Yearly Archives: 2017

2017.

I think 2017 might be the year in which I finally met my inevitable sad girl indie fate. It’s been a wild year, punctuated by two new jobs, one new house, a milestone birthday, becoming a ~published author~ and speaking to a sold-out crowd at Cheltenham Literature Festival. I did a lot of writing and got to interview some incredible artists. The singer of my all-time favourite band said one of my essays was beautiful. I swam the length of the channel over ten weeks for charity.

Whilst a truly extraordinary year, it hasn’t necessarily been an easy one, and I am fucking sleepy. As a result, I feel like my imagination was caught by music that is quietly angry and soft and forgiving in its sadness: anthems for a 30-year-old woman.

I can’t remember the last time I listened to a new hardcore record, and I’m sad about that. I’ve become reliant on my old favourites, keeping them close to my chest like old friends because I don’t need new ones. I hope that will change. If anyone wants to make me a mixtape or playlist, I’m here for it. Anyway, here’s what I did listen to this year, in no uniform order.

Paramore – After Laughter

A truth: the short moment in which Hayley Williams sings “uh” in ‘Rose Colored Boy’ – “and I have taken – uh – my glasses off” – is better than most of your faves’ entire output this year. That sharp drumbeat and Williams’ flawless melody has produced my song of 2017. The whole record served as an exploration of both crushing defeat (‘Fake Happy’) and dogged optimism (‘Caught In The Middle’, ‘26’), and I’m thankful for being able to sing along to it in my kitchen on tired nights.

The Menzingers – After The Party

I wasn’t necessarily expecting to like this record as much as I did – The Menzingers were always a band I liked rather than loved – but After The Party came out as I was waving my twenties goodbye, so it was probably a matter of good timing and better songs. In particular, the title track which captured my mood so perfectly with “Everybody wants to get famous / but you just want to dance in a basement.

Strange Ranger – Daymoon

There really is nothing I love more than a warm, discordant emo record that nods to a bygone era without being uninventive as shit. Okay, real talk, I like a lot of the uninventive stuff too, but ‘Daymoon’ is absolutely not that. ‘House Show’ is a total emo anthem that reminds me of Rainer Maria’s ‘Breakfast of Champions’ and I do not throw that around lightly, my friends. This is everything I’ve wanted from ‘the revival’.

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

The sheer purposefulness of every bit of this record blows my mind. Using the Fox News sample, which criticises Lamar for speaking out against police brutality at the end of opener ‘BLOOD.’ into ‘DNA.’ is an absolute takedown drenched in self-belief. After 2015’s experimental ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, this record returns to a more accessible sound, with ‘LOYALTY.’ and ‘HUMBLE.’, but loses none of its potency.

Lorde – Melodrama

2017 was the year I discovered Lorde, and I am a better person for it. Melodrama is a masterful pop record; as it suggests, full of drama, but also insight. Lyrically, the highlights are the little quips, the side notes, intentional moments constructed to sound like afterthoughts, like “awesome, right” in ‘Homemade Dynamite’ or “who cares, still the Louvre”.

Adult Mom – Soft Spots

‘Soft Spots’ made me feel calm and grounded when I listened to it, with the melodic lull of opener ‘Ephemeralness’ and its cutting comedic moments such as in ‘Full Screen’. It’s an incredibly smart and considered record and felt like a balm during the chaos of this year.

Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Turn Out The Lights is everything you would have expected from Baker: devastating and musically faultless. I got to interview her just before it was released, and it was probably my best piece of writing this year, so you could go and read that.

Tigers Jaw – spin

I feel like this record didn’t get the full recognition it deserved this year. That could be my perception, but ‘spin’ is one of the most impressive returns to form I can currently think of. It is everything to love about Tigers Jaw condensed. Take ‘Guardian’ or ‘Escape Plan’ for example, which stand up as the most sharply written indie-emo this year.

Princess Nokia – 1992

Princess Nokia was something we heavily needed in 2017. Her politics keen and vital, her activism extending from the stage to the subway. A new and young voice in rap standing tall, embracing identity and self-love (‘Tomboy’, ‘Kitana’) and a statement of intent from someone whose work is going to get so much better from here and they know it.

oso oso – the yunahon mixtape

I was late to the party on this, by about 11 months because that is the kind of person I am, but decided to sneak it in as a last minute addition because it is ~that~ good. It’s that kind of crisp, clean indie emo; like listening to peak Death Cab and re-watching The O.C. (a thing I did this year). I’ve listened to little else this month.

