It’s bloody Christmas time again. A time, we agree, for unholy amounts of mince pies and wine, and more repeats of Love Actually than you can shake a red and white sugary stick at, but it’s also a time to reflect on the musical year that has been 2017.
From Oh My God debut albums making new British bands massive, to the year’s most anticipated returns being everything we wanted and more, to incredible acts of defiance against hatred, and, as always, healthy servings of bands doing things that simply made us say: ‘Errr, Say That Again Mate?’.
There’s been some pretty amazing moments this year. So many, in fact, that we’ve collated a hundred of them. We’re going to be sharing two posts a day, highlighting some of our favourite festival moments, absolute bangers of singles, political moments that gave us hope, legends of the year and more, before ending up with our ten Big Ones of 2017: the bands and acts that made us laugh, cry, smile and dance the most this year.
Follow everything in The DIY List 2017 here.
Don’t call it a comeback.
The ‘i was there’ live moments of the year.
Errr, say that again mate?
Sound the horns, it’s an absolute banger.
Most notable first steps.
Political moments that gave us hope.
The times we left an important part of our brains somewhere in a field.
We wanna be in their gang.
To be honest, our list of legends of the year could’ve gone on forever, but in the end, we managed to whittle it down to ten of the musicians that really smashed it this year, either creating brilliant albums, slaying the festival circuit, or simply making us fall off our chairs laughing. Here’s to you, legends.
Perfume Genius saving us again with ‘No Shape’
Perfume Genius seemed at his strongest, bringing a celebratory kind of strength to the room and refusing to conform.
After mega-anthem ‘Queen’ transformed Perfume Genius from a hyper-talented outlier to a sashaying sensation, Mike Hadreas further escaped definition with his latest album ‘No Shape’. One of this year’s best records, it artfully combines kitschy indulgence and raw honesty alike, melding it all together into a transcendent bundle of pure magic. Matching it with gaudy visuals inspired by everything from Thelma & Louise to resplendent Victorian ruffles, Perfume Genius stepped things up this year, growing ever more ambitious with every move.
Headlining London’s Heaven earlier this year - on what would later turn into a total flop of an election night for Theresa May and the Conservatives - Perfume Genius seemed at his strongest, bringing a celebratory kind of strength to the room and refusing to conform. “Lending a voice to the ragged, and a sashay to the ruined,” we wrote at the time, “it’s truly remarkable to witness.” El Hunt
As you were LG x
Liam Gallagher. Man of the people. Last of the rock’n’roll stars.
Photo: Emma Swann / DIY
Liam Gallagher. Man of the people. Last of the rock’n’roll stars. A man who isn’t afraid to call a fookin’ spade a fookin’ spade and to call his big brother out for whatever reason he’s found that day to decide he’s gone soft.
Liam Gallagher is the gift that keeps on giving; this year he gave more than he has for a solid decade now in the form of debut solo LP ‘As You Were’ (https://diymag.com/2017/10/06/liam-gallagher-as-you-were-album-review) and, more importantly, the gloriously hilarious campaign that went alongside it. Case in point, this tweet: “Apparently your [sic] not allowed to swear now in LEEDS stop the world I’m getting the FUCK OFF as you fuvking [sic] were you fucking cunts slags twats”. Ladies and gentlemen, our glorious leader.
Coming from anyone else, big LG would be pronounced a regressive lout and thrown out on his ear quicker than you can say “feminist theory” but Liam is not just anyone. He’s his own entity, one man floating around in an orbit made of parkas and Beatles LPs. He’s a man that responds to artistic pretension by getting someone to peel potatoes live on stage at his show. He’s a fookin’ legend. As you were DIY x Lisa Wright
Harry Styles embracing solo life with a flourish
He’s a national treasure, alright.
Photo: Emma Swann / DIY
2017 has been the year of Harry Styles, a twelve-month period in which anything he turned his hand at - acting, singing, being a one-man catwalk - he exceeded the world’s already damn high expectations.
