music

My Favorite Albums of 2017

It's that time of year! Christmas is right around the corner, but more importantly, the time to release music in 2017 is coming to an close. This year was a great one for music. There was a lot of crap released, but there was also a lot of gems. I know we still have a couple weeks left in December, but I'm releasing my "Best Albums of 2017" list early. The only two artists that could change my mind and be added to this list after it's posted are A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q, who both said they would have albums out at the end of the year, but I'm too impatient to wait for them to pull a Frank Ocean and end up not releasing anything. These are in no particular order because picking favorite music is like picking a favorite child and I just can't do it. So, without further ado, here's my list! 

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Citizen - As You Please

Before this album, I wasn't a huge Citizen fan. I had seen them before as an opener for The Story So Far but I wasn't instantly into their music. For me, their previous albums sounded too much like the rest of the Pop Punk scene, as the case for many bands from that time. However, As You Please changed my opinion. You can sense the emotion in every song and it strays from the path of a typical Pop Punk album. I found myself unable to skip any song when listening to the album and for me, that's when I know it's one of the best of the year.

Highlights: In the Middle of It All, Jet

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(Sandy) Alex G - Rocket

Alex G has a ridiculous amount of music and it's hard to find a bad song amidst his large discography. Rocket is not an exclusion to this trend. This album isn't exactly a "normal" album for Alex G; there's a lot of experimentation and not a lot of consistency when it comes to the trackless, but that's what I like about it. He's released so many songs at this point that he's allowed to experiment so that every track doesn't sound cookie-cutter to the next. You can hear the influence of Frank Ocean in some of the songs, which makes sense seeing as Alex G contributed to Ocean's Blond last year. Overall, I haven't been able to stop listening to this record since it came out and I'm very happy I was able to photograph this genius on his Boston stop during his tour. (Yes, I'm still unsure which name he goes by. Sandy? Alex G? Musical genius?)

Highlights: Witch, Sportstar, Powerful Man

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Jay-Z - 4:44

It's about time, am I right? I love Jay-Z. I love Beyonce. I love them together. I love when they fight because Beyonce releases one of the best albums of all time. So, it's no surprise that I love this album. I actually bought it because I don't have a subscription to Apple Music or Tidal and it's not on Spotify. I haven't bought an album since Lemonade. It's that good. Each track is musically striking and so many of the lyrics are relevant to today's struggles in the government and society. It's politically charged while still being a jam. 

Highlights: Bam, Moonlight

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Turnover - Good Nature

I've been living under a rock for the past year so I didn't even know Turnover was a band until early 2017. Luckily, I got to be a fan when they released Good Nature, which is my most listened to album this year, according to Spotify. Many have said the songs sound very similar to each other, but I think the album's contents are different from one another but keep a similar vibe. That's always a good thing. This album is perfect for a day of driving or a beach visit.

Highlights: Nightlight Girl, Super Natural, Bonnie (Rhythm & Melody)

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PVRIS - All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell

This album has bangers after bangers. PVRIS has gotten huge after their last album and they certainly deserve it. Local to Massachusetts, PVRIS started off small and starting gaining more popularity with their female lead vocalist, unique cross between Rock and Electronic, and their awesome message of positivity in the LGBTQ community. Listening to AWKOHAWNOH will make you feel like a badass and dance around the house.

Highlights: What's Wrong, Same Soul, Anybody Else

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Brockhampton - Saturation I & II

Brockhampton blessed us with two albums this year and a third is due out next week (which may make me regret releasing this list early). This collective is a cross between A$AP Mob, Frank Ocean, and Odd Future. They're incredible. Kevin Abstract and his crew are truly unique and make sure they get that through your head with these albums. I love the range of sounds this collective produces and I can't wait for their third album. Apparently, it may be their last, but it better not be or I'll lose my mind. How can a band release three albums in one year and then call it quits, especially after the following they've gained in 2017? We'll see. If it's true, you'll catch me signing a petition to bring them back.

