AllMusic 2017 Year In Review

Favorite Indie Pop and Indie Rock Albums -

 The increasingly difficult to classify worlds of indie pop and indie rock produced a plethora of outstanding releases this year, including the returns of veteran acts Fleet Foxes and LCD Soundsystem, plus promising debuts from Sacred Paws, Modern Studies, Lost Horizons and Girl Ray.
Rocket

(Sandy) Alex G

Rocket

After a Billboard debut and guesting on Frank Ocean albums, Alex Giannascoli sticks to the distinctive, home-recorded sound that made his reputation.

The Underside of Power

Algiers

The Underside of Power

On their militant second album, the quartet and producer Adrian Utley offer a soundtrack for the apocalypse, yet refuse to be swallowed by it.

Tourist in This Town

Allison Crutchfield

Tourist in This Town

Solo debut from former Swearin' frontwoman is a smart, impassioned breakup album, indie pop style.

Antisocialites

Alvvays

Antisocialites

The band's second album is more confident and more sonically impressive, leading to another brilliant indie pop insta-classic.

Future Politics

Austra

Future Politics

Inspired by sci-fi, feminism, and a desolate stint in Montreal, the group's affecting third album champions hope against all odds.

Utopia

Björk

Utopia

The Icelandic artist rebounds from Vulnicura's despair with lighter-than-air songs about thriving after loss.

#1 Hit Single

Cende

#1 Hit Single

Invigorating power pop with heart from a debut by members of LVL UP, Porches, and Normal Person.

Rest

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Rest

Spanning mournful ballads and celebratory dance and pop, Gainsbourg's fourth album explores the aftermath of loss in her own words.

Hiss Spun

Chelsea Wolfe

Hiss Spun

Working with members of Converge, Isis, and Queens of the Stone Age, the singer/songwriter delivers some of her heaviest and most fragile music.

Children of Alice

Children of Alice

Children of Alice

The group's debut features fascinating sound collages that explore growth and rebirth and pay tribute to late Broadcast singer Trish Keenan.

Reaching for Indigo

Circuit des Yeux

Reaching for Indigo

Haley Fohr interprets a powerful moment of cosmic inspiration on her sixth full-length as Circuit des Yeux.

A Flame My Love, A Frequency

Colleen

A Flame My Love, A Frequency

These serene yet constantly changing meditations on fear, hope, joy, and loss are some of Colleen's most vulnerable, beautiful songs yet.

Stubborn Persistent Illusions

Do Make Say Think

Stubborn Persistent Illusions

Toronto-based post-rock collective Do Make Say Think make an utterly joyous, triumphant return eight years after 2009's Other Truths.

Exile in the Outer Ring

EMA

Exile in the Outer Ring

An apocalyptic vision of nationalism, poverty, and alienation that is one of Anderson's finest achievements.

Plunge

Fever Ray

Plunge

Karin Dreijer explores the need for intimacy -- and its consequences -- with some of her most colorful and powerful music.

Crack-Up

Fleet Foxes

Crack-Up

Following a lengthy hiatus, the band's debut for Nonesuch is dense, ambitious, and ultimately rewarding.

Changer

Fred Thomas

Changer

The prolific songwriter balances intense poetic narratives with more reflective electronic pieces on his first album since moving to Montreal.

Earl Grey

Girl Ray

Earl Grey

A stunning debut album filled with lovely pop songs, introspective folk ballads, and gentle psychedelia from a trio of young women from North London.

Luciferian Towers

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Luciferian Towers

The Canadian instrumental ensemble's sixth full-length is a turbulent yet optimistic triumph, and one of their best works.

Modern Kosmology

Jane Weaver

Modern Kosmology

After embracing synths on her 2014 album, The Silver Globe, Weaver delivers a psychedelic gem coated in vintage keys, jangling guitars, and sonic exploration.

Everybody Works

Jay Som

Everybody Works

The label debut from Jay Som that adds polish to her homespun charm.

Halo

Juana Molina

Halo

Another enchanting and pleasantly disorienting release from Argentina's inventive pop auteur.

Drunken Songs

Julian Cope

Drunken Songs

U.K. eccentric Julian Cope reclaims his whimsy and melodicism on this pleasing set of drinking songs.

American Dream

LCD Soundsystem

American Dream

After a short "retirement," the band returns with a set that blends melancholy synth ballads with wall-rattling dance rock, aka business as usual.

