It’s the end of the year which can only mean one thing, a complete inundation of Best of lists. We at Ear to the Ground love being able to dust off tracks we heard this year and compile our favorite tracks. This politically charged year found some of the best songwriting we can recall as well as some pop that actually burrowed into the soul of this rock purist. Today, I bring you five of my favorite tracks from the year for your musical enjoyment!
#10 “The Sound” / Noah Gundersen
In a year of our favorite taking calculated artistic risks, there was no more perhaps larger leaps than that of Ear to the Ground favorite Noah Gundersen. His new album is definitely a complete break in the standard we came to expect, and while many will disagree, we found the release to be refreshing, personal, and brimming with artistic integrity. “The Sound” might be the most accessible of the tracks on the album, but it is also a damn good rock tune with a conscience.
#9 “Middle Finger” / Missio
We did not think we would love this song as much as we did. It was easy to dismiss as niche, yet one listen proved us gloriously wrong. With the current state of the world, we all need a track like this to show 2017 our favorite one finger greeting. Clever lyrics, mixed with dynamic Awolnation style layers makes for one damn good track. The duo eventually blew up in ’17 with the help of “Middle Finger” and will continue to tour off their debut, which is also a refreshing take on the genre.
#8 “Radio Kids” / Strand of Oaks
This nostalgic rock track came to us like hurricane of sound in ’17. Indiana based singer Tim Showalter came to success through a series of incredible trials including near death experiences. His life experience bleeds into every note of his hard working aesthetic. You can honestly hear his passion and love for the saving grace of music, and we are all about that. Road weary but hungry, every release matches the previous in exceptional songwriting and building rock sensibilities. The wall of sound he creates is one of the many reasons we loved “Radio Kids” in ’17.
#7 “Wearing Nothing” / Dagny
I must admit, when I saw the title and genre of her incredible “Wearing Nothing”, I was pessimistic to say the least. Yet her video is so well crafted that it turned this ardent rock supporter to a closet pop fan. While much of this genre’s landscape is filled with formula and expected beats, Dagny unapologetically treads her own ground to create some of the most intentionally simple and affecting music of any genre. It is incredibly infectious and catchy, while still maintaining a certain dignity to it that is needed within the pop genre. In 2017, we were heavily smitten with the artist and her refreshing jams.
#6 “Love is Mystical” / Cold War Kids
Our love of this act has kept us hooked for years. With their seemingly sudden meteoric rise recently came many much-deserved new fans to their rock sound. We love this track because we find a mature act that perfectly blends gospel into their fresh rock sound. Cold War Kids are an act you know immediately when they play. Their unique presence is something that should always be rewarded in a field of tons of striving artists. “Love Is Mystical” showcases a band at their best and getting better.