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Alvvays also was #1 on the Top 200 of 2017
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The Best Albums of 2017

Sometimes you've got to dig a little deeper to find some of the special treats offered by the year in music.

Edited By Magnus Thyvold

Follow our look back at 2017

The Top 200 of 2017

The definitive list of the best records of 2017 - including electronic, hip hop, international, jazz, loud and folk roots & blues.

Best of 2017

Best Releases of 2017
As chosen by Music Directors and some of our contributers.
When you get paid to listen to music all the time, you have an advantage finding the best and the over-looked.

Best Local Releases
If home is where the heart is, local is where the music starts. Picks from !earshot contributors and programmers from across the country

Full Best of 2017 lists from Programmers and Contributors

Catherine Fisher, CJLY-Nelson, BC
Glen Ingram, CICK-Smithers, BC
Kyle MyTruk, UNFM-Manitoba, BC
Jason Shields, UMFM-Winnipeg, MB
Myles Gregory, CFBX-Kamloops, BC
dj peanut butter, CHCR-Killaloe, ON
Troy Lemberg, CFUC-Victoria, BC
Tyler Wilson, CIVL-Abbotsford, BC

!earshot National Top 200 of 2017

For January to December 2017
TW  Artist - Title - (Label)
1 Alvvays Can Con
Antisocialites - (Polyvinyl)
2 Mac DeMarco Can Con
This Old Dog - (Royal Mountain)
3 Austra Can Con
Future Politics - (Pink Fizz)
4 Timber Timbre Can Con
Sincerely, Future Pollution - (Arts & Crafts)
5 Faith Healer Can Con
Try ;-) - (Mint)
6 Broken Social Scene Can Con
Hug of Thunder - (Arts & Crafts)
7 Homeshake Can Con
Fresh Air - (Royal Mountain)
8 Daniel Romano Can Con
Modern Pressure - (You've Changed)
9 Whitehorse Can Con
Panther In The Dollhouse - (Six Shooter)
10 Do Make Say Think Can Con
Stubborn Persistent Illusions - (Constellation)
View the full !earshot Top 200 of 2017

Specialty Charts #1s
Electronic Austra - Future Politics - (Pink Fizz)
Hip Hop Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 3 - (Run the Jewels, Inc.)
InternationalThe Souljazz Orchestra - Under Burning Skies - (Do Right! Music)
Jazz Ugly Beauties - Strange Attractors - (Self-Released)
Loud Mastodon - Emperor Of Sand - (Reprise)
Folk/Roots/BluesRose Cousins - Natural Conclusion - (Outside Music)

We polled some of our regular contributors and programmers from across the country to get an individual perspective on some of the best albums of 2017. These folks have listened to a lot of records this year. Here is what stands out.

Share your choices for Best Album of 2017 in the comments...

Troy Lemberg, Music Director, CFUV 101.9FM, Visctoria, BC

I am Troy Lemberg, the Music Director at CFUV in Victoria BC as well as host of The Action Index on Thursdays 6:30-8PM. My personal program is a hardcore punk show and I book concerts of various genres in town as well.

My Top 3 records of the year

WoolwormDeserve To Die – (Mint)
Biased pick maybe but also the best album this year. I have told so many people about this album and have been listening to this record since Feb when Woolworm played my 10 year radio show anniversary and they gave me an advance copy of this record. I never stopped listening and knew all the words at the album release show in August. I have been booking this band in Victoria since their very beginnings and am excited to see a full length out on a label and the new fans they have now got!

Dreamdecay Yu – (Iron Lung)
This album was just such a great mix of punk and cool post punk sounds that I fell in love with the release. Then seeing them live twice in 2017 also pushed this album up in my rankings. Check out their KEXP session.

Kelly Lee OwensKelly Lee Owens (Smalltown Supersound)
I felt like I was the only one into this album at our station for the first 2 months it was here at the station. Then near the end of its charting time more and more came to discover it. I came into it because of the Jenny Hval featured track but stayed for her production throughout the album.

Read more of Troy's Picks for 2017

Glen Ingram - Outside-In

CICK Radio - Smithers, BC
My show is a mixed bag of genres (but I lean heavily on indie pop and rock) that features the best and most recent music in the studio within the last 2 weeks.  The show has been on the air since 2009 (since the beginning of CICK).
Show website -
Station facebook -

My Top 3 records of the year

The Souljazz Orchestra - Under Burning Skies – (Indie)
A mix of funk, disco and afrobeat.  What's not to like.  Oh, and did I mention that every musician is at the top of their craft.

