We take great pride here at 3 Songs & Out in having eclectic taste. Be it reviewers or photographers we love covering music from all genres. So it comes as no surprise as we ponder upon 2017 and the many great albums it has given us, that our genre choices are all over the place. Take a look and see if you agree or disagree.
I have the pleasure of having 100's of album submitted to me all year round and there are so many that are worthy of an audience but by far the biggest stand out for me this year was 'You Are We' by While She Sleeps. This album was their first self release after being let go from their label and it is a powerhouse of a release. Lead singer Lawrence 'Loz' Taylor recently stated that their is no band out there at the moment like Sleeps and I whole heartedly agree. If this is a taste of where the band is heading then I can't wait for the next release. - Sean Friswell (Editor)
'The Spark' by Enter Shikari. A massive departure from their previous albums, this caught me off guard with how personal it felt. Have genuinely had a few nights where the only things getting me through are tracks off this album.
Other notables for me that didn't stick the whole album, 'After Laughter' by Paramore just for the amazing 80's call back tracks.
Lil Dicky 'Professional Rapper'. Outdoing Eminem for the comedy rap tracks, there's a few filler tracks but there are also some bangers
Everybody 'Logic'. An amazing talent, with tracks that have the potential to totally change the landscape of rap. Not my favourite album but still got great tracks.
Also give a special shout out to Streetlight Manifesto. One of the greatest Ska bands in the states who are finally free of their shackles after getting out of their victory records contract. Looking forward to what they will be doing in 2018. - Oli Williams (Reviewer)
Has to be While She Sleeps 'You Are We', the fact that they did it by themselves after being let go from their major label. As well as them being super nice guys too, I feel like sleeps are going to get bigger and bigger! - Jon Burgess (Photographer)
Easy one for me . . . John Smith's 'Headlong'. A gorgeous selection of tunes highlighting his brilliant voice and guitar playing, aided by a select group of fine musicians. - Grahame Rhodes (Reviewer)
Couple of points before I name my album of the year, at the start or 2017 I had a full mental breakdown. To the point I couldn't carry on with my life the way I had been. I finally had to be open and tell my family how bad I was. This album was kinda my rescue point I don't think I'd have made it past 2017 without it.
The gig family that I mention later is a group of people that got to know each other from going to gigs mainly by Ginger Wildheart and bands with a close connection to him. Only one album could take that honour for me this year. And it has to be 'Tension And Release' by The Idol Dead.
Originally 11 songs, 12 if you pledged for the album with the addition of 'Symphony Bullet'. That can rip your heart out with the emotion and darkness of the songs but also have you dancing like a mad man. To be involved with this album means so much to me especially this year (I did the band photography for the album just in case I haven't mentioned it) 'Tension And Release' is also the ultimate 'Gig Family' album, with backing vocals provided by many of the gig family including the late Stuart 'Patch' Madripoor (RIP). - Neil Vary (Photographer)
I've not been here long and my year has been very dark for a good portion of it, I was really struggling with my own mental health challenges. The new music introduced to me through 3 Songs & Out has given me a refreshed hope for modern music. I had previously been very much locked into my favourite bands' output, which was fine but very little, until I started reviewing here enticed me to further listening beyond an initial investigation. In a sense, it has been like returning to my teenage years listening to new music and finding enjoyment in something completely new to me instead of listening to remasters of albums released before I was born. My choice for album of the year has been a very difficult one to pick from the bunch, special mention should go to The National's 'Sleep Well Beast' which helped me to battle through the summer which was not an easy time for me.
But my choice is Twisted Illusion's 'Insight To The Mind Of A Million Faces', it has some sentimental attachment as was my first review for the site but independent of that, it is the album I have returned to most often since reviewing it. - Mike McLaughlin (Reviewer)
I’d say 'Run' by Prawn. Having succumbed to the modern world where taking a chance on an album has become a rare luxury, I bought this after seeing them support The Flatliners.
I was really impressed by them live and thought I want to hear more. A great album full of short, sharp blasts of greatness. - Chris Watson (Reviewer)
I was torn between a few albums then after a lot of thought I can finally come up with a final, definitive answer.
Being in a similar situation to my fellow reviewers Mike and Neil, this year has been a tough one with various aspects of my mental health. One album really resonated with me all the way through, describing how I felt at various times, offering me hope as well as guidance. The music found in it reflected the lyrics perfectly and only helped create a solid album. It's been albums like this one that restores my faith in music and how it appeals to me.
My album of the year is 'Tension And Release' byThe Idol Dead. - Scott Hamilton (Reviewer)
I have only had the pleasure of reviewing for the site for just over a month so in terms of 2017 releases I am somewhat threadbare. This year I have rediscovered my love of vinyl and have invested in a decent turntable setup with some decent speakers. Consequently, most of my effort has been going into searching through record shops and fairs for those elusive classic albums. However, starting to review for 3SaO has re-awakened my interest in newly released material and opened my eyes to the fact that beneath the thick layer of manufactured mass promoted detritus, there are new and exciting bands producing excellent work. One such example, and my choice for 2017 was ‘The Horse And Other Weird Tales’ by Jess And The Ancient Ones. This is a great album which fuses a 60’s psychedelic style with a modern twist. To be exposed to a Finnish Psychedelic Rock band is a truly magical thing. Most of the albums I have reviewed have been fresh and exciting, but most hype back to when music was different and not either a pastiche or a ‘tried and tested' formulae. Music should make you listen and think, and most importantly for me, not be background noise. The aforementioned album just like the works of Pink Floyd etc, has to be listened to, and in the right order. So I really look forward to 2018 and to see which unknown band to me has produced a volume of work that I have not heard the like before. - Tony Creek (Reviewer)
Well I've thought long and hard, so much so I think I might have broken something in my brain. I'm not usually one for favourite records as I am fickle and my favourite today may not be tomorrow. There have been some great releases this year, The Idol Dead, The Main Grains, Sonic Boom Six. but to me it came down to two albums, 'The Endless Shipwreck' by Matt Watson but I think it was pipped at the post by Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls 'We Came Here To Work'.
To me Miles has never put a foot wrong but on this release he knocks it out of the park. It seems like a very retrospective album, indeed one can here The Wonder Stuff, Vent 414, Miles Hunt Club as well as throwbacks to his Hairy on The Inside album. The title track (His first political song ever) is about refugees and quite frankly if it doesn't get the hairs on the back of your neck standing up you may well be dead! It's not only my favourite release of the year but possibly the best thing Miles Hunt has ever done! - Andrew Forcer (Reviewer)
I think I'll go with Neck Deep's 'The Peace and Panic'.
This was a fun, up-beat Pop Punk album, granted there's nothing groundbreaking about it.
They're not pioneering any great new style but after hearing their previous material I instantly fell in love with their sound.
On this newest album there are a few fast, happy tracks to really get into, and also some slightly slower more heartfelt ones.
Anyone who knows me knows I am partial to a bit of Pop Punk and this album ticked all my boxes.
Crack a few tracks on at your next barbecue, you won't regret it. - Ric Snell (Reviewer)
Gustav Åhr, better known as Lil Peep created Emotion, trap, Rap music. The late artists last Instagram post was “When I die You’ll love me” and he was right. His debut album “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1” reached number 168 in the Billboard 200 Chart and lead track “Awful Things (ft. Lil Tracey)” peaked at number 79 in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart following the rappers death on 15th November 2017.
Lil Peep with the help of Wicca Phase (former lead singer of Tigers Jaw), were creating a genre cross over that I had never heard before. The first time I heard “Awful Things” I didn’t understand it, it was too much of a change to what I usually listen to but I gave it another shot and I’m so glad I did. The album takes you on the life story of Lil Peep, where drugs were the escape but music was the release for the 21 year old.
“Sometimes life gets fucked up / That’s why we get fucked up” are lyrics taken from “U Said”, after listening to the album a few more times, I could feel the pain of not making connections and the struggles of searching for a belonging, which relates so many of us as we stumble through life in our 20s’.
We shall forever wonder what could have been for an artist that was about to take the world by storm by taking risk in his music that was slowly paying off, It’s sad to say that the debut album was only Pt. 1 of the story.
