2017 was a crazy year, filled with some indelible memories that I’ll cherish forever. Not the least of which was seeing my first two books published in February and April of that year. (Plus my beloved Philadelphia Eagles would finally win a Super Bowl following the 2017 season.)
2017 was also another banner year in CT music as evidenced by this list…
Parker Hu – Late Reply
I am pretty sure this album was released in the final, waning moments of the year. (As Parker Hu is wont to do.) We had to wait five years for another solo record but it was well worth the wait. Hu expands her sound on this record a bit without losing the smokey indie pop edge that made her earlier releases so compelling. She comes and goes on social media so I feel like she doesn’t get the love of other singer/songwriters in the state, but she’s absolutely deserving.
All Riot – Crossfire Traffic
Before this act made a decisive left-hand turn into electro-pop territory All Riot was one of the best post-punk/alt/emo/indie bands in the state. This record blew my socks off the first time I heard it. It reminded me a lot of the emo-core bands I loved back in the ’90s – Grade, Lifetime, Sunny Day Real Estate, etc. – yet managed to maintain this sort of indie rock meets post-punk aesthetic that made them stand out from the crowd. While I’m digging their new direction, I would not be sad if they put out another record in this vein again.
Audio Jane – Naïve
This album wrecked my world in 2017. I was addicted to it. I made the fathomless mistake of overlooking the EP that had come out the prior year, but thankfully the music gods smiled upon me in allowing me to spend as much time as I did with this album. The easy (and lazy) comparison would be Mazzy Star – smokey female vocals, ethereal, ’90s influenced alt-rock machinations – but that really only tells part of the story here. This band is so much more than just a pigeonholed act for people whose musical tastes ended when MTV stopped playing videos. Go listen to this record and see for yourself.
City Streets Country Roads – …and the world turned ever so slowly
I feel like these guys had been floating around the scene for more than a bit before finally putting out this full-length. Another album that was well worth the wait. It’s a fantastic record mixing elements of Americana with a distinct rock flavor, and some well-times saxophone for good measure. Honestly it’s one of the darkest sounding Americana records to come out of these parts in the last decade, which of course is right up my alley. A wholly unique experience and one worth revisiting.
The Foresters – House Stories
Honestly, I have no idea what to expect when you tell me the band I’m about to listen to is a bunch of teenagers. I’ve heard a lot of youthful acts sound…youthful? But The Foresters are mature well beyond their years and their songwriting smacks of grizzled scene vets who know how to write the catchiest of indie pop tunes. I’ll be shocked if these lads aren’t all writing and recording for various record labels one day.
Kindred Queer – Child
I’m going to pause here for a moment and once again break my own rule about only including full-length albums, partly because this would be the only thing Kindred Queer would release before breaking up. Plus vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Xavier Serrano is a goddamn genius (just wait until I tell you about his solo record) and the masterful chamber folk that this act sewed together was so lush and so beautiful that I would be remiss not to include this release on here.
Laundry Day – It’s Cool It’s Whatever
I really liked Laundry Day’s debut EP in 2014, and yet I thought this album was leaps and bounds ahead of it. They were really able to hone in and take their brand of rollicking indie rock to a new level of awesome. The songs are super catchy and equally as memorable. I hope to see future world domination from these guys. It would be greatly deserved.
Mercy Choir – Like A Fountain Stirred
I warned you that Mercy Choir would be all over these blog posts. This is easily one of my favorite Mercy Choir releases, and therefore shouldn’t surprise you when I say that’s it’s also one of Paul Belbusti’s darkest and most spacious sounding efforts. Belbusti takes the psych folk flag and flies it to the moon and back on this release and the result is something a little more shadowy than anything else in the Mercy Choir catalogue. I’m very much o.k.with this development.
Mountain Movers – Mountain Movers
Another act that’s been all over these blog posts, joining the aforementioned Mercy Choir as the only act so far with three releases to show up. There must have been something in the water in the New Haven area in 2017, because this was also one of the heavier and darker releases in the Mountain Movers catalogue up to this point. The album’s opening track, “I Could Really See Things”, is a 14+ minute psych rock masterwork, and the album just (d)evolves from there in a haze of feedback, crunchy riffs, and aural acid.
Omega Vague – Aversion/Reversion
Second album from this underrated ethereal dream pop outfit to show up in this space. This album expands the trippy vibes of previous efforts and the songs are structured a little more loosely, yet there’s still so many great pop hooks floating just below the surface. It’s such a great record and one that the entire indie scene should be clamoring to get their hands on.
UZOO – The Youngest
Connecticut’s answer to Wu Tang? Not from a sonic perspective, but certainly from the perspective that this hip hop collective is (was?) made up of some already accomplished artists, especially within the Hartford hip hop scene. Twelve different musicians add their talents to this record and when they all start clicking on the same track it’s hip hop gold.
Balkun Brothers -Devil On TV
Their heaviest release to date. The blues still formed the foundation in which they would build this house of rock ‘n’ roll, but any ideas that the Balkun Brothers were simply a ‘blues band’ were finally steamrolled over here. While there were still enough funky, groovy bits, this record would just as easily pummel you like a sonic tornado.
Curse The Son – Isolator
I was still writing for a website called Metal Insider in 2017 (which I was amazed to see because it feels like a lot more time has passed since I penned my last article for them). I did a review of this record where I called it “…one of the best doom metal records you’re going to experience this year.” With two years of sonic hindsight, I can safely say that my estimation of this album has aged very well. It indeed was one of the best doom metal records of the year, geographic locale be damned.
Grizzlor – Destructoid
Here’s what I wrote about this record on this very website in 2017: “And there it is, a three-man avalanche of discordance and sonic hellfire pummeling me before I even know what hit. Anyone get the plate number on that fiery truck that just ran me over…again… At some point I’ll learn my lesson and remember to brace for impact before I put the headphones on.” That summation has also aged well. Grizzlor play this amazingly abrasive brand of sludgy noise rock, and really are unlike just about any other act in the state. Heavy music fans need to get behind this band immediately.
Marvelous Liars – Marvelous Liars
This is pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll. Meaty riffs, catchy hooks, this record really has it all and is one of several local acts that I’m utterly baffled as to why they don’t get regular radio airplay in this state. (Outside of CygnusRadio.com and several awesome college stations of course.) For real though, how about we cut the shit with the 18 stations that rehash the same 15 Led Zeppelin songs over and over and over again and play some homegrown, kick ass rock. We can start with this band. Someone put me in charge of a radio station. I’ll sort this all out for everyone.
Kelly English – City Limits
This album really caught me off guard the first time I heard it. I had no idea who Kelly English was or what to expect, but I became an instant fan. “White Wine” is still one of my favorite songs from 2017. It’s an album filled with biting lyrics delivered by an utterly angelic voice. Fans of indie folk music that’s both well written and well produced should hop on board.
Apostasy – Ghosts
If you couldn’t tell already, 2017 was a great year for heavy music in Connecticut and New Haven’s Apostasy helped lead the charge with their brutal brand of thrash-infused, melodic death metal. This one is definitely for those who love the heavy metals. I’m not even going to sugarcoat it for those non-metalheads reading this. Brutality afoot. Poseurs need not apply.