Top 50 Music Album Releases of 2017

Posted On 28 Nov 2017 at 8:20 pm

Top 50 Music Album Releases of 2017

The Brighton & Hove News Music Editor has compiled a list of this years Top 50 favourite album releases. We have looked well beyond the obvious choices and have selected no doubt quite a number of surprises. They are shown in release date order. Enjoy and investigate………


Released 20th January on Paper Bag Records

Austra is the electronic music project of Canadian born Katie Stelmanis with the assistance of drummer Maya Postepski. ‘Future Politics’ is the third instalment and arguably the best of the three. The albums imagery is terrific with photos taken by Renata Raksha at Luis Barragan’s house and stable Cuadra San Cristobal in La Ciudad De Mexico. You too can visit the building:

This eleven track 46 minute album has crisp clear melodic Florence Welch style vocals and sharp synth-pop sounds and there honestly isn’t a weak track to be found. Highlights being ‘I Love You More Than You Love Yourself’ and ‘Utopia’. The Brighton & Hove News team were fortunate to have witnessed a great Austra concert in Brighton this year in support of this album – read our review:


Released 23rd January on The People’s Electric label

Jonteknik is actually a guy of some stature (literally) going by the name of Jon Russell, who resides here in Shoreham, Sussex. The Jonteknik moniker was coined by German singer Claudia Brücken of Propaganda fame and former wife of OMD’s Paul Humphreys, when she was working with Jon during her Act music phase.

‘Skylines’ is a well thought out themed concept album which revolves around European capital cities and their architecture and skylines. The album was created by studio-based Jon (who is also half of the Apt duo) and is packed with fourteen electronic vocoder style Kraftwerk-esque compositions, which are spread across the 53 minutes. Arguably the best tracks being ‘Oslo’ and ‘Stockholm’ which certainly wouldn’t sound out of place on OMD’s ‘English Electric’ album. Next year sees the release of Jonteknik & Friends covers album titled ‘Alternative Arrangements’ – looking forward to it already!


Released 3rd February on Polydor Records

‘Little Fictions’ is Elbow’s seventh studio album and not surprisingly this little gem peaked at No.1 in the Official Album Charts as did it’s predecessor ‘The Take Off And Landing Of Everything’ back in 2014. Elbow albums are always filled with Guy Garvey’s Bury accent and ‘Little Fictions’ is no exception. Forty-three year old Garvey was one of seven children and no doubt had to fight for his own way with his siblings and now he undoubtedly has been getting his own way since 1990 when Elbow formed.

‘Little Fictions’ is a middle-of-the-road ten track 49 minute album made for dinner parties and sounding not too distant to something in the Sting parish. The albums stand-out track by far is the opening track ‘Magnificent (She Says)’, which surely has timeless properties, so still expect to be hearing it on the radio in 2027.


Released 3rd February on Sacred Bones Records

Moon Duo are a psychedelic space rock outfit that hail from Portland, Oregon and is Ripley Johnson (who is also a member of Wooden Shjips) on guitar and vocals and Sanae Yamada on keyboards,they are a couple. Despite the American connection, the band get their albums mixed in Berlin, probably to capture the German musical repetition and vibe – it works!

‘Occult Architecture, Vol.1’ and it’s sister album ‘Occult Architecture, Vol.2’ which appeared just three months later, are both designed around the running times of LP’s as opposed to CD’s. As a result vol.1 has seven tracks that run for 47 minutes in total and vol.2 only has 5 tracks which go to a mere 39 minutes. I do feel that vol.2 was an add-on album that needn’t have been released, whereas vol.1 hits the mark, especially with their Sigue Sigue Sputnik style ‘Cross-Town Fade’. The Brighton & Hove news reported on their April gig at The Haunt, read what we said here:


Released 3rd February on Faking Jazz Together Records

The Hundredth Anniversary are a Brighton based indie trio of Eleanor, Dem and Chris, who formed in 2012 and have quite understandably been twice named in NME’s ‘Ones to Watch’. Their brief 9 track 29 minute debut album entitled ‘Sea State Pictures’ was recorded in a barn on the outskirts of Brighton during the winter of 2015 and addresses the turmoil in the band members lives up to that point in time.

‘Sea State Pictures’ sees The Hundredth Anniversary specialise in dreamy vocals over a layer of beautiful Cranberries-esque music. Standout tracks being ‘Knife’ and ‘Pour’. Brighton & Hove News was able to see their live set as part of this years Great Escape at St. Mary’s Church in Kemp Town.


Released 17th February on Dubwiser Records

Dreadzone have been around the clubs and festivals scene since 1993 and have enthralled countless thousands in that time and yet I can’t understand why they aren’t more famous. I am pretty sure if John Peel was still with us, he would have raved about this platter and a number of tracks from this album would appear in his year’s end Festive Fifty.

That being said, Dreadzone’s seventh studio album, the powerful and consistently good ‘Dread Times’ – with Don Letts contributions – rightly saw Dreadzone obtain their first UK Top 40 album in over 20 years and it has an altogether more deep rootsy vibe to it. Fans of classic days Black Uhuru and Maxi Jazz vocals would do no wrong than in investigating this 65 minute 12 track corker! Advice, play loud with your hi-fi speakers on high bass!

I am really looking forward to seeing them live again as they playing the Concorde 2 on Friday 2nd February next year:


Released 10th March on Balley Records

Bristol 5-piece Idles certainly burst on the scene this year with their raucous 13 track 42 minute debut album ‘Brutalism’. Despite being together for five years, Idles have been refining their craft during that well-spent time and the results are quite astounding. This is a band that oozes attitude by the gallon, especially frontman singer Joe Talbot, as he spurts his visceral and often comedic lyrics in your face.

