2017 has been a banner year for new music. From fast-rising young talent proving their viral fame is no mistake, to legacy acts further cementing their place in music history, not a single week has passed without at least a handful of albums being release that are worthy of your time. In fact, there has been so much great music released in recent months that even our team has had a hard time keeping up. By the time we get through the records we have to cover for one reason or another there are four or five more we’re told we need to hear. It’s overwhelming, but in the best possible way.
In response to this (good) problem we have launched a new, weekly column highlighting five albums our team feels everyone should hear. These records will feature Substream regulars, as well as artists we hope to work with in the future. We know not everyone will enjoy every album we choose, and that is perfectly okay. All we ask is that you give these records a chance because the people behind them are passionate and talented musicians speaking their truth through art. They are innovators and originators who we believe are shaping the future of music for all artists. We support their efforts and we hope you will too.
So without further ado, here are the five new releases you need to hear this week:
The Lone Bellow – Walk Into a Storm
The fleeting nature of time is a scary thing. We never know how much time we have to do the things we want, or how long we will be able to spend with those we love before our time together is through. Thinking about these things too much is enough to drive anyone insane, but thanks to The Lone Bellow’s third studio album, there is now a soundtrack to help ease our worried minds. Led by the single “Time’s Always Leaving,” Walk Into A Storm captures the urgency of existence with melodies and hooks that are impossible to shake. The album recognizes the fears we all have deep within our souls and encourages us to face them head on because it’s the only way to truly live. With their music backing us, The Lone Bellow are
making it possible for everyone to feel confident in being their true selves. (This review originally appeared in Substream #58).
TOP TRACK: “Time’s Always Leaving”
Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
What can be written or said about Foo Fighters that has not already been recited several hundred times prior, often by even bigger publications than us? There may be no other rock band on the planet as big as Foo Fighters right now, but they prove with this release that their time atop the rock echelon will not be coming to a close anytime soon. This is yet another quality release from a band whose bare minimum for effort is still above and beyond what most do in their entire careers. This might not be their strongest release, but it is without question one of the most important rock records of the year. Don’t miss out.
TOP TRACK: “The Sky is a Neighborhood”
Seaway – Vacation
It’s been three years since Seaway mocked pop bands by filling their “Your Best Friend” music video with tongue-in-cheek boy band choreography, matching sweatsuits, and the “SeaBoiz” moniker. Sure, it was all a joke then, but those sweatsuits must have fit a little too well, because that video makes a lot more sense in retrospect with the release of Vacation. On their third full-length album, the Canadian band have dropped all traces of the pop-punk tropes that litter previous releases in favor of a focus on sharp and catchy pop hooks that better suit their talents as musicians. Cheesy lyrics weighdown a few mid-sequence cuts like “Lula on the Beach,” but in tracks like “London,” where a perfect hook meets intense, hardcore-influenced energy, you’ll wonder why the SeaBoiz haven’t been doing this for years. (This review – written by John Bazley – originally appeared in Substream #58).
TOP TRACK: “London”
Galantis – The Aviary
If the last few years have proven the staying power of EDM in the pop culture spotlight then 2017 is the year the dam holding back the genre’s biggest finally broke. Among them, Galantis has long proven to be a force no one could replicate. Their take on house music stems from a deep passion for the ebbs and flows of great pop songs. Listening to The Aviary is akin to embarking on a journey through the soul of someone trying to keep their head above water in this increasingly chaotic world. Take a break from social media and the worries of the world by putting this record on ahead of whatever big task you have this week. I promise you will find the strength to carry on through the music of Galantis. They exist to help you and me making it through this crazy thing called life.
TOP TRACK: “Written In The Scars” ft. Wrabel
Quinn XCII – The Story of Us
Where have all the singer-songwriters gone? Quinn XCII is a modern take on this timeless concept of artistry, offering a unique blend of pop and urban elements that combine to make music that moves you. The Story Of Us gives listeners a front row seat to the highs and lows of romance as witnessed by someone who is not afraid to admit their own faults. None of this is necessarily an original idea, but Quinn XCII’s unique perspective gives life to tired tropes in such a way as to make them feel new once more. I would truly be shocked to see him end up as anything less than a household name. Get familiar.
TOP TRACK: “Fake Denim”
If you would like to suggest an album for a future column, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.