2017 was the worst year I have ever been alive.

The bleak combination of gun-fueled destruction, natural disasters, xenophobia, mass exposure of decades-worth of attacks on women’s bodies, and complete incompetence of US “leadership” made for an endless feed of disheartening headlines.

Nothing this year was normal, but I did take solace in the things that have always helped me through hard times: music and good food.

This was the first time in four years that I wasn’t affiliated with a radio station. Perhaps as a result, I found myself listening to less new music and, instead, relying on a few tastemakers to introduced me to music (mostly) old and (sometimes) new.

My days were soundtracked by curated mixes on Mixcloud from DJs at The Lot Radio (always following whatever Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks spins), along with recommendations from Bill Pearis of Brooklyn Vegan, and my most recent discovery: Jen Matson (DJ NStop), who puts together a fantastically diverse mix of foreign and US-based jangly indie rock tracks for her show Cycles Per Minute. All of them have impeccable taste and have introduced me to a ton of artists.

As far as new records go, I found myself constantly returning to the relentlessly positive album II from Vancouver band The Courtneys, which is my favorite record of the year. The other flawless album I loved is from Girlpool, who played one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. If you get a chance to see them live, do it.

I thought I would stop going to concerts after I lost access to a free ticket book (through the radio station), but I still managed to see a lot of live music. I saw a bunch of artists I love for the first time, from Bill Callahan (whose voice gave me goosebumps) to Todd Terje (whose band played into the sunset at the outdoor Greek Theatre) and one of my all-time favorites: The Radio Dept.

Food-wise, I continued to cook essentially all of my meals unless I was traveling. My recently purchased Instant Pot opened the door to cooking with cuts of meat I never previously considered. Six Seasons, a veggie-focused cookbook, now has me eating vegetarian for most of the week. And I continue to be spoiled by the bountiful markets in Berkeley, from Monterey Market to Berkeley Bowl — the best grocery stores I’ve ever shopped at for their variety and affordability.

This year, I consumed an embarrassing amount of ice cream and got to try more Japanese snacks due to my proximity to Tokyo Fish Market. I also quickly became fed up with the overrated San Francisco dining scene, except for the incredible work that Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski are doing at State Bird Provisions and The Progress, as well as a refreshingly untrendy and excellent meal at Eiji in the Castro.

Here’s a compilation of my favorite music and food from 2017. At this point, I’ve mostly continued writing these lists as a tradition but also because I always appreciate discovering music I missed by reading other people’s lists (from 2016: the awesome Weyes Blood and Kaytranda records). I hope you find something new here too.

(Previous lists: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012)

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The Courtneys

Best Records

1. the courtneys — II
2. girlpool — power plant
3. kelly lee owens — s/t
4. mount eerie — a crow looked at me
5. laurel halo — dust
6. the drums — abysmal thoughts
7. thundercat — drunk
8. slowdive — s/t
9. john maus — screen memories
10. ariel pink — dedicated to bobby jameson

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John Nash & Suzanne Kraft — Passive Aggressive

Album Honorable Mentions (in no order)

saint etienne — home countries
priests — nothing feels natural
kommode — analog dance music
uranium club — all of them naturals
chastity belt — I used to spend so much time alone
hoops — routines
b boys — dada
john nash & suzanne kraft — passive aggressive
protomartyr — relatives in descent

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Presentable Corpse

Best Songs

1. presentable corpse — don’t end up alone
2. hand habits — yr heart
3. lcd soundsystem — oh baby
4. omni — southbound station
5. blue hawaii — no one like you
6. laurel halo — moontalk
7. kero kero bonito — rock n roll star (cover)
8. corridor — le grand écart
9. knox fortune — lil thing
10. chastity belt––what the hell

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Tom Tom Club — Close to the Bone

Albums not released this year

tom tom club — close to the bone (1983)
janet jackson — the velvet rope (1997)
ponzu island — ponzu beach (2016)
saint etienne — good humor (1998)
air miami — me. me. me. (1995)
大貫妙子 — summer connection (1977)

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Girlpool at The Chapel

Best concerts

1. girlpool (the chapel)
2. omni (hemlock tavern)
3. bill callahan (starline social club)
4. todd terje (greek theatre)
5. düngen (the chapel)
6. radio dept (the independent)
7. alvvays (filmore)
8. mount eerie (starline social club)
9. john maus (the chapel)
10. jens lekman (the independent)

Most Anticipated Music for 2017

field music — open here
ought — room inside the world

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Birch ice cream with mushrooms at Aska in Brooklyn

Best Meals

1. aska (brooklyn)
2. state bird provisions (san francisco)
3. golden corner noodles (queens)
4. little tong (manhattan)
5. the progress (san francisco)
6. eiji (san francisco)
7. contra (manhattan)
8. raviolo (manhattan)
9. grey gardens (toronto)
10. jitlada (LA)

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Egg Noodles at Pestle Rock in Seattle

Restaurant Honorable Mentions

camperdown elm (brooklyn)
pestle rock (seattle)
dragon beaux (san francisco)
daxi (queens)
best bagel (manhattan)
rustic canyon (LA)

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Kimino sparkling yuzu soda

Best Snacks

1. kimino sparkling yuzu soda
2. riska corn potage
3. bhan kanom thai pangchi
4. morgenstern’s mixed berry sorbet
5. roxbury mountain maple maple lemon ginger beer
6. matchabar fuji apple ginger green tea
7. bang bang ice cream avocado ice cream
8. tartine manufactory’s blood orange and cardamom soft serve
9. dominique ansel bakery gingerbread pinecone
10. wanderlust wasabi apple sorbet

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