I discovered Idles as a support band to Brooklyn’s DIIV at the Concorde 2, Brighton in September 2016. Blaenavon were on the bill too, but my mate and I agreed that Idles totally blew the other bands out of the water. They were just the same when we witnessed them live at the Prince Albert, Brighton. Mark my words, they will take Blackpool’s 4 day punk Rebellion festival by storm in 2018.

The stand out track on ‘Brutalism’ is ‘Well Done’, in fact, I was obsessed with the song even before it turned up on the album, as it was a single in 2016. This is THE album for teenagers to annoy their parents too……again and again! Kids, hog your parents tv/computers with this:

8. 1919 – BLOODLINE

Released 13th March on Westworld Recordings

1919 are a Bradford post punk/goth four piece, who originally formed in 1980 and have re-convened all these years later in order to release their second album ‘Bloodline’. A gap of 34 years in between albums sure is some wait. If you are a fan of Killing Joke or Bauhaus, then 1919’s 10 track 41 minute ‘Bloodline’ album is likely to be added to your collection.

The current 1919 line-up reads, singer Rio, drummer Mick, Karl on bass and new guitarist Sam. Alas founding member Mark Tighe sadly passed away in January this year aged just 56 from cancer. I was privileged to have witnessed his swansong concert at the Undercover Festival at Brighton Racecourse last year. Brighton & Hove News were able to grab a look at the new line-up in April supporting punk legends Chelsea, our review is here:


Released 17th March on Willkommen Records

Brighton’s very own enchantress Emma Gatrill, this year released her second album, the 10 track 48 minute long ‘Cocoon’ five years after her debut album. Classically trained multi-instrumentalist Emma has previously been a member of the Laish fold. Her vocal style is most unusual, it’s as though she comes from somewhere in Scandinavia, but has spent some time in Gaelic parts too – it’s very Björk with tinges of Joni Mitchell, but overall it’s the voice of an angel.

‘Cocoon’ is an album that would be adored by millions, if only they had the wherewithal to discover it. The standout track is the enchanting opener ‘Skin’. This album is one for dream sequences in major blockbuster films.

Brighton & Hove News went to see Laish live in March at the Prince Albert, Brighton and Emma Gatrill was supporting. She was not only singing and playing her harp but at the same time activating foot controls to play a drum machine and synth. We hadn’t witnessed anything like that before! Our report is here:


Released 21st April on Metropolis Records

No doubt this is a controversial choice, but at the back end of the 80’s and early 90’s, the Belgian New Beat sound was massive and the dance fraternity couldn’t get enough of this and the rave stuff. So this year, out of the blue comes the ‘Lust (Special Remastered Band Edition)’ the debut album by Lords Of Acid with extra tracks, thus making a total of 16 songs and lasting 77 minutes. The original line-up was Praga Khan (aka Maurice Joseph Francois Engelen), Jade 4 U (aka Nikkie Van Lierop) (both of the awesome ‘Injected With A Poison’ track) and Olivier Adams.

Lords Of Acid have several soundtrack credits to their name and not surprisingly one of them is the second Austin Powers film as a majority of their work is to do with erotic subjects. Having said that Praga Khan and Olivier Adams did actually compose the music to accompany the controversial video game Mortal Kombat: The Album, under pseudonym The Immortals.


Released 22nd April on Westworld Recordings

This Peter Hook & The Light 21 track 94 minute ‘Closer’ release is a recording of the 18th May 2011 concert in Manchester of their take on Joy Division’s album of the same name. Hooky was a quarter of Joy Division (with Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris) and thus really doesn’t count as a tribute band as such, but this is the closest anyone can ever get these days to be able to witness the legendary Joy Division songs performed live.

I was initially very reticent to go and see Peter Hook & The Light perform their Joy Division and New Order tributes but, Hooky (real name Peter Woodhead) is a terrific showman. When performing these tribute concerts, he often acts as the support act too and thus plays two sets a night, with the second one often lasting a couple of hours.

Stand-out tracks on this release are ‘Dead Souls’, ‘Isolation’, ‘Decades’, the punk-tastic ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Transmission’ and of course ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.


Released 22nd April on Westworld Recordings

This Peter Hook & The Light 24 track 105 minute recording was of their Leeds 29th November 2012 concert on their Joy Division ‘Unknown Pleasures’ tribute tour. The highlights are many, but at a push the choices would be ‘Dead Souls’, ‘No Love Lost’, ‘Insight’, ‘She’s Lost Control’, ‘Wilderness’, and the haunting ‘The Eternal’.

From 1994 to 1997 Hooky used to be married to Caroline Aherne, she of Mrs Merton fame, who sadly passed away from lung cancer aged just 52. One of Hooky’s children, Jessica was actually at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on 22nd May 2017, where the suicide bomber killed 22 people. There has been a step-up in security at a majority of concerts ever since.


Released 22nd April on Westworld Recordings

This 18 track 77 minute Peter Hook & The Light concert of their tribute to New Order’s debut ‘Movement’ album was recorded at The Academy in Dublin on 22nd November 2013. Hooky was a founder member of New Order and stayed with them on bass for many years until it went pear-shaped – law suits followed.

Hooky’s style is more grittier than New Order are these days and thus his performances are more true to the initial New Order sound than the current band are these days.

During this recording Hooky informs the crowd that he lost £2 million when Factory Records went bust 21 years earlier, as he was reminded by his mate who text him that day. Highlight tracks on this recording are Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’, ‘Ceremony’, ‘Procession’, the Cure-esque ‘Dreams Never End’, the truly brilliant ‘Doubts Even Here’ and the fast-paced ‘Cries And Whispers’.


Released 22nd April on Westworld Recordings

This 14 track 78 minute Peter Hook & The Light concert of their tribute to New Order’s up-tempo ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ album was also recorded at The Academy in Dublin on 22nd November 2013 (the same night as the ‘Movement’ concert) – he’s a busy lad this Hooky.

The highlights of this concert are the timeless ‘Everything’s Gone Green’, ‘Your Silent Face’, ‘Blue Monday’, Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and in my opinion one of the Top 3 songs ever recorded by anyone anywhere ‘Temptation’.

I have been fortunate to have seen Hooky & The Boys perform live a few times and every time it’s not just a concert night out, it’s a real event – long may it last!


Released 28th April on Specialist Subject Records

Caves are a no-nonsense DIY indie/punk rock duo hailing from Bristol. The band is made up of Louise Hanman on blaring vocals, guitar and drums (but not at the same time) and Jonathan Minto on bass and vocals. For their live work they have the addition of a drummer. ‘Always Why’ is Caves seventh release in an eight year period and consists of 13 tracks across 41 minutes.

The Brighton & Hove News was lucky to catch this band in May at the Green Door Store as support to The Tuts. Caves went from one track straight into another in best Ramones style and that’s exactly like their recorded material too. There’s barely time to catch your breath in between songs – a band full of energy. At a push, the standout track on ‘Always Why’ would be ‘Wait’. You can read our review of the night’s proceedings here:


Released 5th May on BMG

Well what do you know, the legendary Blondie bounced back this year with ‘Pollinator’, their eleventh studio album, which peaked at No.4 in the UK album charts, their highest chart action this century. Still on board from their early days are Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke. I have to say that this album is their best work since the ‘Eat To The Beat’ album in 1979. They have cleverly taken advantage of the new writing talent outside of the band that is around at the moment and the results are a return to form. ‘Pollinator’ also features Joan Jett, Laurie Anderson, John Roberts and the Gregory Brothers.

Brighton & Hove News reviewed their recent enjoyable Brighton Centre concert, where they performed seventeen songs, but alas not the choice cut from ‘Pollinator’, namely ‘Already Naked’. Read the review here:


Released 5th May on Grönland Records

Fazerdaze started out as a bedroom project for Amelia Murray, who was raised in Wellington, New Zealand and attended the University of Auckland. She has over the past three years grown from there and thus her work has culminated in her debut 10 track 30 minute album ‘Morningside’, which specialises in echo-drenched semi-electronic modern day pop songs. The standout songs are ‘Lucky Girl’, ‘Little Uneasy’ and ‘Jennifer’, all of which sound quite similar to Dutch artist Amber Arcades.

Brighton & Hove News have headed to two of her Brighton gigs this year, one at the Great Escape in May and a headline date at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in October, which we reviewed here:


Released 12th May on Marathon Artists Records/House Anxiety Records

Hazel English is a diminutive 25-year-old Oakland, California based artist who grew up in Sydney, Australia. She produces beautifully blurry indie-pop music powered by transcendent melodies and caked in layers of Californian sunshine and redolent reverb. It’s an ideal play on any British sunny day and sounds similar to Amber Arcades, Fazerdaze and St Etienne.

This release ‘Just Give In’/’Never Going Home’ of hers is a bit of an enigma as it is marketed as a 2xEP which has 10 tracks on it lasting 35 minutes, but it also comes with an additional free three minute download song called ‘That Thing’. So at 38 minutes, it’s an album to me. The standout tracks are ‘More Like You’ ‘Never Going Home’.

The Brighton & Hove News were fortunate in seeing Hazel perform a pleasant set at Horatio’s on Brighton Pier as part of this year’s Great Escape.


Released 26th May on Kling Klang/Parlophone

Well, what can one say about Kraftwerk that hasn’t already been said. Difficult job really. They were formed in Düsseldorf in 1969 by Ralf Hütter (who is now 71) and Florian Schneider (who is now 70) and they dropped traditional acoustic instruments in favour of everything electronic (self-built or otherwise) in 1974 when ‘Autobahn’ arrived, having already released three rock-style albums ‘Kraftwerk’, ‘Kraftwerk 2’ and ‘Ralf Und Florian’, which seemed to have been conveniently forgotten by the band.

Their ground zero (and mine) being ‘Autobahn’ in 1974, which signalled the start of this impressive 69 track 285 minute 8 disc live and crisp sounding box-set (there is a basic 10 track sampler available too). The albums featured are ‘Autobahn’, ‘Radio-Activity’, ‘Trans-Europe Express’, ‘The Man Machine’, ‘Computer World’, ‘Techno Pop’, ‘The Mix’ and ‘Tour De France’. All tracks are live versions of each album and are an essential item to own in any collection. The most improved track from the original release in the colllection is ‘Airwaves’ from ‘Radio-Activity’. It’s got ‘Robots’, ‘Pocket Calculator/Dentaku’, ‘Showroom Dummies’, ‘Neon Lights’ and yes it’s got ‘The Model’. Kraftwerk…..probably the best band in the world!

Brighton & Hove News was very fortunate in snapping up some tickets for their 2017 Brighton Centre concert, read the review here:

20. METROLAND – 12×12

Released 26th May on Alfa Matrix

I would hazard a guess that quite a number of you are not familiar with the work of Belgian synthesizer duo Passenger A and Passenger S who are known as Metroland. They celebrate transport, just as their heroes Kraftwerk have done with ‘Trans Europe Express’ and ‘Autobahn’ and also Mute Records band Komputer have with ‘Terminus’ and ‘Looking Down On London’.

Metroland acquired their name from a 1973 BBC documentary film written and narrated by the then Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, which celebrated suburban life in the area to the north-west of London that grew up in the early 20th Century around the Metropolitan Railway (now the Metropolitan line of the London Underground), thus being called Metro-land.

To celebrate five years of underground work, Metroland this year released a very comprehensive set of work entitled ’12X12′ which has no fewer than 52 tracks and lasts 252 minutes. It compromises of their 12”, 7”, B-Sides, Rarities and Demos and highlights at a push would be ‘The Passenger’, ‘Harry Beck’, ‘Zeppelin’ and ‘Thalys’. If you love Kraftwerk and crave the fact that you wished that they would release more material, then fear not as Metroland will easily fill that void for you – what have you got to lose?


Released 2nd June on Warner Bros.

There we were on 17th January last year, upstairs at the Hope & Ruin pub in Brighton watching an intimate gig by this obscure young lady called Dua Lipa. Here we are less than two years later and she’s the chart queen who’s performed at the Brighton Dome in October – a meteoric rise indeed. Our Brighton Dome gig review is here:

The 22 year-old London-born songstress who is of Albanian descent, started singing at the tender age of 14, whereby she uploaded cover songs on YouTube. Now she has released her self-titled ‘Dua Lipa’ 12 track 40 minute debut pop album in 2017 and thus far it has spawned no less than six singles to date, including ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah)’, ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and the totally awesome ‘Be The One’. The sixth single ‘New Rules’ became her first UK No.1 and in doing so became the first song in almost two years by a solo female artist to reach the top since Adele’s ‘Hello’ in 2015.


Released 12th June on Little Idiot/Mute

‘More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse’ is the 14th studio album by 52 year old New York City boy Richard Melville Hall, that’s Moby to us. It’s the second instalment (after 2016’s ‘These Systems Are Failing’) in his musical project Moby & The Void Pacific Choir, that also features Lauren Tyler Scott, Jamie Drake, Joel Nesvadba, Jonathan Nesvadba, Julie Mintz and Mindy Jones.

This 9 track 35 minute album harks back to Moby’s more heavier rock sound, which is more akin to Nine Inch Nails than anything on his famous ten million selling 1999 ‘Play’ album. This is because Moby is basically protesting about Donald Trump and the way that his country is being run and his worries about the world. Suffice to say, the Republican party and its supporters are far from fans of this release. Their loss, as it’s a terrific album!


Released 23rd June on Blanc Check Records

Fader is a project brought to us by Neil Arthur of Blancmange fame and Benge from Wrangler and John Foxx & The Maths. John Foxx being a founder member of Ultravox!, who’s birth name is Dennis Leigh.

‘First Light’ has 11 tracks and lasts 41 minutes and is their debut release. The music was recorded and mixed at Benge’s MemeTune Studios, while Neil worked on his often off-kilter lyrics and vocals in his home studio. The resulting album is full of powerful electronic pop songs – up-tempo, dark, with flickers of beauty in the sounds and rhythms that echo old Joy Division tunes and even bands like The Sound at their most synthesizer heavy.

It’s unclear whether there will be any further Fader material at this point in time (but fingers crossed that there will be) as Neil is busy with Blancmange and Benge (real name Ben Edwards) is absorbed in various projects including Wrangler material with fellow band member Stephen Mallinder from Cabaret Voltaire.


Released 28th July on Parlophone

The Pet Shop Boys are the most successful duo in UK music history and have been banging out their synthpop tunes since 1981. Many of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s songs often are written specifically using gender-neutral language and so they can refer to any gender, thus widening their appeal and obviously their sales. Having said that, this box-set includes the somewhat controversial Bobby Orlando (Bobby ‘O’) penned ‘Try It (I’m In Love With A Married Man)’.

This 45 track three disc set expands on their original Top 10 ‘Release’ album that featured Johnny Marr on guitar and adds unreleased tracks as well as John Peel session songs. The pick from the original album being ‘The Samurai In Autumn’ and of the extras ‘Home And Dry (Ambient Mix)’ is a real corker! There’s also the self-mocking ‘We’re The Pet Shop Boys’. There was also limited edition prints available when purchasing the album from HMV.


Released 4th August on Edsel Records

This 40 track 162 minute ‘Happy Families’ collectors pack edition brings together the early successes from sadly underrated synthpop duo Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe of Blancmange. This deluxe media book edition contains 12” mixes and a non-album b-side, as well as nine previously unreleased demos and rehearsals from Neil Arthur’s own collection. Disc three contains two previously unreleased BBC Radio 1 sessions (featuring two otherwise unrecorded songs) and a BBC live concert.

The album artwork is rather endearing as it features a painting in the style of the English artist Louis Wain, whose drawings would feature anthropomorphised large eyed cats and kittens. The highlights from this special package are ‘Kind’ from a BBC Radio 1 session and ‘Waves’ and ‘Living On A Ceiling’ from the original album.

Brighton & Hove News was at their recent Brighton gig, what did we say:


Releasing 4th August on Edsel Records

‘Mange Tout’ is Blancmange’s most successful album as it shifted in excess of 100,000 copies and contained four Top 40 singles, two of which ‘Blind Vision’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me’ were Top 10 singles in their own right.

