Exec Team’s Top 10 Albums of 2017


Izzy Fradin – Music Director
Routines takes everything Hoops has built up over their rise to indie-rock success from their 80’s inspired synths, shredding guitar riffs, and washed out emotionally sentimental lyrics and hammers it all home. It’s certainly my most listened to record of the year, and it’s one that I know I’ll never get tired of going back to. Take it to the management.

  1. Hoops – Routines
  2. (Sandy) Alex G – Rocket
  3. Slaps – Susan’s Room
  4. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Sketches of Brunswick East
  5. Steve Lacy – Steve Lacy’s Demo
  6. Bonny Doon – Bonny Doon
  7. Washed Out – Mister Mellow
  8. King Kruel – The Ooz
  9. Mac Demarco – This Old Dog
  10. Chaz Budnick Meets the Mattson 2 – Star Stuff


Carlton Cook – Program Director
A Crow Looked At Me is a beautiful, heartbreaking story about love, loss, and living with grief. If this were made into a movie it would win an oscar.

  1. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
  2. Pretend – Circular Ræsoning
  3. Bonny Doon – Bonny Doon
  4. Guerilla Toss – GT Ultra
  5. Oh Sees – Orc
  6. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers
  7. Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
  8. Palm – Shadow Expert EP
  9. Various Artists – Mono No Aware
  10. Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper


Aleesa Kuznetsov – Station Manager
Sylvan Esso is an electronic duo and sold out the Majestic Theatre in Madison two nights in a row! Their 2017 album What Now is energizing and exciting, with playful lyrics. While Sylvan Esso are known for their upbeat music, this album also exhibits a slower side, however still with electronic hints. This album is a go to for me, whether starting my day, walking to class, or getting ready to go out. There’s a track on this album for every mood.

  1. Sylvan Esso – What Now
  2. Angel Olsen – Phases
  3. Waxahatchee – Sounds of Silver
  4. Girlpool – Powerplant
  5. Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors
  6. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
  7. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  8. Nai Palm – Needle Paw
  9. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet
  10. Vagabon – Infinite Worlds


David Heinrich – Community Outreach Director
A heart-wrenching, raw, and deeply reflective work of grief and self-discovery, Sampha’s Process is a true masterpiece. Sampha Sisay’s voice is the centerpiece of the album; he croons in a cracked falsetto that is both objectively flawed and emotionally powerful. It explores many different styles, moods, and perspectives, from a tender, nostalgic piano ballad (“(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano”) to some 808s and a slick, hip hop beat (“Under”). It’s electronic, R&B, and neo-soul, but whatever you call it, it’ll get you in your feelings.

  1. Sampha – Process
  2. Lorde – Melodrama
  3. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
  4. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
  5. SZA – Ctrl
  6. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
  7. Brockhampton – SATURATION II
  8. Mura Masa – Mura Masa
  9. The xx – I See You
  10.  Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone


Jack Claiborne
– Production Director
Despite being a hip-hop head, Kelly Lee Owens’ self-titled debut album grabbed my attention and held it more than any other album I heard this year. The Welsh singer and electronic producer delivers an LP full of dreamy vocals while striking a perfect balance between beautiful ambient soundscapes and hard-hitting techno beats. Owens explores the electronica genre on this record in ways that most artists don’t, and does it amazingly. This exploration leads the album to have great versatility to fit various moods that I’m in and various activities I do: I find myself singing to, dancing to, and studying to this album. Regardless of where and when I put on this album, I love it more and more with each listen.

  1. Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
  2. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom
  3. Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Daydream
  4. Freddie Gibbs – You Only Live 2wice
  5. Oddisee – The Iceberg
  6. Alfa Mist – Antiphon
  7. Anti-Lilly & Phoniks – It’s Nice Outside
  8. Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference
  9. Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time
  10. Tyler, the Creator – Flower Boy


Conor McGinnis – Web & Social Media Director
Star Stuff is the best psych-rock album I’ve enjoyed since Tame’s Lonerism. Chaz’s 70s psychedelic and funk influences paired with the jazz duo’s rooted improvisation make for an impeccable match on this cohesive 8-track masterpiece. “JBS” has had the most replay value for me over this year as far as a single track goes. The entire album breathes nostalgia with moments of build-up and suspense — definitely worth a complete listen through.

  1. Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – Star Stuff
  2. NxWorries – Yes Lawd!
  3. Kainalu – Bloom Lagoon
  4. Washed Out – Mister Mellow
  5. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  6. BROCKHAMPTON – Saturation II
  7. Pond – The Weather
  8. Tyler, the Creator – Flower Boy
  9. Goldlink – At What Cost
  10. Toro y Moi – Boo Boo


Audrey Bachman – Traffic Director
I love In Between just as much as I love Crazy Rhythms.

  1. The Feelies – In Between
  2. Bonny Doon – Bonny Doon
  3. Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
  4. Lexie – Record Time!
  5. Katarina and the Rimmers – Katarina and the Rimmers
  6. The Slaps – Susan’s Room
  7. Ratboys – GN
  8. Caddywhompus – Odd Hours
  9. Alex G – Rocket
  10. Hoops – Routines


Cate Rudy – Traffic Director
I’ve been a fan of Vulfpeck right from the get-go and they never fail to produce albums where each song sounds randomly different from the one before it yet the work remains cohesive. Three of the ten songs on the album are instrumental, something the band has never been afraid of, and the songs connect the soul/r&b sound of the album to the bands funkier roots.  Mr. Finish Line takes listeners on a ride from a more reflective, smooth, soul sound to danceable upbeat tunes making it well worth a listen.

  1. Vulfpeck – Mr. Finish Line
  2. SZA – Ctrl
  3. Son Little – New Magic
  4. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
  5. Nai Palm – Needle Paw
  6. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Diaspora
  7. Mr. Jukes – God First
  8. Thundercat – Drunk
  9. Curtis Harding – Face Your Fear
  10. The Olympians – The Olympians


Karl Fetsch – Assistant Tech Director
Horse Lords are a Baltimore-based band making experimental rock that lives on the edge of accessibility, having pretty basic appeal in being dancey and upbeat but never shying away from just throwing in some weird, left field electronic experimentation if they feel like it. They perform two longer pieces on this here release, one originally composed by Julius Eastman and one originally by them. Their trademark skronked-out-repetition-played-through-the-lens-of-just-intonation (a non-Western tonal system) is here in abundance, but with much more experimentation with voice and words than on previous releases. Mixtape IV is upbeat, at times dancey, at times silly and absurd, and always slightly disorienting.

  1. Horse Lords – Mixtape IV
  2. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
  3. Death Grips – Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix)
  4. Bjork – Utopia
  5. Áine O’Dwyer – Locusts
  6. Greg Fox – The Gradual Progression
  7. Erik Kramer – A House, Floating in the Middle of a Lake
  8. Pallbearer – Heartless
  9. Palm – Shadow Expert EP
  10. The Necks – Rise


Stella Porter – News Director
Lorde makes me feel all types of ways. This follow-up to her debut shows maturity, depth and star power.

  1. Lorde – Melodrama
  2. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
  3. Khalid – American Teen
  4. SZA – Ctrl
  5. Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy
  6. Migos – Culture
  7. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
  8. Sam Smith – The Thrill of it All
  9. Paramore – After Laughter
  10. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream