In July 2017, New Jersey native Nicole Atkins released Goodnight Rhonda Lee, her fourth serving of lush orchestro-soul and regal R&B. But on her best-of-2017 list, she indulges her love of dark, heavy rock and oddball art-pop:
1. St. Vincent, Masseduction
I’ve always loved Annie’s lyrics. Romantic and smart. Here, she is at the height of her powers, like a female Prince. So glad she exists, because the world needs rock-star superheroes right now.
2. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Murder of the Universe
I listened to this album so much this year I thought I was going insane. Kind of King Crimson in a space action movie, complete with a narrator to lead you through this journey.
3. The Black Angels, Death Song
I saw them perform this record live a few times this year and was blown away, as I usually am by The Black Angels. “Half Believin” breaks my heart.
4. The Lemon Twigs, Brothers of Destruction
There are so many exciting and fun musical moments on this EP. Reminds me of the Kinks at times. These brothers are so young and have such a deep, musical understanding of history. I think they’re the most important band I’ve heard in a long time.
5. JD McPherson, UNDIVIDED HEART & SOUL
JD McPherson has one of my favorite voices ever and, on this record, he takes pockets of songs to really unexpected places, turning older sounds into future sounds. Very original, while keeping you warm and fuzzy.
6. Queen of the Stone Age, Villains
I put this on when I need to fuck the day.
7. Mark Lanegan, Gargoyle
This man could sing anything and I’d love it. Fortunately, his poetry is just haunting as his voice, and every record he releases reveals a deeper and more beautiful layer.
8. Dion, Kickin’ Child: The Lost Album ’65
There are so many melodies on the top of this record that put me in another world. It inspires me greatly.
9. King Krule, The Ooz
I’ve shazamed a lot of songs on this album this year, like, “Whoa, what is this?!” Completely original. It melds so many different types of music, but doesn’t sound gimmicky. He gives me the same feeling I had when I was young and Trent Reznor (who he sounds nothing like) came out—like, this person is gonna start an entire new sound that a lot of people are gonna follow.
10. Mavis Staples, If All I Was Was Black
It’s powerful and raw and amazing and timely. I’m just getting acquainted with it, because it just came out and it’s on repeat.