Ojalá

Lost Horizons

Ojalá

An exquisite 15-track debut by the duo of Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) and Richie Thomas (Dif Juz), along with a cast of nuanced vocalists.

This Old Dog

Mac DeMarco

This Old Dog

An emphasis on self-reflection signifies a tonal shift on the singer/songwriter's third strong full-length.

III

Makthaverskan

III

Angst-ridden, hook-heavy indie pop meets post-punk, with very powerful vocals from Maja Milner leading the charge.

A Black Mile to the Surface

Manchester Orchestra

A Black Mile to the Surface

An artful, literate, musically balanced album from the Georgia outfit.

Swell to Great

Modern Studies

Swell to Great

A fantastic debut from this harmonium-led Scottish chamber folk quartet with a rich vocal presence.

A Crow Looked at Me

Mount Eerie

A Crow Looked at Me

Recorded shortly after the death of Phil Elverum's wife, Geneviève Castrée, this is a powerful expression of grief.

Multi-Task

Omni

Multi-Task

The Georgia trio's second album is a post-punk delight, with cleaner sound and more powerfully confident performances.

No Shape

Perfume Genius

No Shape

Mike Hadreas' fourth album moves past pain and toward acceptance, allowing his music to bloom in compulsively listenable ways.

Nothing Feels Natural

Priests

Nothing Feels Natural

The group's furious, eclectic debut album expresses the ills of the late 2010s -- and the human condition -- with poetic eloquence.

Relatives in Descent

Protomartyr

Relatives in Descent

Outstanding fourth album from these Detroit indie rockers is smart, introspective, and fiercely aggressive all at once.

Candle Power

Rat Columns

Candle Power

Classic C-86 style indie pop spiced with a little bit of synth pop and disco from the ever-prolific David West.

Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock

Recorded in Nashville with pop sorcerer Brendan Benson, Robyn Hitchcock's 22nd studio outing is his most vibrant collection of new music since the early 1990s.

Strike a Match

Sacred Paws

Strike a Match

Brilliant debut album of Afro-pop-inspired indie pop from Golden Grrrls and Shopping members.

Masseduction

St. Vincent

Masseduction

The singer/songwriter's fifth album weaponizes pop's trappings, transforming them into sad, witty songs about desire and destruction.

Messes

Stef Chura

Messes

Longtime Michigan indie scene regular Stef Chura perfects her anxious, visceral sound with her excellent first studio album.

Felt

The Chain Gang of 1974

Felt

An uplifting, deeply emotive fourth album from Kamtin Mohager's synth pop outfit, featuring production from the Naked and Famous' Thom Powers.

Music for the Age of Miracles

The Clientele

Music for the Age of Miracles

The band returns after a long layoff with a new member, expanded arrangements, and the same hefty dose of autumnal warmth and grace.

Interplanetary Class Classics

The Moonlandingz

Interplanetary Class Classics

Ridiculous, romping album of snide synth glam by a pretend band come to life featuring members of Fat White Family and the Eccentronic Research Council.

Goths

The Mountain Goats

Goths

John Darnielle and company share 12 stories about goths; witty, compassionate, literate, and musically inventive.

Sleep Well Beast

The National

Sleep Well Beast

The National take some subtle but significant detours on their seventh album.

Snow

The New Year

Snow

Arriving almost a decade after its immediate predecessor, this gorgeous collection of slow-burning indie rock sees subtle shifts in a meticulously crafted and long-evolving sound.

Sugar at the Gate

TOPS

Sugar at the Gate

The Montreal indie electronic outfit returns the heavy-hearted sophisti-pop sound established on 2014's Picture You Staring.

Three Futures

Torres

Three Futures

The singer/songwriter's third album is a celebration of the body that delivers some of her most fascinating and moving music.

Out in the Storm

Waxahatchee

Out in the Storm

On her most assertive album yet, Katie Crutchfield examines a damaging relationship with the aid of a full band and production by John Agnello.

Silver/Lead [Special Edition] [W/Book]

Wire

Silver/Lead [Special Edition] [W/Book]

The band celebrates its 40th anniversary with a set of precise yet strangely moving songs that showcase their ability to evolve.

Okovi

Zola Jesus

Okovi

Her return to Sacred Bones makes for some of her most empathetic and danceable songs yet.