Adam Vitcavage liked lists long before Buzzfeed figured out how to monetize them. So now he wants to share his love of lists with you. Each week, he’ll round up a list featuring anything anything pop culture related from literature to music to cool designers that you should buy prints from. Welcome to LISTcavage.
Are you over all of those end of year lists telling you why the same group of songs are the best of the year? Okay, I get it. Kendrick Lamar is king. Kesha went from that singer with a dollar sign in her name to producing one of the most beautifully heartbreaking albums of all time. Those are great. But here are 17 songs from 2017 that might have flown under the radar. Or not. Either way, check out this playlist.
“Yours” by Now, Now
Their first single in half a decade—“SGL”—was NPR’s seventh favorite song of the year and my first. Their second single was more synth-filled, but just as catchy. Cacie Dalager’s vocals over Brad Hale’s instrumentation is alt-pop heaven.
“Same Dark Places” by JR JR
After an episode on stage, Josh Epstein wrote this infectious song about how we all might have similar demons, which is okay as long as we know where to find the light. He and Daniel Zott have been slaying for years, but, according to Twitter, they plan on just releasing a slew of singles for the next year or so.
“Runaway” by A.W.
A.W. released quite a few albums under their previous name Allison Weiss. Those albums were lovesick ego power ballads that were terrific. Now, they shifted their sound and wrote one of the catchiest songs of the year alongside Tegan Quin from Tegan and Sara.
“Call It Off” by Chvrches (Tegan and Sara cover)
Since I mentioned the twin sisters earlier, I figured I should include one of the covers from their 2007 album that was re-released with unique covers. Lauren Mayberry is one of my favorite vocalists right now and this is one one my favorite Tegan and Sara songs. It was a perfect match.
“Recite Remorse” by Waxahatchee
Katie Crutchfield's "Out in the Storm" album got a lot of recognition in the indie world this year lead by “Never Been Wrong.” It was the slower burning “Recite Remorse” that resonated with me so much though. Her vocals and the ambient chords are the perfect sonic blend that I’m always seeking.
“Management of Savagery” by Richard Edwards
He was the leader of a pretty popular (in the cult sense) band called Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. This is a random song off his official debut album that I just really love. He told me in an interview that it was inspired by how awful ISIS made him feel. So that’s… pretty different
“Objects” by Big Thief
They’re is another premiere indie band from 2017 with a lot of songs getting a lot of street cred. This song is a deep, deep, deep cut from their album that just has a lot of short, sweet guitar riffs.
“Never Start” by Middle Kids
These Aussies have five songs to their name and I’m cheating by suggesting you definitely listen to their most popular “Edge of Town” along with this song. Both are just the type of indie rock that you would imagine being in a Michael Cera movie ten years ago, but with the refined taste that the indie blogosphere has come to demand now.
“North South East West” by Japandroids
These guys were topping all of the "best of" lists a few years back, but I haven’t seen too many people crushing on their recent album as much. Maybe it's worse? I don’t think so and this song is definitely catch. Check out their older stuff if there’s even an inkling of “oh yeah, that’s nice” when listening to this song.
“Take It” by Jay Som
Jay Som was actually the breakout band in the alternative world. Melina Duterte created it all herself from the crunchy guitars to the no-gimmick drumming. “The Bus Song” was in most people’s (including myself) top indie rock songs of the year. But I always had a soft spot for this track that’s nearly at the end of the album.
“Guardian” by Tigers Jaw
These guys sound like your favorite band from high school. They perfected that power pop punk vibe and have a lot of fun playing live. It’s easy to turn on any of their songs and feel nostalgia even though they released this song in 2017.
“Ride It Out” by TW Walsh
This man is criminally underrated in mainstream rock. The stuff he does my layering so many pleasant sounds but giving them all space to breath is outstanding. He’s a jack of all trades and he has mastered them all.
“Hot Thoughts” by Spoon
Speaking of giving room to breath, this song does so much, but it’s not in your face. It’s fun, but in the kind of way that sneaks up on you.
“Treasure” by Company of Thieves
Company of Thieves put out two unique records a few years ago and then basically disbanded. Genevieve, their lead singer put out some ultra pop music, but they reunited this year and recorded this single that blends their old quirky rock with some poppy undertones.
“Inner Lover” by Land of Talk
While everyone is shifting toward poppy synths, Land of Talk keeps it absolutely dreamy on this song. From Elizabeth Powell’s vocals to the soft snare drum hits. It’s relaxing without being tiresome.
“Shades” by Alexandra Savoir
I don’t actually know too much about Savoir and honestly haven’t listened to her album that much, but this song kills me. That funky bass tickling my ears in the background is just… *mwah*.
“Praying” by Kesha
Screw what I said in my intro. This song is too gorgeous not to put on this list.