North Carolina dance-pop duo Sylvan Esso released the standalone single “PARAD(w/m)E” last week, and today, they’ve shared its video. In the clip, Dan Huiting directs the duo and a bunch of their friends as they do choreographed dances down a lonely desert highway, while tumbleweeds blow by. Later on, they take over … More »
Last night, Sylvan Esso ushered in their new single “PARAD(w/m)E” with a performance of it on Jimmy Kimmel Live. They brought along some friends and notables to sing backup vocals on the track, Amber Coffman and Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and they performed it with sing-a-long captions pinging in the background. Watch below. [videoembed … More »
Last month, the folky North Carolina dance-pop duo Sylvan Esso followed their 2017 LP What Now by offering up a folky, very much not dance-pop cover of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood song “There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You.” And now they’re back with another standalone single, the dance-poppy, very much … More »
Gathering our favorite albums of the year is always such a challenge. 2017 was a year where our society may have taken a few steps backwards – exclusionary politics threatened personal freedoms and made some of us feel unwelcome within our own homes. It was 2017’s music – a combination of bright newcomers and longtime favorites – that kept us going forward. Moses Sumney made his eclectic debut with Aromanticism, a genre-defying collection of strummed guitars, twisting synth lines and buzzing harmonies. St. Vincent reworked her labyrinthine tendencies into chrome-clad future pop and Julien Baker exposed the darkest shadows of her psyche to give us all appreciation for every beam of light. Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar and Bjork invited us into their unique and awe-inspiring worlds.
And though this pursuit was a challenge, looking back on this year’s music has been quite therapeutic for us. The Wild Honey Pie has come together to list the albums that allowed us to escape to places where each one of us felt welcome and understood. There’s no theme to this year’s list, but our top albums do have one thing in common: in their own special way, each of these artists broke down boundaries to remind us that we are all more similar than we might think.
We’d like to invite you into some of these places, where we hope you’ll feel welcome, too. These are our favorite albums of 2017.
30. (Sandy) Alex G – Rocket
29. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
28. Jessie Ware – Glasshouse
27. Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
26. Jay Som – Everybody Works
25. Ryan Adams – Prisoner
24. Perfume Genius – No Shape
23. Slowdive – Slowdive
22. King Krule – The OOZ
21. Sylvan Esso – What Now
20. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
19. Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness
18. Vagabon – Infinite Worlds
17. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
16. Henry Jamison – The Wilds
15. Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
14. HAIM – Something To Tell You
13. alt-J – Relaxer
12. SZA – Ctrl
11. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
10. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie recently lost his wife, fellow musician and comic-book artist Geneviève Castrée, to a heartbreaking battle with cancer. This concept album is dedicated to her, and does not shy away from painful details of their story. A Crow Looked at Me is not just about the way sickness and death infiltrate life, but it is an exploration of what it means to carry on. Elverum says, “there is an echo of Geneviève that still rings, a reminder of the love and infinity beneath all of this obliteration.” This album so beautifully captures that echo.
9. Overcoats – YOUNG
Young is a folk-pop testament to friendship, built from the tightly wound voices of Hana and JJ, and fortified in their dancy and electronic production. This album is about what happens when an unhealthy relationship slowly eats away at who you are. Hana and JJ show us that in friendship and harmony, we can find ourselves again and help to build each other back up. Watching these two grow has been an honor for us, whether they were performing in front of a campfire at our very own Welcome Campers or embracing each other on stage in front of a sold-out audience at Bowery Ballroom.
8. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is a statement piece — an effort that not only showcases the rapper’s immense talent for spitting rhymes that tackle complex social issues, but one that also sets aside Lamar from his contemporaries as a brave voice never lacking honesty in its approach. DAMN. is as bombastic as lead single “HUMBLE.”, as tightly coiled and cutting in meaning as standout track “DNA.” and as expansive as its collaborations with Rihanna, Zacari and U2 might suggest. DAMN. is a much-needed, explosive force, as conspicuous and unabashed as the caps lock and requisite punctuation of its title.
7. Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights
This album by Julien Baker is a special one. Baker so candidly shares stories of addiction and what it means to be truly consumed in darkness. However, as she brings us into this place, she infuses it with beauty and grace, delivering so many chilling moments of release. She does not sugar-coat the repeated moments of pain and disappointment, but she does find hope within them, belting out her words so powerfully as if they themselves contain the source of the light (and maybe they do). This album has meant so much to us and I’m sure it has to so many others as well.
6. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
Prefaced by the gently ridged heartbreak and teetering chords of “New York,” St. Vincent’s fifth studio album served as a concentrated break into pop music. Masseduction is a rollercoaster filled with twists and turns that allow Annie Clark to extend her repertoire — slipping into the role of abandoned lover, disco queen, enabler – all without sacrificing her love for rougher edges. Behind the iron-clad pop hooks lies an album full of complex emotional and social machinery, where Clark can convincingly rouse adrenaline-driven love, or evaporate the shadow of a lover between the swelling of a string orchestra and her own breath.
5. Lorde – Melodrama
If any moment captures the tender heartbreak behind Melodrama best, it’s the exact midpoint of the album, where, in the midst of the outro to the first part of “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” the song kicks back into one last verse. “Three years loved you every single day, it made me weak…Now I’ll fake it every single day ‘till I don’t need fantasy, ‘til I feel you leave,” Lorde sings, as memories of the rush of first love well up involuntarily. Melodrama is about accepting these pieces as they come back to you, even when doing so is so difficult. The album serves as a beautifully constructed, often pained reminder that even after momentous loss, you are still whole.
4. Bjork – Utopia
It’s no surprise that Bjork made this list, as her innovation has essentially changed music forever. But what does “utopia” sound like for Bjork? This is an album of love songs, a romantic journal containing flutes, choirs and birds that elevate us beyond the reality that we know. She sings of paradise after healing, giving and receiving love unabashedly. She feels lighter here, which is reflected in the airy instrumentals. Bjork sings, “loss of love, we all have suffered / how we make up for it defines who we, who we are” a realization that seems to be the centerpiece of Utopia.
3. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps
Phoebe Bridgers is one of our favorite new artists of the year. Every song on this album feels like a late-night conversation with a trusted friend. Bridgers drops us directly into her world, tackling feelings of unexplainable sadness, friendship and death. Bridgers has a true gift for finding the right words and remaining brutally honest, transforming the mundane into the alluring, making a “stack of mail and a tall can” sound so profound. This album contains echoes of intimacy and morbidity, reminiscent of her emo/folk predecessors Elliot Smith and tourmate/collaborator Conor Oberst. Ultimately, this is an album that we have found so soothing, so inescapably truthful and so reflective of the times.
2. Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
This debut LP from Moses Sumney stretches wide across space and time. Sumney transcends genre in Aromanticism, weaving together ambient synths, acoustic guitars and soulful melodies. The songs on this album take on many different forms – some just a few sentences spoken above a horn section and some with no lyrics at all, just winding melodies cradled in Sumney’s silky voice. Contrary to many of the albums on this list, this one is not about love but rather the lack thereof. Sumney writes in pure poetry about the relationship to the body and its role in romance and identity. He turns the body to liquid and wings to plastic, disassembling it until it becomes clear that we cannot be defined by our bodies, nor can we be defined by our relationships or our past. Aromanticism may be showing us that we are not meant to be defined at all, but rather, we are just meant to be.
1. Big Thief – Capacity
We chose Capacity as our number 1 album of the year because it is the one we’ve had on repeat since it came out, and it has personally meant the most to us this year. Big Thief continues to amaze us, whether it is the tactful and imagistic storytelling of Adrianne Lenker or the pure magic they create on stage, this band is truly hypnotizing, and Capacity is an excellent portrait of their strengths. I remember the first time I heard the lyrics “there are no enemies / we’re make-believing everything” from the title track. Capacity is a storybook containing several of these wisdom-filled moments. This record is imaginative, emotional and timeless, and we hold it very close to our hearts here at The Wild Honey Pie.
