Cool-Tite - Best Albums of 2017

We did it, we survived 2017.  While we each made it generally unscathed, the year was certainly trying.  We often found ourselves feeling numb to the world – boiling with angst over the daily curtailment of our rights, watching the rich, white hegemony use their power to oppress, and just not knowing who to trust and how to make a difference.

Over the past year we have definitely tried our best to keep it COOL and TITE.  The Cool-Tite 3rd Anniversary Party was a great success and we look forward to growing the annual party for year 4 (hit us up if you want to be a part of it!).  We got back into interviewing bands and launched our web-store where we are slingin’ all the Cool-Tite goods.  And of course we kept super busy scoping out new venues and falling in love with old ones, saying goodbye to beloved bands and DIY spaces, catching vibes at The Getty, and powering through another great festival season.

Along the ride, we collectively listened to a grip of music, new and old.  These are Cool-Tite’s best albums of 2017, in order of release date.  Enjoy!

[And afterward, be sure to check out Cool-Tite’s Best of the Rest 2017!]

Cool-Tite’s Best Albums of 2017


Cherry Glazerr

Cherry GlazzerApocalipstick.  Secretly Canadian.  January 20, 2017.

Wow. Clem and the band have totally evolved with this one. Heavy guitar rifs, playful/real lyrics, and new members Sasami Ashworth (Keys/Vox) and Tabor Allen (Drums), create a sophisticated album that is good all the way through. Plus the production is spot on. “I Told You I’d Be with the Guys” and “Trash People” were played a lot and made it on my Spotify Top 2017 Songs. The re-recorded “Nurse Ratched” is sick too. – Crystal



PriestsNothing Feels Natural.  Sister Polygon Records.  January 27,2017.

We caught Priests when they came through LA over the summer and they were impressive. Katie Alice Greer’s voice is powerful and comes from her gut, as do her lyrics. They have something important to say about the world we live in and are doing it through their upbeat, art punk music. “Jj”, “Pink White House” and “Suck” were songs that kept me coming back to this album. – Crystal



MeatbodiesAlice.  In The Red Recordings.  February 10, 2017.

Meatbodies’ second album, Alice, sees them straying slightly from their garage-rock roots and dabbling more in to the world of metal, glam, and psychedelic rock. It’s still heavy, but plays a little slower and much weirder. It was self-described as “Metal on Molly” and the title fits as it’s full of heavy guitar riffs, ripping guitar solos, and spacey synth sounds. It’s a record that sees them taking aspects of their debut album and expanding on them, fine-tuning their sound into something that’s truly unique. – Sergio


Mind Meld

Mind MeldMind MeldPermanent Records.  February 17, 2017.

The debut long player from local faves Mind Meld was everything we could have wanted; a seamless swaying from sparkly psych to heady nugs of jammage.  Meld Meld capture a classic psych swag while remaining fresh and never stale.  Way heavy, but never hard – their deep riffs and solid hooks are bound to melt your noodle. – Mat


Milk Music

Milk MusicMystic 100’s.  Dom America. March 2017.

Milk Music’s Mystic 100’s was released out of nowhere, on mysterious label Dom America, with little to no promotion. And just like its 2013 predecessor, Cruise Your Illusion, it’s a straight ripper! It’s the same high energy and scuzzy guitars but the vocals are a little more front and center. Even when the music slows down there’s an energy to it, like a static charge that’s building and ready to zap. They’re often compared to Dinosaur Jr. and Hüsker Dü, but this album feels different, like they wanted to step away from any comparisons. – Sergio


French Vanilla

French VanillaFrench Vanilla.  Danger Collective Records. March 24, 2017.

Local faves French Vanilla came out with their debut album in March. The band has The Slits and X-Ray Spex vibes, which is right up my alley. Funky bass lines and saxophone, combined with Sally Spitz’ sharp vocals create an infectious no wave, dance-punk sound. “Evolution”, “Carrie,” and “Honesty” are the jams. – Crystal



SneaksIt’s a Myth.  Merge Records.  March 31, 2017.

I was in love with Sneaks’ album Gymnastics and I’m obsessed with It’s a Myth. Eva Moolchan makes minimalist post-punk music using just her bass and drum machine. Her music is fun and funky, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. “PBNJ” is the titest track IMO. – Crystal



The ButtertonesGravedigging.  Innovative Leisure.  March 31, 2017.

The Buttertones’ newest release sounds like a 50’s greaser gang and a western outlaw gang got in a fight and there was no winner so they decided to team up and cause mayhem. The music sounds dangerous and grimy, yet classically cool. It combines surf rock and garage rock with hints of post-punk and spaghetti western soundtracks. Every song sounds different but maintains a similar feeling, which makes the album extremely entertaining every time you listen. – Sergio


Tall Juan

Tall JuanGolden Oldies.  Bufu Records.  May 05, 2017.

Tall Juan’s music appeals to me for reasons that I cannot fully explain. It’s simple, straightforward rock n’ roll that reminds me of my younger days cruising around in a crappy minivan listening to the Ramones and Johnny Thunders. It’s just really good and really fun music. It’s the kind of record you put on and have multiple people come up and ask, “Who is This? I really like it” – Sergio



Slowdive. Slowdive.  Dead Oceans.  May 05, 2017.

