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15 Great Albums You Probably Didn’t Hear in 2017

Rolling Stone critics choose LPs that flew under the radar

15 Great Albums You Didn't Hear:

These albums – from lesser-known but more-than-worthy artists – may not have burned through your playlists in 2017, but a Rolling Stone editor or contributor thinks at least one should have.

Sneaks, 'It's a Myth'

Sneaks, ‘It’s a Myth’

Playing solo under the moniker Sneaks, D.C. post-punker Eva Moolchan dresses down her own songs and lets her bass and synthesizers do the talking, while her voice, charmingly disaffected, floats along for the ride. Produced by Mary Timony (Helium, Ex Hex), Moolchan’s sophomore LP is dense when compared to the cool austerity of 2016’s Gymnastics; the saunter of her past songs races to a sprint in the freestyle-centric opener “Inside Edition,” and slows to a power strut in the cutting “Hair Slick Back” and “Future.” S.E.

Tyminski, 'Southern Gothic’

Tyminski, ‘Southern Gothic’

The vocal turn of Dan Tyminski on Avicii’s 2013 EDM smash “Hey Brother” seems to have been more than a one-off. The bluegrass guitarist and vocalist’s 2017 solo album Southern Gothic plays around with a similar palette of sounds, mixing traditional acoustic instrumentation with buzzing electronics and programmed drums. The title track slithers along to swampy dobro riffs and beatboxed percussion, while Tyminski ruminates on crooked preachers and politicians, infidelity and the shadowy corners of prim Southern towns. These skittering beats and top-shelf picking accompany Tyminski’s brooding looks at his world, from toxic relationships (“Perfect Poison”) to confronting pain (“Hollow Hallelujah”), culminating in the stunning, all-build-no release album closer “Numb.” It’s a wild clash of sounds that proves traditional sensibilities don’t have to be covered in dust. Jon Freeman

Billy Woods, 'Known Unknowns'

Billy Woods, ‘Known Unknowns’

Rapper Billy Woods is a familiar but under-appreciated name, with a catalog dating back to the early Aughts and New York’s pre-Beast Coast underground. Known Unknowns alludes to Woods’ unheralded reputation while also announcing his intentions to finally reach a wider audience. He casually raps about “zero merch sales,” clueless undercover cops and diehard fans who “know every verse” on the whimsical “Police Came to My Show.” He flips the names of rap icons like Nas and Kool G. Rap into a lament of fading hip-hop values on “Superpredator,” and trades bars with fellow NYC heads Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman on “Wonderful.” He rhymes in knotty language and makes twisty narratives, and producer Blockhead adds a muddy boom-bap element, making sure the music bumps even as Woods’ verses whizz past. Mosi Reeves

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