Unlike previous years, our roundup of the best Singaporean releases of the year will not be ranked.
Instead, we've decided to highlight some of the more prominent and interesting releases that have come out of our country in 2017, and judging by the wealth of music that we've been blessed with, 15 or 20 picks simply wouldn't cut it. With our monthly album review roundup taking a brief hiatus, we'll be listing out some of 2017's albums and EPs worth relistening as the year closes.
Click on each title to stream the albums.
In no particular order...
Intriguant — Recluse
Intriguant's debut album is a masterclass in glistening sonics treated by a producer fully in his element.
T-Rex — Volume 1
Meticulous and unyieldingly fun, Volume 1 showcases the prowess of skilled veterans fully in touch with their foundational songwriting abilities.
Astreal — Light
Light marks the return of shoegaze band Astreal, and they sound rejuvenated and driven — an exciting step forward after their classic 2006 debut Fragments Of The Same Dead Star.
Morning Martians — Hope You Could Relate
Pop-punk is a well-worn genre of easy-going guitar riffs and adolescent lyrical tropes, but Morning Martians' skilled songwriting and expert production empower a solid set of songs on Hope You Could Relate.
REQ — Against All Odds
REQ is one of the few artists to rep the grime culture in Singapore, and he runs with it on this intriguing EP. Well worth a couple of listens.
The Analog Girl — Golden Sugar Crystals
Back in 2011, The Analog Girl struck gold with Tonight Your Love, a dark, fractured and infectious debut LP. Six years later, the bedroom pop artist shows she has plenty to mine from with the intoxicating and rich Golden Sugar Crystals.
Fauxe — Graduation EP
Fauxe has mostly kept silent on all fronts this year, blessing fans with random music drops. With the Graduation EP, Fauxe marks a steady growth from his early output with a soulful and joyous release.
Radigals — Fight To Unite
Radigals are one of the most notable bands of 2017 — not just because of the band's infectious idealism, but because Fight To Unite is an impressive set of hardcore punk songs that achieve what the band originally set out to do: to inspire.
Decipher — Strange Comfort
Strange Comfort is emotionally compelling and smartly written, borne out of a labour of love (well documented in a series of vlogs) that sets the tone for a genuine collection of post-hardcore music.
Mean — By Any Means
By Any Means is another important step taken by one of Singapore's hardest-working rappers in the game.
Take-Off — This Won't Save The World
This Won't Save The World confesses its lack of grandeur from the get-go, and it also becomes its biggest strength with the band's reverence of classic pop-punk, reviving some of the genre's highest points.
Armless Dentist — Exfeariment
Exfeariment continues the traditions of grindcore's hilarious outliers with new, fresh ideas. A dynamic live music act for an Artbox event in hell.
Kaye — Innervate Vol. 2
"We move" marks the modus operandi of Darker Than Wax, and the label's co-founder Kaye takes it to heart with a steady stream of online releases. Innervate Vol. 2 is one of many standouts in his body of work.
7nightsatsea — Terra Firma
Terra Firma is the perfect send-off for 7nightsatsea, an outstanding post-rock band who led by example in engaging their foremost primal senses with every release.
LEW — Lullacry
LEW thrived early in his career with a crop of successful singles, and Lullacry proved that he could replicate that magic with a satisfying full-length.
Villes — The Cure
This debut album by post-hardcore unit Villes was years in the making, and the final product sounds exactly like it: a polished and carefully-constructed piece of work that will excite any devotee of melodic heavy music.
Canvas Conversations — In Transit
Electronic pop group Canvas Conversations come through with intense, artful ambitions on In Transit, an album which reveals its strengths over time.
Amberhill — Songs From Summer
Songs From Summer evokes a sense of warmth and optimism that shines through with each song, even with its wintry and brooding setting.
The Facade — Vanity
The Façade's debut EP is remarkably self-assured with a satisfying blend of velvety vocals and elevating guitar solos, all on a record that's fit for a crowd — a crowd which knows a mellow pop groove when they hear it.
Vandetta — Mindkiller
Vandetta's greatest asset is her voice, and she's proved that tremendously throughout her career. But with Mindkiller, she's also taken many steps further as a songwriter with purpose.
Obedient Wives Club — Cinematica
Considering how fuzzy, bleak and reverb-filled their previous releases have been, Obedient Wives Club's Cinematica sounds downright joyful.
O$P$ — The Answer
The Answer is an invigorating four-track romp that deftly fuses O$P$ penchant for futuristic trap, heavy bass and Asian cyberpunk accents.
