With services like Bandcamp and Spotify continuing to radically reshape the music industry, 2017 felt like a year that saw music in a state of flux.

That’s not to say it was static, as innovations in how we buy, sell and consume music can lead to creative innovation and previously marginalised musicians uploading new sounds directly to the web on their own terms. With this in mind, we asked our writers to tell us their favourite releases of the year, and many have opted for artists that have so far flown under the radar, with Alex and Sam looking locally rather than globally. Sam Gregory

Early this year Taylor Made hooked up with producer Westy and MC Blessed to make ‘Plans’, one of the most chilled yet motivating grime tracks of 2017. It’s a song that thinks long-term and demonstrates the genre’s scope and modern refinement. An advocate for determination, ‘Plans’ reminded me all year of the value of aspirations and of Taylor Made’s musical talent. Akeem Balogun

2017 has been a musically fruitful year, with so many emerging new bands releasing exceptional tracks. I’m keeping my favourite 2017 release local with Sheffield group Life Aquatic Band and their EP, Dog-Party Weekend. L.A.B.’s eclectic mix of indie, reggae, jazz and funk makes this EP exciting and unmissable. Alex Burns

Bold and sassy as ever, Mary J. Blige returned with her thirteenth studio album, Strength of a Woman, in April this year. The 14-track work is littered with clichés, but ones that will seem sensible to anyone who has experienced trouble in love. Whilst it isn’t a ground-breaking surprise, its simplicity and accessibility are satisfying. Jen Martino

Disaster struck several times in Mexico and what we needed was a shot of adrenaline. I found this on Diet Cig’s Swear I’m Good At This, with its provocative punk and warm musical arrangements. Locally, Oxo Foxo’s EP Dusk is a masterpiece: a perfect loop of falling, picking up the pieces and rallying the strength to march through the darker times. Sam J. Valdés López

Back in February, the first time I heard the debut from everyone’s favourite go-to feature artist, Sampha, I predicted it would win this year’s Mercury Prize. Let’s just say I’m still smug. Written in response to the death of his mother, Process is a testimony to the power of art as therapy – cerebral, sensitive and beautifully haunting. Liam Casey

The Contortionist’s fourth effort, Clairvoyant, sees the Indianapolis sextet shake off the tiring tropes of modern prog metal in a fully realised effort that stands on its own two feet. Trading typical staccato riffery for an intense sonic landscape that unifies with Michael Lessard’s fervent vocals, The Contortionist are at last confidently in control of their own sound. Nick Gosling

Hysterically billed as the voice of a generation after his GCSE submission ‘Brazil’ went viral on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s fair to say there was pressure riding on Declan McKenna’s first album, What Do You Think About the Car? Remarkably it lived up to the hype, blending serious themes into perfectly crafted indie pop, each chorus bigger than the last. Dan Rawley

It’s hard to know whether to even write about A Crow Looked At Me, the new album from Phil Elverum, aka Mount Eerie. He implored people not to come to the first public performances of its songs, written following the death of fellow musician and artist Geneviève Castrée, his wife and mother of his child. An incredibly sad, difficult, but beautiful record about implacable grief, carried solely by guitar and Elverum’s soft, hushed voice. Tom Baker

‘To the Moon and Back’, the first single from Fever Ray’s unexpected new album Plunge, made a late claim for the year’s most addictive banger. “Hey, remember me?” asks Karin Dreijer before reassuring us that she’s been “busy working like crazy.” The song, err, climaxes with the line “I want to run my fingers up your pussy!”, the most improbably joyous pop moment of 2017. Sam Gregory

Soundwaves

The Leadmill are selling sections of their old dance floor engraved with different designs, including lyrics from Pulp, the Arctic Monkeys and images of their famous neon sign. Starting at £20.50, they’re available to buy at leadmill.co.uk/shop.

Sheffield’s DIY music scene has been profiled in The Guardian. Titled ‘How The North Stayed Underground’, the feature highlights established underground venues like The Lughole and Audacious, as well as recent additions Plot 22 and The Big WoW.

The newly reopened Delicious Clam on Exchange Street have announced an alternative New Year’s Eve. Called Clams In Their Eyes, the fundraiser will includes DJs and a talent contest of sorts, with the winner performing their song for a second time at midnight.

Division Street bar Bungalows & Bears has reopened after a substantial refurbishment. The launch party on 2 December is free entry and features remix king The Reflex, with more bookings expected by the time you read this.

Background image: Frank Kunert – ‘Scottish Fantasy’