Planet Slop’s 2017 Selection Box

By Planet Slop
Sun 31 December, 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, Planet Slop contributors select some of their favourite albums from the past 12 months. 

A couple of weeks ago, we mocked the whole concept of end of year lists, and the self-important twaddle that tends to go into it.

So now of course, we’re doing one.

Actually, that isn’t strictly true. We were genuinely considering not doing anything like this. After all, what does being Planet Slop‘s number one album of the year get you? It’s hardly prestigious. We’re called “Planet Slop“. It’s like getting an honour from Monty Python‘s dead parrot.

But in talking to some of our contributors, some of them really did want to talk about their favourite albums of the year, the ones they were passionate about, the ones that made an impact on them. So, we made a deal; if enough people submitted a few selections we would figure something out.

What follows isn’t a pompous, definitive end of year list, or an attempt to have some kind of last word in the last 12 months of music. It’s just 30-something albums that made an impact on some music fans.

? Click here for our generic “Best Albums of 2017” list?

Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

Although his collage-y schtick is terribly on-point in this day and age, Arile Rosenberg stands alone. The listener may detect bubbles of The Doors, The Cure and even Buggles in this sonic stew, but no one melds and overcomes influences quite like this guy. His voice – incorporating malevolent English toff, honeyed country crooner and exuberant popster – plus his seemingly inexhaustable gift for melody raise him above accusations of mere Outsider karaoke.  From the country psyche of Another Weekend to the warm synths and perky hooks of Kitchen Witch, to the uncatagorisable mindfuck megalith that is Time To Live, this is a wild and vivifying ride. David McNally

Clark – Death Peak  

Chris Clark’s ninth outing is a joyous splurge of overdriven synths and electronic celestials which makes Warp stablemates such as Aphex Twin or Cylob seem pedestrian by comparison. Death Peak is a rave in some shifting parallel dimension; you can try to dance but the floor keeps melting. Stephen Lewin

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

You know that old maxim about the sum being greater than the parts? Well, I was pretty underwhelmed by Courtney B when she appeared on the scene a while back, and only mildly whelmed by the laid back mister Vile, but somehow the joining of these two has created something twinkly and magical, a real highlight of an already strong musical year. The vocal blend is one element, the sense that these two slackers are actually trying to impress each other lyrically is another. The overall sound – a kind of gauzy alt-country – ain’t all that fresh, but whatever fairy dust their union has sprinkled over it should be sold at a million bucks a gram. David McNally

Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa

Pop is a party that no one isn’t invited to, and right now nobody throws a better bash than Dua. I’m a grown ass man, so won’t be tossing around words like ‘bangers’, but tracks like Genesis and Blow Your Mind do tempt me sorely. Lyrical themes are standard issue, dealing with the arcs and phases of love, but her confident drawl of a delivery atop the snap of box fresh production elevates throughout. Hooky, brisk and smart, this is everything she needs in order to usher in an imperial phase. David McNally

The Fall – New Facts Emerge

Mark E Smith‘s albums are a bit like Philip Roth‘s novels; invariably midway through enjoying the latest one, you reach a point of bravura breathtaking intensity that makes you exclaim, “This is the best thing he’s ever done”. With New Facts Emerge, this comes during Couple vs Jobless, as Smith and the newly metallic band stomp across genre lines like marauding conquistadors. Closing track Nine Out Of Ten, with its wittily weary vocal and ragged guitar is another highlight. Not everything works, and Mark‘s voice is more instrument of torture than supple vessel of song these days, but alongside these tent poles there’s the sprightly jangle of Gibbous Gibbon and bilious attack of Brillode Facto, making this way better than a group’s 32nd offering has any right to be. David McNally