RIP Lil Peep - Jake Williams (Reviewer)
'Malina' by Leprous. Expectations were high after 2015's 'The Congregation' and Leprous did not disappoint with this Avant-Garde masterpiece.
The mood is set from the get go with 'Bonneville' which slowly creeps into a huge crescendo paving the way for an album that seems to get bigger and better with every listen. They really are at the height of their talent. This is a band that masterfully manage to show off each individual members incredible talent without actually showing off, remaining true to the song.
Rarely sticking to a straight 4/4 time signature, vocalist Einar Solberg and the guys take you on a journey of the heaviest riffs to softest vocal harmonies and an incredible melancholic soundscape in between. Stand out tracks 'From The Flame' and 'Captive' show how a band so incredibly complex can still produce a catchy, sing along chorus and riffs whilst remaining so unique.
Baard Kolstad has truly settled in the band and the drums and polyrythms really are something else. The opening bass riff of 'Mirage', along with its unusual use of string bending creates one of the heaviest riffs without the need of a guitar. I honestly cannot say enough about this album, It truly is a modern day Prog masterpiece. - Ben Gladstone (Photographer)
I've not had a massive amount of time to think too hard about this because work has been mad but here are my albums of the year. Not in any particular order.
Ryan Hamilton And The Traitors 'Devils In The Detail' - This I know was available through the pledge campaign a year ago but wasnt officially released until early this year. I've had the privilege of seeing these guys a couple of times and each time it's been like a big family get together. This is probably my go to album if I fancy something a little different. Well delivered songs with some great sing along choruses. If you ever get chance to go see them then go you wont be disappointed, they're touring again early next year so go join the family :)
The next band I was introduced to on Pete Bailey's show 'Newbie's At Noon' on Primordial Radio.
Greta Van Fleet 'From The Fires'. For a young band they have hit the ground running and as a starting point this album is excellent. I can see these becoming a massive band. It's quite refreshing to see a new band doing something a different to the normal Metal or Indie bands out there. They are heavily influenced by Classic Rock. The vocalist has quite a range and feeling in his vocals. The two tracks that really stand out for me are 'Safari Song' and 'Highway Tune'.
Creeper 'Eternity, In Your Arms' Catchy choruses and a good selection of songs from upbeat ones through to slower ones such as 'Misery.' That song gives me goosebumps every time. I love that when a song has that effect.
Arch Enemy 'Will To Power' If i'm honest this is the first album I've heard from this band. I cant really put my finger why I like it so much but I do. Energetic and it just drives along at hell of a pace. That voice and the guitars, drums etc just gets me. The cover of 'City Baby' takes me back to my Punk roots when GBH released that track years ago. Yes I'm that old. These are playing Rock City next year, just saying Sean ;)
Midnite City 'Midnite City' This one is probably the one that I'm guessing a lot of people may not have heard. If you like Ratt, Europe etc then check these guys out. No one can deny it has some great hooks. Well arranged, delivered with great solos and big backing vocals. I dare you to listen to the track 'Summer Of Our Lives' and not end up singing along. - Dave Shipley (Photographer)
I'd have to go with Mastodon's 'Cold Dark Place' EP. Six months earlier the band had released their seventh studio album 'Emperor Of Sand'. If you'd asked me then, that would have been my album of the year but there's just something about the four-track release that I keep going back to. The EP features three tracks from the 'Once More Round The Sun' sessions and one track from the 'Emperor Of Sand' sessions.
With a heavy focus on vocals the band combine three very different vocal styles effectively, with Brent Hinds providing most of the heavy lifting.
Although this is a band effort, Hinds is credited with being the man behind 'Cold Dark Place' and his influence certainly shines through. Apart from his vocals this is mostly noticeable with the use of a 13-string pedal steel guitar that brings a whole new depth to Mastodons sound without being over used.
'Cold Dark Place' is a new direction for a band that have never been afraid to experiment and one that leans towards the sound of 2009's 'Crack The Skye'. If this is the direction they are going in I already can't wait for the next album. - Rich Smith (Photographer)