I’m not sure 2017 has been a particularly vintage year, then again I have been rather preoccupied with guitar matters all year, and have spent a little less time on new music than normal. I did though start the year listening to Run the Jewels a lot, and most of my top 20 has been on pretty regular rotation since release, with the exception of the new King Krule and Kendrick Lamar albums which I came to rather late. There are some really decent consistently high quality efforts here, with Karen Dreijer’s sophomore release pipping the rest - a lot let less grungy than her debut, and more in fact along the lines of her original band ’The Knife’. American Dream was the surprise package for me - with its mix of Talking Heads, Bowie and early 80’s UK electronica influences - right up my street - and I also really enjoy the more pop-leanings of Annie Clark, and the slightly more Hip-hop Gorillaz!
Honourable mention - Total Depravity (2016) - The Veils
I should really take more notes throughout the year as I often forget some of the earlier stuff that caught my attention - this list covers most of the highlights though - and I really like most of what Sigrid has put out this year - so she's worthy winner - and 'Like it Ain't Nuttin' is definitely the groove of the year!:
My favourite film last year was American Honey, and in some ways I see 'The Florida Project' as a companion piece to that - a snapshot of colourful American fringe life - this time set in pastel hues and on the outskirts of Disney World Orlando. It does not have as good a soundtrack, but the premise, casting, acting, cinematography and direction are all first rate - a highly memorable film about childhood. Blade Runner 2049 did not disappoint either - forming a very worthy sequel to one of my all-time favourite films, and Baby Driver was an exceptional virtuoso performance in soundtrack and visual choreography by the ever inventive Director - Edgar Wright. Note that I always watch Star Wars over the Christmas holidays with most of the kids - so that's obviously not included for now - I may add a note post viewing.
Television continues to outstrip cinema in various ways, and there were some truly exceptional programmes this year. I'm not sure Game of Thrones can get more epic, even though it does drop fairly regular logic-bombs. American Gods is the best thing Amazon have ever delivered, and Twin Peaks was visceral and exciting yet not quite a match to its original in overall appeal - all were pipped by the wonderful 80's love-letter that is Stranger Things - it came up trumps for me once again - reinforcing several fond memories of childhood along the way - that series resonated with me the strongest:
The Comics Universe shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon - it's still the golden age as I've said many times already. And the Image imprint is still leading the charge in innovative and arresting titles. Not to say I still don't buy the occasional Marvel and DC issue - I really enjoyed Star Wars' Dr Aphra this year. By and large though - it's Image, Dark Horse and Titan which are winning out for me. I don't feel that there was any particularly significant release on Humanoids this year - certainly nothing approaching Incal or Metabaron:
I have had relatively little action with Lego this year - only really the company Christmas do build-off - which featured the Mighty Dinosaurs set - I have snagged two - since both the Triceratops and T-Rex are excellent - I might still get a third to produce the Pterosaur also. Even though not actively involved - several sets caught my eye - including the biggest ever Lego set - the still to be properly released Ultimate Millennium Falcon - with no less than 7,541 pieces!: