As we quickly work to finalize our ‘Best of 2017’ lists, we couldn’t help but notice that there’s some great albums we didn’t get around to talking about when they initially released this year. If you don’t keep up with every new release each week, then here’s a list of albums we haven’t previously reviewed that we highly recommend you listen to from front to back. Want more recommendations? End of the year lists will be posted on the 29th!

Alex Lahey – I Love You Like a Brother

I wasn’t planning on writing about this album, but that’s only because I didn’t know it existed until earlier this week as Codie and I worked on finishing our end of the year lists, and he said I must listen to it. As always, he was right, and this album was in the top 3 on my list by the time I finished my first listen. Alex Lahey’s debut album, I Love You Like a Brother, sounds and feels as big as it truly is. These songs will make you want to dance and sing to the words that are not always the happiest, but always seem to have a thread of optimism running through them. The guitars have some different rock, punk, and occasional surfy influences while the lyrics are some of the most catchy and pop-influenced I’ve heard this year. The album is paced wonderfully, and is so upbeat and fun—perfect to bring some light to even the darkest winter days. –Cassie Wilson

Bandcamp | iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms

If you haven’t been paying attention to the cult following Southampton outfit Creeper has been steadily amassing this past year, you’re missing out on one of the best up-and-coming bands out there right now. The realm this six-piece have created using a continuing narrative of the world ending and who comes for you down below is intriguing as they cater so closely to every small detail in their story. I first heard their single “Misery” when they released their EP The Stranger in 2016 when I was instantly captivated. Watching this epic gothic mystery unfold around the release of their debut album Eternity, In Your Arms just a year later has been such a journey. Taking modern rock by a storm of brash, defiant energy and allowing it to settle in lullaby is something Creeper has refined so early on in their career. Each song rings with a glimmering sense of familiarity in a stunning new world. Let yourself fall into this vibrant reality and stay a little while—or for all eternity. –Nova Decks

iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

Heart Attack Man – The Manson Family

Heart Attack Man is one of my favorite discoveries of the year. The Manson Family talks about some of the darkest thoughts in vocalist/guitarist Eric Egan’s brain, and does so in a way that makes common lyrical themes feel new. His writing style is very upfront and full of angst on this album, and it’s a great listen for days when life is taking swings at you—and hey, maybe Heart Attack Man’s distinctive riffs will cheer you up as you air guitar along, or maybe the lyrics to “Carbon Copies” will empower you to cut toxic people out of your life. If you just want to rock out to work through the thoughts running through your mind, then The Manson Family by Heart Attack Man is here to keep you company. –Cassie Wilson

Bandcamp | iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Listening to Turn Out The Lights feels a bit like watching a bunch of short films pieced together into a perfect collection; Julien Baker’s writing is full of such vivid imagery to symbolize her thoughts and feelings, and each track makes the mind wander to a different scene where some parts feel like they’re in black and white, but then everything crescendos and feels like it’s bursting in color. And much like a film, this album demands your full attention—you can try to do other things while listening to it, but it just keeps pulling you in deeper. Admittedly, it can be a hard listen because, lyrically, it covers a lot of heavy topics, and it’s easy to slip into the deeper parts of your mind, but there are some moments of hope within it as her perspective grows and changes. If you haven’t listened to Julien Baker yet, it’s time to change that and listen to the profound album that is Turn Out The Lights. –Cassie Wilson

iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

“Death is real.” A line I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since hearing A Crow Looked At Me for the first time. For those unfamiliar with Mount Eerie, the project consists of Phil Elverum, and this album is him grieving the loss of his wife. What is there to truly say about this album to give it full justice? I don’t feel like anyone can truly say, but it does capture the essence of what it feels like to lose the closest thing to you. The interwoven narrative follows the months after the sudden passing of his wife, Geneviève. Before she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she gave birth to a daughter (since then, has remained unnamed to the public). If you haven’t given this album a listen, I highly recommend that you do. Elverum wrote and created a masterful work of art chronicling the most difficult period of his life, but while it was hard to understand then (and possibly now even), this record also serves as a gateway to the next chapter of his (and his daughter’s) life. Please, stop what you are doing, and take the time to fully immerse yourself into A Crow Looked At Me. Never forget: “Death is real.” –Codie Porter

Bandcamp | iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps

Phoebe Bridgers has the potential to be huge, especially with a major artist like John Mayer supporting her and encouraging his fans to check out Stranger in the Alps. Singer/songwriters have had an amazing year, and Bridgers is the next one who will steal your heart, break it, and put it back together again. Her lyrics are sad and straightforward, and the emotion she carries in her voice is enough to get you tearing up on your first listen, particularly during songs such as “Funeral.” The tones in this album feel warm, and songs like “Motion Sickness” have some pop-influenced undertones that may even make you forget how sad the lyrics are until you listen closely, and empathize and relate to the honesty and vulnerability she’s sharing. –Cassie Wilson

Bandcamp | iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm

I stumbled upon this gem while going through a friendship breakup a few months ago and it hit right on the nose everything I had been feeling and desperately needed to hear. Alabama native Katie Crutchfield layers feelings of being merely a stepping stone to display in someone else’s ‘narcissistic injury disguised as masterpiece’ with such an elegant take on toxic betrayal. What I love most about this record is that while never directly blaming anyone, she gets the notion across from a place of love—although now heavily weathered. Tongue-in-cheek album opener “Never Been Wrong” made it into my top five tracks of this year due to its hypnotizing honesty and endless catchy one-liners. Out In The Storm is a self-curated beam of light in the midst of a disaster, dignified. I hold this record very dear to me and recommend it to anyone who needs to hear that they’re more than how small they’ve grown accustomed to feeling at the hand of someone else. It’s just as much an acceptance letter to herself as it is a public expression of vulnerability. I could quote every lyric of every song by heart, but there is just not enough space. The repeating of, ‘Everyone questions the unseen, and it sets you free,’ in “No Question” seems to sum up this release quite well, however. –Nova Decks

Bandcamp | iTunes/Apple Music | Spotify

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