With more than a month to go before 2017 comes to a close, the UK music magazines have begun to weigh in on the year's best music. Uncut, Mojo, and Q have all published their lists of the Best Albums of the Year, and included among them are a number of Nonesuch releases: the latest albums from Fleet Foxes, Rhiannon Giddens, Randy Newman, Robert Plant, The Magnetic Fields, and Offa Rex.
There's still more than a month to go before 2017 comes to a close, but the UK music magazines have already begun to weigh in on the year's best music. Uncut, Mojo, and Q have all published their lists of the Best Albums of the Year, and included among them are a number of Nonesuch releases: the latest albums from Fleet Foxes, Rhiannon Giddens, Randy Newman, Robert Plant, The Magnetic Fields, and Offa Rex.
"Time away had not dimmed [Robin] Pecknold's ear for a ravishing harmony," says Uncut in selecting Fleet Foxes' new album, Crack-Up, for its list of the year's best. The band's long-awaited third album, its Nonesuch Records debut, came six years after the release of Helplessness Blues and nearly a decade since the band's self-titled debut. The album is also included in Fopp's year-end guide made in association with Uncut and on Q magazine's list of the 50 Albums of the Year.
Rhiannon Giddens's latest solo album, Freedom Highway, has also made Uncut's list of the year's best. "A commanding singer with folk, theatrical and gospel chops aplenty," says the magazine, "the former Carolina Chocolate Drop imbued new songs with the gravity of traditionals, and highlighted old injustices that were still, scandalously, relevant in 2017." Freedom Highway includes nine original songs she wrote or co-wrote, a traditional tune, and two civil rights–era songs. The album, which was nominated for Album of the Year in fRoots magazine's annual Critics Poll, is also included in Fopp's year-end guide and is at No. 2 on Mojo's list of the Top 10 Americana Albums of 2017.
Robert Plant's eleventh studio album, Carry Fire, is on Uncut's best-of list as well. "The attitude and delivery may have evolved over the last 50 years," says Uncut, "but Plant's knack for a heroic posture remained potent." The album was produced by Plant in the west of England and Wales, and, as with his 2014 album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, features his band The Sensational Space Shifters, this time joined by special guests, including Chrissie Hynde.
Dark Matter, Randy Newman's first album of new material in nine years, is on the year's best lists of both Uncut and Mojo magazines. Additionally, when Mojo asked Steve Earle to name the Best Thing I've Heard All Year, he picked Randy Newman's set at the Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass festival. "Randy Newman, playing alone at the piano, and it was just incredible. Everything about it: the power of his lyrics, his wisdom, the stories he tells in his songs ... I've heard a lot of new music this year, but his new album Dark Matter is my favourite. A master at the top of his game."
The Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir, which chronicles the 50 years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year, has also made both Uncut and Mojo's lists of the year's best. "Fifty songs, one for every year of a life? In Stephin Merritt's hands it's revelatory," says Mojo, "Taking in cartoon pop, disco, indie and beyond, the songwriting's up there with Randy Newman."
The Queen of Hearts, the debut album from Offa Rex, a new collaboration between Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists, has made Mojo's list of the Ten Best Folk Albums of 2017. The album is also nominated for Album of the Year in fRoots magazine's annual Critics Poll.
Check out the complete year's best lists in the latest issues of these magazines on newsstands now. To purchase the albums on CD, vinyl, or multiple digital formats, head to the Nonesuch Store today.