Some special mentions

Jeff Rosenstock’s ‘Worry’, which came out in autumn 2016 but was a year-defining record for me. I listened to a lot of Alex Lahey, particularly ‘Wes Anderson’ (also 2016) which made me feel the full range of human emotion in four minutes and has some of the finest “woah-ohs” going. In a similar vein (not a pun I swear) “Oh George” by Peaness was one of the catchiest tracks I danced to by myself, and the lyric “All your friends are just as bad / all your faces make me mad” is some straight-up righteous pop genius. Cardi B had the best rap single of the year with ‘Bodak Yellow’. TWIABP continue to make some of the most gorgeous and affecting music with ‘Always Foreign’ and Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Stranger in the Alps’ is a record I plan to spend a lot more time with, when I’m feeling up to it, y’know.

1987.

Favourite albums from each year I have been alive. I had at least four existential crises deciding this. Forgive me, all my faves that couldn’t be here.

1987 – Bruce Springsteen ‘Tunnel of Love’

1988 – NWA ‘Straight Outta Compton’

1989 – Pixies ‘Doolittle’

1990 – Fugazi ‘Repeater’

1991 – Nirvana ‘Nevermind’

1992 – Rage Against The Machine ’S/T’

1993 – Wu-Tang Clan ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’

1994 – Weezer ‘The Blue Album’

1995 – Mariah Carey ‘Daydream’

1996 – Texas Is The Reason ‘Do You Know Who You Are?’

1997 – Mineral ‘The Power of Failing’

1998 – Braid ‘Frame and Canvas’

1999 – The Get Up Kids ‘Something To Write Home About’

2000 – Cursive ‘Domestica’

2001 – Thursday ‘Full Collapse’

2002 – Interpol ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’

2003 – The Postal Service ‘Give Up’

2004 – Modest Mouse ‘Good News for People Who Love Bad News’

2005 – Bright Eyes ‘I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning’

2006 – Brand New ‘The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me’

2007 – This Town Needs Guns/Cats and Cats and Cats Split LP

2008 – Why ‘Alopecia’

2009 – Japandroids ‘Post-Nothing’

2010 – Kanye West ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

2011 – Joyce Manor ‘S/T’

2012 – Kendrick Lamar ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’

2013 – The Wonder Years ‘The Greatest Generation’

2014 – Joyce Manor ‘Never Hungover Again’

2015 – Julien Baker ‘Sprained Ankle’

2016 – Beyoncé ‘Lemonade’

2016 (belated)

Hello internet-dwellers,

The observant few that read my end of year lists might have noticed I didn’t do one for 2016. Sorry. It’s March now, so that’s over. But, I did start writing something, so I’m going to post it here anyway:

2016 was not a great year for many of us. From widespread political discontent, a strengthened far right, atrocities committed across the world, as well as our personal, intimate struggles. The loss of loved ones, the mourning of cultural heroes. There’s neither merit nor sense in believing adversity is good or necessary for great art – the price is far too high to pay – but the solace, hope and resistance we find in music is something I hope reached everyone this year. However, I’m not here to answer the big questions today. I’m here to talk about some records.

Beyoncé – Lemonade
Joyce Manor – Cody
Muncie Girls – From Caplan to Belsize
Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost
I Love Your Lifestyle – We Go Way Back
Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart
Tiny Moving Parts – Celebrate
Forth Wanderers – Slop EP
Touché Amoré – Stage 4
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

The reason I didn’t produce something ‘proper’ is that I got pretty busy at the tail end of 2016/start of 2017 with a big job change and a nasty bout of tonsillitis (ew.) Also, around that time I wrote my first piece for Track 7  an essay called ‘Why I’m no longer a punk rock ‘cool girl’‘.

The essay was something I had in my head for a long time. In fact, I had started writing it a year or two ago, with the intention of posting it on here. But, anxiety talked me out of it. I felt I couldn’t write it without being 100% open and honest, and in doing so, it would become a very personal piece. The vulnerability that came with that felt a little too much.

By pitching it, I was forcing myself to write it. Turns out that’s what I need in order to do the things that scare me.

Down to the incredibly supportive Track 7 editorial team, it ended up taking off and reaching a lot of people. For a couple of days, my phone was going off constantly with people (mostly women) who had reached out to say they had read it and identified with it. Amazing and terrifying, equally.

Among the people who reached out were 404 Ink, an independent publisher, who approached me to include it in their ‘Nasty Women‘ book – in the company of some of the most talented writers, artists and activists.

Having my work published was an absolute life-long dream, and receiving that book yesterday with my words in it made me do the most embarrassing dance in my kitchen. I’m committing all of this to a blog post, if for no other reason than to remind myself to always do the things that scare me.

Looking ahead, I’ve got a few pieces in the pipeline that I’m really excited about, as well as all of the things that have yet to manifest. Hit me up with any ideas.

Kristy x