Golden Teacher — No Luscious Life

If you love wacky electronic music, the band Golden Teacher are for you. Originating from Glasgow, they incorporate funk, disco and electronica in their debut album, No Luscious Life, their most recent seven song project. It is true to say that Glasgow’s alternative scene is one of the hidden gems of the city and therefore Golden Teacher seem to be the pioneers of this movement. For fans of Grace Jones, songs such as Sauchiehall Withdrawl encapsulate an intergalactic feel with dual vocalists Cassie Ojay and Charlie Levanac; What Fresh Hell Is This? introducing a trippy feel to their music, Diop (an ode to the Senegalese poet), No Luscious Life itself in its eight minute length seeming to encompass all that the band have to offer. If you’re looking for a unique sound, something that is both funky, punky and experimental, Golden Teacher are the rising stars to look out for.  Eve-Marie Connolly

Gnod – Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine

What a way to change genre. Gnod go from long form cosmonauts to vicious noise punks in one masterful stroke with the angriest record of the year. This thing speaks to the caveman brain parts with a direct line attached to the mains electricity. My Lord. It also helps that they lyrics are minimalistically perfect and razor sharp. Michael Edward

Girl Ray — Earl Grey

Girl Ray represent a new generation of musicality; the North London 18 year olds Poppy Hankin on vocals and guitar, Iris O’Connell on drums and Sophie Moss on bass. The band formed when the members were just 16! They remain to be one of the most exciting bands to look out for over the next few years with their debut album titled Earl Grey that was released in the summer of this year. It was a pleasure to see them perform in Liverpool Music Week at EBGBS, performing some of the best tracks on the album, Trouble, A Few Months, Don’t Go Back At Ten and Stupid Things, songs focused on nostalgia, falling in love and falling in and out of friendships; a true coming of age debut. Eve-Marie Connolly

Hey Colossus – The Guillotine

Hey Colossus are long time favourites of mine, and their transition into a more traditional approach to song structure and vocals has been a joy to behold. This and the Gnod record are the best thought out political records in a long time. With the new record they’ve gained a surgical level of brutality, as well as some almost proggy tendencies. For a record this downtrodden and oppressive, it’s a real delight. Michael Edward

Ibibio Sound Machine – Uyai

This is the most fun you can have with music this year. A beautiful melting pot of afrobeat, funk, post punk, synthpop, psychedelia and soul with a scope that a mere genre list will always fail to capture. It’s seamless, and it’s an absolute riot. It might be the funkiest record of the decade. Michael Edward

Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales – Room 29

Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and classical pianist Chilly Gonzales team up for this blissful, bittersweet song-cycle based on a room in Hollywood’s Château Marmont hotel. Gonzales’ discreet playing lends itself spectacularly to Cocker’s usual breathy delivery and immense lyricism. Christy Smyth

Jay Z – 4:44

Despite this album being exclusive to Tidal customers, Jay Z used conscious hip hop as his inspiration for his 13th studio project. In songs such as The Story of O.J, Jay Z used incorporated samples such as Nina Simone’s Four Women, and these samples are some of the most inventive parts of this album. The Story of O.J. also serves as an inherently politically charged song. Jay also worked with artists such as Frank Ocean in Caught Their Eyes, which uses another sample of Simone’s song Baltimore. Jay Z’s obsession surrounding Nina’s musicality is linked to the political emphasis shown in this album, as Nina’s music was always politically charged and by sampling her, the artist could borrow her political insight. Therefore, Jay Z’s new album represents political consciousness that was paramount in 2017. Eve-Marie Connolly

Jordan Rakei – Wallflower

London based, New Zealand native released his second album on the acclaimed label Ninja Tune and has received a lot of support from Jamie Cullum and Gilles Peterson. This is his most personal and intimate album to date covering issues like insecurity and anxiety. The album has been nominated for the best album category award at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2018. Favourite Songs : Eye to Eye, Sorceress, Nerve and Goodbyes. Soulfultiz

Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference

Choosing song titles that evoke Coltrane‘s A Love Supreme is a pretty baller move, but one listen is enough to establish that this saxophonist/composer can play in such exalted company. Defiantly acoustic, thoughtful yet always propulsive, this heady album harks back to the days when instrumental music spoke just as profundly as the works of poetic champions. And at just over 30 minutes, there’s no room for bloat. The man says what he has to say, cushioned by a swirling bed of reverbed piano, carnival percussion and wah wah guitar, and gets the hell out. David McNally

Kendrick Lamar — DAMN

Another politically charged fourth album, DAMN reached number two in the United Kingdom album charts and with its four singles, Humble, Loyalty (which featured Rihanna) and Love, Lamar was able to create music which spoke to the black rights movement in America and challenged the status quo. The best song on the album has to be DNA, when Kendrick uses a sample from FOX News whereby Geraldo Rivera criticised the artist saying, “Hip Hop has done more damage to young African Americans in recent years than racism in recent years.” Kendrick responds in the song with “I’ve got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA,” essentially a fuck you to the media that spin the lies about black people, his official comment stating: “Hip Hop is not our problem, our reality is the problem.” Eve-Marie Connolly

Laura Marling – Semper Femina  

Singer-songwriter Laura Marling‘s sixth studio album is arguably her best yet. Its succinct nine tracks make up 40 minutes of pure poetry. However, Marling delivers something truly special on the track Nouel, a beautiful bare bones arrangement of guitar and vocals that really lives up to all those Dylan comparisons she gets. Christy Smyth

Leela James – Did It For Love 

Citing greats like Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, LA soul powerhouse Leela James released her sixth studio album in May. A solid LP with no fillers, comes highly recommended. Give it a listen and you will be thanking me later. Favourite songs:  Hard For Me, Don’t Want You Back, Take Me I Remember and There 4 U. Soulfultiz

Lift To Experience – The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads 15th Anniversary Edition

Ok I’m cheating, this is a reissue but being that it was so criminally overlooked first time around I feel it deserves a bit of lip-service. Following a mini campaign on Radio 6 a rebooted Lift To Experience returned to the stage for Guy Garvey’s Meltdown Festival last year. Mute then saw fit to release a remixed and repackaged …Crossroads for old fans and new converts. It is an alt-religious epic filled with noisey hymnals which splice Explosions In The Sky guitar battery with Josh T Pearson’s Buckleyesque trills. Pearson’s sermons are both poignant and daft: “Lord I’ll make you a deal; …give me a smash hit so I can build a city on a hill.” If you buy only one sprawling, post-rock concept album this year… Stephen Lewin

Lumpy and the Dumpers – Those Pickled Fuckers

As prolific as they are puerile, Lumpy and the Dumpers’ 2017 outing is as repulsive as the name suggests. The Dumpers are just one of a crop of underground punk currently sprouting in the American midwest, but, unlike their contemporaries Liquids or Ausmuteants, Martin Meyer’s tinny troupe revel in the grubby and grotesque. Lo, lo, lo-fi  gross-out anthems with titles such as Hair On The Inside or Passing Glass leave little to the imagination. Good clean fun. Stephen Lewin

The Magnetic Fields – 50 Song Memoir

Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt tells his life story over five discs, 50 tracks, and two-and-a-half hours of music. In a similar vein to his 1999 magnum opus, 69 Love Songs, Merritt writes songs that only he could. In spite of its length this record is so intelligent, moving, and funny, that you can’t help but listen to it over and over. Christy Smyth

Mac Demarco — This Old Dog

Mac’s third album This Old Dog speaks volumes about his songwriting ability, with more emphasis being had on simple structures, focusing on recollection through a more relaxed groove. This album definitely features a change in Mac’s usual crazy antics, focusing more on the impact of a woozy guitar groove and the qualities of a synth to represent the feelings the song wants to create. On the Level is the perfect concert starter, This Old Dog and My Old Man all focusing on the lyrics Mac creates, the guitar and synth progression representing a classic underbelly of music. Despite this album not being Mac’s finest hour, This Old Dog is the perfect album to listen to if you want to be thoughtful for a while, and take it from me, hearing these songs live made this album get onto my top five albums of the year. Eve-Marie Connolly