AlvvaysAntisocialites – (Royal Mountain Records)
CBC may love them, but we love them more.  There is a creativity that bursts forth from every track.  The space between notes combined with sorrowful reverb begs you to pull a late night mainer, while staring at abandoned storefronts.

EsmerineMechanics of Dominion – (Constellation)
Stark, haunting and profound.  Three words that describe Esmerine's latest album.  The builds and plummets perfectly articulate a planet rushing towards the impacts of climate change.  Instrumental/chambre music with a meaning.

Read more of Glen's Picks for 2017

Myles Gregory - Broken Glass CFBX, Kamloops BC.

My name is Myles Gregory, and I host a weekly punk/hardcore show on CFBX in Kamloops, BC. Broken Glass is on Sunday Nights from 9pm – 10pm. Twitter is a great way to contact both myself and the radio station; @theycallmemylo and @CFBXradio.

My Top 3 records of the year

Piss TestLP2 – Dirt Cult Records & Taken By Surprise Records
This is a phenomenal release, and definitely a punk album that will stick around. The first time I heard ‘Basement’ it warmed up my heart.

Dad ThighsThe Ghosts That I Fear – Old Press Records & Damn Fine Tapes
Although the entire album works well throughout, ‘The Rain it Raineth’ is my favourite track of 2017.
Twitter: @dadthighs

XylitolIs Toxic To Pigs? – Thrilling Living Records & Total Negativity Records
Just an amazing 6 track EP. A full length will be unstoppable!

Read more of Myles' Picks for 2017

Catherine Fisher, Wine Dark Sea - Kootenay Co-op Radio, Nelson, BC.

Catherine Fisher is the host of the Wine Dark Sea, Mondays from 8-10pm on Kootenay Co-op Radio, CJLY-FM in Nelson, BC.

Three of my Top 17 for 2017.

Anouar Brahem - Blue Maqams - (ECM)
Oud master Anouar Brahem, born in 1957 in Halfaouine, Tunis, was ten when he began studying the oud at the National Conservatory, and then apprenticed with great master Ali Sriti. His ninth album brings Brahem together with jazz greats Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates. Website

Lusine Grigoryan - Komitas: Seven Songs, Piano Compositions - (ECM)
Composer and ethnomusicologist Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935) spent his life exploring and recording Armenia’s musical history. This recording features his 1911 composition Yot Yerg. As Paul Griffiths observes in the liner notes, Lusine Grigoryan has interpreted “not just in what is on the page but the whole folk music background. Her legato phrasing might suggest the duduk, her staccatos the tar; drums and zurna are here, too, together with a folk-like flexibility of rhythm.” Website.

Kathleen Yearwood - This Guitar is Wrecked Vol 1 and 2 - (Voice of the Turtle)
I always look forward to new music by Alberta-based composer and musician Kathleen Yearwood. This Guitar is Wrecked opens with a blistering drone-concrete composition.Yearwood’s beautiful guitar work and composition skills are in evidence throughout the cds. You can order them on Yearwood’s webpage.

See the rest of Catherine's Top 17 of 2017

Jason Sheilds - BIOS Radio, UMFM 101.5, Winnipeg, Manitoba

I host BiOS RADiO in Winnipeg, Manitoba for UMFM 101.5. The show primarily consists of industrial techno, acid, and other electronic oddities. None of these genres appear on my list this year oddly enough. That’s not to say that there weren’t some great records in this realm, they just didn’t make the cut this year. Also, feel free to check out my music project KHRAKEN on Bandcamp!

My Top 5 records of the year

Charlotte GainsbourgRest (Because Music)
Stunning return from Carlotte Gainsbourg on this release. Her soft vocals which shift between English and French tie together nicely with the incredible production from Ed Banger’s SebastiAn. There is a simplistic beauty to this album which makes it an easy choice for my favourite record of the year! The final bonus track with the child singing Happy Birthday is the icing on the cake.

Björk – Utopia (One Little Indian)
Utopia is a bit of an oddity, I could understand why people wouldn’t find it as accessible as her prior works. As Utopia unfolds it begins to integrate a multitude of “nature sounds" which melds perfectly with Bjork’s unique production style. This is further elevated by the incredible vocal range & ominous lyrics this LP offers. Not her strongest work, but it continues to grow on me since its initial release. I will undoubtly be playing this record for months to come.

