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Best of 2017: Staff Picks

Best of 2017
by

(Listener Poll results will be revealed on December 19)

Skip down to: Rita Houston | Russ Borris | Corny O'Connell | Carmel Holt | Dennis Elsas | Alisa Ali | Darren DeVivo | Paul Cavalconte | John Platt | Kara Manning | Eric Holland | Sarah Wardrop | Bob Sherman | Laura Fedele | Sean Todd

Rita Houston

Program Director and Host of The Whole Wide World

Top 10 Songs

1. Lo Moon, "Loveless" - The first song from a new band full of promise, skill and integrity.
2. Mavis Staples, "Slippery People (live)" - Mavis sings the HECK out of this, joined by Win Butler (Arcade Fire) and backed by an all star band.
3. Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White, "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" - An inspired re-working of a jazz/soul gem, and an introduction to a new voice in Flo Morrissey.
4. Ani DiFranco, "Play God" - Ani is back, speaking out, and we need her more than ever.
5. Randy Newman, "She Chose Me" - He sure knows how to write a love song!
6. Harry Styles, "Sign of the Times" - My car sing-along of the year, and my next Karaoke go-to.
7. Dan Auerbach, "Shine On Me" - Dan has a way of tapping into our nostalgic past and making new art of it. Bravo!
8. Jeff Tweedy, "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" - Stripping this song back on the solo album is a reminder of his lyrical genius.
9. Low Cut Connie, "Controversy" - Great band, great cover.
10. St. Vincent, "New York" - Art!

Top 12 Albums

1. Nicole Atkins, Goodnight Rhonda Lee - A beauty of an album from start to finish.
2. Cigarettes After Sex, Cigarettes After Sex - Most-played album in our house this year.
3. The National, Sleep Well Beast - Tenderness and swagger come together seamlessly.
4. Sam Smith, The Thrill of It All - A sad and timeless album from a pop star with something to sing about.
5. Iron & Wine, Beast Epic - These songs were like prayers to me this year. A gorgeous album from a true poet.
6. Laura Marling, Semper Femina
7. Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Jardin
8. Josh Ritter, Gathering
9. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy - Pure genius.
10. Gregory Porter, Nat King Cole and Me - An ambitious, spot-on tribute from a voice worthy of the material.
11. Aimee Mann, Mental Illness - I'm forever amazed at Aimee Mann's gift to put to melody our deepest and sometimes darkest selves.
12. Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Soul of A Woman

Discovery of the Year

Lo Moon - I just get the feeling this is a band we will still be talking about in 20 years.

Russ Borris

Music Director, Host of WFUV Saturday Midday and The Alternate Side on FUV

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical)

1. Arcade Fire, "Electric Blue"
2. Craig Finn, "God in Chicago"
3. Ezra Furman, "Love You So Bad"
4. Father John Misty, "Leaving LA"
5. Fever Ray, "To the Moon and Back"
6. Harry Styles, "Sign of the Times"
7. Jason Isbell, "If We Were Vampires"
8. Lawrence Rothman, "Wolves Still Cry"
9. The Fluids, "Creatures"
10. The New Pornographers, "High Ticket Attractions"

Top 10 Albums

1. PWR BTTM, Pageant - Controversy, serious allegations and a set of disappointing circumstances surrounded the album's release, but I can't leave this record off my list. It just meant/means too much to me.
2. St. Vincent, Masseduction - Next level stuff from an artist I thought had just released next level stuff.
3. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding - This record makes me nostalgic for experiences I haven't exactly had.
4. Charly Bliss, Guppy - Take every sweet superlative you can come up with and attach it to this incredibly fun '90s throwback.
5. LCD Soundsystem, American Dream - No one is as good at what James Murphy does as James Murphy. Thankfully, he and his band weren't gone longer.
6. Haim, Something to Tell You - Giant hooks, great production and pop cred.
7. Sparks, Hippopotamus - The brothers Mael continue their 40+ year run of creating delightfully insane albums.
8. William Patrick Corgan, Ogilala - William Patrick (Billy) Corgan showcases the softer side of his writing and this collaboration with producer Rick Rubin rewards with repeated listens.
9. Open Mike Eagle, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream - In writing about a housing project in Chicago, Eagle's words are total poetry delivered with precision and fun.
10. Sylvan Esso, What Now - What appeared to be a side project at first has turned into a juggernaut for Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn.