Mary J. Blige – The Strength Of A Woman

Anyone who knows Mary J. Blige will know that no one does heartache and pain like she does. The Strength of A Woman is her 13th studio album and possibly her best album since No More Drama. It is inspired heavily by her divorce with former manager, Kendu Isaac. Favourite songs: Thick Of It, Set Me Free, U + Me (Love Lesson) and Strength Of A Woman. Soulfultiz

My Pleasure – Domestic Bliss

My Pleasure‘s debut album is nothing less than a pleasure to listen to. His lyrics are often laugh-out-loud funny but the tunes are always seriously good. It also contains my favourite verse of 2017: “If you like meat raffles, you’re in for a treat. / If you don’t like meat raffles, you’re out on the street.” Christy Smyth

Nick Ellis – Adult Fiction

Signed to Mellowtone – one of the finest label’s ever to come out of the city – Nick Ellis’ Adult Fiction is his third album in a miniscule two years. There could be fears that such rapid workload would mean the material would suffer, but nothing could be further from the truth. This record is quite possibly his finest yet. The man just continues to progress. These are great songs of real life. You should catch him live to get the full effect of one of the best voices in Liverpool, but Adult Fiction isn’t a bad way to kill time until you can catch him again. Graham Smillie

Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now

Like Gnod, a record so vicious it’ll tear your skin off. They’ve tightened up their sound and somehow ended up more punishing for the degree of control, and the cherry on the cake is the wonderfully hilarious and self-deprecating lyrics, delivered like Lemmy gargling carpet tacks. Michael Edward

That feeling when you’re convinced a headache is something much more serious (Waiting On My Horrible Warning) or a tale of love ruined by one small perceived physical defect (It’s Your Knees). These are just two of the subjects of Brad Korvette’s dark and often hilarious essays, writ large against a backdrop of churning noise. Four albums in and I still can’t find fault with Pissed Jeans’ intelligent hardcore.   Stephen Lewin

Rohey – A Million Things

A Million Things is the incredible debut album from Norwegian soul quartet Rohey. If you like Robert Glasper, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, you will LOVE Rohey. Like Rakei, they have also been getting a lot of love from Gilles Peterson.  Soulfultiz

Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints

I caught Siobhan Wilson during her live show at 81 Renshaw Street and bought the album because of that incredible performance. It’s a unique hybrid of sounds, from classical and almost choral sounds, to infectious rhythms. It is a subtle, haunting masterpiece. Graham Smillie

Songhoy Blues – Resistance

I wasn’t overly struck by this Malian export’s first album but Resistance, their second has really won me over. On this sophomore effort they stray away from the desert-blues style native to their homeland into afro-rock reminiscent of the continent’s more psychedelically inclined acts. Tracks such as Bamako and Yersi Yadda recall Zambia’s Ngozi Family or the Nigerian acid-soul of The Funkees. Even Iggy Pop’s shit, “I’ve got five minutes let me scribble something down” cameo doesn’t ruin it. Stephen Lewin

SPQR – The House That Doubt Built

I’m biased, having put this one out myself, but Jesus Christ is it good. The last track made me cry when I was sent the unmastered version. It is five tracks of a gaping wound into frontman Peter Harrison‘s soul, accompanied by some of the most exhilarating and musically rich rock you’ll hear all year. Michael Edward

Syd – Fin

Syd, lead singer of the progressive R&B group The Internet released her eagerly awaited solo album this year. It is a great eclectic mix with some scintillating vocals reminiscent of 90’s/00’s R&B most notably Aaliyah. Favourite songs: Insecurities, Body, Know and Shake Em Off. Soulfultiz

Wesley Gonzalez – Excellent Musician

Former Let’s Wrestle frontman Wesley Gonzalez releases his excellent solo debut. Excellent by name and nature. The songs range from the explosive to the introspective, but are consistently cool and ambitious. Easter egg: The CDs back cover mimics those of David Bowie‘s 1999 remasters. How gnarly is that? Christy Smyth

? Click here for Nothin But The Music’s 2017 playlist?