St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION (Loma Vista)
This selection may confuse a few people. My radio show primarily plays industrial techno & acid and this is the polar opposite. This album took me a couple listens to fully appreciate. In the end, the pop driven beats with tinges of industrial-rock and absurd lyrics won me over. I was originally introduced to her work from seeing a live performance in 2012. I was never a huge fan of her previous studio releases but MASSEDUCTION is an absolute blast from start to finish. I can’t explain why I love this record so much. I just do!

Borussia Kinda Love EP (Ed Banger)
This EP received a lot of play from me in the beginning of the year. Young Parasian producer Borussia created a solid 4 track club EP that somehow flew under everyone’s radar. Very catchy, very fun, very French. Don’t sleep on this one!

Persona 5Original Video Game Soundtrack (Mastard Records)
In all my years, I do not think I have ever listed a video game soundtrack in my year-end roundup. Spanning 110 tracks and 3 CDs (6LPs), this is an absolute masterpiece. The productions are nearly as stylish as the game and that truly says a lot. The OST spans a multitude of genres but is primarily in a loose jazz style. Lyn Inaizumi adds her unique sound to the mix to create a handful of standout tracks that are difficult to not play on repeat. To be honest, there are a few songs on this OST that I will have perpetually stuck in my head until Persona 6 is released. Do not overlook this release because it is a videogame soundtrack. That would be a very silly thing to do.

Read more of Jason's Picks for 2017

Kyle Mytruk, Shut Up, It’s Time for Radio, UMFM 101.5, Winnipeg

My name is Kyle Mytruk. I host Shut Up, It’s Time for Radio, Sunday’s at 9 pm
I play free jazz/experimental/weird music.

My Top 3 records of the year

Lean Left, I Forgot to Breathe, (Trost Records)
The Ex guitarists plus Paal Nilsson-Love from The Thing and Ken Vandermark on sax equals chaos, beautiful chaos.

Peter Brotzmann/Heather Leigh, Sex Tape, (Trost Records)
Heather Leigh pulls out a more emotional and subtle performance from Peter Brotzmann, who is known for usually a more aggressive saxophone performance

Guerilla Toss, GT Ultra, (DFA Records)
A very underrated album, a great blend of avant-garde and pop. It's got off the wall performances and catchy melodies that will stick in your head.

Read more of Kyle's Picks for 2017

Jesse Matthewson

Tyler Wilson, Neon Brown on CIVL FM in Abbotsford

My name is Tyler Wilson, I host Neon Brown on CIVL 101.7 FM, based out of Abbotsford, BC.  My show, which runs every Sunday night from 8:00 until late (at least midnight). I play mostly new releases with a focus on Canadian music. I love having an extended, late night timeslot for my show; it allows me to branch out into every genre, and gives me the opportunity to play those longer album cuts that you might not normally hear on the radio. You can find a site for my show on Facebook at

My Top 3 records of the year

Mac DeMarco This Old Dog – (Royal Mountain)
            Who’d of thought that Mac could write a serious song?  I’ve always loved the tongue-in-cheekness in other Mac Demarco releases, but I feel like this album really shows what a great song writer he really is. Apart from the lyrics, the music is the same smooth as hell slacker rock that you’ve seen on his other albums. This album was my summer jam.
Listen and purchase his music here:

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder – (Arts & Crafts)
It felt like 2017 was the year somebody tried to resurrect 2006; we saw new music from Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Emily Haines, Feist, Do Make Say Think, and Broken Social Scene (I’m sure I’m forgetting about some here too). While many of these release are quite enjoyable, Hug of Thunder sticks out as a highlight of the year. Some songs on the album, such as Hug of Thunder or Mouth Guards for the Apocalypse tug on those nostalgia heartstrings, and sound like classic Broken Social Scene. Other tracks, such as Skyline, feel right at home alongside all the dreampop that’s been coming out this year.
More info here:

Partner – In Search Of Lost Time – (You’ve Changed Records)

            It is very possible that Josee Caron and Lucy Niles, the two best bud’s that make up the band Partner, are time travelers from the 1990’s sent to the present to save guitar rock.  There’s songs about being too high, watching TV, and being gay; what else do you need?  The answer is, of course, recordings of phone calls scattered thought the album.  This album is a very fun listen, and if Canada actually legalizes pot on July 1st, the lead off track “Everybody Knows” should be pumped into every grocery store muzak system across the country.
Buy their music here:  
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