Highlights: GOLD, STAR, GUMMY, SWEET

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Brand New - Science Fiction

So, this one is hard. This was going to be my number 1 for 2017. I'm a huge fan of Brand New. I have a Brand New tattoo. But, Jesse Lacey broke my heart this year. A month or two after the album came out, sexual assault allegations against Lacey arose on Facebook and the band later confirmed these allegations on their page. I don't want to go into detail (honestly because I'm still not over it) but it has been difficult for me to listen to this album for a while now. It's hard when your idol turns out to be a terrible person. It's hard when you listen to lyrics that seemed about someone else's perspective but now you're unsure if Lacey wrote them about his own feelings. I feel for the victim(s). Lacey is no longer my idol and his pathetic apology was not accepted. However, Lacey's actions don't speak for the whole band and it's heartbreaking that this album is now associated with them. Science Fiction is still one of the best albums of 2017, in my opinion. It's full of emotion, heartbreak, and musical genius. I will no longer be supporting them, but I can't ignore that their music changed my life. I'll still listen to them, but you won't find me defending Lacey. 

Highlights: 137, In the Water, Can't Get it Out

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Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

This one is pretty obvious. I don't think that anyone has not put this album on a list this year. It's absolutely fantastic. Kendrick proves, once again, he's one of the best rappers of all time. Every track is unique, innovation, politically charged, and lyrically genius. 

Highlights: HUMBLE, FEAR, LOYALTY

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Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile to the Surface

Manchester Orchestra has never made a bad album, in my opinion. This album isn't an exception to that. I can listen from start to finish and not get bored. It's amazing, well-written, and moving. As always, the instrumental elements are on point and emotional. It's not an album for everyone because of it's emotional content, but if you're a fan of Brand New, Turnover, and Citizen, then I would recommend it. I got to shoot their Boston date of their promotional tour and it's even better live. 

Highlights: The Gold, The Alien, The Moth

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

These albums don't make my list for the "best" albums because they didn't resonate with me like the ones above did, but there's no denying that they're amazing. Sometimes, the music just doesn't make me go nuts and that's okay. So here are three albums that deserve a listen, but just were a little off for me.

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SZA - CTRL

Another Top Dawg production! This time, SZA comes out with her debut album and she kills it. SZA is a vocal powerhouse. I first heard her on Rihanna's album last year and I was instantly hooked. Her voice is beautiful and her songs are seductive. This album sets the standard for debut albums. That being said, some of the songs I can't relate to and that's okay. SZA definitely had a solid concept behind this album that would reach specific people. I think a lot of the songs are fantastic, but some didn't stick with me. 

Highlights: Drew Barrymore, The Weekend, Love Galore

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Tyler, the Creator - Scum Fuck Flower Boy

I love Tyler. I really do. His previous album, Cherry Bomb? Wasn't my favorite. SFFB is definitely better than that one, but it still didn't excite me as much as I hoped. It's still incredible, but I was a fan of Tyler when he produced Wolf and Goblin. Those songs really changed the game of rap for me. I think this album was made by Tyler for Tyler. He comes out of his shell (and maybe out as gay, although it's not exactly confirmed) and made music that no one expected him to make. And while I think that's extremely commendable, it just wasn't my cup of tea exactly. It has some gems on it, but many of the songs aren't my style. That being said, I still think the album is fantastic and a great stepping stone for his career and musical style. I was also honored to be able to shoot this tour as well. He definitely puts on one hell of a show.

Highlights: See You Again, I Ain't Got Time!

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Miguel - War & Leisure

The only reason this is an honorable mention is because it literally came out last week, so I haven't been able to dive into it yet. But so far, it's incredible. Miguel has been consistently impressing me this year with his single releases. Sky Walker was one of my most listened to songs this year, according to Spotify. He really let loose with this album and had fun with it. I respect that a lot, especially because he has so much talent and his voice is so beautiful. Please check out this album if you haven't yet and make sure you have plenty of room around you so you can bust out dancing like I usually do.

Highlights: Sky Walker, Caramelo Duro, Come Through and Chill

Thanks for reading! What was your Top 5 from 2017? Comment down below and check back next week for a new post!

