2 years ago
Whether 2017 was a rotter, a banger or somewhere in between for you personally, there's no arguing that music continued to excite and evolve last year. The Leland Music team divulges some personal highlights of the year in question…
Q> What was your top cultural moment or experience of 2017?
Abi Leland> The photos released of a young Prince in the '70s made my heart ache.
Ed Bailie> For me it was Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A. It was like walking through the band’s imagination, being immersed in an interactive documentary, and the closest experience I’ve had to seeing them live.
Katherine Melling> Grime getting political with JME. JME retweeted a mate who had walked into a random school because it was his first time voting and he didn’t know he needed to go to his designated polling station – a positive sign of political engagement on a level not seen for years.
Max Beattie> From the sublime to the ridiculous, mine was Kurupt FM signing to XL Recordings. The boys from BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing continued to transcend their TV medium by diversifying whilst staying strictly in character. This might be a step too far though…
Toby Williams> Charli XCX cooking an omelette on Sunday Brunch. She’s the pop star that these weird times deserve. I could have chosen any number of examples (special mention for the ‘Boys’ video, of course), but this feels strangely apt.
Codie Childs> Weird times indeed - it was quite a heavy year, but you can always find light in times of darkness. My favourite saga this year involved the Gallagher brothers (and food) – when Noel had a band member playing the scissors during his performance on Jools Holland, Liam responded, making fun of him on Twitter by requesting someone come to his next show to peel potatoes onstage. A member of the public rose to the challenge.
Q> What was your standout release of 2017?
Toby> Björk ‘Utopia’. Towers over the competition for me. Whether determined by ambition, technical prowess or emotional heft – it’s extraordinary.
Ed> Oof, I was going for Björk too… To spread the love I’ll put in a shout out for Blanck Mass ‘World Eater’ then.
Codie> I was so impressed by ‘The Saturation Trilogy’ by BROCKHAMPTON. That’s technically three releases…but I figure it’s not cheating as they really form a cohesive set. I admire the way they address race, LGBT, gender and mental health issues in their music, particularly within a genre that is so often marred by prejudice and hyper-masculinity.
Abi> I’m going with Moses Boyd ‘Absolute Zero’ – It’s a terrific EP.
Max> As a cohesive release it has to be King Krule ‘The OOZ’, which features only a few stand out tracks but overall a collection of songs that flow beautifully into each other.
Katherine> It was a year of singles for me to be honest, but the albums by J Hus & Dave contained some of the best – loads of wordy wit, a dash of deadpan delivery and some sublime storytelling flow – J Hus made me smile, Dave had me crying.
Q> What was your top gig / live performance of 2017?
Ed> Moses Sumney had the audience in his palm at Islington Assembly Hall, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds managed to make the cavernous O2 feel somehow…intimate.
Codie> I have to agree with Ed, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds was a pretty life-changing experience. I want to mention D.D Dumbo at Omeara too: his touring band were incredible. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen someone play the wind chimes onstage, and I know that sounds pretentious but I promise it was quite effective.
Max> Baloji again at Islington Assembly Hall. The dynamic between the young rapper Baloji himself and the older traditional band was heartwarming.
Toby> Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Paradiso in Amsterdam. Great to see these guys haven’t lightened up. That riff from ‘Bosses Hang Pt. 1’ sounded especially mighty.
Katherine> My own jaunt to Amsterdam for U2 was actually not so bad, but Faust at Cafe Oto was far cooler. A small venue with great sound and an exuberant Jean-Hervé Peron.
Abi> To shake up the list from live music, I’m going with the wonderful to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll…song, the Michael Clark dance performance to Patti Smith and David Bowie tracks at The Barbican.
Q> And your favourite music video of 2017?
Codie> I think my YouTube history would say it’s between Chance The Rapper ‘Same Drugs’ and Francis & The Lights ‘Friends’, but I’m going with Alex Cameron’s 'Stranger's Kiss ft. Angel Olsen'. It’s just so charming.
Ed> I’m going with Radiohead ‘Lift’…it’s full of Easter eggs and throwbacks for fans.
Abi> London O’Connor ‘Nobody Hangs Out Anymore’ because it sums up how I feel when I'm fed up… and I like all the orange.
Katherine> Thom Yorke did also grab my attention with his ‘Lift’ concept, but King Krule’s 'Dum Surfer' deserves a mention for the slyly amusing Twin Peaks-eque, zombie B-movie feel that compliments the song so well.
Toby> Bicep ‘Glue’ – as simple and evocative as the track. Echoing a bygone era that I am (just about) too young to remember.
Max Beattie is a Music Researcher at Leland Music. You can view more of their work at lelandmusic.co.uk.Leland Music, 2 years ago