Best of 2017: Audio

Aldous

by Andrew Osborne

So, before the end of net neutrality makes it impossible for anyone to find my blog, “tax reform” makes it impossible for me to afford a computer to blog from, and North Korea nukes us all back to the pre-blog stone age, here’s part one of my tribute to the nice, non-political parts of my year — starting with the the audio that rocked my world in 2017.

MY 2017 THEME SONG:  “Sweetwater (Train Theme)” – Ramin Djawadi

BEST NEW ARTIST:  ALDOUS HARDING

“Best New Artist” is, of course, a relative term, since Ms. Harding’s first album was an eponymous 2014 release, and she seems to have garnered a lot of new fans since then.  But 2017 was the year I first encountered her as “Horizon” (from her second album, Party) became one of my new all-time favorite songs the very first time I heard it.

BEST SOUNDTRACK(S):  TWIN PEAKS – THE RETURN

As noted in the linked article above, I saw Aldous Harding for the first time before a Twin Peaks event at SXSW, and then — just after thinking how she had the ideal spooky, dreamy sound for Peaks — she suddenly materialized to sing a set for a party celebrating the series reboot.  Sadly, Aldous doesn’t appear on either of the two official soundtracks for David Lynch’s strange and wonderful new fever dream — but old faves Angelo Badalementi, Rebekah Del Rio and new faves the Chromatics, The Cactus Blossoms, and Au Revoir Simone do (along with Krzysztof Penderecki’s sure-fire party rave-up “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima”)!

BEST COVER BAND:  YACHT ROCK REVUE

According to the good people at Beyond Yacht Rock (the fellahs who coined the term for late ’70s, early ’80s smooth-core), half the songs on the Yacht Rock Revue playlist aren’t technically yacht rock — but it’s hard to argue when a bunch of dudes in tight polyester and aviator shades are so intent on reminding you that Toto’s “Africa” and Michael McDonald’s “Sweet Freedom” are way cooler and irresistibly danceable than you ever remembered them being.

BEST PODCASTS:

1. DOUBLE TOASTED

I’ve shared my love of Double Toasted in the past, and the DT crew continue to kill it with raucous reviews and political and pop culture commentary from deep in the heart of (Austin) Texas.

2. BEYOND YACHT ROCK

Approximately 1,300 miles from Austin, there’s another group of guys who are just as much fun to hang out with as your funniest friends, only this bunch are obsessed with making up musical genres, counting them down, and busting on each other and the ridiculous state of the American Empire.

3. POP STYLE OPINIONFEST

Too many voices on the previous two podcasts?  Then why not relax with stylish spouses Tom & Lorenzo as they break down the fashion and pop culture worlds (while trying to keep their cats from knocking over their recording equipment)?

4. TWO DOPE QUEENS

Is my podcast list too much of a sausage party so far?  Then enjoy the hilarity of Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams, and a rotating cast of comics as they riff on current affairs (both political and romantical).

5. WTF

An oldie but goodie as Marc Maron interviews stand-ups, actors, and musicians (plus bonus points for the episode where he deals with his complicated feelings about the sex allegations against his long-time frenemy, Louis CK).

BONUS TRACKS:

And finally, thanks to Heidi Manzer for these groovy late additions to my 2017 playlist!

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