As we kick off the month of November, we begin that period of the year where everyone starts to look back at the music released this year and consider the standout.
Of course, there are a tonne of albums we could have included here, but these are a few LPs that have been lodged in our stereos (or Spotify playlists) for weeks at a time.
Terra Lightfoot – New Mistakes
This talented Canadian muso has been doing the rounds of the music scene for quite some time now, but is starting to pick up some deserved recognition in the mainstream, especially in the immediate aftermath of her third studio album New Mistakes – a serious contender for one of her home country’s best rock records of 2017.
With a stunning command of songwriting and musical composition, paired with an absolutely intoxicating voice and her signature Gibson SG, Terra Lightfoot delivers a powerful mix of folk, alt-country and flat-out rock, and also her most polished effort yet.
If you’re keen to see what our overseas rock competition has to offer,she’s currently on an Australian tour with local troubadour William Crighton and, like the album, it’s one that definitely shouldn’t be missed.
Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
With their first record receiving almost unanimously positive reviews across the board, you could be forgiven for thinking that Royal Blood may fall victim to the dreaded ‘second album syndrome’.
Instead, the group have managed to refocus their sound, and with their second record, How Did We Get So Dark?, having topped charts around the world, we can see that Royal Blood are far from done with their world domination.
Bad//Dreems – Gutful
Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems have had an absolutely stunning year in 2017. Having released their sophomore record Gutful, the follow-up to 2015’s Dogs At Bay, the Baddies have gone on to play numerous sold-out shows in some of Australia’s sweatiest venues, showcasing their unique brand of Aussie rock to some of their biggest crowds yet.
Having just supported Midnight Oil, and recently receiving the call up to support Cold Chisel, these future stars of Aussie pub-rock are having their balls-to-the-wall sound being recognised in some of the best ways possible.
Slowdive – Self-titled
When shoegaze legends Slowdive called it a day in 1995, few suspected that the band would ever get back together. But when these English musical pioneers shocked everyone with a reunion in 2014, few expected the band to release an album this year that would be considered one of the greatest comeback records of all time.
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
With Ryan Adams’ last album being nothing more than a Taylor Swift cover album, some may have feared he had been lost to the muddy world of pop music covers.
Thankfully, Adams silenced all the naysayers by releasing the exceptional Prisoner. Lauded as true return to form, Adams has seen some of the greatest chart success he’s ever experienced with this record.
Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound
Ohio’s Cloud Nothings returned in January with their first record in three years, the genre-defying Life Without Sound. Featuring a mix of indie-rock, noise-rock and just about any other form of music that incorporates the word ‘rock’, Cloud Nothings’ fourth record should be a mess. Instead, it’s one of the most cohesive and enjoyable records released this year.
Polish Club – Alright Already
Polish Club have proven themselves to be one of Australia’s most beloved duos, despite they fact they only released their debut record, Alright Already, earlier this year. Mixing in blues, punk, and straight up rock, Polish Club’s album was a full-on assault of brilliant musicianship and catchy songwriting.
Make sure you catch these blokes when they hit up your town with West Thebarton next month, and sing as loud as possible to every tune they pump out.
Cable Ties – Self-titled
Cable Ties have spent the last year cementing their place in the Aussie music scene as one of the most fearless and exciting bands going around. With the release of their self-titled debut record earlier this year, the band gave fans a chance to hear some of the most honest and refreshing songs to be recorded in this country in a long time.
Brand New – Science Fiction
Brand New released their fifth record, Science Fiction, almost by surprise back in August. Their first in eight years, Science Fiction was seen as a welcome return for one of the most beloved bands in the emo and post-hardcore genres. Their first record to hit the top of the charts, Science Fiction may end up being the very last record we see from Brand New, as they plan to call it quits sometime next year. A rather fitting way to say goodbye to Jesse Lacey and co.
