Mucho Bravado’s Top 10 Albums of the Year

By December 14, 2017

Ben Preece


Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
Kendrick is in a golden patch of his career right now, having delivered a trifecta of classic albums in the most ideal of circumstances that crosses over into the pop world and fills stadiums while not compromising his epic vision.
Favourite song: ‘ELEMENT’

Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life
Putting to rest the idea that a second record should be tough, Wolf Alice made a front to back twisted masterpiece, disregarding a lot of what initially made them great and stepped up to be the best band in Britain.
Favourite song: ‘Planet Hunter’

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

Most would struggle not giving this top spot and they’re right – The War On Drugs leader Adam Granduciel reconnects with familiar vast soundscapes and a psyche that haunted his previous efforts, all while remaining completely original. Significant.
Favourite song: ‘Pain’

King Krule – THE OOZ
Cruising an unconventional sonic path that defies any idealism and refuses to fit in, well, anywhere, 23 year old Archy Marshall has instead turned out a dark and grimey post-apocalyptic universe that only he could make feel so whole and colourful.
Favourite song: ‘Biscuit Town’

Evoking all the feels, Moses Sumney’s album mines new ways to discuss loneliness and an inability to belong in this world he inhabits. Not since the delicate heartbreak the likes of D’Angelo or Frank Ocean flirt with, has anyone sounded so vulnerable and heavenly miserable.
Favourite song: ‘Lonely World’

Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex

With the umpteen chillwave bands around, it’s surprising that this one got through, but the debut from Cigarettes After Sex is something else. It might be the androgynous vocal of Gary Gonzales, the entirely more muscular sound against other bands of their ilk, or simply the sheer quality of the songwriting.
Favourite song: ‘Apocalypse’

Overcoming crippling anxiety and frustrating perfectionism, the debut album from SZA finally saw the light of day this year and is no slouch, touching on all cornerstones of the fancy free, the feminist and her fears.
Song: ‘Drew Barrymore’

With producer Jack Antonoff and a high profile relationship under her belt, Annie Clark was well-poised to go all mainstream on us. Instead, she delivered another round of compelling songs rounded out with a feverish performance tugging us towards the d-floor. Sad, confessional and fascinating!
Favourite song: ‘Los Ageless’

The unlikely comeback that could never be any good, except it really, really was. No one does disco rock’n’roll better than James Murphy and co. and the bangers of that ilk are present, but it’s the more inausopicious moments that make American Dream vital.
Favourite song: ‘How Do You Sleep?’

Beck – Colors
Beck’s first real attempt at the mainstream started a couple of year’s ago with ‘Dreams’ and continues here with a kaleidoscopic collection of sickly sweet and shiny upbeat numbers. Not his most credible outing, nor close to his best, but still Beck’s ageless approach to music makes any release of his important.
Favourite song: ‘Dear Life’


Viv Mellish


The Jungle Giants – Quiet Ferocity
From the moment I heard this album, I was like, “Where the fuck did the Jungle Giants go? And what are they tripping on… I want some of that!”. This is one of the most exciting albums I’ve heard all year. The way the band build layers and work things into a party frenzy is next level. Great party album. Great vibe. Great Brisso band. Their best yet.
Fave track: ‘On Your Way Down’

LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
This band is in my top five bands of all time so this one was easy. I was a bit nervous about them bringing out something new and worried it wasn’t going to live up to its hype. But it did. So good to see them at Splendour too.
Fave track: ‘Other Voices’

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
Dang (or should I say Damn!?) this is next level. So much to unpack from this album. So much social commentary. So many home truths. Kendrick is the premier poet of our generation. The tracks flow so well together. He just released another issue with the tracklist backwards and it STILL flows well. Bloody genius.
Fave track: ‘Loyalty’

Sampha – Process
This is my emotional album of 2017. It’s something I put on when I want to chill, reflect and (excuse the pun) ‘process’ thoughts. His voice is something else.
Fave track: ‘(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano’

Evan Klar – Deepest Creatures
Evan Klar’s Deepest Creatures is one of the most fly-under-the-radar albums of 2017. This dude is a super human and his music is percussive genius. Seeing Evan Klar a few times this year in full flight with strings and two drummers ripping up a frenzy was a live highlight. Expect big things from this lad in 2018.
Fave track: ‘Get Up’

Lorde – Melodrama
Lordy lordy loooorde. Do I need to say more?
Fave track: ‘Liability’

Meg Mac – Low Blows
Sooo good to see Meg Mac absolutely slaying 2017. Huge sold out shows to thousands across the country surely means she’s poised for world domination in 2018 right? This album sits so well as a body of work, it’s hard to choose a favourite track.
Fave track: ‘Maybe It’s My First Time’

PNAU – Changa
There is a reason why this album won the ARIA for best dance release. It sees old mates PNAU back on form with another absolute gem. I am so stoked that we have had new music from The Presets, Cut Copy and PNAU all in the same year. It’s like 2008 all over again. ‘Go Bang’ and ‘Chameleon’ are absolute stand outs.
Fave track: ‘Chameleon’

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Damn I love The War on Drugs so friggin much. This is perfect road trip music – windows down… sun shining, wind-in-hair vibes. Not really sure how The War on Drugs achieved this but every song seems to flow into the next with seamless precision. Before you know it, you were having such a good time listening and you’re at the end just in time to press repeat again.
Fave track: ‘Thinking of a Place’

Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life
Wolf Alice are one of the best bands in the world right now. Full stop. The line they tread between folk, pop and grunge is a precious and delicate one. Their songwriting abilities and originality of form are extremely sophisticated. This is a mature step up from 2016’s My Love is Cool and an enjoyable listen any day of the week.
Fave track: ‘Beautifully Unconventional’


Ash Kissane


Nabihah Iqbal – Weighing of the Heart
Only released at the start of December, Weighing of the Heart is one of those rare albums that was a hard and fast love affair for me. FKA Throwing Shade, Nabihah Iqbal’s debut is utterly addictive with lush soundscapes, propulsive percussion, delicate guitar, eighties synths and ethereal vocals. Although I’m still rinsing the album, I’m already eagerly awaiting the Nabihah’s next release. DREAMY.
Favourite track: Something More

Gold Class – Drum
Gold Class cementing themselves as one of the best bands in the world. Their captivating live show is distilled in each track that burns with the same ferocity and defiance as long time love, It’s You.
Favourite track: ‘Rose Blind’

Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe
One of the most powerful and self-assured albums of the year, Princess Nokia proves she’s at the top of her game. Princess Nokia is my patron saint.
Favourite track: ‘Kitana’

Leikeli47 – Wash & Set
Every track on this album is a complete anthem for being your authentic self, taking no shit and doing your utmost to claim what’s rightfully yours. Slaying the game.
Favourite track: ‘Miss Me’

Ho99o9 – United States of Horror
A pure fire in the belly call to action. A rousing meeting of hip hop and hardcore, United States of Horror is a cathartic reflection of the past two years of turbulence.
Favourite track: ‘War is Hell’

KLLO – Backwater
A beautiful and sophisticated album from start to finish, KLLO draw on 90s electronica, RnB, garage and a whole bunch more in their most dynamic and mature collection of work to date. Pure beauty.
Favourite track: ‘Virtue’

These New South Whales – You Work for Us
One of my most played albums of the year for sure. Unrelenting, frenzied and brutally honest lyricism delivered with trademark twinkle-eyed audacity.
Favourite track: ‘Are You Au Fait?’

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
What a bloody masterpiece.
Favourite track: ‘DNA’

Kelela – Take Me Apart
Kelela is peerless IMHO and Take Me Apart proves it. The collaborations on this stunning release take things up a notch, making her glow even brighter.
Favourite track: ‘Frontline’

The Horrors – V
As a long time fan of The Horrors, it’s been to watch the band grow and evolve with each album. V takes many an unexpected sonic turn and I’m here for them all.
Favourite track: ‘Machine’


Fiona Priddey


Winston Surfshirt – Sponge Cake
 Winston Surfshirt’s debut record is a reflection of the man himself: charming, sexy and moreish. Supported by his band of soulful scallywags, they have found the perfect mix of retro R&B, funky brass and velvety bars. Crack a tinny, boys – we’ve found the soundtrack to the Summer.

Cut Copy – Haiku From Zero

This record is textbook Cut Copy and I’m not mad at it. Nine tracks of glittery, jarring electro pop madness prove once again the Melbourne boys know what they’re doing and they do it damn well.

The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Music is just as much about discovery and timing as it is about content. This record came along when I was feeling pretty disillusioned with the music industry, and Adam Granduciel effortlessly and singlehandedly inspired me all over again. Expansive, cavernous and intricate, it’s albums like THIS that make it all worth it.

KLLO – Backwater
The pairing of Chloe Kaul’s delicate, airy vocals and Simon Lam’s meticulous, polished production is immaculate. Warm R&B sensibilities and bouncy electronic elements pepper the record, juxtaposing recurring lyrical themes of homesickness and isolation. Heartbreaking and lovely.

Slowdive – Slowdive
Slowdive return after a 22 year hiatus with an album that would make any shoegaze fan worth their salt weak at the knees. Textured, spacious and excruciatingly precise their wall-of-sound aural assault is testament to Slowdive’s collective talent and experience that spans decades.

