you’ll definitely want to give this a spin.
“I get so lonely I forget what I’m worth,” sings SZA on her frank, no-holds-barred second album Ctrl. Over lush RnB arrangements, she details infidelity (‘Supermodel’), self-loathing (‘Drew Barrymore’) and sharing her man with other women (‘The Weekend’) with blunt candour. On Ctrl, SZA acknowledges her faults and takes ownership of them, recognising them as part of who she is, an imperfect, flawed woman. The gorgeous, rippling accompaniments soften the blow, but Ctrl is an album that lays bear SZA’s insecurities and exposes them for all to see.