10 Of The Best Under-The-Radar Albums of 2017

You probably haven’t heard any of these albums, but you probably should give them a listen.

Written by Mason Cheng and Sarah Medeiros

Album ShopEveryone knows now that Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN is another great release in the Compton rapper’s legendary career, that Father John Misty dropped the most existential album of 2017 with Pure Comedy, and Thundercat released another modern jazz classic with Drunk; but what about the albums that didn’t get much attention? What about the releases hidden deep within the bowels of Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Spotify? There seems to be too much music out there and not enough time to listen to it all. Fortunately for you, the music writers at TPM scoured the internet for these hidden gems so you don’t have to. As a result of our endless pursuit of good music, here is a list of our 10 favorite under-the-radar albums of 2017.

Antisocialites – Alvvays
Antisocialites Album Cover
Source: Polyvinyl Record Co.

Alvvays is the hot new band that’s been bubbling under the surface for years after the release of their debut in 2014, and with ‘Antisocialites’ they’ve almost reached the due date for an explosion. Released in September via Polyvinyl, the sophomore album features the key tracks ‘In Undertow’ -detailing a failed relationship in a Camera Obscura-esque way- and ‘Dreams Tonite’, yet another song on a collapsing relationship, as is the subject of much of this album. -SM

An Open Letter – Nicotine’s Famous Honey
An Open Letter Album Cover
Source: 648548 Records DK

There isn’t much more I can add to the review of this album I wrote earlier this year. The silky smooth jazzy R&B delivery of Nicotine’s personal story of blossoming youth should absolutely make everyone’s must-listen list of 2017.  I can’t imagine a time when this record isn’t going to be on heavy rotation in my playlists. -MC

Try Not To Freak Out – Sløtface
Try Not To Freak Out Album Cover
Source: Propeller Recordings

Try Not To Freak Out” is the debut LP from Norwegian pop-punk band Sløtface. Refreshing and lighthearted it’s less viscerally charged than their EPs prior, but they’ve still kept their progressive political pugnacity (say that three times fast) with feminism and environmental issues taking a main-stage. -SM

It’s Nice Outside – Anti Lilly and Phoniks
Its Nice Outside Album Cover
Source: Don’t Sleep Records

Houston-based rapper Anti Lilly returns with a second collaboration with east-coast producer Phoniks after a 3 year hiatus. While it seems strange that a Houston scene rapper would work with an east-coast producer, Anti Lilly’s sound descends from the lineage of East-Coast rappers of the 90s. Combining Anti Lilly’s smooth flow and proficient story-telling ability with Phonik’s heavy melodic east-coast jazz beats creates a sound reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, and Ghostface Killah. The song “Company Cigarettes” alone is reason enough to give this album a listen. -MC

Worhead – Little Comets
Worhead Album Banner
Source: The Smallest Label

Lyrics are what I immediately look at in a song, never mind an entire album, and Little Comets is a band whose lyrical imagery sticks out straight away. “Worhead” takes you on twists and turns, an altogether sufficient album from a kitchen-sink indie band. -SM

Just Cosmo – Cosmo Pyke
Just Cosmo Album Cover
Source: 70Hz Recordings Ltd

Hailing from the same South London music scene as King Krule, Cosmo Pyke masterfully combines hip-hop with jazz and indie rock in his debut EP. While its easy to describe Cosmo Pyke as a more accessible King Krule, that description wouldn’t be doing him much justice. King Krule has a sharp and melancholic sound, while Cosmo Pyke sounds like a chill wave of positivity that also ends up sounding melancholic at the same time. “Chronic Sunshine“, “Social Sites“, and “Great Dane” make this EP worth the $4.00 investment. -MC

Need To Feel Your Love – Sheer Mag
Need To Feel Your Love Album Cover
Source: Wilsuns Recording Company

Sheer Mag has been garnering notice over the past few years with some tightly-packed EPs; Rolling Stone is amongst their fans and they had a slot at 2016’s Coachella, but it was this year that they finally released their debut LP to the delight of, well, me. “Need To Feel Your Love” is DIY-hardcore in ethos but bombastic hard-rock with a ‘70s vibe at heart. Need I say more? -SM

Being So Normal – Peach Pit
Peach Pit Eating Food
Source: Peach Pit

Its no secret Peach Pit is one of my favorite rising bands in indie rock. They have taken the mellow and melancholic sound currently dominating indie rock and made it more aggressive, dynamic, personal, and technically impressive.  Their unique sound in “Drop the Guillotine“, “Being So Normal“, and “Not Me” prove that it is still possible to make a good indie rock song without sounding like every other indie band. Also, the song “Tommy’s Party” proves that they can make a song out of anything. To summarize, there really isn’t a better way to announce yourself to the world in a debut LP. -MC

Something Like Eternity – The History of Colour TV
The History of Colour TV Band Photo
Source: The History of Colour TV

The History of Colour TV are a Berlin-based melodic rock trio, whose third album ‘Something Like Eternity‘ was released in March. Filled with the sweet coos of ambient noisiness and rough outer layers, the LP is best summed up by the single ‘Wreck’ (be sure to check out the b-side ‘August Twenty First’) and album-track ‘As Gray As Park Can Be’. -SM

The Never Story – J.I.D
The Never Story Album Cover
Source: Dreamville Records

It was a mistake for XXL not to include J.I.D in the 2017 Freshman Class. With The Never Story, J.I.D has shown to the world that he is probably the most dynamic and unique young rappers in the game. He shows off his trap rap influence in “Never“, he shows off his technical ability in “D/vision“, and he shows off his range and ability as a singer in “Hereditary” and “All Bad“. When I first heard him on Kinda Neat in 2016 I thought he was good, but I didn’t think he was going to be this game changing. There isn’t another rapper from the 2017 Freshman Class I would put over J.I.D. -MC

Mason Cheng

Music Intern

I like music. Sometimes I write about it.

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