Discovery of the Year

Charly Bliss

Corny O'Connell

WFUV Morning Host

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical)

1. Beck, "Up All Night"
2. Cigarettes After Sex, "Apocalypse"
3. Dan Auerbach, "Shine on Me"
4. Elbow, "Trust the Sun"
5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, "White Man's World"
6. Jeb Loy Nichols, "Till the Teardrops Stop"
7. Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still"
8. Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, "Matter of Time"
9. Son Little, "Blue Magic (Waikiki)"
10. Spoon, "Hot Thoughts"

Top 10 Albums (alphabetical)

1. Beck, Colors
2. Dan Auerbach, Waiting on a Song
3. Elbow, Little Fictions
4. Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Navigator
5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
6. Ryan Adams, Prisoner
7. Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Soul of a Woman
8. Spoon, Hot Thoughts
9. The National, Sleep Well Beast
10. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding

Discovery of the Year

Earl St. Clair

Carmel Holt

WFUV Midday and Saturday Morning Host, Assistant Music Director

Top 13 Songs:

1. The War On Drugs, "Thinking Of A Place"
2. Father John Misty, "Pure Comedy"
3. This Is The Kit, "Moonshine Freeze"
4. Sylvan Esso, "Die Young"
5. Broken Social Scene, "Halfway Home"
6. Ryan Adams, "Prisoner"
7. Kevin Morby, "City Music"
8. Big Thief, "Mythological Beauty"
9. Grizzly Bear, "Mourning Sound"
10. Violents & Monica Martin, "Equal Powers"
11. LCD Soundsystem, "Tonite"
12. Wolf Alice, "Don't Delete the Kisses"
13. Julien Baker, "Appointments"

Top 12 Albums

1. Feist, Pleasure
2. St. Vincent, Masseduction
3. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy
4. Laura Marling, Semper Femina
5. The National, Sleep Well Beast
6. Big Thief, Capacity
7. Cigarettes After Sex, Cigarettes After Sex
8. Moses Sumney, Aromanticism
9. Sylvan Esso, What Now
10. Slowdive, Slowdive
11. Broken Social Scene, Hug of Thunder
12. Ryan Adams, Prisoner

Discovery of the Year

Bedouine

Dennis Elsas

WFUV Afternoon Host

Top Songs, Alphabetical

1. Gregg Allman, "My Only True Friend"
2. Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, "Continental Breakfast"
3. Beck, "Up All Night"
4. Blondie, "Long Time"
5. Elbow, "All Disco"
6. Hiss Golden Messenger, "Domino"
7. LCD Soundsystem, "Tonite"
8. Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still"
9. Sylvan Esso, "Radio"
10. The xx, "On Hold"
11. U2, "You're the Best Thing About Me"

Top 10 Albums, Alphabetical

1. Dan Auerbach, Waiting On A Song
2. Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up
3. Rhiannon Giddens, Freedom Highway
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
5. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Soul of a Woman
6. The Lone Bellow, Walk Into A Storm
7. The New Pornographers, Whiteout Conditions
8. Old 97's, Graveyard Whistling
9. Robert Plant, Carry Fire
10. Real Estate, In Mind

Discovery of the Year

Mondo Cozmo

Alisa Ali

WFUV Evening Host and Producer

Top 12 Songs, In no particular order

1. Sylvan Esso, "Radio"
2. The Breeders/Pixies, "Wait In The Car"
3. Phoebe Bridgers, "Motion Sickness"
4. St. Vincent, "New York"
5. Spoon, "Can I Sit Next To You"
6. Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still"
7. Alice Merton, "No Roots"
8. Public Service Broadcasting, "Progress"
9. Waxahatchee, "Never Been Wrong"
10. This Is The Kit, "Moonshine Freeze"
11. Jay Som, "The Bus Song"
12. Phoenix, "Telephono"

