2017 In Music: A Timeline

As 2017 came to an end and January 1st loomed on the horizon, many undoubtedly reflected on the happenings of the year past. Pockmarked with so much tragedy and apparent turmoil in the world, 2017 was objectively filled with negativity. Yet, all hope was not lost, and one could argue that this year was amazing for music- one of success stories and underdogs, and one that brought innumerable amounts of good music into the forefront. Below, find a field guide to many of the noteworthy releases and the head-turning music news from the year.

On the cusp of a grand year to come, January was marked by countless tour announcements, album hype, and speculations. But through the noise of things to come, Tennessee band Colony House released their sophomore album, Only the Lonely, preceding a lengthy headline tour with support from Deep Sea Diver and Knox Hamilton.

As the bitter winter cold started to ease, the music scene began to warm up further. Hippo Campus dropped Landmark, their first full-length effort, to immense hype and glowing reviews. Veteran musician Andrew McMahon also released an album entitled Zombies on Broadway, his second with his current music project, Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness.

Following the success of Wild World, Bastille began the North American leg of the Wild, Wild World Tour, the entirety of which would span almost the whole year, eventually ending in South Africa in October. Another highly anticipated tour at this time also marched through North America- that of Panic! At the Disco, featuring Misterwives and Saint Motel, a lineup that was one for the books.

Flurries of tours began and continued, especially for many of the aforementioned bands and artists who looked to support recent releases. But among the most notable releases to happen in April was Coin’s How Will You Know If You Never Try, full of catchy hooks and smart synths. Rock mainstays Cold War Kids also made a splash in April with their 6th studio album L.A. Divine, which featured singles such as “Love is Mystical” and “So Tied Up”, a track with a special appearance by Bishop Briggs.

With spring potently hanging in the air, it was prime time for sunny, shimmering music. While supporting Coin, NJ-based band A R I Z O N A shined with Gallery; Natalie Claro made her mark with Disconnect; and even big names created major buzz, especially Paramore’s After Laughter, which took hard-hitting pains and set them to a brighter tune. Finally, in a highly anticipated follow up to 2015’s Our Own House, indie pop band Misterwives released Connect the Dots, a big, loud celebration of all the brightest moments in life.

June was the month for major players to get back on the scene. After a long 4 years since her debut Pure Heroine, Lorde made a strong return with Melodrama, a contender that topped charts and numerous end-of-year lists. Arena rockers Imagine Dragons also saw a comeback, with their at-times out there but thoroughly enjoyable third offering, Evolve. Even indie rock heartthrobs Phoenix got in on the game, with Ti Amo, proving that six albums after they started, the French band still very much had a lot to offer. To top it all off, California-based band Sir Sly dropped Don’t You Worry, Honey, an album praised for its transparency and lyrical depth. Along with all of these releases, the summer festival circuit heated up, following the success of Coachella and Boston Calling in previous months and Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, Panorama, and more just around the corner.

2017 was a knockout year for British musician Declan Mckenna, and July marked not only the release of the 18 year old’s full-length album What Do You Think About the Car?, but also an immensely successful North American headline tour. The album was co-produced by Rostam Batmanglij, who himself has had a noteworthy year between the release of his solo album Half-Light and his countless production credits, including one for his help on Haim’s Something to Tell You, also released that month. To close it out, July finally marked the beginning of a new era for acclaimed band Foster the People, as Sacred Hearts Club took the music world by storm.

Portugal. The Man’s June release Woodstock began picking up steam as the band became breakthrough summer hitmakers with the single “Feel It Still”. Defying all conventions of the mainstream, the band’s sudden rise to fame was not only admirable, but a major success for the alternative community. Meanwhile, powerhouse band Young the Giant began the final leg of their tour for Home of the Strange, with a strong lineup that included Cold War Kids and Joywave, the latter celebrating the release of their album Content.

With the summer concert circuit coming to a close, one would expect that things would begin to slow. Yet that was hardly the case; one pleasant surprise to come out of September was the return of Ohio band Walk the Moon. Their single, “One Foot”, and announcement of both What if Nothing and an early 2018 tour was not only taken in stride, but welcome by fans. On top of that, Boston-based trio Future Teens, now signed to Take This To Heart Records, released "Hard Feelings", a blend of gloomy post punk with modern indie in a breed of music they refer to as “bummer pop”.

English band Glass Animals finish touring across the United States for their massive 2016 hit album How to Be a Human Being, while The Front Bottoms, touting a new release, embarked on a tour that featured the likes of Basement and Bad Bad Hats as support. In the same vein, Misterwives brought Smallpools and Vinyl Theatre out on the Connect the Dots Tour, as all three bands were celebrating new albums or EPs. In terms of releases, Natalie Claro shared a beautiful video for her track “Baby Bug”, and up-and-comer Photocomfort shared a small handful of lighthearted singles.

Bleachers, to end what was a busy year for frontman Jack Antonoff, began to close out the Gone Now era with a headline tour that featured special guests Bishop Briggs and Tove Styrke. Saint Motel also wrapped up touring just over one year after Saintmotelevision came out, finishing the whimsical and immersive Late Night with Saint Motel Tour. As that chapter closed, a new one opened for Walk the Moon with the official release of What if Nothing. The Wombats also began an exciting new album cycle, the single “Lemon to a Knife Fight” accompanying announcements of a headline tour and their upcoming 2018 album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.

In short, 2017 in retrospect was a beautiful year for music. Whether it be the return of musical powerhouses, or the debut of who could easily be your new favorite band, there were surprises and joyful moments abound. And with so much to look back on, one can only look to 2018 with anticipation and possibly even excitement; the plentiful tours, potential albums, and brand new opportunities that will present themselves offer chances to celebrate music, the universal constant of society.


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