This 45 track 223 minute ‘Mange Tout’ collectors pack media book edition, brings together some of the successes from sadly underrated synthpop duo Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe of Blancmange. This edition contains 12” mixes and non-album b-sides, as well as five previously unreleased demos and rehearsals from Neil Arthur’s own collection (featuring two otherwise unrecorded songs). Disc 3 contains a previously unreleased BBC Radio 1 session and a 60 minute BBC live concert recorded at London’s Hammersmith Palais. The highlights from this special package are ‘ Game Above My Head’ from the original album, ‘Murder’ from BBC Radio 1 session and ‘I Can’t Explain’ from the concert.

Brighton & Hove News was at their recent Brighton gig, read it here:


Released 25th August on Happy Robot Records

Seven years after their debut album entitled ‘Return Of The Tiny Magnetic Pets’, vocalist Paula Gilmer, Seán Quinn (synths/vocals) and drummer Eugene Somers, who are Tiny Magnetic Pets, released their follow up, the 10 track 42 minute ‘Deluxe/Debris’, which features Wolfgang Flür of Kraftwerk fame. On this disc you will find crisp inoffensive synthpop ditties. The pick of the bunch being the eleven minute ‘Semaphore/Seconds From Sleep’, ‘Radio On’ and the Tubeway Army Down In The Park-esque ‘Here Comes The Noise (Pink)’.

The guys take their inspiration from Bowie’s Berlin period, 70’s Krautrock and early disco, with a good measure of 80’s retro-futuristic synthpop, such as Goldfrapp, Austra and Northern Kind thrown into the mix. They have come to the attention of OMD and landed the support slot on their recent tour – the Brighton & Hove News were there:


Released 1st September on PIAS

INHEAVEN are a south London 4-piece made up of James Taylor (vocals/guitar), Chloe Little (vocals/bass), Jake Lucas (guitar) and Joe Lazarus (drums) and their speciality is giving the punters and the critics exactly what they want. For example the NME said it was “Indie’s most dangerously exciting debut-album”. Musically there are elements of The Horrors, Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus & Mary Chain, Big Pink, My Bloody Valentine and Echo & The Bunnymen in their indie sound.

Their self-titled ‘INHEAVEN’ 12 track 40 minute debut album is quite brilliant with every track an enjoyable listen. A fine example of a killer-track-album, I mean every song could honestly be a single. If push came to shove, then the best of the best would be ‘Regeneration’. This is a band that work hard gigging everywhere and making fanzines as well as their music.

Brighton & Hove News saw then last month in Brighton, here’s the report:


Released 1st September on DFA/Colombia

The 10 track 68 minute ‘American Dream’ has been received with much critical acclaim since it came out. It is the fourth studio album by the eight-piece musical project known as LCD Soundsystem, and it arrived after a sabbatical of seven years since the last studio LP ‘This Is Happening’ in 2010. It peaked here in the UK at No.3 in the official album charts, but went all the way to the top in the US Billboard chart.

LCD’s James Murphy’s vocals do tend to remind me of the Talking Heads David Byrne and Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen fame. The overall feeling of the album tends to fill the gap left by the legendary Mr Bowie. It does feel as though he could even be on the album, especially on ‘Change Yr Mind’ and ‘Black Screen’. Whereas ‘How Do You Sleep’ has a similar drumming pattern to Joy Division and New Order’s first album ‘Movement’. Interestingly enough, it appears that all eight members of the LCD had a go at synths one way or another and I can assure you there are some truly meaty synth notes on this disc.


Released 1st September on 100% Records

The electronic music band of OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) were formed in Merseyside in 1978 with just Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys as it’s members. They went on to release ten successful albums, including six that made the Top 10, including ‘Organisation’, ‘Architecture & Morality’ and ‘Dazzle Ships’. In 1996, the guys went their separate ways, but thankfully reformed in 2006.

Their 12 track 42 minute 2017 album ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’ crashed in at No.4 in the album charts on it’s release and signalled a terrific return to form for the band. Although their previous album ‘English Electric’ released in 2013 is in fact equally as good.

OMD have found their raison d’être with ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’ – it’s an album that pushes the boundaries, just as ‘Dazzle Ships’ had done in it’s day, and yet this new offering is for all open-minded synth fans worldwide. Album highlights being ‘Isotype’, ‘The Punishment of Luxury’ and ‘Ghost Star’.

Brighton & Hove New recently reported on the Sussex OMD concert, read it here:


Released 8th September on Honeymoon/+1 Records

Despite the name, Anna Of The North is the duo of Norwegian born Anna Lotterud and Australian Brady Daniell-Smith, who met whilst studying in Melbourne. The pair construct very chart friendly, easy on the ear pop, not too dissimilar to Dua Lipa and CHVRCHES and yet strangely remain relatively unknown. Surely they are just waiting for their big break.

‘Lovers’ is an all-to-brief 10 track 37 minute album, which in my mind could have been bolstered by the addition of their excellent ‘The Dreamer’ and ‘Oslo’ songs. So we are left with a platter of not necessary their best work for their debut album, however, their sound is very polished and silky smooth. Best track is the opener ‘Moving On’. We witnessed their Brighton appearance at The Great Escape last year at Horatio’s on Brighton Pier and their set was one of the festivals highlights.


Released 15th September on BMG

‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ is the twenty-first studio album for electronic music legend Gary Numan. The 11 track 63 minute post-apocalyptic-world after global warming themed album has been extremely well received right across the music press and fans alike. It went crashing into the official album charts at No.2, a position not reached since 1981.

‘Savage’ arrived as a result of a Pledge campaign (which more and more artists are using these days), whereby target funds are set and the aim being to get to 100% in order to allow the artist to be able to release their album. Clearly Numan and his ‘Savage’ album were in great demand as he achieved a massive 258% in the end.

