The list continues, at this point with no rhyme or reason and in no particular order, so…
The Doom Trip label went from strength to strength in 2017. The Doom Mix Vol 1. compilation should be heard as a matter of course (personal favourite: the brilliantly atmospheric Sink Into Skin by Unbloom that reminds me of post-punk/early goth things like Bauhaus and The Cure but has a tune I haven’t heard before), but in addition they released some fantastic albums this year, the two standouts (for me) being –
Rangers – Texas Rock Bottom
I haven’t heard a lot of Rangers’ previous stuff, but the bits I remember are kind of lo-fi/psych/chillwave/Ariel Pink-ish – no bad thing, but not really my thing. Texas Rock Bottom is a different beast entirely. More song-based, it has a timeless melodic appeal, in some ways reminiscent of the more laid-back US indie rock of the 80s/90s, like The Replacements or early REM, with a Byrdsian jangle but also some distinctively underground/indie quirks; It’s really good.
Skyjelly – Blank Panthers/Priest, Expert Or Wizard
This long, bizarre album/double album is an ear/brain-addling mix of yammering experimental things: psychedelia/krautrock/punk/no wave/pop/noise and stuff like that – it’s not all great, but there’s so much of it, and it’s so completely peculiar that after months of listening I’m still not used to it, but it’s still good.
My Favourite Things – Fly I Will, Because I Can (self-release)
I can’t remember how I came across Dorothea Tachler’s Brooklyn-based band, My Favourite Things, but their self-released album Fly I Will, Because I Can became one of my favourite things (…) in 2017. Melancholy, warm and dreamy, Tachler and her bandmates have created an affecting, beautiful and strangely intimate listening experience. I kind of don’t want anyone else to like it, but I also want everyone to hear it; that kind of album.
I’m not sure that I like Arvet quite as much as Grift’s brilliant debut Syner; but I’m almost certain that it’s a better album. In many ways it’s very similar – bare, sparse, wintry pastoral black metal-inflected but very individualistic atmospheric music. In fact, Erik Gärdefors’ vision has barely changed, perhaps it’s just that it’s familiar to me now, so feels less like a forlorn soul wandering the woods and more like Grift; great album either way.
More to follow, no doubt!