As the drummer for recently revived ’90s indie/emo band Pohgoh, Keith Ulrey and the gang just wrapped up a new album produced/engineered by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, etc). Look for a 2018 release. He and Pohgoh bandmate (and lovely wife) Susie also run indie label New Granada Records out of their home. Always a sucker for the female voice and a self-proclaimed ’90s indie-rock ‘hey-day’er’, here’s his list of favorite releases from 2017.
JULIEN BAKER – Turn Out The Lights (Matador)
I’m still getting to know this one, although I’ve spent a lot of time with it. I fell in love with her first album, Sprained Ankle, and was highly anticipating this one. I love it, for sure, but I’m finding more and more nuances with each listen. Very haunting of an album.
COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS – Honest Life (Fat Possum)
Technically released in 2016 on small imprint Mama Bird Recording Co., but re-released to a wider audience in 2017 via Fat Possum. CMA manages to channel all the great singer/songwriters of the 70s (ie. Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, etc). Not sure it’s my album of the year, but it’s probably my most played album of the year.
DIEALPS! – Our City (New Granada)
My one selfish pick, released on my own New Granada Records. Great songwriting, I’ll leave it at that.
JAY SOM – Everybody Works (Polyvinyl)
Wow, what a wonderful bedroom pop gem front to back. Melina Duterte, aka Jay Som is a genius, prodigy, etc.
LAND OF TALK – Life After Youth (Saddle Creek)
I’d almost given up hope on LOT releasing another album after 2010’s Cloak And Cipher, but they delivered with Life After Youth. It seems to be less guitar oriented than their previous two albums (much like Wye Oak’s Shriek, 2014) but it wasn’t jarring at all. Two listens in and the old LOT feels came right back.
LO TOM – s/t (Barsuk)
Basically David Bazan getting back to the rock. Now that’s he’s announced that he’ll be going under the Pedro The Lion moniker moving forward, this album very well could’ve been a new PTL record. It didn’t seem to get a lot of attention, which is a shame.
PSYCHIC TWIN – Strange Diary (Polyvinyl)
A pleasant surprise in the promo mailbox at the shop. Very pretty synth-pop with ethereal female vocals, right up my alley. Like a more upbeat Beach House.
RAINER MARIA – S/T (Polyvinyl)
Damn. Just damn. RM came back after a decade with the intensity increased tenfold. Just a full-fledged in-your-face explosion of an album. Easily a contender for my album of the year. Sidenote: Polyvinyl Records killing it on the releases as of late, as you can tell by my list….
RIDE – Weather Diaries (Wichita Recordings)
Big Ride fan from back in the day. As with any reunion album, I was skeptical, but I think they killed it with Weather Diaries. This album could’ve sat nicely right after 1992’s Going Blank Again. A modern classic fit for the shoegaze era gone by.
WAXAHATCHEE – Out In The Storm (Merge)
This one was a slow burn, admittedly, I was not a particular fan of her previous work. But, after several listens, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Wonderful songwriting and production on this one.