With 2017 coming to a close, I thought it would be a good idea to put aside the albums that everyone will be talking about, and instead focus on some (equally as great) releases that may have slipped under the radar.
In order by their release date, here are some of my favorite lesser known albums, EPs, and singles of 2017. I’ve sprinkled in a few local San Diego artists into the mix as well (notated with a *).
Trouter Space – What’s New? (January 13th)*
Feel-good bedroom indie from San Diego.
Favorite tracks: Coffee Shop & Deep Blue Baby
Bad Kids – Are You There? (January 31st)*
Within the first minute of listening to this album, you know it’s going to be a garage-y surf-y throw down.
Favorite tracks: DEF & Something New
Bernache – “Your Name” (single) (February 6th)
Emma from Men I Trust started a solo project Bernache, and this is the first single. No other music has been released under the new moniker but I’m hoping this means that an album is underway for 2018.
Hand Habits – Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void) (February 10th)
Meg Duffy (who plays guitar for Kevin Morby) released her debut collection of calming tunes. Give em a listen while laying on your bedroom floor.
Favorite track: Flower Glass
Night Shop – Your City EP (February 11th)
A new solo project curated by Justin Sullivan, who has had a prolific resume: he’s drummed for Kevin Morby, The Babies, Flat Worms, Ringers, The Insurgent, and Bossy. On this EP, he was also joined by Will Ivy, bassist for Oh Sees.
Favorite track: Your City
Cosmo Pyke – Just Cosmo EP (February 24th)
Cosmo Pyke is a new-ish artist based out of the UK. His voice is full of soul and the music he plays is a perfect fit. Fun fact: Cosmo Pyke is his real name, too. Give it a listen below:
Favorite track: Chronic Sunshine
Okey Dokey – Love You, Mean It (March 3rd)
This album is full of upbeat and electrifying indie tunes with slight blues influences. Love you, Mean It was definitely one of my top played albums for the summer of 2017.
Favorite track: Low Rent / Blue Skies
Cosmics – Turn Ons (March 12th)*
Cosmics play tropical indie rock with full and confident female vocals that give you the irresistible urge to dance.
Favorite tracks: Power & Falling
Horsebeach – Beauty & Sadness (March 17th)
Somehow, Horsebeach is a perfectly fitting band name for the dreamy yacht-rock that they play.
Favorite track: Beauty & Sadness
Surf Dads – All Day Breakfast (April 7th)
Surf Dads play music that isn’t necessarily “surfy” but still definitely gives off a surf vibe. I was fortunate enough to speak with Surf Dads a few months back to discuss this album deeper. Read the interview here.
Favorite track: Up All Night
Spendtime Palace – Playdate (April 14th)
Spendtime Palace are a band I recently discovered, and they play a more refined version of desert rock. And apparently the music video for Sonora was directed by the Stranger Things / Finn kid.
Favorite track: Get It Straight
Bleeding Knees Club – Chew The Gum EP (April 14th)
Bleeding Knees Club are the perpetual high school slackers dreaming of summer vacation. Since their first release in 2011 (Virginity), Bleeding Knees Club has been slowly cultivating a sound reminiscent of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack mixed with traces of lo-fi surf punk sounds similar to Wavves.
Favorite track: Chew The Gum
Cotillon – The Afternoons (April 20th)
Cotillon is a very unique band with a lot of range. They can go from Shoegazing to Indie Rock anthems to Emo ballads. This album has something for everyone.
Favorite track: Promises 1
HOTT MT – Au (Alternate Universe) (May 4th)
HOTT MT have a full, dreamy sound that falls on the underground end of the indie-electronic spectrum. I highly suggest this album to anyone that enjoys dreamy female vocals backed by hypnotic music that makes you feel like you’re floating. (Hint: Listen to Tranceforming).
Favorite tracks: Tranceforming & 24 Hour
Alex Napping – Mise En Place (May 5th)
People are definitely napping on Alex Napping. (see what I did there?) But really, this album is just beautiful all the way through and produced very well, especially considering how underground the band is. Give “Fault” a listen.
Favorite track: Fault
Camp Howard – Juice EP (May 12th)
Camp Howard are a laid-back rock/indie group from Richmond, VA. This EP covers a span of sounds, from indie tunes like “Haircut” to slacker rock jams like “Fucked Up” – it’s definitely worth a listen.
Favorite track: Juice
Her’s – Songs of Her’s (May 12th)
Almost left this one off of the list because I wasn’t sure how much it qualified as “lesser known” but decided to keep it on. It’s a solid indie/pop album with a little bit of RnB mixed in.
Favorite track: What Once Was
Ruby Bones – Ruby Bones (May 12th)
Ruby Bones are a party-pop band based out of New Jersey and I had the pleasure of chatting with Chris from the band earlier this year. Read the interview here.
Favorite track: Heart of Darkness
Underpass – “Your Silence” (May 20th)
Underpass play 80s sounding new-wave/dark-wave that is the perfect soundtrack to a late night stroll. If you like the track below, be sure to check out their previous releases.
CENDE – #1 Hit Single (May 26th)
Cende is an indie rock band featuring members from LVL UP and Porches. Definitely an overlooked album but it is some really great music for fans of both indie rock and pop punk.
Favorite tracks: Bed & Void
Sea Pinks – Watercourse (May 26th)
Sea Pinks play upbeat shoegazing indie music that instantly puts you in a good mood. I’ve been following the UK band for about 5 years now and am always thrilled when they release new music.
Favorite track: Shock of the New
Holling – I Can Understand When You Get Home (June 1st)*
Indie music that falls into the same category as Alex G, perfect for those days that comprise of staring at the ceiling.
Favorite track: Untitled
Hot Flash Heat Wave – Soaked (June 2nd)
Hot Flash Heat Wave will transport you to a tropical island where time ceases to be a construct. Their sound has melodic traces of indie bands similar to Surfer Blood and Twin Peaks.
Favorite track: Shotgun
Blushh – It’s Fine EP (June 12th)
Blushh is the epitome of bedroom-pop, and it makes you want to learn an instrument just to play and sing along. I had the chance to speak with Shab, the mind and voice behind Blushh, earlier this year – you can read the post here.
Favorite track: Wake Me Up
Buddha Trixie – Stop The Space Age (June 23rd)*
Maybe it’s the album art swaying my judgement, but this album seems like the perfect soundtrack to the end of the world. It’s smooth indie pop / indie rock that elicits the feeling of living in the moment and not caring what anyone else thinks.
Favorite track: Nobody Hangs Out
Crumb – Locket EP (June 23rd)
Crumb’s mesmerizing vocals make you feel like you are infinitely floating through an enchanted underwater forest, being serenaded by a mermaid with a harp.
Favorite track: Locket
Triptides – Afterglow (June 23rd)
Triptides play sun-soaked psychedelic rock perfect for their native grounds of Southern California.
Favorite track: Invitation
Strongboy – Steady (June 30th)
A mix between yacht rock and Mac Demarco-inspired twangy indie. Strongboy are a band from Canada that will definitely making some splashes in the US soon.
Favorite track: Steady
See Through Dresses – Horse of The Other World (July 14th)
This is a great, concise, straight-up shoegaze album. What I love most about this album is that it features both male and female leading vocals in the songs. Give it a listen.
Favorite track: Catacombs
Shindigs – c h ill a nd (July 17th)*
Shindigs play music that falls under the lo-fi shoegaze category. They are a local band in San Diego that stay on the DL, but they’ve had some pretty great releases over the past few years. Give them a listen below:
Favorite track: sd k j
Celebrity Crush – Anaphase EP (July 29th)
Celebrity Crush’s Anaphase EP features two feel-good and emotional indie tracks, and a third track covering poetry read by Model/Actriz’s Cole Haden.
Favorite track: All At Ease
Los Shadows – High Hopes (July 30th)*
Los Shadows are another excellent San Diego band with a silky smooth sound with slight Latin influences that perfectly match their home in Southern California.
Favorite track: Miami
Peggy183 – Computer Songs of a 17 Year Old Boy (August 1st)*
There’s a lot more to Peggy than meets the eye. The “computer songs” are exactly how they sound – all produced on a computer by a single person. But don’t underestimate the power of Peggy – he’s gained a dedicated following in San Diego and his reach has been slowly growing through the internet.
Favorite track: Hello Kitty USB
Gus Dapperton – Yellow and Such EP (August 3rd)
Gus Dapperton is another artist with an exponentially growing fan base. His music has that twagy-indie Mac Demarco-esque sound but with an RnB twist.
Favorite track: I’m Just Snacking
The Orange Kyte – Grow It Right (August 4th)
It’s psychedelic anthem-rock from Canada that sounds like a combination of Burnt Ones and Tame Impala.
Favorite tracks: Microdose & Fizzy Orange
Boulevard – Boulevard EP (August 12th)*
Boulevard released their first ever EP last summer and the product is pretty magical.
Favorite track: Celestial
BABY! – Sunny, F.L. (August 25th)
Bedroom-pop sung from a balcony in Boston, MA, with just the right amount of lo-fi. Another excellent album that you do not want to sleep on!
Favorite tracks: If I’m Sorry & New Smyrna
Twist – Benefits EP (September 22nd)
Twist is a female-fronted rock band with a relaxed vibe from Toronto, Canada. If you like what you hear then you definitely have to check out their 2016 release, Spectral.
Favorite track: Freak
Champagne Superchillin – Destino! (September 25th)
Champagne Superchillin released their debut album, Destino!, and it is a groovy psych-pop dance party throughout. The lyrics are all in French, making this project seem like the lovechild of La Femme. It’s also been confirmed that the band will already be releasing a second album later this year via Soft Junk.
Favorite track: Fragment
Surf Rock Is Dead – We Have No Friends? EP (October 6th)
SRiD’s second EP since their formation. Don’t let their name fool you, SRiD play shoegaze indie and are growing in their popularity (even if they do have no friends).
Favorite track: Everything They Said
Jaded Juice Riders – Bowl Cut (October 25th)
Pure garage surf-rock that is being severely overlooked. The album could have easily become redundant but there is enough of a mixture where it is really a new experience listening every time. It’s a little punk at times, anthem-indie at others, and lo-fi surfy throughout.
Favorite track: Year 22
Yellow Days – Is Everything Okay In Your World? (October 27th)
Yellow Days is based out of the UK, and he has a bellowing voice full of soul (he’s also only 18 years old). If you remotely enjoy what you hear below, I strongly suggest checking out his 2016 release, Harmless Melodies.
Favorite track: Holding On
Dopey’s Robe – Who and When is Stephen Networks? (October 31st)
Power-psych from British Columbia similar to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, with a stoney-desert accent.
Favorite track: 21st Century
Prettiest Eyes – Pools (November 3rd)
Prettiest Eyes play industrial psych-punk with a whole lot of noise. Their live shows are always full of energy – if your gonna make a New Year’s resolution it should be to go see them.
Favorite tracks: Don’t Call & Dandy
The Rinds – Wasting Time (single) (November 10th)*
The Rinds from San Diego play alternative indie. They’ve only released a few singles so far, but the sound is promising for a strong full-length release in the future.
Young Jesus – S/T (November 13th)
Post-rock / indie outfit Young Jesus returned with another sentimental release. The appropriately titled song “Feeling” is close to 10 minutes long, and takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride.
Favorite tracks: Green & Feeling
No Vacation – Intermission EP (November 17th)
Female-fronted shoegaze indie that is actually just really really good. Every time I give them a listen, I think to myself about how I should be listening to them more. Do yourself a favor and check out my favorite tracks.
Favorite tracks: Yam Yam & Mind Fields
Ignant Benches – Faked Your Smile (single) (December 8th)*
I’m not sure what an Ignant Bench is, but I’m digging the indie rock Strokes-esque sound.