This album is absolutely brilliant, no ifs and buts! There is a place for this in your record collection. Every dark industrial tune could easily be a single. So far four tracks have been singles, including arguably the best ‘My Name Is Ruin’, which feature’s one of Gary’s three daughters Persia on backing vocals. The vinyl release carries an extra track ‘Cold’.

Brighton & Hove News reported on his October concert at the Brighton Dome, read it here:


Released 15th September on Arising Empire

Our beloved Peter And The Test Tube Babies are legends in these here parts. The hilarious punk rock band, famed for their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, were formed in the Centre of the Universe….oh OK then….Peacehaven in 1978 by Peter Bywaters and Del Strangefish. These herberts made their vinyl debut on the Brighton compilation album ‘Vaultage 78’ and haven’t looked back since.

2017 saw these four geezers unleash the strangely titled new 14 track 41 minute ‘That Shallot’ album, the highlights of which include ‘What Next?’, ‘When Girlfriends Attack’ and the album opener ‘In Yer Face’. Not that anyone’s bothered, but the people of classical Greece believed the name ‘shallot’ originated in the ancient Canaanite city of Ashkelon. What’s next for the Test Tubes……That Chive……This Garlic……Those Leeks? Whatever comes next, I am sure it will be filled with energy, power and humour.


Released 15th September on Edsel Records

This rather special various artists compilation entitled ‘Gary Crowley’s Punk And New Wave’ was expertly put together by said Gary and his fellow broadcasting mate Jim Lahat. This unlike countless other punk/new wave compilations is specially packaged and looks well beyond the obvious choices and digs up a whole host of forgotten or lost gems thus giving them the rightly deserved light of day. I knew this exactly from the off when the second of seventy-seven tracks is the terrific Mo-Dettes ‘White Mice’. I mean, there’s stuff on here that I don’t even remember.

There are so many standout tunes contained within this 77 track 230 minute release. But in order to give you a feel, there’s Altered Images ‘Dead Pop Stars’, The Boys ‘First Time’, The Photos ‘Barbarellas’, Spizzenergi ‘Soldier Soldier’ and The Moondogs ‘She’s Nineteen’ to name just a few. As the box-set says “Hopefully, it will hit a few chords with you lot too”.


Released 22nd September on Blang Records

Although all five members of the band have been in Mark E. Smith’s Fall at some stage or other, this eleven track 39 minute debut album doesn’t at all sound like The Fall. It’s more reminiscent of the 1976 US melodic pop-punk heard in clubs like CBGB’s and Joan Jett, although you’d never guess that from it’s psychedelic album cover. I would surmise that ‘Part 2’ is a reference that part 1 would have been their days in The Fall?

Formed in 2014 and fronted by American Brix Smith Start who was born Laura Elisse Salenger in Los Angeles, California on 12th November 1962. Her vocals sound not too dissimilar to those of Blondie’s Debbie Harry. She certainly knows how to rock with her accomplished band-mates, Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley, Steve Trafford and Jason Brown. Virtually every track rocks in the same vein as fellow American Jennie Vee, with the exception of ‘Time Tunnel’ which is a mere 30 seconds long and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ which sounds more along the lines of the likes of Amber Arcades.

An album that came out of nowhere for me and is rammed full of potential singles. As they say ‘All killers – no fillers’. For the very best Brix experience, it would be ideal to see the band perform the tracks live, like the Brighton & Hove News recently did. Our review is here:


Released 22nd September on Wolf Tone/Caroline International

‘V’ is not surprisingly the fifth instalment from Southend-on-Sea 5-piece The Horrors. They have been on a musical journey for a dozen years now and their style and sound evolves with each individual album release. Best described as a shoegaze/garage combo, they are made up of slender vocalist Faris Badwan who is circa 6ft 4in (and half of the Cats Eyes duo with his girlfriend, the Italian-Canadian soprano, composer and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira), Joshua Hayward (guitar), Tom Cowan (keyboards/synths), Rhys Webb (bass) and Joe Spurgeon (drums).

‘V’ a 10 track 54 minute journey that secured the bands third consecutive Top 10 chart position by peaking at No.8 in the official album charts. With this release they are heading towards a slightly more pop/dance orientated sound (especially on the finale ‘Something To Remember Me By’) to accompany their goth roots.

Brighton & Hove News witnesses their recent concert at the University of Sussex, details here:


Released 29th September on Blanc Check Records

Blancmange formed in 1979 and then consisted of Neil Arthur on vocals and Stephen Luscombe on keyboards. They enjoyed Top 30 chart success with their early synthpop release ‘Happy Families’ and a Top 10 place with its follow-up ‘Mange Tout’. But alas they went their separate ways in 1986. However, they reformed 20 years later, but sadly due to illness Luscombe had to leave the band and thus leaving Arthur to carry on the banner with the Blancmange extended family.

The 10 track 50 minute ‘Unfurnished Rooms’ is the ninth album release and true to form contains a host of Arthur’s interesting lyrics, especially on ‘What’s The Time?’. The choice of the tracks on this album would be ‘Anna Dine’.

Brighton & Hove News was at their recent Brighton gig at the Concorde 2, read it here:


Released 29th September on Parlophone

This David Bowie mega-box-set of 111 tracks over 448 minutes contains work from arguably his best period, which includes his Berlin Trilogy. Included here are ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ album and interesting ‘Heroes’ EP, ‘Stage’, ‘Lodger’, ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’, rare mixes and that awful ‘Bertolt Brecht’s Baal’. Bowie still has his pull as this box-set retails at around £100 and yet it still managed to get to No.19 in the official album charts.

