Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament – who is releasing his new solo album Heaven/Hell in mid-March and gearing up for the band’s upcoming world tour – had a difficult time narrowing down his favorite songs of 2017 to a mere five. “The last few months of 2017 was filled with so many great records by St. Vincent, War On Drugs, LCD Soundsystem, Mogwai, At the Drive-in, Angel Olsen, Lemon Twigs, Lo Moon and others earlier in the year by Grandaddy, Zeal & Ardor, Portugal. The Man, Father John Misty, Mark Eitzel and the xx,” he says. “It’s hard to pick just five tunes. Proof that there’s more great music being made than ever.”
It’s hard to pick one song from Painted Ruins as it all runs together for me – a real album. “Mourning Sound” has it all though, both voices, killer bass and drums, some signature guitar chords and great lyrics. They are probably my favorite band the last few years. I only wish they’d make more music, which is somewhat ironic, considering we haven’t made a record in almost five years.
Our band was on parallel paths with Tragically Hip. It’s strange we didn’t cross those paths more often. Gord made an unbelievable swan song of an album. I cried the whole first listen. So beautiful and honest. Sonically it reminds me so much of where I grew up in north central Montana, which is basically Canada. “Faith Faith” is also one of the great songs about man’s best friend.
Lemon Twigs continue the long line of talented British brother singer/songwriters, except they’re American. I hear Queen, Beatles, 10cc and other radical prog-pop that I haven’t heard since Jellyfish left us. Killer harmonies, incredible instrumental interplay and a wide range of style paint a bright future.
I can’t help but see the slow doom and depression of Melancholia‘s wedding scene when I hear this. Lyrically centered around Christian wedding vows with a tinge of sarcasm I think. I love the big synth production and repetitive funk bass hook, and she delivers a beautiful vocal. “It has a nice beat, and I can dance to it.”
Sub Pop just released the whole catalog of U-Men songs in one beautiful package and “Shoot ‘Em Down” is my favorite of the bunch. Takes me back to their insanely entertaining shows at the Metropolis, Ground Zero and Graven Image, the heyday of Seattle music for some of us. U-Men had one of my favorite rhythm sections in Jim [Tilman] and Charlie [Ryan]. With the dynamic Tom Price guitars and maybe the most charismatic frontman to come out of Seattle, John Bigley, they influenced and inspired every band that saw them.