Tyler, the Creator at the Palladium

The Flower Boy Tour - Nov. 15

I was so excited to have heard that I was going to be photographing the Tyler, the Creator show at the Palladium for the Allston Pudding! I've been itching to see him live for a while now and I jumped on the chance that I could go. I have to note: the Palladium stuff are, like, the most polite and understanding folks. They were awesome in the barricades.  I'd also like to thank my 70-200mm 2.8 lens for coming in clutch and contributing to the following photos. 

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Jammy Jams Vol. I

Okay, let me be honest with you.

Real talk starts now. Freelancing is REALLY hard. Believe it or not, a lot of people don't like to pay for photography! So, things have been a little show for me in the photo realm, so I don't have a shoot to post today. However, I have a couple booked for the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned. For now, I'm coming at you with the first edition of Jammy Jams (title is a work in progress), which is where I'll create a list of the music I've been enjoying recently. Let's get into it!

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Turnover - Good Nature (EP)

I'm really late in the game to be talking about Turnover, since they've been around for a bit, but I finally sat down and starting listening to them a couple months back and... WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? They're so good! Turnover released their new album this August and there isn't one song that I dislike. It's all fantastic. Very good music for driving during a sunset. They also released a photo book that has the vinyl in the back that is absolutely beautiful. 

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Brand New - Science Fiction (EP)

Brand New is one of my favorite bands and it killed me that they played the whole "mysterious messages and singles" game with me without releasing a new album in the past 5 years. However, they didn't disappoint with Science Fiction. Once again, not a song that I don't like, though I could do without the little tape recordings that they put before and after songs. I like music that plays without breaks, so it takes me out of the vibe for a bit. That said, it's worth a listen (or 10).

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BROCKHAMPTON (Band)

I had seen this band/group's name a couple times on Spotify but never actually listened to them. I've been missing out. BROCKHAMPTON is a large group of rappers and the band has a couple albums out, one being SATURATION II that was released a week or two ago. I'd highly recommend them if you're a fan of Odd Future, Childish Gambino, and A$AP Mob. The beats are incredible.

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PVRIS - AWKOHAWNOH (EP)

I'm a huge fan of PVRIS so the fact that I love their new album is no surprise. The Lowell-natives didn't pack the album with a numerous amount of tracks, but each one is better than the other. Lynn Gunn continues to me, in my opinion, the best female vocalist out there right now. I love how personal and raw this album is and that it has those characteristics while being songs I can jam out to. 

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Pinegrove (Band)

Another band that is so slept on (even by me). I've seen a lot of my photographer buddies post photos of this band, but I never checked them out. Big mistake on my part! Pinegrove is so good! Their songs are very acoustic but raw and beautiful. The vocals hit you right to the bone. Perfect for the fall weather. 

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Miguel (feat. Travis Scott) - Sky Walker (Song)

Miguel is back with a JAM. This song is amazing and whimsical. Travis Scott meshes so well with Miguel and I'm pumped they did a song together. 

That's it for the first edition of Jammy Jams! What's your favorite recent release? Let me know in the comments!

Goatpunch at the Track Shack Final Show

I had never been to the local Allston hot spot for basement shows, but luckily, my co-worker Josh is the front for Goatpunch and I got to see the venue in all its glory before it's gone forever. The show was high energy and politically charged, as it fell on the same day as a free speech rally in Boston. As always, I had a great time seeing my friends get pumped up about music. See the shots below and relive the moment!

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(Sandy) Alex G & Japanese Breakfast at the Sinclair

On Wednesday, July 5th, I spent the night at the Sinclair with some amazing bands. Cende from New York opened the show and gained a new fan (me). If you haven't heard these guys, you need to listen to their album! It's short but amazing. Japanese Breakfast was fantastic and badass as usual and Alex G played a mixture of old and new material, all of which was incredible. Check out my favorite shots below!

Go to the Allston Pudding website to see these shots plus a write-up of the show from Jeremy. Thanks to the team for setting this up!