Art is how we decorate space, Music is how we decorate time

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Top Albums 2007

The whole 2007 list

01 Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga highlights the minimal-yet-complete sound Spoon is rapidly perfecting.  Clocking in at just 36 minutes over 10 songs, there’s a wide collection of sounds here: earnest rocking, contagious handclaps, bouncing horns, chattering studio voices, blue-eyed soul, huge hooks, and (perhaps most notably) space. An awesome illustration of the stylistic and elegant Spoon sound.

02 Apples in Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder

Huge, mildly psychedelic pop songs overflowing with cheery, sunshiny, joyous fun. Very dense and trippy, with genius simplicity. The E6 lives !!! Introduces the interesting, if overly nerdy, ‘Pythagorean Scale’.

03 The Soulsavers – It’s Not How Far You Fall It’s the Way You Land

Imagine: UNKLE-esque electronica influenced by gospel, soul, and country with dark/goth undertones; So far, so good. Now add Mark Lanegan on vocals, and you end up with a masterpiece. Far from a cobbled together sample fest, these emotionally evocative soundscapes are remarkably coherent. A classic collection of modern downtempo at it’s finest.

04 White Stripes – Icky Thump

With the album overall stylistically simplified (mostly garage blues-rock), Jack’s varied instrumentation feels more pointed, less rambling. The tracks still careen, sometimes wildly, around and inside the insanity, but the overarching focus is undeniable. An exciting height-of-their-powers output. Maybe next year they’ll get their touring-shit together…

05 Kinetic Stereokids – Basement Kids

An obvious (and very accurate) comparison is Odelay-era Beck, both in sensibility and scope. Far from a simple aural Beck rip-off, Kinetic Stereokids use similar techniques: low-key rapping, folk guitar, CAN-esque prog, and pointedly sloppy four-tracking to create some seriously sprawling late-night dope-hop indie rock.

06 Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

Modest Mouse has travelled a long, twisted indie-rock road to get to this point. Now that they have ‘arrived’, they’ve delivered with their best album yet – all angular fits-and-stops in a pop framework. To quote a review …”sounds like Modest Mouse, only better.”

07 The Go! Team – Proof of Youth

Never has EXUBERANCE, seemed like such an understatement!! Bouncy, eccentric, frolicking, and wildly immediate!! Gone are the over-trebly punchlines, in their place are rounded full-band (+ guests) concoctions!! The image in my head is: acid-propelled anime cheerleaders sprinting on endless treadmills powering a spark-spewing perpetual-motion machine!!

08 Tijuana Mon Amour Broadcasting Inc. – Cold Jubilee (Of the Snowqueen)

Tremendously adventurous post-rock parlour album mixing jazz, rock, hip-hop and classical forms. Best played over a people-watching coctail party, a few drinks (or whatever) to the breeze…

09 Broken West – I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On

Classic LA-based power-pop, with a delightful 70’s country-tinged AM radio sheen. Crisp, polished, and radio-ready, this is a fabulously easy album to listen to. Not difficult or terribly challenging, just a great album for a long car trip or day at the beach.

10 Amon Tobin – Foley Room

Fascinating, brilliant collage of found-sounds/samples. Carefully organized cinematic soundscapes that lean heavily into the darkness and allow chaos to formulate into genius. There’s amazing depth in the recording, with the mind focusing on different aspects with each listen.

Other notables:

Julius Airwave – The City the Forest

Insanely catchy, a basic, stylistically meandering, indie-rock album. There’s nothing terribly inventive or original here, but as a whole, it’s very compelling. This album spent more time in my ears than just about anything else this year, fwiw…

King Khan & the Shrines – What Is!?

Crazy-fun retro psychedelic rock/R&B. Solid toe-tapping sing-along songs, with solid musical chops and lighthearted wacko lyrics.

The DT’s – Filthy Habits

Raw, gritty, grimy rock with a heavy soul backbone. Charging guitars and deep soul grooves, with vocals roaring with sex, power and intensity. A damn fun listen!

The Go – Howl On the Haunted Beat You Ride

A truly retro-60’s sound, with note perfect production and superb psych-pop harmonies. A must hear for lovers of that classic 60’s rock sound (Beatles, Hollies, Kinks, early Stones, et al)

Dax Riggs – We Sing of Only Blood or Love

Short, sweet and hot: fifteen two-minute blasts of dark, swampy rock. Two parts blues-rock, one part each glam, folk, metal, boogie, country, …

King Louie & the Loose Diamonds – Memphis Treet

Great genre crossing, moving into and through rock, country, soul, gospel (and more rock), all with a thick, thick layer of Memphis-style groove. Tight, tight, tight.

Future of the Left – Curses!

An insane, post-punk riot-waiting-to-happen. Buried within the chaos however, are some nice pop structures that ease themselves right into the brain. Overall, a strange salty-sweet mess seemingly ready to implode (or explode?)

Piskie Sits – The Secret Sickness

Pointedly lo-fi slacker rock (aka Pavement-esque). Fuzzed out guitars, mumbled/droned lyrics, paired with hooks galore and interesting songwriting. Keep an eye out here…

Sea Wolf – Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low EP

Very compelling and engaging power-pop. Nicely instrumented, with the best ‘rock cello’ in some time. “You’re A Wolf” may well be my fave song of the year. From the logjam of ‘Silver Lake’ bands, Sea Wolf is emerging as one of the very best (see also: Silversun Pickups, Broken West).

Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas (remaster)

Awesome remaster of a 70’s TV documentary soundtrack, with a bonus CD of a 1969 Vegas concert. This is Elvis as The King, backed by the great TCB band.

Green Day – 1.039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours/Kerplunk (reissue(s))

&nbsp  Re-released versions of two early Green Day albums (circa ’91 & ’92). Not polished by any means, these raw tracks still clearly contain the sparkle that informs the band today. Kerplunk is still one of my favorite records ever…

I’m Not There OST

Very listenable as an album, with some really great versions throughout.

Green Hornet – So Much to Give

Heavy, organ-driven rock with a sleazy, bluesy, soulful underbelly.  This Norwegian outfit offers a unique bill-of-goods, and delivers with a fury.

Aliens – Astronomy for Dogs

A wildly experimental and seemingly self-indulgent album (ex-Beta Band and Lone Pigeon). Every time it seems like it will all fall apart however, it hangs in there and makes a brilliant turn that unifies the oddities. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is definitely some brilliance at work here.

Rocky Votolato – The Brag & Cuss

A great, modern, counry album. Whiskey-soaked voice, great songwriting, with a nice full ‘band’ sound to boot.

BC Camplight – Blink of a Nihilist

A great piece of extremely weird, dark, quirky pop music. Deliciously oddball and adventurous, but consistently interesting and very enjoyable. Crazy can be fun!?.

Book of Knots – Traineater

A tremendously ambitious, well executed experimental concept album, exploring “the corroded chassis of the American rust belt”. A classic americana sound solidified with industrial percussions and interesting instrumentation. Very challenging, but so well done.

Bj¯rn Berge – I’m the Anitpop

Insanely intense 12-string acoustic blues-rock. A collection of 12 covers (some barely recognizable), powered out by a crazy-awesome Norwegian guitar master with a gruff, brutish baritone.  Unreal, whew.

The Bees – Octopus

Very enjoyable mish-mash of styles and sounds. All well done, all fun to listen to. The Bees (refreshingly) don’t seem to take themselves terribly seriously, to the benefit of all.


Too late for the list, but definite contenders