It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2017 rapidly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a crazy year of highs and lows it’s the releases that have pulled a lot of people through the year. Now in it’s 7th year, Circuit Sweet will be hosting takeovers from the featured artists/musicians/labels and promoters of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.
Continuing our annual end of year tradition we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favourite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
Our next take over comes from Taylor Robert Hawkins of Western Daughter. A band we are besotted with, the music Western Daughter create really do blow us away. Western Daughter are an act we are desperate for our readers to fall in love with. A band we discovered at the tail end of 2015, an act who have since grown enormous amounts. In March of this year they released their debut album which is one of our best records of 2017. Driftwood Songs is one of the strongest, confident album releases we’ve come across and this record will undoubtably stand the test of time.
We hand over to Taylor who tells us more about the records that have shaped his year..
1. (TIED) LCD Soundsystem – American Dream / Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
Tied for first place are two albums that I can’t separate in my mind.
LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream and Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me. They are two hands stemming from the same body. One represents craft where the other represents spirit.
You will not find a more masterfully crafted or better sounding record this year than American Dream. James Murphy knows the ins-and-outs of his trade with a practiced ear and put his entire everything and knowledge of music production into his band’s new album. The record is a beautiful, massive, expertly architectured monument to music itself.
Mount Eerie‘s A Crow Looked at Me is the counterargument to that monument.
There is barely any production value on these songs and these are barely songs themselves. It is weak, it is about to fall apart – a few acoustic guitar strums, the occasional drum machine to keep it together, very quiet and somber vocals. Because what’s the point in toiling over something as temporal as recording an album when you are going to die anyway? When none of this truly matters? When the the person who you love more than anything in this world will one day be ripped violently from your life and you will be left with nothing? Do these records we collect really mean anything compared to the deep love that we have for our friends or family? We are blessed to have these songs, though. They speak directly to the soul. Death is real and Phil Elverum is among the bravest songwriters of our generation.
Of the two albums, one inspires me to create and one inspires me to love deeply. Both affirm my belief in art as a whole.
Fun bonus – My favorite stanza of the year. From A. Savage’s song Thawing Dawn: Of all the pieces I’ve combined Still the cruelest mixture yet Is the softness of a thawing dawn And the hardness of regret.
A huge thank you to Taylor, we are so grateful for the music you’ve created this year and can’t wait to hear more from you in 2018.