While he’d been somewhat of a darling at DIY HQ for some time now - specifically, ever since he stepped out in December 2012 wearing a Cribs t-shirt, hardly the most obvious choice of band merch for a stadium-beasting pop icon - debut ‘Harry Styles’ saw him slide effortlessly into our pages in his own right. With tracks that’d fit right in on a record from Beck (‘Carolina’), Ryan Adams (‘Ever Since New York’) or Elton John (‘Woman’), he took the classic rock sound One Direction had sporadically hinted at and ran with it majestically, those Mick Jagger moves in hand.
Then, weeks later, he officially made his acting debut, in Christopher Nolan’s probably-Oscar-nominated epic Dunkirk, alongside Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance. Casual.
He then proceeded to underplay the shit out of the record. If you can call two nights at Hammersmith Apollo an underplay. With a band that includes Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones in its number, a set that’ll usually find them playing fan fave ‘Kiwi’ twice and a sea of pride flags - both onstage and off - a more joyous live experience you won’t have found all year.
And, of course, a special mention really should go to his impeccable fashion choices. Gold lamé, more florals than yer nan’s sofa, sheer shirts, pussy bows, painted nails, flares wider than Saturday Night Fever… he’s a national treasure, alright. Emma Swann
Father John Misty: The People’s Prince
The kind of nuanced, playful way with words that comes along once in a generation.
Photo: Phil Smithies / DIY
When DIY caught up with Papa John ahead of the release of his third LP ‘Pure Comedy’ this year, he was worried. Worried his intentions would be misunderstood, that he’d aimed too high, that people, essentially, would think he was a pretentious prat.
He needn’t have been so concerned. Tackling the biggest topic of them all with a hugely ambitious album that buried deep into the human condition and the very nature of life itself, FJM unveiled a record that was as darkly comic as it was clever, verbose, intricate and just bloody excellent. In its title track, he concocted the most accurate observational take on the modern condition around, while the rest of the record displayed the kind of nuanced, playful way with words that comes along once in a generation.
Receiving sweeping praise across the board, it saw Josh Tillman (for ‘tis he) take on his first festival headline slot at End of the Road and then play a sold out run of massive tour dates in the autumn. Rumour has it, he’s basically finished ‘Pure Comedy”s follow up, too. And just to top it all off, he even gave DIY a slightly weird shout out during his intimate album warm up show back in March. Nice work, Pops. Lisa Wright
Olly Alexander, total ledge
Olly’s worked his socks off this year to help out some really brilliant causes. What a ledge.
Photo: Emma Swann / DIY
Though Olly Alexander’s best known for fronting DIY faves Years & Years, for the last 12 months he’s been just as involved in important work outside of music, using his profile for great things. From speaking candidly about his own experiences with anxiety to presenting a BBC documentary ‘Growing Up Gay’, raising awareness of mental health issues in the LGBTQ community and performing with Sink the Pink at a special night to celebrate the life of the journalist Dean Eastmond, Olly’s worked his socks off this year to help out some really brilliant causes. What a ledge. El Hunt
Jules from The Big Moon going full astronaut at Glastonbury
All hail Pasta Woman (and fingers crossed that none of Jules’ housemates fancied spag bol that weekend).
So, imagine you’ve just released one of the best debut albums of the year and now you’re off to carry on the post-release party with a raucous set at the biggest, best festival on earth. How on earth do you go about marking such an occasion? Well, if you’re The Big Moon’s Jules Jackson, you barter with some ice-cold cans of Lilt, borrow an infamous silver spacesuit from a certain cover shoot and wear it for the entire gig. No helmet? No problem. Jules - ever the innovator - embodied the DIY attitude in every single way, slapping a silver kitchen colander on her head. In the process, a new superhero was born. All hail Pasta Woman (and fingers crossed that none of Jules’ housemates fancied spag bol that weekend). El Hunt
Kasabian are Top Lads 2k17
To deny Kasabian is to deny yourself mad amounts of fun.
