The Best of 2017 

The top Memphis-related releases of the year.

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Taking stock of 2017's music, it's striking how, focusing only on works by Memphis artists, musicians, or producers, one is instantly in the realm of nationally or internationally renowned recordings. The albums listed below, which include bands with Memphis players integral to their sound, produced by Memphians, or released by Memphis labels, are just the tip of the iceberg. [Releases that have been written about in depth are linked to the appropriate review or profile].

Rock

1. Bash and Pop Anything Could Happen

2. Aquarian Blood Last Nite in Paradise

3. Pezz More Than You Can Give Us

4. Dead Soldiers The Great Emptiness

5. Namazu Works Cited

Steve Selvidge is a key player in Tommy Stinson's Bash & Pop, a perfect fit for the raucous chaos the ex-Replacement brings to their record.

Songwriters

1. Cory Branan Adios

2. Julien Baker Turn Out the Lights

3. Linda Heck Experimental Connections in the Memphis

4. Rob Jungklas Blackbirds

5. Margo Price All American Made

Adios found Branan taking both his singing and narrative voice to a new depth and subtlety.

Soul & Blues

1. Robert Cray Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm

2. Don Bryant Don't Give Up On Love

3. North Mississippi Allstars Prayer for Peace

4. Bette Smith Jetlagger

5. Love Light Orchestra feat. John Nemeth Live From Bar DKDC

This is Robert Cray's best work: he's nurtured a more aggressive style, and he's paired it with local funk masters.

Jazz

1. Charles Lloyd Passin' Thru

2. Bob Dowell Mississippi Slide!

3. Dee Dee Bridgewater Memphis ... Yes I'm Ready

4. Deborah Swiney I Remember Rio

5. Susan Marshall 639 Madison

Charles Lloyd's latest ranges from Coltrane-esque sonic wailing to the grooves of pure boogaloo. A must-have.

R&B & Hip-Hop

1. Marco Pavé Welcome to Grc Lnd

2. Moneybagg Yo & Youngboy NBA Fed Baby's

3. Various Artists Stuntarious, Vol. 2

4. Healy Subluxe

5. Yo Gotti I Still Am

Mixing politically astute lyrics with imaginative, state-of-the-art production, Marco Pavé has crafted a sharp challenge to listeners: Forget the escapism of wealth and power fantasies and stay relevant to real struggles in the street.

Electronica & Techno

1. Ihcilon Ihcilon

2. Nonconnah The Gloom & the Glowing

3. Mr. White Bear Bait

4. BÊNNÍ I & II

5. Sci Fi Industries SFIXX

Ihcilon creates highly abstract ambient soundscapes, but the cumulative effect is not soporific. Instead, the intrusion of weirdly organic synthetic sounds makes for an unsettling, sinister undercurrent.

Singles & EP's:

1. Gregg Allman "My Only True Friend"

2. SZA "Love Galore"

3. MonoNeon "Welcom 2 Whateva the Fyuck"

4. Hold Steady "Entitlement Crew" b/w "A Snake in the Shower"

5. NOTS "Cruel Friend" b/w "Violence"

Allman soldiered through his last days with the worldly soul of his past glories, backed in part by some of Memphis' finest players, especially on this first single.

Beyond Category

1. MonoNeon A Place Called Fantasy

2. Robby Grant & Jonathan Kirkscey Duets for Mellotron

3. William Eggleston Musik

4. Tav Falco A Tav Falco Christmas

Only in a year bursting with creativity could William Eggleston's improvised synthetic/orchestral fantasias be overshadowed. MonoNeon exemplifies the creative wellspring of a true visionary. Ranging from jazz/funk to echoes of hip-hop.


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