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That Did It For Me

The Rakers' Alex V. Cook Last Post for the music of 2017, "All of these are great gleaming jewels in the year's ash heap."

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by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2018
They should bottle that enthusiasm and put the energy drink concerns out of business.
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2018
They should bottle that enthusiasm and put the energy drink concerns out of business.

Fantastic, smart, put-on-repeat records that I’m still listening to in 2018
1. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
2. Peter Perrett - How the West was Won
3. The Weather Station - The Weather Station
4. Foxygen - Hang
5. The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir
6. Kevin Morby - City Music
7. Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator
8. Mark Eitzel - Hey Mr. Ferryman
9. Björk – Utopia
10. Josh Ritter - Gathering

I would apologize for my apparent dad rock tastes but that would be like Father John Misty apologizing for the media spotlight that is put upon him - we cannot help that it is there and we are doing the most we can with it. Pure Comedy was as exquisite and erudite a bummer as ex-Only Ones frontman Peter Perrett’s album was a triumph, an honest, maybe embarrassingly so, trumpet blast of the human spirit. Everyone lost their decency in 2017, but a few found their voice. The Weather Station’s Tamara Linderman found a meaningful inner Joni MItchell, Foxygen found their outwardly expressed T. Rex and Hurray for the Riff Riff’s Alynda Lee Segarra left Appalachia and New Orleans bohemia behind to rediscover the Puerto Rico that teems inside her. Mark Eitzel and Josh Ritter are glacial eternals, getting more spectacular with each Age of Man they weather, Kevin Morby wrote his record in the Harry Potter crawlspace in my heart. The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt bares all for us to analyze and thankfully no-one had figured Björk out yet. She leaves us vistas yet to discover.

Special recognition goes to

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - 4 great albums in 2017
They should bottle that enthusiasm and put the energy drink concerns out of business.



Inexplicably less committed to “best of 2017” but I really like these records

(Sandy) Alex G - Rocket
Penguin Cafe - The Imperfect Sea
Soccer Mommy - Collection
Craig Finn - We All Want the Same Things
The Dream Syndicate - How Did I Find Myself Here?
A. Savage - Thawing Dawn
King Krule - The Ooz
Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent
Ryan Adams - Prisoner

All of these are great gleaming jewels in the year’s ashheap. Craig Finn and Destroyer and Ryan Adams all grew up a little, leaving room for King Krule to ooze into the light, making personal darkness for the post-guitar set. A. Savage of Parquet Courts and Soccer Mommy are indie folk stunners, (Sandy) Alex G might be our next Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy once his libido fully sets in and God bless the Dream Syndicate. They might save rock ‘n’ roll. Protomartyr did a better Fall album than did the Fall, (see below) and Penguin Cafe (son of the famed Orchestra)  found a way to be dignified in this slop trough year.

Solid, dependable offerings that didn’t break any new ground for me

Real Estate - In Mind
Jens Lekman - Life Will See You Now
Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm
Hiss Golden Messenger - Hallelujah Anyhow
Deer Tick - Vol. 1 & 2
The Fall - New Facts Emerge
Mac Demarco - The Old Dog
Angel Olsen - Phases
Los Campesinos! - Sick Scenes
Robyn Hitchcock - Robyn Hitchcock
Sheer Mag - Need to Feel

Keep up the good work!

Totally good ones where the problem is me, not them

Big K.R.I.T - 4eva is a Mighty Long Time
St. Vincent - Masseducation
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
Kendrick Lamar - Damn
Julien Baker - When I Turn out the Lights
New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions
LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
Perfume Genius - No Shape
The National - Sleep Well Beast
Thundercat - Drunk
Fleet Foxes - Crack Up

Margo Price - All American Made
Randy Newman - Dark Matter
Justin Townes Earle - Kids in the Street

I want to hear what others hear in the new Kendrick Lamar and in St. Vincent in general, but it eludes me. I’d take a bullet for Jason Isbell, but I still might not make it through a whole album of his. Each has a devastator surrounded by perfectly good songs, so I am the asshole for not embracing them. The rest here had me for a day, maybe a week and then lost me.

Ones where we might just be parting ways
The Mountain Goats - Goths
Beck - Colors
Morrissey - Low In High School


Morrissey has never shied away from his wretchedness - it is precisely that which got us in, so I can sorta forgive how it as aged - but he’s never been dull as he is on his new record. Beck’s music has become accent walls in designer magazines. Yep, there it is, tastefully sticking out a little. The Mountain Goats is a hard one for me, but fortunately MG OG John Darnielle has become a great and quirky novelist, so I don’t need a markedly non-goth album about goths to get my fix.

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Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

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