Top 10 Albums, In no particular order

1. Ryan Adams, Prisoner
2. Beck, Colors
3. Songhoy Blues, Résistance
4. Cigarettes After Sex, Cigarettes After Sex
5. Spoon, Hot Thoughts
6. St. Vincent, Masseduction
7. Phoenix, Ti Amo
8. Slowdive, Slowdive
9. Sinkane, Life And Livin' It
10. Waxahatchee, Out In The Storm

Discovery of the Year

Maggie Rogers

Darren DeVivo

WFUV Night and FUV Music Weekend Host

Top 10 Songs

1. Gregg Allman, "My Only True Friend" - from Southern Blood, Gregg Allman's final album
2. Blondie, "Long Time" - from Pollinator
3. Fleet Foxes, "Third Of May/Odaigahara" - from Crack-Up
4. Future Islands, "Ran" - from The Far Field
5. King Crimson, "Heroes" - from the "Heroes" EP; recorded live in 2016; King Crimson covers David Bowie's classic song; written by Bowie and Brian Eno; Robert Fripp played lead guitar on David Bowie's original version from 1977
6. Ted Leo, "Can't Go Back" - from Ted Leo's solo album, The Hanged Man
7. John Moreland, "It Don't Suit Me (Like Before)" - from Big Bad Luv
8. Offa Rex, "Blackleg Miner" - from The Queen Of Hearts, the debut album by Offa Rex, who are The Decemberists and Olivia Chaney
9. Queens Of The Stone Age, "The Way You Used To Do" - from Villains
10. Son Volt, "Promise The World" - from Notes Of Blue

Top 15 Albums (alphabetical)