Earlier this year, the folky North Carolina dance-pop duo Sylvan Esso came out with What Now, their sophomore album. And today, they followed it up with a cover of “There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You” from the classic PBS kids show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. There are no dance beats on this … More »
New York indie-pop rockers, Future Generations have been blowing up playlists since their debut last summer. With their sweet hooks and perfect pop construction, it’s certainly easy to see why. We asked the NYC band to make us a playlist of tracks that get them hyped before a show, and they delivered a perfect mix of tracks that could also work as a playlist of some of the best new music released this year.
Be sure to follow our Guest List playlist on Spotify, where you’ll get new playlist curated by your favorite artists updated regularly.
1. White Reaper – Eagle Beach
After seeing White Reaper at SXSW, these sweet southern rudeboys quickly became FG’s favorite band. We immediately bought tickets to their Baby’s All Right show and proceeded to mosh harder than we have for any other band.
2. Lewis Del Mar – Loud(y)
Lewis Del Mar has a presence on stage that magnetically draws your attention, particularly to Danny and Max, and then keeps it until the band decides they are finished with it. Also, they take full advantage of subwoofers, so it’s awesome to see them playing bigger and bigger stages.
3. Muse – Knights of Cydonia
Muse is the greatest living rock n’ roll band. We don’t care, we don’t care. Don’t @ us.
4. Calliope Musicals – Echo of the Whoos
From a purely performance standpoint, Carrie and her band of merry, loudly-dressed gentlemen elevate their music with affably weird, southern charm. Carrie is zenmaster, offering encouraging epithets between songs. In the middle of songs, background singers dressed as tigers and smiley-faces prance about on stage. We played a backyard show with Calliope in some Austin Suburbs, and by the end of their set, the tiger was in the pool.
5. Frances Cone – Arizona
When you see an entire crowd of people closing their eyes and swaying to the music, it’s an incredible feeling. Frances Cone makes that happen on every single one of their songs. The harmonies, the drums, the guitar melodies, all doing their part to put you in a trance.
6. Sylvan Esso – The Glow
Some of the most mesmerizing and interesting sounds you’ll ever have the pleasure of hearing from your speakers are Sylvan Esso’s gift to music. For instance, the subtle but beautifully affecting snare change on this song.
7. Jay Som – Baybee
Jay Som is a band that makes you smile: Their sound is so light and playful, yet so intricate and dense. Not to mention every one of their band members exudes personality on stage. If you watch their guitar player and don’t have a smile on your face, you have a stone soul.
8. The Weeknd – Secrets
Consider this one a surprise that isn’t really a surprise. We saw him headline Firefly, and we all knew in the back of our heads that he was going to put on an unforgettable show. He used a live band, which, obviously, enhanced the entire performance.
9. Active Bird Community – QB Sneak
We’ve been playing shows with Tom, Zach, Andrew and Quinn since our college days. From both a songwriting and performance standpoint, ABC continues to stand out in the NYC punk scene. QB Sneak is a lyrical favorite, a playful elegy to collegiate malaise.
10. Phantogram – Answer
We bonded over Phantogram in the early days, appreciating and pulling ideas from the way Sarah and Josh balance electronic production with live guitar, bass and drums. The new Phantogram album, III, bangs, and their live show is a clinic in combining instrumental execution with pop performance art.
Can’t attend Lollapalooza this year but don’t want to miss any iconic performances? The Chicago festival has once again partnered with Red Bull TV to stream the weekend’s live sets.
On Friday, catch performances by Phantogram, Run the Jewels, San Holo, Slushii and more. Saturday’s electronic performances include alt-J, 3LAU, NGHTMRE and Kaskade, and the festival wraps up on Sunday with Tove Lo, Sylvan Esso and Little Dragon.