I have had a growing attraction to music that can use subtly and space as a means to blowing one’s mind, and Slowdive’s newest record, and first in over 2 decades, is seriously out of this world.  I feel like this record is the inverse of something you’d hear from a band like Sleep (an important, and longtime fave): instead of turning the amps up to their maximum output and relying on a pure heaviness to create a foggy high, Slowdive play with chill and hushed vibes that create a serene and expansive depth.  This is one of those records that you’re meant to get lost in.  – Mat



RoyaRoya.  Burger Records.  June 16, 2017.

I was a fan of the band Habibi and have long been wanting more (Word on the street is they’re coming out with new music in 2018!). So I was stoked to hear Habibi’s Rahill Jamalifard was the voice behind Roya. Her voice is soft and sexy, and the music is surfy. The song “A Sickness” is a fav. My only real issue is my Alexa can’t understand when I say “Play songs from the band Roya”. Smh. – Crystal


Thee Commons

Thee CommonsPaleta Sonora.  Cosmica Records/Burger Records.  July 28, 2017.

This summer I got super into Cumbia music. Like my favorite song to wake up to was Los Ángeles Azules “Cómo Te Voy A Olvidar”. So when Thee Commons came out with new music I was stoked. The East Los band make a unique punk-psych-cumbia and are so fun to see live. We saw them early this year at Teragram between Coachella weekends. Check out our photos from that show here and def give this album a listen if you haven’t already. “Work It Out” is the jam. – Crystal


Downtown Boys

Downtown BoysCost of Living.  SubPop.  August 11, 2017.

Downtown Boys are basically the most important band right now.  Their bombastic punch-to-the-gut punk continues to evoke an enlightened sense of strength and empowerment that makes you want to dance and thrash along.  Cost of Living, Downtown Boys’ third full-length, captures the climate of today – everything is political, we are fed up, let’s do this together.  2017 needed Downtown Boys.  – Mat


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Oh SeesOrc. Castleface Records.  August 25, 2017.

This record seriously slays! Orc is one of two fantastic 2017 releases from John Dwyer and Co. – this one recorded as Oh Sees – and it is an absolute beast.  Whereas the later released record (i.e. Memory of a Cut off Head) is a delightfully soft, stripped down return to the delicate side of OCS, the totality of Orc feels like a manic Jack and The Beanstalk-esq adventure out to slay some wicked psychedelic monster.  The motorik beat, accomplished by dual drummers, pummels the record forward, as Dwyer’s monstrous riffs slay all in his path.  It’s an epic journey, a noble quest, and not one to be taken lightly.  – Mat


LA Witch

L.A. WitchL.A. Witch.  Suicide Squeeze.  September 08, 2017.

Rockabilly, reverb, real cool witches. The LA trio deliver their long-awaited first full length with a mix of new jams and re-recorded old ones. They have been touring like madwomen all over the world for the last year or so bringing their LA-soaked sounds to the masses. Their sound is ideal for spending time on the road, so be sure to check out this album on your next long drive. – Crystal



Frankie and The WitchfingersBrain Telephone.  Permanent Records.  September 15, 2017.

You know when you first hear a song and it’s like something in your brain short circuits, so you have to hear that song 10 more times in a row? That was me when I first heard the title track “Brain Telephone”. The long trippy intro gives way to a fast, catchy, and insanely groovy song with reverb-drenched vocals tying it all together. It sets the tone for the entire record with its ups and downs that plays like an ode to classic 60s garage in the best way possible. – Sergio



ORBNaturality.  Castleface Records.  October 6, 2017.

Orb’s Naturality rips! The follow up to last year’s Birth (one of our favorites of 2016), this album features some of the same heavy guitars, but adds more intricate song structures and rhythms.  You can tell the band is truly finding their own sound. Songs range from heavy, fast rippers to slower, more melodic jams that sound like Syd Barret with lots of distortion. If you’re into heavy, guitar-driven psych then this is a must! – Sergio


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Flat Worms. Flat Worms.  Castleface Records.  October 20, 2017.

Flat Worms are a real live wire! Their buzzy, thundering, and highly saturated proto-punk sounds pummel the record forward like a rat rod chasing the checkers at the end of a quarter mile.  After catching the impressive, high-energy live show a few times over the past year, the album is a nice reminder that these well-seasoned musicians exercise a precise level of restraint in their music that keeps the raucous energy from blowing the whole thing up.  Really looking forward to what’s to come from theses dudes!  – Mat


Electric Wizard

Electric WizardWizard Bloody Wizard.  Witchfinder Records/Spinefarm Records.  November 17, 2017.

There maybe isn’t anything groundbreaking here in terms of overall sound (i.e. Sabbath), but after 9 studio albums and nearly 25 years as a band, Electric Wizard’s Wizard Bloody Wizard feels perfected and completely necessary. This time around they show that they have gracefully mastered all that is heavy and stoned.  Plus the cover art is pretty killer.  I would have thought that by the age of 30 one would be over songs about intercourse with dead things, but alas this record will have you blazed, bobbing you’re head, shakin’ a fist, and singing along a chorus of having the “dead for pleasure.” – Mat


Prettiest Eyes

Prettiest EyesPools.  Castleface Records.  December 1, 2017.

Prettiest Eyes put on some of the most frantic and energetic live performances around and this album captures that intensity in a way that few albums can. Think of heavy synth vibrations a la Suicide, but faster, with more aggression, and a little Latin flare. From first song to last, this album will blast you away with heavy synth-punk waves that’ll propel you onto a cosmic voyage through space and time itself! – Sergio


Cool-Tite’s Best Albums of 2017 Playlist