1. Gizmodrome, Gizmodrome - The debut from the progressive pop supergroup featuring Stewart Copeland, formerly of the Police (drums, lead vocals!), Adrian Belew, formerly of King Crimson (guitar, vocals), Mark King, frontman of Level 42 (bass, vocals) and Vittorio Cosma (keyboards). One caveat: Copeland as a lead "singer" (strange, because you have Belew and King in the band) takes some getting used to, but his unique style fits the quirky lyrics and off kilter frenzy of the music. Prog can be pop and can be fun!
2. Honey West, Bad Old World - The second album by the New York City band fronted by former actor Ted Zurkowski. This time, though, Zurkowski (guitar, lead vocals) has a partner: none other than rock icon, Ian McDonald (guitar, keyboards, sax, vocals). Yes, THE Ian McDonald who was an original member of both King Crimson (1969) and Foreigner (1976-1980). Bad Old World is largely the work of Zurkowski and McDonald. It's straight ahead, literate rock and roll.
3. Hudson (Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, John Scofield), Hudson - A jazz supergroup, based in New York's Hudson Valley comes together to perform music inspired by the Hudson River and the surrounding area. Originals are mixed with covers of songs written by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix and Robbie Robertson. Features Jack DeJohnette (drums), Larry Grenadier (bass), John Medeski (keyboards) and John Scofield (guitar).
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound - Jason Isbell is one the finest songwriters in music today. Period. Formerly a member of Drive-By Truckers, from 2001 until 2007, Isbell's last two acclaimed albums were presented as solo albums, making The Nashville Sound his first album with his band the 400 Unit in six years. The song "If We Were Vampires" is a knockout!
5. Garland Jeffreys, 14 Steps To Harlem - Brooklyn native Garland Jeffreys is New York City rock and roll. With 14 Steps To Harlem, Jeffreys' artistic rebirth continues. It's his third album in six years and it's right up there with his best.
6. The National, Sleep Well Beast - The seventh studio album by Matt Berninger, Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Bryan and Scott Devendorf rarely misses its mark. It's innovative, progressive, cerebral, urgent and tense.
7. Robert Plant (and the Sensational Space Shifters), Carry Fire - Robert Plant is rock's grand old wise man who lives in a magical forest in Wales! For years, the former Led Zeppelin vocalist and songwriter has been a master of reinvention and reinterpretation, while also acting as a musical curator. His journey continues with Carry Fire, his second album with his band, the Sensational Space Shifters.
8. Real Estate, In Mind - Jangly guitars, sweet vocals and shimmering melodies abound in the band's fourth album, their first without original member Matt Mondanile.
9. Ringo Starr, Give More Love - The 77 year old former Beatle and ambassador of PEACE AND LOVE is back with another fine album of Beatle-ish, good natured rock and roll. Give More Love, Ringo's nineteenth studio album, features songs Ringo wrote with current All Starr Band member Steve Lukather (of Toto), former All Starrs Peter Frampton and Richard Marx as well as Van Dyke Parks, Dave Stewart (ex-Eurythmics), Gary Burr, Glen Ballard and more. Guests include Paul McCartney, Stewart, Jeff Lynne, Benmont Tench, Nathan East and Don Was; current All Starrs Lukather, Richard Page and Greg Bissonette; as well as former All Starrs Joe Walsh (Ringo's brother-in-law), Frampton, Edgar Winter and TImothy B. Schmit.
10. Stars, There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light - The Canadian band's eighth studio album is a pop gem filled with honest and heartfelt songs.
11. Mike Stern, Trip - I love listening to great guitarists who combine technique, feel and passion in their playing. Mike Stern, a former member of Miles Davis' band, is one of my favorite jazz guitarists, along with Pat Metheny, Larry Carlton, John Scofield and others. Trip is the follow up to 2014's Eclectic, Stern's collaboration with fellow guitarist, Eric Johnson, and is Stern's first album as a leader in five years. The album follows an incident last year that nearly ended Stern's career. While walking, he Tripped and fell, breaking both of his arms and causing significant nerve damage in his right hand. But, he worked his way back.
12. Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow Forever - Matthew Sweet is a leading force in power pop, having created one of the genre's masterpieces, Girlfriend, back in 1991. Tomorrow Forever is his first solo album in six years and probably is his best in the past 15 to 20 years or so.
13. Robin Trower, Time And Emotion - When talking about rock's all time elite guitarists, Robin Trower's name should be mentioned in every discussion. Trower's long, incredibly consistant career got into gear fifty years ago when he joined Procol Harum. He left them in 1971, releasing his first solo album in 1973. He's been at it since. Depending on how you count them, he has released over thirty albums, with Time And Emotion being his latest. Trower Power!
14. The War On Drugs, A Deeper Understanding - Coming out of Philadelphia, the War of Drugs is a band driven by guitarist, singer and songwriter Adam Granduciel. A Deeper Understanding is the band's fourth album. It's a vast, expansive and thoughtful album that builds off the band's last, the fantastic Lost In The Dream. It's vaguely familiar, yet totally fresh and contemporary.
15. Roger Waters, Is This The Life We Really Want? - This is Roger Waters' first rock studio album in 25 years, and it offers all of the bells and whistles that one has come to expect from a Waters album. Since Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon, Waters had emerged as the band's lyricist, swiftly becoming their primary writer and lead voice. The Pink Floyd albums The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut; as well as the solo albums The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking, Radio KAOS, Amused To Death and now Is This The Life We Really Want? are all the singular vision of Waters - perhaps music's premier theatrical writer. Produced by Nigel Godrich and featuring musical assistance from Godrich, Jonathan Wilson, Roger Manning, Joey Waronker and vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig (both from the band Lucius), Is This The Life We Really Want? is a dense, cerebral and complex album for the Brexit and Donald Trump era. Alternatingly angry, wistful, in-your-face, pastoral and bleak, it's a song cycle for those who are unhappy with the current state of the world.