Jen Cloher – Self-titled
Jen Cloher self-titled LP was a huge success for the Aussie rock scene. Filled with some of Cloher’s best work, the record debuted a well-deserved number five on the ARIA charts. Having been releasing music for well over a decade now, this record is some of Jen Cloher’s best work.
Kingswood – After Hours, Close To Dawn
Kingswood’s ability to craft slick riffs, front them with some devastating vocals, and call it a song seems to come so easily for them that it should almost be called cheating.
Having stunned Australia with their debut record Micro Wars in 2014, After Hours, Close To Dawn sees the band perfecting their sound and delivering another record of brilliant tunes that deserved to have topped the ARIA charts.
The Smith Street Band – More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me
As Joseph Earp wrote in our review of The Smithies’ fourth album, “Not a line or a hook is wasted, and despite the fact the running time brushes up close to the 40-minute mark, nothing about the record feels overlong or unnecessary. Every song is contingent; every song matters.”
And these songs do matter, incredibly so, to the band’s fans who buy into Wil Wagner & Co. wholeheartedly, won over by the complete unwavering sincerity. But More Scared Of You… also features more lighthearted moments than the previous efforts, giving new fans the perfect entry point into the cult of one of Melbourne’s most beloved bands.
The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Having broke into the mainstream with the success of 2014’s Lost In The Dream, fans were wondering if The War On Drugs’ follow-up record was going to live up the hype.
Not only did it manage to chart all around the world, but The War On Drugs have received some of their highest praise yet for their unique style of neo-psychedelia.
Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness
2017 may just be remembered as Gang Of Youths’ year. After surprising everyone with their runaway debut album, The Positions, Gang Of Youths silenced their critics with the release of the phenomenal Go Farther In Lightness.
Seeing the band reach a well-deserved number one position on the ARIA charts, Gang Of Youths proved that their anthem style of songwriting is not only appreciated by the Aussie public, but adored.
Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett – Lotta Sea Lice
One of the best pairings in recent years, former War On Drugs Member Kurt Vile teamed up with close friend Courtney Barnett to record some of the most approachable records in years.
With a casual style of songwriting that makes it sound like Vile & Barnett are your old friends rather than accomplished musicians, Lotta Sea Lice is one of those albums that deserves to be played until it’s worn out.
Dan Sultan – Killer
Dan Sultan has been an Aussie treasure for quite some time now, and with the success of A.B. Original’s ‘January 26’, Sultan was thrown further into the mainstream. Thankfully, he backed that extra attention up with a genuinely brilliant record.
With the stunning Killer, Dan Sultan broadened his horizons with the introduction of gospel choirs, synths, drum machines, and a continuation of the political lyrical content that we began to see more of through his work with Briggs and Trials. One of the most important Aussie albums of the year, undoubtedly.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana
The band have given us three options to pick from so far this year (with a fourth just around the corner), and while the 21-track behemoth Murder of the Universe is a great record and recent Mild High Club collab LP Sketches of Brunswick East is a worthy addition to any fan’s shelf, the freshness of Banana and the central conceit of its Eastern-infused microtonal structure secured its spot as their best album of the year.
Plus, ‘Rattlesnake’ is just a completely unrepentant earworm, and we love it.
Paul Kelly – Life Is Fine
It took Paul Kelly 36 years and 23 albums, but he finally reached the top of the charts. With some of the most well-written songs of his career, Life Is Fine sees Paul Kelly at his absolute best, proving that there’s still plenty of brilliant work to come out of this Australian icon.
Terra Lightfoot’s Australian tour with William Crighton
Thursday, November 2nd
Australian Music Week, Cronulla, NSW
Friday, November 3rd
Central Bar, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday, November 4th
Inland Sea of Sound Festival, Bathurst, NSW
Sunday, November 5th
Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Monday, November 6th
Yah Yah’s, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday, November 9th
Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Friday, November 10th – Sunday, November 12th
Majors Creek Festival, Majors Creek, NSW
Thursday, November 16th
Left’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD