Guest Post: Mike Virok’s 17 Favorites of 2017

by Brian Erickson • December 13, 2017 • Arts & Entertainment, MusicComments (0)1325

Mike Virok’s hands are always busy. As a certified luthier and owner/operator of the Bordentown Guitar Rescue, he literally builds, customizes, repairs, and restores instruments all day every day. He’s also the guitarist for The Paper Jets, and bassist for Dust of Days. But in between those productive days and busy nights, he also has a lot of time to listen to and absorb new music. He came to us with an idea for a guest post: 17 Favorites of 2017!

  1. Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis. “The consistent grinding guitars on almost every track combined with some fantastic production makes this album a keeper in my rotation.”
  2. Kesha – Rainbow. Go ahead and try to dismiss this pick & say think what you will – but it is great. I never thought that a Kesha “anything” would be worth mentioning in a positive light. It took one listen to her performance of “Prayer” on SNL to peak my interest – and a few listens of the songs backed by The Eagles of Death Metal! The album art is vinyl-worthy calling up memories of Boston’s self-titled or some later Yes jackets. Kesha finally made me feel that owning her album felt like I stepped in something other than shit.
  3. Miley Cyrus – Younger Now. “I think this is her most mature album, and it’s the 2nd of the year to feature a guest appearance by Dolly Parton.”
  4. Ki: Theory – Silence.  “It’s dark, moody, and haunting – without being Nine Inch Nails.”
  5. The White Buffalo – Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights. “Pure  alternative folk rock. Everything that the White Buffalo has released up to and including this album is just amazing.”
  6. Dust Of Days – Analog Mindbender. “I’m on this album, so I am biased.”
  7. Quicksand – Interiors. “Rivals Schools is my favorite Walter Schreifels-fronted band, but Quicksand was the catalyst that sparked numerous other projects. I didn’t expect another Quicksand album to be recorded, and this surely does not disappoint.
  8. Big Wreck – Grace Street. “The single ‘One Good Piece of Me’ is a great ear-worm. Thornley’s guitar work and vocals harken back to an earlier day when alternative bands were still power-chord driven & fully-stack laden.
  9. Dreamcar – Dreamcar. “Davey Havoc + No Doubt! = a surprisingly dancer version of AFI.”
  10. Glassjaw – Material Control. “I love what Glassjaw does with burying a solid moving baseline beneath a swamp of dissonant grinding guitar tracks. This re-united lineup’s first release in quite some time was a late addition to the list, but a solid effort to can off the year.”
  11. Lady Gaga – Joanne. “And another female pop-artist showing maturity once again, though I do miss that Bowie-esque shift in costume. Her duet with Florence Welch: smashing!”
  12. Matt Cameron – Cavedweller. “It’s a short EP, but it was nice to hear Matt step out from behind the bands he drums for and from this own release.”
  13. Paramore – After Laughter. “Guilty as charged – I still enjoy Paramore.”
  14. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – the Nashville Sound. “Isbell is truly one of the last great song-writers around, especially for his young age. Perfect lyrical content, great edgy-alt-country melodies, and superb production on every track, this album might be my top pick for the year.”
  15. Tigers Jaw – Spin. “I just love 2-piece bands!”
  16. Charly Bliss – Guppy. “A band member twisted my arm to give this album a spin, and I resisted for a few months. I wished I hadn’t dismissed his suggestion for so long – and that was only by the time I was halfway through track 2.
  17. P.O.S. – Chill Dummy. “Most people don’t know about POS or Doomtree, but I’m a die-hard fan. While this album isn’t as poignant as 2009’s “Never Better”, it doesn’t disappoint and it’s clear that POS still has plenty to talk about. Give a listen to the track “Thieves/Kings”.

2017 also marks the fifth anniversary of the Bordentown Guitar Rescue. So if you’re ever in the area, pay Mike a visit or give him a call. It’s likely when you walk in the shop, you’ll see him busy at the workbench with one of these albums – or perhaps some future favorite – spinning in the background.

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