Honorable Mentions (in order of importance)

The Isley Brothers and Santana, Power Of Peace
Dhani Harrison, In///Parallel
Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie
Various/Ensemble, Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live...And More
Special EFX / Deep As The Night
Thurston Moore / Rock N Roll Consciousness
Michael McDonald / Wide Open

Albums That Didn't Hit My Ears In Time, But May Have Impacted This List If They Did (in no particular order)

U2, Songs Of Experience (not yet released)
Jim James, Tribute To 2 (not yet released)
Van Morrison, Roll With The Punches
Van Morrison, Versatile (not yet released)
Neil Young and Promise Of The Real, The Visitor (not yet released)
Squeeze, The Knowledge

Discoveries of the Year

New artist: Charly Bliss
Established artist I am just discovering: Cloud Nothings

Paul Cavalconte

WFUV and Cavalcade Host

Top 10 Songs

1. St. Vincent, "New York" - Heartbreaker
2. Arcade Fire, "Everything Now" - Long live the mirror ball
3. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, "Continental Breakfast" - We got them, babe
4. Belle & Sebastian, "We Were Beautiful" - And don't ever change
5. Spoon, "Hot Thoughts" - Sizzling
6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, "Hope The High Road" - May it rise with you
7. Lo Moon, "This Is It" - This is HIT
8. Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still" - Sock it to me
9. Mondo Cozmo, "Shine" - Their hour to...
10. The National, "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness" - No S***, Sherlock

Top 10 Albums

1. Randy Newman, Dark Matter - Bold record from a master.  She Chose Me.
2. Lizz Wright, Gracer - Deep thoughtful originals and covers. Joe Henry produced.
3. The War On Drugs, A Deeper Understanding - Their plot thickens.
4. Robert Plant, Carry Fire - Come to ze Casbah with this great spaceshifter.
5. Flo Morrissey And Matthew E. White, Gentlewoman, Ruby Man - Clever covers, good natured and musical.
6. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy - No joke, he keeps raising the bar.
7. St. Vincent, Masseduction - Growth and depth from a real star.
8. The National, Sleep Well Beast - Dark and groovy.
9. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound - The now sound.
10. Craig Finn, We All Want The Same Things - Storytelling, world weary but not beaten.

Discovery of the Year

Cigarettes After Sex - Is that still allowed indoors?

John Platt

Sunday Supper Host

Top 10 Songs (in alphabetical order)

1. Susan Cattaneo, "Work Hard, Love Harder"
2. Meghan Cary, "Sing Louder"
3. Father John Misty, "Ballad of the Dying Man"
4. Fleet Foxes, "Fool's Errand"
5. Fred Gillen, Jr. "Prayer for America"
6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, "Hope the High Road"
7. Rorie Kelly, "If You Teach a Bird to Sing"
8. Van Morrison, "Transformation"
9. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, "Find Yourself"
10. The Nields, "Tyrants Always Fall"

Top 10 Albums (in alphabetical order)

1. Richard Barone, Sorrows & Promises
2. Paula Cole, Ballads
3. Rhiannon Giddens, Freedom Highway
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
5. Taj Mahal & Keb Mo, TajMo
6. James Maddock, Insanity Vs. Humanity
7. Jessica Molaskey, Portraits of Joni
   John Pizzarelli, Sinatra & Jobim @50 - Husband and wife simultaneously pay homage to their heroes.
8. Willie Nile, Positively Bob
   Joan Osborne, Songs of Bob Dylan - Two brilliant tributes to the guy whose music is always open to creative interpretations.
9. Josh Ritter, Gathering
10. The Wailin' Jennys, Fifteen

Honorable mention:
Father John Misty, Iron & Wine, Aimee Mann, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Dan Mills, Tom Russell, Ruthie Foster

Discovery of the Year

Ryanhood - Two totally talented guys from Arizona, Ryan Green and Cameron Hood, with fabulous harmonies and awesome musical chops.