The pick of the songs would be ‘Heroes/Helden’ (split English and German version), ‘Heroes/Héros’ (split English and French version), ‘Warszawa’, ‘Sound And Vision’ and ‘Crystal Japan’.

This set is obviously for the Bowie completist and those of us that are able to splash the cash, especially as this is the third of a series of mega-box-sets, the others being ‘Five Years (1969-1973)’ and ‘Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976)’. Thankfully I was able to catch Bowie play live on his final ‘A Reality Tour’. LEGEND!


Released 6th October on Arbutus Records

Blue Hawaii is the creative work of songwriting, production and DJ project of Raphaelle ‘Ra’ Standell (who is also a member of Braids) and Alexander ‘Agor’ Kerby, who are based in Montréal, Québec in Canada.

The 16 track 43 minute ‘Tenderness’ draws upon influence from 1990’s dance tracks and deep disco cuts, is the duos third album and its subject matter addresses the challenges of handling relationships online and how to maintain closeness over distance with a need for more tenderness between each other – both in real and virtual life. The albums pick of the bunch is ‘Younger Hearts’ and ‘No One Like You’ (which draws heavily from ‘There’s Never Been (No One Like You)’ by Kenix feat. Bobby Youngblood).

Brighton & Hove News reported on their recent Brighton concert here:


Released 6th October on Epic/Sony Records

The much anticipated Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner update finally arrived. This time it was set 30 years after the original film and instead of 74 year old Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (that’s Vangelis to you and me) producing the soundtrack as he did in the original 1982 film, the reigns this time were handed over to the much in demand 60 year old German Hans Zimmer (who has composed music for over 150 films) and 38 year old Brit Benjamin Wallfisch (who has composed and contributed music to over 60 films).

The 24 track soundtrack has 95 minutes of score culled from the 163 minute film and it is filled with some terrific heavy synth passages that will rock any hi-fi. The film is scheduled to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 16th January 2018. Shucks, that’s not going on my Christmas list then.


Released 20th October on Little Miss Echo Recordings

AK/DK are two guys, Ed and Gee (who are partly Brighton based) and ‘Patterns/Harmonics’ is their second album. They both play drums and keyboards, sometimes at the same time. Their sound is relentless disco-punk accompanied with crushing robotic/motorik drums and layers of fizzing Carpenter-esque arpeggios. The title of their debut album also rather sums them up ‘Synths + Drums + Noise + Space’. Their double-drumming style is akin to Sigue Sigue Sputnik and the Glitter Band.

‘Patterns/Harmonics’ is an 11 track 40 minute episode of aural attack, that is just as dazzling as the album cover. The standout track is the opener ‘Morphology’. It is advisable to go and see AK/DK play live as that is when they are at their very best. Your next opportunity in Brighton is at Patterns on Saturday 3rd March, grab your tickets here:

Brighton & Hove News witnessed their October Brighton gig, read the review here:


Released 20th October on Parlophone

The Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have been releasing their brand of synthpop since 1981 and have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, thus they are the most successful duo in UK music history and show no signs of slowing down. Every so often they have been releasing their ‘Further Listening’ series, which collects together an original album during that chosen period of time as well as all of their other work during that time.

‘Yes: Further Listening 2008-2010’ is from this ever increasing collection. It has 34 tracks and runs for 158 minutes. The outstanding song from the original album is the finale ‘Legacy’ and the pick of the remaining compositions is their duo with the Human League’s Phil Oakley ‘This Used To Be The Future’, which is a real corker and would have made a great single, as opposed to only being available on the extended album on it’s original release.


Released 3rd November on Tough Love Records

Autobahn are Leeds quintet Craig Johnson vocals, guitarists Michael Pedel and Gavin Cobb, bassist Daniel Sleight and drummer Liam Hilton. They formed four years ago. Their latest platter, the 10 track 43 minute ‘The Moral Crossing’ buzzes with a sliver of strings, a squeal of feedback, pulsing drums, sheets of steely guitar and sonorous bass, complimented with Johnson’s rough, visceral, declamatory voice.

Their sound certainly has are elements of Factory Records Joy Division, mixed with Bauhaus, Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure and especially The Horrors and even hints of Echo & The Bunnymen and Kraftwerk. The highlight of the album is the excellent ‘Future’.

Brighton & Hove News witnessed their recent Brighton gig, read the review here:


Released 3rd November on Bella Union

Lost Horizons is the new project of one time Cocteau Twins multi-instrumentalist (and now Saltdean resident) Simon Raymonde and former Dif Juz drummer Richie Thomas. Simon is also the founder of Brighton record label Bella Union, on which their debut 15 track 70 minute ‘Ojalá’ album appears.

‘Ojalá’ which is Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”, brings together Simon and Richie’s love of melancholia and was a mammoth task in putting together, as it collects a host of different singers including Marissa Nadler and former Midlake frontman Tim Smith. The album was made for their need to make music, and to create something beautiful, and meaningful, in these dark times and indeed, they have more than succeeded.

The album’s standout track is ‘The Places We’ve Been’ which features the vocal prowess of Pennsylvanian based Karen Perris, who is one-half The Innocent Mission along with her husband Don.

Brighton & Hove News reported on the recent Lost Horizons Brighton concert here:


Released 3rd November on Progress Productions

Hailing from Sweden, the hard-hitting trio of Bjørn Marius Borg, Hans-Olof Mattsson (both formally of EBM band Code 64) and Cathrine Räisänen Andersen are the epic Xenturion Prime. Their new album ‘Humanity Plus’ is far from subtle and contains 12 tracks spread across 52 minutes. It’s their second album, after the 2014 ‘Mecha Rising’.

