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Sounding OFF: Great Albums You Might Have Missed in 2017

Counting down 25 albums you might have missed

Let’s face it. The year is slowly drawing to a close which means that soon we will be bombarded with “The Best of 2017,” a time when critics hand pick from the same basic pool of artists to determine what the public loved best. Well, if you’re hoping for something like that, then perhaps this column isn’t for you.

Having the ability to access an unlimited amount of music is no longer a skill in this internet age, but a true audiophile’s way of living can always detect anothers, and while most critics adhere to the same basic principals of “what’s hot” and “what’s not,” they still have their own personal preferences, which albeit maybe a little less popular or more obscure than what you would expect on the surface.

But what about these “bubbling under” musicians or independent artists who put out fire this year and won’t be getting the recognition? In that regard, Salute Magazine takes a look at 25 albums you might have missed in 2017.

25) Abstract Rude & Mikah 9 – AyeEm Ray-Dio

Two out of three ain’t bad. Abstract Rude & Mikah 9 of Haiku D’etat return with their first collaboration album not to feature Aceyalone.

24) Benjamin Clementine – I Tell A Fly

The 2015 Mercury Prize-winning artist made his first appearance on the Gorillaz inauguration day release of “Halleluyah Money,” but his latest solo album, I Tell A Fly, flew right under the radar.

23) Annie Hart – Impossible Accomplice

Annie Hart, one of three members of the all-girl synth-pop group Au Revoir Simone, released her debut solo album, Impossible Accomplice… and it’s awesome.

22) Juan V. – Fear

The 27-year-old Quad Cities rapper/producer was diagnosed with cancer and facing a bad breakup back in 2015 when he started to work on recording music as a way to heal. Now, with a clean bill of health and a newborn son to care for, rapper Juan V. felt the timing was right to drop his debut album, Fear.

21) Mutemath – Play Dead

Despite almost spelling the end of the New Orleans alt-rock group, Mutemath stuck it through to put out what may be the most elaborate album to date. Play Dead took the band five years to record, in between which, they recorded their 2015 album, Vitals.

20) Oddisee – The Iceberg

Washington D.C. rapper gets “into it” with his latest studio album, The Iceberg, which may have been his most well-rounded composition to date. Since its release in February, Oddisee has gone on to perform the album live with a full band backing him up.

19) Fekky – El Clasico

UK Grime rapper Fekky has been on the come-up for some time now, after uploading his self-produced videos to YouTube. But his new studio album, El Clasico, shows he’s a step above and features such noteworthy guest appearances from fellow-grime artist Skepta, Giggs, and Shakka.

18) Sleigh Bells – Kid Kruschev

The mini-album from Brooklyn noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells picks up where their 2016 LP, Jessica Rabbit, leaves off—fusing together different genres, without using any filler.

17) H.E.R. – Vol. 2 

H.E.R., short for “Having Everything Revealed,” is an enigmatic R&B singer/multi-instrumentalist from California. Despite refusing to show or reveal H.E.R. identity, she continues to deliver soulful new music with a powerful punch.

16) Marco Pavé – Welcome to Grc Lnd

Memphis hip-hop artist/activist Marco Pavé gives listeners an much more down-to-earth look at the Southern blues capital.

15) Steve Lacy – Steve Lacy’s Demo

Funk/soul musician Steve Lacy compares his “song series” project to the Netflix series Black Mirror, where each song tells a different story. His debut solo project may only be six songs long, but we look forward to hearing what he’s working on next.

14) Gogol Bordello – Seekers & Finders

The gypsy punk group’s seventh studio album, Seekers & Finders, is a real hidden gem. Produced by frontman Eugene Hütz, the album features a special, uncredited guest appearance from singer-songwriter Regina Spektor.

13) IDK – IWasVeryBad

In case you missed it… Maryland rapper IDK creates an Adult Swim-themed project that features such heavy-hitters as Swizz BeatsMF Doom, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Chief Keef and Yung Gleesh.

12) Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel

The third mixtape from English singer-songwriter Charli XCX features an all-female, power-packed lineup from all over the world, including Starrah (Delaware), Raye (U.K.), (Denmark), Uffie (France), Abra (Atlanta), Noonie Bao (Sweden) and Cupcakke (Chicago).

11) Krept & Konan – 7 Days & 7 Nights

Grime rap duo Krept & Konan master the double album with their commercial mixtape, featuring Skepta, Stormzy, J. Hus, Hudson East, Jhené Aiko, and Tory Lanez.

10) Afghan Whigs – In Spades

Now, in their third decade, Afghan Whigs continue to release new fire, including their eighth studio album, In Spades. If you missed it, be sure to check out our review.

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9) Jonwayne – Rap Album Two

We know this is bound to pop up on a few critic’s “best of” lists but a lot of people really slept on this one from his independent label, Authors Recording Company.

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8) John Frusciante – Trickfinger 2

Former Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante returns with a slew of new experimental recordings from 2007.

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7) Starlito & Don Trip – Step Brothers 3

Tennesee rap duo Starlito & Don Trip slipped this one by us all with part 3 of their mixtape series, based on the Adam McKay comedy, Step Brothers, featuring John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell.

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6) Swindle – Purple Walls EP

Electronic producer/DJ Swindle turns over a new leaf with a completely different hip-hop infused sound that is a thousand times better than his early drum and bass remixes.

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5) KRS-One – The World Is Mind

Blastmaster KRS-One dropped his latest studio album, The World Is Mind, on the booming new digital music provider Bandcamp. You might have missed it.

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4) Actress – AZD

The fifth studio album from U.K. electronic producer/DJ Actress, who premiered his new album with the release of the haunting lead single, “X22RME.” If you missed it, make sure to check it out from Ninja Tune Records.

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3) Everything, Everything – A Fever Dream 

British art-pop group Everything, Everything teamed up with producer James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco, who has previously worked on albums by The Arctic Monkeys, Birdy, Haim, Mumford & Sons, and Depeche Mode‘s latest album, Spirit.

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2) Son Little – New Magic

Philadelphia R&B singer-songwriter Son Little defines the nu-soul genre with his fascinating sophomore album, New Magic. Don’t let this one pass you by.

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1) T.J. Kong & the Atomic Bomb – Dancing Out The Door

Taking their name from the classic Kubrick film “Dr. Strangelove,” the post-apocalyptic folk-infused rock album from T.J. Kong & The Atomic Bomb went by undetected. Lead singer Dan Bruskewicz brings a new, almost Nick Cave like element to the album, with his deep-throated vocals, that match perfectly with the folk-rock vibe of the group. The album also features an array of different instrumentation including the sousaphone, Wurlitzer, pedal steel, and the harmonica.

Be sure to tell us what albums you think flew under the radar this year in the comments below. 

Post updated on Nov. 18 at 12:18 a.m. 

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