Kara Manning

UKNY Host, Digital Editor and On-Air Interviewer

Top 12 Songs

1. Childhood, "Californian Light" - The most sublime, soulful summertime song of 2017 from group of south Londoners ... that you likely (sadly) didn't hear. Find it now in time for Australia's summer.
2. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, "French Press" - The Melbourne band's nearly six-minute gallop of chiming guitars, twined around a yearning dialogue between brothers, is just plain gorgeous.
3. Sampha, "(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano" - A breathtaking elegy for Sampha's late mother, reflecting on the piano in her south London home that guided his way.
4. Kamasi Washington, "Truth" - Found on the jazz composer and saxophonist's Harmony of Difference EP, this 13-minute epic — a heavenly odyssey — is a masterpiece.
5. Wolf Alice, "Yuk Foo" - Two minutes and 13 seconds of explosive, fed-up, expletive-laced rage that pretty much sums up my feelings about all of 2017.
6. Four Tet, "Two Thousand and Seventeen" - A shimmering, serene oasis found on Kieran Hebden's latest album, New Energy.
7. Warm Digits (feat. Field Music), "End Times" - A song for an out-of-control year with an addictive, wiry groove.
8. Sampa the Great, "Bye River" - Soothing (with a bite), jazz-inflected single from this fast-rising, Aussie-based hip hop artist's recently released mixtape, Birds and the BEE9.
9. Ride, "All I Want" - The return of Ride in 2017 with Weather Diaries was shoegazing paradise and "All I Want" is their canny riposte to Theresa May's rhetoric.
10. Marika Hackman, "Time's Been Reckless" - Irrepressibly catchy single from Hackman's terrific second album, backed by the formidable The Big Moon.
11. Gorillaz (feat D.R.A.M.), "Andromeda" - There's a lot about Gorillaz' ambitious, abundant Humanz to like, but this quirky track is a standout with Damon Albarn's wistful vocals countering the breezy house vibe.
12. Fold, "Making America Great" - Single from my fave Leeds band, with perceptive lyrics from poet and vocalist Mr. Gee, noting historic black American heroes, both anonymous and famous, who are the essence of America's fortitude. From Fold's new EP, Written in the Sky.