Sam Rui — Season 2
Sam Rui isn't afraid to display romantic vulnerability and resentment, but this 10-track effort coalesces all those diaristic tales of heartbreak into a sound that's full-bodied and full of promise.
M1LDL1FE — M1LDL1FE
M1LDL1FE's low points are worth overlooking in light of its strongest qualities, and you may just take something away from this debut by an indie rock band starting anew.
Sobs — Catflap
Sobs may label their debut EP as "lo-fi" on their Bandcamp page, but the end result favours crisp over crunch, both in sonics and songwriting.
FXTRT — Bento Set A
FXTRT's sophomore effort is a fresh approach to the math rock genre, peppered with a playful sense of humour.
Ffion — Bad Habits
Lyrically, Ffion still has work to do, but the record stands firm with its atmospheric qualities and excellent production — it's a record that seamlessly invites you in with each listen.
Assault — The Fallen Reich
Death/thrash metal band Assault's The Fallen Reich may not be reinventing the steel, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable, destructive, explosive album.
elintseeker — Gerwalk Modes
One-man project elintseeker comes through with the heartwarming and blissful Gerwalk Modes, which features an interesting change in direction for the distinguished ambient artist.
Chok Kerong — Tales They Told Me
Tales They Told Me is a playful and engaging jazz album, indulging in stylistic detours that turn out to be utterly delightful.
hrvst — Kingdom
Kingdom has shown us that sludge metal band hrvst are capable of special, memorable passages, and here’s hoping there will be more to come.
Zeekos Perakos — Desiderata
Zeekos Perakos certainly isn’t the first artist to take on abstract atonal electronic compositions, but it is executed with sufficient finesse and creativity that it still sounds incredibly fresh.
Jasmine Sokko — Nº
The immediacy of Jasmine Sokko's songs on Nº is bolstered by her ability to tweak and sprinkle electro-pop beat flourishes that make — nay, compel — casual listeners to come back for more.
Handsome Girl — Shut Up Cutie
For how tortured Shut Up Cutie is, there is always a sense that Handsome Girl is trying to reach out to other people through their vague capacity to relate to the traumas on the album, to reassure listeners that things will be okay. And that is beautiful.
The Steve Mcqueens — TERRAЯIUM
The Steve McQueens know no limits with an ambitious and technically-driven take on the neo-soul genre with TERRAЯIUM.
Yeule — Coma
Yeule’s seeming despondency is alleviated by her intoxicating optimism, and Coma gleams with an unfettered elegance so rare these days.
Bruised Willies — Dark Humour
Bruised Willies' take on regret and self-loathing — packaged in positive sounding songs, mixed with despondent and fatalistic lyrics, sung with resignation — makes for an incredibly relatable experience. It’s an honest message, blasted into your ears. Do you feel it?
Supersect — Greatest Hits
Supersect understand the Boredphucks ethos way more than anyone else ever did – and potentially ever can. A fun alternative metal romp.
Typewriter — What You're Feeling Is Not Enough
What You’re Feeling Is Not Enough is a solid and earnest concoction that aims for the heart — as close as Singapore can get to heartland rock by musicians who deeply understand its intricacies.
Bravepaper — Heavy & Light
A comeback for the self-effacing singer-songwriter, Bravepaper's Heavy & Light pulls away the curtains to reveal vulnerability at its most artful and accessible.
The Pinholes — D'Antara Kita
Their first Malay-language album, D'Antara Kita is an immediate delight, and it's the latest case proving The Pinholes' worth in modern Asian music — a band that ignites the past with distinctly modern flair.
Racoonhead — Racoonhead
The collective effort by members of Forests, Long Live The Empire and Two Seas is a light and playful EP that is heavy on slacker rock anthems.
SIAL — SIAL
The self-titled album debut by a new, visceral punk band, SIAL is a frenzied and passionate release, and a vital listen for anyone attempting to grasp the Singaporean underground.
Amateur Takes Control — ATC EP2
Ending the year with a remarkable step forward, Amateur Takes Control hits all the right notes with ATC EP2, a forceful reminder of the post-rock band's importance 11 years since their inception.
EDIT: A sizeable list like this would end up with a few omissions, of which we'll address here with a few proper shout-outs: sub:shaman for their Herculean concept album Apnea, Subsonic Eye for their wistful and endlessly catchy debut Strawberry Feels, Witchseeker's death-defying When The Clock Strikes, Tim De Cotta's career-defining effort The Warrior, and Yumi's latest triumph, Epoch.