Best of the Month: November 2017
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After an explosion of great new music in October, November was mostly marred by the stunning allegations of pedophilia against Jesse Lacey of Brand New, and the admission of “sexual coercion” by Evan Hall of Pinegrove. This on top of the widespread sexual assault allegations throughout entertainment, business, and politics has left us all reeling. Are all of the people we admire secretly scum? How deep does the problem run and how do we fix it?
Within this mess, some signs of hope and change have emerged. For once, accusations are mostly being believed, and victims are standing up for themselves. This is encouraging. Punk Talks (an organization that provides mental health treatment for musicians) has begun to speak eloquently on the topic and is going to try to offer treatment and counselling for offenders and their victims. At least there is still hope that we can create the music industry we want to be.
THE BEST TRACKS OF NOVEMBER 2017
photo by Matt Warrell
In this depressing month, Australia’s Camp Cope released a perfectly timed new single from their upcoming 2018 LP. It’s a track about the sexual assault and sexism within the music industry, and how they have kept women and minority communities on its margins. The track serves as an anthem to lead us out of this dark time and keep us determined to fight back.
Despite all the negativity of November, there has luckily also been some great music released. Probably the most impressive was the new self-released EP from Jersey band Fire Is Motion. Fire Is Motion combine complicated song structures, beautiful cloud-like instrumentals and well-executed harmonies in a way that is really unique in the indie rock scene right now. Nearly every person I have showed this EP has become a fan, so I definitely suggest you take a listen.
Revered songwriter of Weatherbox, Brian Warren, has reemerged with a new band, Miss New Buddha. Their first single, “Creeper In The Wings”, is a dark and catchy punk rock jam, almost like an evil Modest Mouse. I hope to see more from this band and Warren in the near future.
With the passing of Thanksgiving, the music industry has also started to release it’s yearly holiday tracks and this year actually saw a few good ones from indie bands. Phoebe Bridgers (whose album really impressed this year) released a Christmas single, Charly Bliss (whose album also really impressed this year) recorded a Christmas cover, and Dude York (whose album ALSO really impressed this year) released a whole Christmas Album. All 3 are good listens for when you’re looking for something new this holiday season. Although I have to say, Chris Farren’s Like A Gift From God or Whatever is still my favorite indie holiday release in recent memory. Writing Christmas songs really isn’t easy it turns out.
There were also a bunch of cool live sessions that came out this month, my personal favorite was Now Now’s Tiny Desk Session, and Phoebe Bridgers just released an NPR session accompanied by violin and piano that’s stunning. Runaway Brother and Ratboys also released sweet DIY sessions. A good live session can connect you to a track in a new way, and I think all 4 of these accomplish that.
Speaking of Ratboys, Topshelf Records released their yearly sampler compilation this month. This thing is always a gem. I’ve downloaded them every year for the past 7 years plus, and I am always finding great music on there. Compilations are such a good way to be exposed to new music, and I definitely trust Topshelf’s taste.
This year’s sampler also had a special treat with a new Special Explosion track. This band has gone a bit underappreciated in the time since their last album The Art of Mothering way back in 2014, but they have a very cool west coast indie vibe, and this new track is so encouraging.
This was also a good month for heavy bands returning from long hiatuses to release music that doesn’t suck. Early 2000’s hardcore Glassjaw, released their first single in many years on the eve of their upcoming album release. I was worried it would be a huge disappointment but it really brings back that same wild energy they are known for.
Similarly, Quicksand returned for a long time away and their new album wasn’t missing a step. Admittedly I wasn’t an OG fan of theirs like I was with Glassjaw, but this release was the well executed 90’s hard rock that I was hoping for.
I found this new Cherry album, Dumbness, that came out in late September and it’s pretty cool. Chill guitar rock vibes. FFO: Hurry, Strange Ranger, and similar.
November also featured cool new albums from Fits, Moses, DRMCTCHR, Gingerlys, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Young Jesus, Monster Bad, and Mo Troper. All of which are worth a listen. Oh yeah and that Converge album is intense as fuck. There’s been so much good music in 2017. These year end lists and awards are going to be TOUGH.
P.S. If you haven’t already, you should check out our 2 new radio shows, Get Alt Radio (a mostly indie/punk rock show that I host) and Go Dumbcast (an underground rap show hosted by Kevin Cortez). Both of them are streamable anytime!
– Writing by Henderson Cole
– Playlist curated by Steven Lalonde