Top 16 Albums

1. Wolf Alice, Visions of a Life - The London quartet has released the most thrilling, enraged, tender, eviscerating, heartbroken, brave and career-altering album of the year.
2. This Is The Kit, Moonshine Freeze - Perfection. The fourth album from Kate Stables and her friends that tenderly teeters between the tranquil and the thorny. Fables, folklore, fury, and lullabies.
3. Slowdive, Slowdive - Not only did Slowdive return after a 22-year hiatus with a new album, but it might be the greatest album of their career thus far (although I'll gladly agree to a tie with their 1993 masterpiece Souvlaki.)
4. Jane Weaver, Modern Kosmology - Jane Weaver made an abrupt turnaround in her songwriting a few years back, shifting from folk to electronic composition. Her love of Krautrock and dreamy psychedelia is splashed across this beguiling album.
5. Nadine Shah, Holiday Destination - Shah is of Pakistani-Norwegian heritage, born in northern England, and acutely aware of the disturbing nationalistic tide that begat Brexit. Her third album boldly addresses Islamophobia, systemic racism, immigration, the refugee crisis and more. She's not didactic in her message, but wise, supple, sensitive and insightful. Her voice is a husky wonder too.
6. Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley - A deeply moving, conceptual and cinematic album inspired by the collapse of the British mining industry. Executed with grace, empathy and beauty.
7. Sampha, Process - Sampha won the 2017 Mercury Prize for 'Process,' his debut solo album, and for good reason. It experiments without reservation, his songs fearlessly embrace grief, and it's flawless.
8. The Weather Station, The Weather Station - Toronto's Tamara Lindeman's fourth album made me weep and grin when I first heard it; it's that good, that tough, that candid, that accomplished. Try to listen to "You and I (on the Other Side of the World)" and not find yourself in a puddle of tears by song's end, floored by its slow-burning beauty.
9. Robert Plant, Carry Fire - Remarkable album from a rock legend who continues to experiment and take bold chances. He is restless, adventurous and a leonine force of nature.
10. Kelly Lee Owens, Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens' impressive debut is a tricky dreamscape; deceptively fragile architecture of ephemeral electronica ("Bird"), spirals of dance beats ("Lucid") and even an breathy ode to Arthur Russell ("Arthur"). Gorgeous.
11. Maya Jane Coles, Take Flight - DJ, producer, composer, vocalist and all-around London superwoman Maya Jane Coles released her second solo album — a double album — under her own name (she also records as Nocturnal Sunshine) and it's exactly what you want to hear late at night when the world is still and you're either dreaming, dancing or romancing.
12. Saint Etienne, Home Counties - Returning to the counties that ring Greater London — like Essex or Berkshire — Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley again conjure effervescent dance pop ("Dive") but also perceptively parse sorrow, suburban ennui and misguided nostalgia ("Sweet Arcadia").
13. Laura Marling, Semper Femina - The complexity of female friendships, so exquisitely sculpted by this masterful songwriter.
14. Sacred Paws, Strike a Match - Winner of Scottish album of the year; effervescent punked-out pop via the bright duo of Rachel Aggs (also of Shopping) and Eilidh Rogers.
15. Childhood, Universal High - Childhood's Ben Romans-Hopcraft and his bandmates took a bold leap from alt-rock to '70s soul on their second album and it's bliss.
16. JFDR, Brazil - Released in Iceland in late 2016, but I fell upon it in early 2017 ... so it counts, no? Fragile, exquisitely produced and deeply personal. Jófríður Ákadóttir, of Samaris and Pascal Pinon too, offers her heart on this gorgeous album.

Discoveries of the Year

1. Vök - From Reykjavík. Extraordinary performance at Iceland Airwaves in Akureyri in November 2017, confidently straddling synth-pop and rock.
2. Nervous Conditions - Almost as if Captain Beefheart, Can, The Fall and Joy Division collided. Fell head over heels with this band after seeing them play Birthdays in Dalston in January 2017; they toured with Beach Fossils in Europe this summer. And they sound like no one else out there right now.
3. Phoebe Bridgers - Stunning debut album, Stranger in the Alps, that's astonishing in its lyrical command and prowess. She's a mighty, ferocious force.

Eric Holland

WFUV and FUV Music Weekend Host

Top 10 Songs

1. Portugal. The Man, "Feel It Still"
2. Gregg Allman, "My Only True Friend"
3. This Is The Kit, "Moonshine Freeze"
4. LCD Soundsystem, "Tonite"
5. JD McPherson, "Lucky Penny"
6. St. Vincent, "Masseduction"
7. Morrissey, "Spent The Day In Bed"
8. Laura Marling, "Nothing Not Nearly"
9. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, "Matter of Time"
10. Kevin Morby, "City Music"

Top 10 Albums

1. Black Angels, Death Song
2. St. Vincent, Masseduction
3. Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice
4. Spoon, Hot Thoughts
5. Craig Finn, Faith In The Future
6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
7. Aimee Mann, Mental Illness
8. The National, Sleep Well Beast
9. Antibalas, Where The Gods Are In Peace
10. Shout Out Louds, Ease My Mind

Discovery of the Year

Songhoy Blues

Sarah Wardrop

Assistant Program Director, WFUV Host

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical, plus 1)

1. Gregg Allman, "My Only True Friend"
2. Big Thief, "Shark Smile"
3. Matthew Dear featuring Tegan & Sara, "Bad Ones"
4. Ani DiFranco, "Play God"
5. Hurray for the Riff Raff, "Pa'lante"
6. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, "Rumors"
7. MUNA, "I Know A Place"
8. The New Pornographers, "High Ticket Attractions"
9. Sinkane, "U'Huh"
10. Waxahatchee, "Never Been Wrong"
*11. PWR BTTM, "LOL" - "LOL" is a song that got to me in the best of ways this year, but the allegations surrounding PWR BTTM are no laughing matter. So an asterisk and an addendum: I hope the band moves forward, recognizing how much power its music can have and truly learning to use it for good. I also hope that those victimized are able to move forward, remembering that they have power too.