Methyl Ethel – Everything Is Forgotten
Calculated, anxious and at times claustrophobic, Everything Is Forgotten is proof that sometimes great art is meant to make you feel uncomfortable. Jake Webb’s stream of consciousness lyrics and the continuous unresolved dissonance he builds throughout the album are equal parts intense and captivating and like a beautiful car accident I’m unable to turn away.

Tired Lion – Dumb Days
This candy-grunge debut from Perth darlings Tired Lion is choc-full of high energy, fervid guitar licks and foot stomping percussion. It makes me want to throw myself head first into a sweaty mosh at the Brighty.

HTMLflowers – Chrome Halo
This chronicle of Grant Gronewold’s battle with Cystic Fibrosis is complex and twisted and unapologetic and beautiful. A big middle finger to disability and the bureaucracy of treatment and getting well; he manages the delicate balance of heavy and light with the strength of a survivor and the flair of an artist.

Gold Class – Drum
I can never get enough of vocalist Adam Curley’s signature howl. At times aggressive, sometimes vulnerable and often tense, Curley cuts himself wide open, bookmarking the record with personal heartbreak and the fall out before healing.

LCD Soundsystem – american dream
James Murphy’s newest record isn’t genre defining or pushing any new sonic boundaries unlike 2007’s All My Friends, but he’s circled back to the sweet spot that started the love affair over a decade ago.


Shaye Milford 


Gang of Youths – Go Farther in Lightness
A lyrical masterpiece dressed in black skinny jeans and a wild mop of hair, ‘Go Farther in Lightness’ is Gang of Youth’s frontman, Dave Le’aupepe’s, most honest body of work to date and delves deep into the world of formidable love, questions of mortality, gut-wrenching loss and the complexities of the universe; definitely the number one album of the year for me.
Fave Song: ‘Keep Me In The Open’

Angus and Julia Stone – Snow
Sultry, smooth and so so sweet, Angus and Julia Stone joining forces again for ‘Snow’ had me feeling all sorts of wonderful, with tracks ’Sylvester Stallone’ and ‘Snow’ making it into my most played songs of the year.
Fave Song: ‘Sylvester Stallone’

The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
I’m not going to lie, I was never really a Killers fan… but after this record came out and songs like ‘Run For Cover’ and ’Out Of My Mind’ were created, I became a hardcore, would drop a few hundred on tickets and propose to Brandon Flowers kind of fan.
Fave Song: ‘Have All The Songs Been Written’

Julien Baker: ‘Turn Out The Lights’
One of the only artists who can make me sob like a loon and smile like a kid on Christmas day, Julien Baker’s bittersweet and characteristically raw ’Turn Out The Lights’ album came out of nowhere and hit me so hard in the chest, that my heart fell into an abyss and hasn’t returned.
Fave Song: ‘Hurt Less’

The National – Sleep Well Beast
Brooding, deep and shrouded in darkness, The National have provided an album that, personally, trumps all previous creations as it experiments more with layered, up-tempo sounds while maintaining the stunning, croaky vocals and lyrical honesty found in mastermind Matt Berninger.
Fave Song: ‘Guilty Party’

Winston Surfshirt – Sponge Cake
After months of having a close friend gush over this quirky English boy in a band called Winston Surfshirt, I decided to see what all the fuss was about…boy oh boy, I never expected to find an album overflowing with SO many cool, chill and smooth as honey tunes.
Fave Song: ‘Ease Bruisily’

Noire – Some Kind of Blue
A whirlwind of slow-paced confessions on yearning and unrequited love, Noire’s strong identity and sound struck a real chord with my emotions and were a nurturing, helping hand during my first real heartbreak.
Fave Song: ‘Baby Blue’

Big Thief – Capacity
If you like songs with lyrics that confuse and overwhelm you, a voice that makes you weak at the knees and delicate guitar tones that evoke lazy morning feels, then Big Thief and their latest offering ‘Capacity’ need to be added to your playlist.
Fave Song: ‘Mary’

Cigarettes After Sex  – Cigarettes After Sex
Rumpled sheets, black coffee and a lit cigarette… Cigarettes After Sex are arguably one of the sexiest bands to exist and their first full-length album encompasses an array of captivating tunes perfect for a rainy Sunday morning.
Fave Song: ‘Truly’

San Cisco – The Water
Always vibey, super fun and easy to boogie-down to, San Cisco’s latest release embodies teenage dreams, flowing complacency and notions of uncertainty in relationships through boppy tracks like ‘Hey Did I Do You Wrong’, ‘The Distance’ and ’SlowMo’.
Fave Song: ‘Did You Get What You Came For’