'In A Poem Unlimited' is by far the most ambitious and well-rounded record to date for Meghan Remy. The record finds a balance between genre experimentation and authenticity, a balance that most artists struggle with. Remy finds an equally impressive vocal balance, knowing when to quiet down and when to blow the roof off, an awareness that was inconsistent at best previously. Thematically the LP disarms you with assumptions. In a pleasant, easygoing song, she may soon be talking about killing a man; in a song about the gender pay gap, the drums may sound like they’re being played with a toothpick. Remy plays with moderation, goes left when the listeners say right, and forces them to observe the world through the lens of a woman in 2018.
'Freedom’s Goblin' shows that 10 LPs in, Segall is certainly not resting on his laurels. Though his forays into different genres are inefficient and haphazard, the fact that he so boldly attempts them is admirable enough. What’s less admirable is how long the record is, and how it seems to lose drive and focus, something that could have been negated through better organization or even splitting up the LP into more than one record. The true majesty of the record shines through with its dedicated theme of highlighting his love and appreciation for his weathered yet understanding wife Denee.
'The House' by Porches falls short in so many ways. From the invasion into the synth-pop world to the horribly unfitting vocals, virtually everything on this album is a disappointment. With luck though, Aaron Maine and co. will learn from this colossal waste of time and build something with greater depth and refinement in the future.
On their previous two albums, Frankie Cosmos painted amateur musical portraits of youthful urban life, but there was always the tiniest bit of predictability. “Jesse” could be the entryway to a new, more in-depth world of musicality for the group. The song’s structure and Kline’s vocals have helped the outfit paint with more elaborate colors and textures than we’ve heard from them before.
Music reviews were a new endeavor for Byte this year, but it was a great first year to cover. We saw some disappointments from previously loved artists like Arcade Fire and Blondie, to be sure, but we also saw some pleasant comebacks and changeups from the likes of Lorde, Aimee Mann and Paramore. Some of these albums made us smile and others made us cry, but they all left some sort of indelible mark on us, and that’s why they’re the best albums of 2017.