Top 10 Albums (alphabetical, plus 1 to even things out)

1. Nicole Atkins, Goodnight Rhonda Lee
2. Rhiannon Giddens, Freedom Highway
3. Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Navigator
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
5. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Soul of a Woman
6. Aimee Mann, Mental Illness
7. Son Little, New Magic
8. St. Vincent, Masseduction
9. Stars, There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light
10. Sylvan Esso, What Now
11. The xx, I See You

Discovery of the Year

Charly Bliss

Bob Sherman

Woody's Children Host

Top 10 Songs

1. Tom Paxton, "Boat In The Water"
2. The Malvinas, "God Bless the Grass"
3. David Maloney, "Had a Little Setback"
4. Tom Chapin, "Julia Ward Howe"
5. Joe Jencks, "Let Me Sing You a Song"
6. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, "Letter from Pete Seeger's Banjo"
7. Guy Davis, "Sonny and Brownie's Last Train"
8. Amanda McBroom, "South Bound Train"
9. Christine Lavin, "Turn This Boat Around"
10. John McCutcheon, "Y'all Means All"

Top 10 Albums

1. Meghan Carey, Sing Louder
2. Tom Chapin, Threads
3. Bruce Davies, Blowing in the Wind
4. Tim Grimm, A Stranger in Time
5. Joe Jencks, Poets, Philosophers, Workers and Wanders
6. David Maloney, My Father's Shoulders
7. John McCutcheon, Trolling for Dreams
8. Sara Thomsen, Something To Begin
9. Pat Wictor, This is Absolutely Real
10. Jack Williams, Far Away Long Ago

Discovery of the Year

Ocean Orchestra

Laura Fedele

New Media Director

Top 10 Songs

1. Radiohead, "I Promise"
2. Mavis Staples/Arcade Fire, "Slippery People"
3. This Is The Kit, "Moonshine Freeze"
4. St. Vincent, "New York"
5. Lo Moon, "Loveless"
6. Jeff Tweedy, "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"
7. The War On Drugs, "Thinking Of A Place"
8. Aimee Mann, "Goose Snow Cone"
9. Conor Oberst, "A Little Uncanny"
10. Randy Newman, "Sonny Boy"

Top 10 Albums

1. Arcade Fire, Everything Now
2. Ryan Adams, Prisoner
3. Ani DiFranco, Binary
4. Elbow, Little Fictions
5. Iron & Wine, Beast Epic
6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
7. Laura Marling, Semper Femina
8. Joe Henry, Thrum
9. The National, Sleep Well Beast
10. Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White, Gentlewoman, Ruby Man

Discovery of the Year

Lo Moon

Sean Todd

Music Manager

Top 10 Songs

1. Beach Fossils, "This Year"
2. Fleet Foxes, "Fool's Errand"
3. Foxygen, "Follow The Leader"
4. Cigarettes After Sex, "K"
5. Cosmo Pyke, "Chronic Sunshine"
6. Kendrick Lamar, "PRIDE."
7. Thundercat, "Them Changes"
8. Alt-J, "Deadcrush"
9. Frank Ocean, "Provider"
10. Bully, "You Could Be Wrong"

Top 10 Albums

1. Tyler, The Creator, Flower Boy
2. Kendrick Lamar, Damn.
3. Sampha, Process
4. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy
5. Ryan Adams, Prisoner
6. Cende, #1 Hit Single
7. Jay-Z, 4:44
8. Petite League, Rips One Into the Night
9. SZA, Ctrl
10. Beach Fossils, Somersault

Discovery of the Year

Cosmo Pyke