This sounds like a perfect blend of Blade Runner-esque soundtrack, prog-rock Jon and Vangelis style, the electronic body music of Belgian Front 242, the power-synth vibe of fellow Swedish bands Kite and Covenant, Mesh from the UK and Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten’s techno System F/Gouryella phase, thus it leans heavily on speedy drum arrangements and modulated pads, massive chirpy arpeggios and emotional grandeur rock-style vocals. The more you play this album, the more you get into it.


Released 17th November on Metropolis Records

Praga Khan’s Lords Of Acid’s new 15 track 61 minute ‘Heaven Is an Org***’ is a compilation album featuring B-sides, out-takes and unreleased material originally available exclusively through the Lords of Acid’s website. Originally limited to 500 copies and then later reissued with a different cover, the album has long been out of print. It has now been released as a Special Remastered Band Edition featuring bonus tracks.

These heavy erotic rave tracks do often stray into the metal domain (just as Scooter’s ‘Fire’ and the Utah Saints did), such as ‘Stay Awake’, ‘The Dude’ and ‘The Mirror’, but will no doubt get the hardcore clubbers bopping. ‘Robot Love’ does have a Rozala ‘Everybody’s Free’ feel about it though. This is an album not for the faint-hearted, so be mindful.


Released 24th November on Invada Records

The KVB began life as a bedroom project for then Southampton-based Nicholas Wood, to experiment with ideas around minimal electronica and shoegaze, The KVB has grown with partner and collaborator Kat Day, who hails from Harrogate and now the duo are based in Berlin.

‘Always Then’ was the bands first album and the photo of a building on the cover was taken in Mexico City by a friend 5 years ago. When touring there recently, the band paid homage to their cover and visited the same site. This gave them the inspiration to re-visit their debut album and update 4 of it’s songs and add them onto the existing album, thus creating a crammed packed 14 track 53 minute new album ‘Always Then Revisited’. It’s definitely for fans of Jesus & Mary Chain, The Horrors, Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy.

Brighton & Hove News witnessed The KVB’s recent Brighton concert, info here:


Released 24th November by Rhino Records

The Ramones third album ‘Rocket To Russia’ was originally released in 1977 and was the final album from the original members, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy, who are all sadly no longer with us. It arguably has some of their very best ever work contained on it. It has ‘Rockaway Beach’, ‘Sheena Is A Punk Rocker’, ‘I Don’t Care’, ‘Cretin Hop’ and ‘Surfin’ Bird’. This release sees the original 14 tracks expanded/padded out to a massive 91 tracks, with rough mixes and live mixes added.

The Ramones are an institution and I was privileged to have seen them perform live several times. Their t-shirts and albums still sell by the bucket load around the world to sons and grandsons of the original album purchasers. The Ramones influences have been far and wide and they are truly missed. The best US punk band ever. Gabba Gabba Hey!


Released 1st December on Commercial Marketing

In this updating of the 2012 super deluxe Sex Pistols ‘Never Mind…..’ box set release, you now get 69 tracks comprised of the original studio album with 1977 B-sides, a disc of out-takes, a disc of 1977 live material and a DVD featuring 1977 footage of them playing live on the infamous boat party held on the Thames, plus the Winter Gardens in Penzance, plus also live in Trondheim, Norway and Happy House in Stockholm.

Obvious highlights here being that boat trip as well as ‘No Feelings’ (the B-side of the withdrawn ‘God Save The Queen’ single on A & M Records), ‘No Future’ (demo version of ‘God Save The Queen’) and the John and Sid Interview on Rock On BBC Radio 1. But no doubt we all have our different highlights regarding one of the most influential bands in music history.


Released 15th December on Sheffield Tunes/Kontor Records

There’s no getting away from the statistics when talking about German techno outfit Scooter. To start with, they have sold over 30 million records and earned over 80 Gold and Platinum awards and are the most successful German single-record act with no less than 23 top ten hits. Who would have thought it, clearly not the Scooter boys (H.P. Baxxter, Rick J. Jordan and Ferris Bueller) as in their 1996 single ‘Back In The UK’ they stated We started in 1994, In 1996 we’re still on the case” and here we are 21 years after that and Scooter are still going strong.

The band give 100%, hence the name for their new 63 track 244 minute release ‘100% (25 Tears Wild & Wicked)’, which is a summing up of their choice cuts of work so far. The highlights being ‘Hyper! Hyper!’, ‘The Age Of Love’, ‘I’m Raving’, ‘The Sound Above My Hair’. A majority of their tunes are really uplifting and certainly get those endorphins producing the feeling of euphoria.

  1. Darren Reply

    looking forward to the Structure 12″ coming out next week on Harbinger Sound – think that’s gonna be a Brighton gem

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Not heard it yet, but the cover looks like a partial homage to Ladybird Books (with a twist). Thanks for your interest.

  2. Martin J. Fuller Reply

    Really well researched Nick, a brilliant article and a great insight into the local music scene too. Enjoyed listening to many of those albums.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you Martin.

  3. Phil Reply

    Interesting choices and as with any such list it can only be subjective, personally I think maybe a bit heavy on Peter Hook live albums and Gary Numan’s Savage would have made my top three, but great to read the back ground on each album, and a lot of research has undeniably gone into creating this list and for that I applaud you.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      Thank you for your interest Phil. Yes Peter Hook released all 4 albums on the same day and they are ALL awesome. The Top 50 list is in release date order but Gary Numan’s Savage is right up there as you pointed out! Cheers.

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