Check out the full lineup below. With multiple channels going simultaneously, viewers are sure to find sets that appeal to them at any time over the course of the weekend.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 4
2:05pm –Mondo Cosmo
2:50pm – White Reaper
3:40pm – Temples
4:45pm – Phantogram
5:45pm – Liam Gallagher
6:50pm – Tegan and Sara
7:50pm – Run the Jewels
2:05pm – Kweku Collins
2:35pm – Harriet Brown
3:05pm – The Districts
5:15pm – Cloud Nothings
6:00pm –George Ezra
7:00pm – Majid Jordan
8:45pm – blink – 182
2:30pm – San Holo
3:30pm – Ookay
4:15pm – Slushii
5:15pm – A-Trak
6:15pm – Baauer
7:30pm – Lil Uzi Vert
9:00pm – Crystal Castles
SATURDAY, AUGUST 5
2:00pm – Lollapalooza Pre-Show
2:05pm – The Shelters
3:00pm – Alvvays
4:15pm – Glass Animals
6:20pm – Vance Joy
7:25pm – The Head and the Heart
2:00pm – Lollapalooza Pre-Show
2:05pm – San Fermin
2:50pm – Hippo Campus
4:50pm – LÉON
5:30pm – Whitney
6:15pm – alt-J
7:30pm – BANKS
2:00pm – Lollapalooza Pre-Show
2:05pm – Kweku Collins
2:35pm – Harriet Brown
3:50pm – Ephwurd
4:50pm – 3LAU
5:50pm – NGHTMRE
6:50pm – Gramatik
8:50pm – Kaskade
SUNDAY, AUGUST 6
2:00pm – Lollapalooza Pre-Show
4:30pm – Tove Lo
5:30pm – London Grammar
7:30pm – The Shins
2:00pm – Lollapalooza Pre-Show
2:05pm – Barns Courtney
3:05pm – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
3:45pm – The Pretty Reckless
5:00pm – Milky Chance
6:00pm – Sylvan Esso
6:45pm – Little Dragon
7:45pm – Mac Demarco
Sylvan Esso‘s sound has always been praised for its impactful simplicity. This past April, the pair — made up of beatmaker Nick Sanborn and singer Amelia Meath — released their sophomore album What Now, adding to their mellifluous catalog of music and highlighting their striking idiosyncrasy. Around the time of the record’s release, the duo collected themselves in a North Carolina studio along with a few other musicians to conduct an intimate live performance — now to be revealed in full as their forthcoming visual Echo Mountain Sessions EP on July 28th.
Sylvan Esso made the announcement with the first of five songs and videos that NPR will feature daily leading up to the release. Each premiere will highlight a stripped down version of various tracks from their What Now album, all performed by Sylvan Esso and various bandmates from Wye Oak, The Mountain Goats, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mountain Man and Megafaun. If the first video is any indication of the release, this new visual EP will be a momentous encapsulation of the duo’s accomplished musicality.
When you break it down, Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is a pretty strange song. It’s got a singalong hook, but it’s an almost desperately frustrated one; it’s a defiant message that sounds like it’s about to fall into a state of defeatism; it’s one of the most recognizable songs of the mid ’80s … More »
Photos by Makena Cummings
Sylvan Esso played two sold-out shows at Brooklyn Steel last week with support from Lucy Dacus (photos of night 2). Lucy Dacus kicked off the show with her raw indie rock sounds. The Virginia-based singer played songs from her debut album, No Burden. Dacus has quickly gained a loyal following in her debut years, with fans singing along to favorites like “I Don’t Wanna be Funny Anymore” and “Direct Address.”
Sylvan Esso then took the stage and performed a perfect mix of songs from their latest album, What Now, and their wildly successful self-titled debut LP. The show was packed with dancing and the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs. They played new hits such as “Die Young” and “Radio,” and closed out the show with “Play It Right.” This band has consistently delivered some of the most incredible indie-pop songs and are a pillar within their genre. Their newest album is sure to be a favorite of 2017.