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Your local backstage pass to Northeast Ohio’s music scene. Get to know the talented musicians and community influencers in our backyard.

Shuffle: The Best Local Albums of 2017

Half An Animal
Half An Animal
Half An Animal released "How Can You Love What Is Perfect" in April

This year was full of new local music, from Akron’s underground DIY scene to bands that specialize in performance art and heavy guitars. For this week’s Shuffle, WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talked with contributor Brittany Nader about the year’s best albums.

Brittany Nader
Credit Brittany Nader / The Devil Strip
The Devil Strip
Brittany Nader

Brittany Nader's Top 5 Local Albums of 2017:

1. Half An Animal - How Can You Love What Is Perfect
"This Cleveland band mixes performance art with pop and Riot Grrrl sensibilities. So when you go one of their shows, you're going to expect this very energetic, interactive performance that's like a dance party with glitter and noise. A big, loud event."

2. Valley Girls - Being/Becoming
"This Akron band does instrumental, minimalist rock. Some people would call it post-punk. Their sound is so full and so lush that it's really surprising when you hear it." Nader says the band has been very involved in Akron's DIY scene."

3. Relaxer - Unreal/Cities
Most of the members of the band work at Akron guitar pedal business EarthQuaker Devices. "They refer to themselves as passive-progressive, which is so perfect because they all put on that slacker attitude but they're very good musicians and they're very hard-working. They're so polished. The guitars and the vocals and the drums -- it works so well together."

4. G.S. Schray - Gabriel
"Ambient, ethereal, unexpected and complex are a few words I'd use to describe this album (and Schray's music in general). There's an interesting mix of electronic and acoustic instruments, with an obvious standout being the electronic sax. Schray calls the release a 'labor of love,' and what I love about it is how collaborative it was with other Akron musicians and artists."

5. See Creatures - Aqua Doom
"Not sure how they did it, but See Creatures' Nate Bucher and Adam Murray also managed to put out an EP, UNK, and a breezy eight-song release called Glitter Mammal this year. Aqua Doom is my personal favorite of the bunch. This groovy album was recorded both on tape and digitally, which lends well to the far-out, psychy, throwback sound of songs like 'Kingdoms' and 'Hanging Tin on a Feather.'"

Amanda Rabinowitz's Top 5 Local Albums of 2017

The Whiskey Hollow
Credit The Whiskey Hollow
The Whiskey Hollow released Greenhouse EP earlier in December

1. The Whiskey Hollow, Greenhouse
"This Cleveland band started as a solo project by talented singer/songwriter Madeline Finn. She got a full band together to record this EP released in December. Check out the song Wristwatch Wishes."

2. Floco Torres - Again
"Floco is breathing life into Akron's hip hop scene. He moved to the city this year and produced a lot of this album at the Akron Public Library. Check out the track Nobody Knows."

3. The Dreemers - Beach Mode
"These garage/surf rockers recorded Beach Mode at their own Akron Recording Company in East Akron. Check out the track, Hand In The Mirror."

4. The Speedbumps - When The Darkness Comes
"The Kent folk/rock band went to a cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania and found a new sound for their latest release. It's a passionate, full-band effort. Check out How Do We Work It Out

5. Ledges - Homecoming
"These Akron indie rockers recorded their album at Nashville's Ocean Way Studios. The album of polished, catchy songs follows the story of a character at the crossroads in life. Check out the track Snow."

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.
Brittany Nader is the producer of "Shuffle" on Ideastream Public Media. She joins "All Things Considered" host Amanda Rabinowitz on Thursdays to chat about Northeast Ohio’s vibrant music scene.