Detroit, Michigan’s Ryan Allen writes songs. A lot of songs. He can’t help it. In the past 15 years he’s fronted bands like Red Shirt Brigade, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Destroy This Place, and his current endeavor, Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms. He also loves listening to other people’s songs. It’s inspiring. So with that said, here’s his favorite records of 2017.
1) Paramore, After Laughter
Warped Tour emo/mall/punks find Tom Tom Club and afrobeat records. Make pop songs that sound like Mariah Carey fronting Duran Duran. The universe wins. Album of the year.
2) Alvvays, Antisocialites
A band that can’t write a bad song makes an album of 10 totally not bad songs. Props for the total Stereolab rip-off song “Hey.” More bands should rip off Stereolab.
3) Slowdive, Slowdive
Maybe the best comeback album ever recorded. They haven’t missed a beat (or a guitar pedal).
4) Lo Tom, Lo Tom
Dave Bazan and his buds get back to basics and make a simple yet effective rock record. Clean AF production, great riffs that at once nod to Pedro the Lion, Tom Petty and AC/DC, all held together by Bazan’s buttery baritone. Welcome back to guitars, Mr. Bazan.
5) Charly Bliss, Guppy
Catchiest record of the year. Eva Hendricks knows here way around a hook, and her bandmates have digested enough Weezer, Nirvana and sugar to back her up proper.
6) Baked, Farnham
Remember in the ’80s and early ’90s when you could make a record that was all over the map stylistically (I’m thinking Sebadoh and Meat Puppets, here) and nobody would bat an eye? Baked’s Farnham does that. Country, psyche, punk, shoegaze…it’s all here and it’s all good.
7) Metz, Strange Peace
Canadian rippers make their hookiest album yet, finally mating with Steve Albini like they should have from the beginning.
8) Ted Leo, The Hanged Man
A heartbreaking record that deals with loss and the heavy weight of the world, featuring some of Ted’s most vulnerable tunes ever. He tempers the dread with a handful of upbeat numbers that rival his most beloved. Some people might be confused by this record, but I love it.
9) Queens of the Stone Age, Villains
I never “got” this band until this album came out. I like the tin-can production on the drums (which seems like an odd choice, considering the power of Jon Theodore, but it works), and it’s got riffs for days. Josh Homme might be the best male singer in rock.
10) Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
I met Julian Baker for a split second at Riot Fest. She is very small. Her voice, however, is not. Most emo album I’ve ever heard.