Every year, we hear tons and tons of new music at KRFC. So much great music was released this year that it's difficult to keep track of it all -- so we asked our programmers and staff to choose some of their favorites, and in no particular order, here they are. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for part two of our 2017 favorites, coming later this week!
English Tapas by Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods are an electronic punk/hip-hop duo from Nottingham, England who make music that is truly unique, compelling and exciting (and almost entirely unfit for radio. Thanks, FCC!). And, according to none other than Iggy Pop they are “undoubtedly, absolutely, definitely the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band.”
Almost spoken-word at times, the Mods' music bursts from the speakers in a flurry of righteous anger, pointed humor and working-class fury. No one is safe: politicians, media celebrities, rival musicians, capitalists and other public targets get often well-deserved tongue lashings that alternate from aggrieved to hilarious over the course of each line.
The end result is thrilling, even uplifting, as typically unspoken truths are laid bare over seriously cool musical beds. It's not for everybody but, if you're adventurous, you'll find that Sleaford Mods sound like nothing else you'll hear anywhere. And that's an absolute rarity in 2017.
– Brother JB, Programmer
TajMo by Taj Mahal and Keb Mo
Taj Mahal has been a longtime hero of Keb Mo. On his early albums his song Henry is about Taj, so this collaboration was inevitable. They have been touring to promote this wonderful CD throughout this year, even playing at Ft. Collins Lincoln Center. One of my favorite albums of the year.
– Barbara Solow, Programmer
City Music by Kevin Morby
This was one of those albums that on first listen there were a few hooks that grabbed you but on more listens it was hard not to keep playing. A great indie album that delivers different feels and tempos. Morby issued a statement before the album’s release, describing it as a “love letter dedicated to those cities I cannot get rid of."
– Craig Geren, Programmer
The Flight I Flew by Ian Cooke
1. Because Cello. 2. The man can work magic with a looping pedal, cello, keyboard and his voice. From the first bars of the album, I got a wonderful sense of nostalgia for music and scoring from 80s movies, but without any ironic kitsch thrown in. There was every emotion imaginable evoked from the tracks, from joy, grief, liberation, melancholy, to the stoking of my imagination reminiscent of Yellow Submarine and Brazil imagery. I couldn't stop wanting to move and dance, although I wouldn't call this a dance album in any way. My reaction to cello music tends to be visceral, and Ian's album is a prime example of why.
– Maya Jairam, Volunteer Coordinator
Warning Signs by Breaking Grass
Mountain Fever Records
Breaking Grass is based out of Booneville, MS. Their presentation is true to traditional stylings but they perform mostly original material written by lead singer and guitarist, Cody Ferrar. Their most recent CD, "Warning Signs" is diverse in its content. The talent is excellent. While the group is young in years, they have a chemistry that usually comes to fruition after decades of performing. With their fresh sound, original material, strong vocals and innovative musicianship, Breaking Grass is doing exactly what their name implies. The music they present is without a doubt steeped in the timeless genre they grew up listening to. Comprised of Cody Farrar on guitar; Tyler White on fiddle; Jody Elmore on banjo; Zach Wooten on mandolin; and Britt Sheffield on bass; this innovative band formed with one goal in mind - to make music that all ages could enjoy.
– Andrea Bradstreet, Programmer