Before we even have time to second guess our albums of the year list, here are our favorite songs of 2017. While plenty of our old favorites are well repped -- including TOPS, Burial, Shabazz Palaces, SZA, Sufjan, Laurel Halo, et al. -- it was an exceptionally great year for exciting new artists, with Men I Trust, Yaeji, Playboi Carti, Kelly Lee Owens, Aldous Harding, Bernache, and so many more dropping some of the most essential songs of the year. Hit play on that 5+ hour Spotify playlist, and follow along with the list below:
As the internet's collective attention span continues to dwindle away and the clickbait economy slowly ruins everything good, we made a conscious effort this year to spend more time listening to fewer things. Discovering new favorites will always remain a priority around here, but it felt good to devote more quality time to absorbing ambitious, flawed, elaborately nuanced and layered masterpieces like Dust, Quazarz, Party, and The OOZ. And the more immediate records that we fell in love with at first listen -- TOPS’ Sugar at the Gate, the super charismatic Carti mixtape, and Kelly Lee Owens’ enveloping debut full-length, to name a few -- felt more like all-time favorites with each spin. While anyone in our top 5 could have staked a legit Album of the Year claim depending on the day, we had to put the two EPs that announced the arrival of dance music's brightest new star in their rightful spot at the top of our list. Here are our favorite records of 2017:
Today we follow up our albums of 2016 list with the much more interesting list of our 101 favorite songs of the year. Featuring a couple of inventive flips of Shangaan Electro and Tropicália samples in the top 3, the powerful opening missive from A Tribe Called Quest's first album in nearly 20 years, an old Radiohead love song, multiple jams each from Frank Ocean, Danny Brown, and Carly Rae, undeniable breakthrough singles from Whitney, Mitski, Maggie Rogers, and The Homie, another strong showing from TX's own S U R V I V E boys (whose massive year culminated this morning in 2 Grammy noms in the same category), and many more incredible and essential tracks that helped us all make it through this pathetic excuse for a year. Hit play on that 6 hour spotify playlist + check the full list below:
It may or may not be that time yet, but here is the highly subjective list of our 60 favorite albums -- too long, I know, but we could have gone much deeper -- from an unfathomably weird, incredible, terrifying 2016. It was a year marked by loss and uncertainty, and that might be why music felt more monumental to us than ever. Thanks for sticking with us for another year. Check the full list + a lovingly curated four-hour Spotify playlist below, and as always, we'd love to hear about your favorites that we might have missed.
Our official Gorilla vs. Bear 2016 SXSW showcase at Mazda + Hype Machine's Hype Hotel offered a glimpse into the future of pop music on a beautiful Thursday night in east Austin, from Negative Gemini's frenetic, club-ready experimental electronic pop that began the evening (I heard at least a few people compare her vibe to an early Grimes set circa 2011) to headliner Charli XCX's first-ever, next-level collaborative set with SOPHIE, which Charli proclaimed "maybe my most favourite set I have EVER played"...
Here's our annual year-end retrospective, a definitive 80-minute mix of the songs by which we'll remember 2015 (it also doubles as a very emotional and hopefully serviceable misty-eyed New Year's Eve soundtrack). Thanks for hanging with us this year, see y'all in 2016.
Following last week's Albums of 2015 list, here are our favorite songs of the year: we went deeper than ever this time out, and while 111 tracks might seem like a lot to love in any given 12 month span, I feel like the list is a pretty accurate representation of just how unreal 2015 has been for new music. Featuring multiple entries from Grimes, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Kendrick Lamar, Chromatics, Erykah Badu, Beach House, TOPS, and Cindy Lee, and spanning from underground Russian dance music and soaring Norwegian pop to incendiary west coast rap and inspired Texas soul, and just about everywhere in between. Check out the full list below, right after you hit play on that nearly 7-hour-long Spotify playlist:
We feel pretty confident proclaiming 2015 the best year for new music this decade, and we'd even go so far as to say it's been arguably our favorite year in the history of this site. So many stars seemed to serendipitously align this year — our 10th as a blog — for sounds that veered right into our own personal, sometimes insular little lane: the triumphant return of Grimes; the improbable meteoric rise of Leon Bridges from seemingly out of nowhere (i.e., right here in our own backyard); a sweet, thoroughly relatable, '90s-hip-hop-inspired record from Panda Bear (our favorite artist); two Beach House albums in the span of two months; D'Angelo with probably the best show we've seen since the last time he rolled through town 15 years ago; Grouper started a pop group; the summer of Jamie xx; and on and on. If 2015 had seen the release of Dear Tommy and new music from Shabazz Palaces or Burial (all still possible, I suppose), our blog might have imploded.
With all of that said, I still feel like we went as deep as ever this year, and as always, there were some genuinely incredible hidden gems to uncover if you spent a little time digging. Let us know how your year went as you check the full list of our 50 favorite records of the year, and lose yourself in our nearly 3-hour-long spotify playlist:
Still basking in the afterglow of both amazing, sold-out Gorilla vs. Bear V shows in Dallas + Austin, and one the most memorable and magical weekends of our lives. Massive thanks to Jamie xx, Lower Dens, Tei Shi, Bop English, Yumi Zouma, Prince Innocence, DJ Sober, and of course, everyone at the Granada, the Mohawk, and Transmission for making it happen. Can't wait to do it again next year. Live shots by the great Bill Ellison + more polaroids after the jump...