Photo: Jono White / DIY
Kasabian: love them or loathe them, they’re not going anywhere so get over yourself and just have a bloody laugh alright?!? Sorry, we got a bit carried away there. But if you didn’t even slightly enjoy any of Tom and Serge’s exploits in 2017, then you probably should take a long, hard look in the mirror.
Is there a greater lyric in the last 12 months than ‘Comeback Kid”s “sasquatch in a binbag”?
Is there anything more logical than Serge wearing three identical watches on stage at Glasgow’s TRNSMT just to “fuck with people’s heads”?
Is there, genuinely, a more massive chorus this year than that of absolute slammer ‘Ill Ray (The King)’?
No. No there is not.
To deny Kasabian is to deny yourself mad amounts of fun. That’s why they repeatedly sell out arenas across the land and headline the biggest festivals in the world. That’s why they’ll continue to do so, whether you like it or not. And they couldn’t give a shit about your opinions either, tbqh. (Lisa Wright)
Dua Lipa going stratospheric
Dua’s got new rules and she’s given pop a firm shaking up with them.
Photo: Emma Swann / DIY
“I always wanted to have an album out,” Dua Lipa told DIY back in June, “and it was always a really big part for me”. Dua’s self-titled debut was delayed a couple of times so that she could deliver “the best album I can” but that extra wait didn’t hinder her in her rise to the top at all.
This year, Dua truly cemented her place as new pop royalty, in no small part thanks to ‘New Rules’, a slick action plan for dealing with a dodgy ex that was also one heck of a banger culminating in the line “if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him”. It spent a couple of weeks on the UK Number 1 spot and 21 in the charts overall.
Now, she’s the most streamed woman of the year (yep, even bigger than Rihanna, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande) and she’s set to head out on a massive tour of the UK that’ll see her head to huge arenas next April. Dua’s got new rules and she’s given pop a firm shaking up with them. Eugenie Johnson
Sampha winning the Mercury Prize
No-one could deny him the victory, and it felt oh so sweet.
Photo: Emma Swann / DIY
Sampha’s debut album ‘Process’ was a long time coming. Released in January of this year after years of making his name collaborating with the likes of SBTRKT, Drake and Beyonce, and after the tragic passing of his mother, Sampha Sisay’s debut full-length proved to be as special as we all expected, and then some.
From the dark urgency of ‘Blood On Me’ to the pure, tragic beauty of ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ - one of the best songs of the year full stop - ‘Process’ is eclectic in the extreme and shows a singer, songwriter and producer that’s soon to be a world-beater.
Come September, then, it was entirely fitting that Sampha picked up this year’s Mercury Prize for the album. Though Loyle Carner, Stormzy, Glass Animals and more also had rightful claims to the legendary gong, Sampha’s tumultuous journey to his debut - and the album itself being a wonderfully crafted piece of work - meant no-one could deny him the victory, and it felt oh so sweet. Will Richards
Jack Antonoff becoming a sought-after star
2017 made Jack Antonoff one of the most in-demand producers, writers and artists in the world.
Photo: Phil Smithies / DIY
It’s one thing to release a bloody brilliant second album with your solo project in a year, but to also lend a hand behind the production desk on two of the year’s best records on top? Well that could only be Jack Antonoff. With his second Bleachers album ‘Gone Now’, the former fun. man crafted another set of anthemic, Springsteen-esque pop-rock piledrivers, while also working hand in hand with Lorde on her fantastic comeback ‘Melodrama’.
“If you start to consider your body, your mind and your sanity too much, somewhere you get compromised,” Jack told us in a DIY feature from back in June. “So you really have to give yourself to it and I think that’s very fair if you’re asking people to buy the record and come to the shows. It’s the least you can do. People can tell if they’re getting a version of everything you have versus everything you have.”
If ‘Gone Now’ and ‘Melodrama’ weren’t enough for the New York-based artist’s 2017, he also lended a hand to St Vincent’s game-changing ‘MASSEDUCTION’, providing slinky, sexy beats to lay over Annie Clark’s brilliantly bare lyrics. Without a doubt, 2017 made Jack Antonoff one of the most in-demand producers, writers and artists in the world. Will Richards
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