The Condensed Top Albums from 2007
2007 was the best year for music in the past decade. This albums cover a lot of ground including genre, target demographics, and even musical instruments. My favourite thing about this list is that you can put all of these albums together and just hit "Shuffle" and they blend together with unparalleled beauty.
Radiohead - In Rainbows
I'm such a geek for making this my number one record of the year. But it's just a no-brainer for me. This is one of the tightest, most innovative and downright badass records the band has ever made. I think everyone gets caught up in the way they released it and they forget that it's just an incredible album.
Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings
I've had this record since about early March, and it hasn't left my rotation since. The awesome thing about Dan Deacon, and this album in particular, is that there is an incredible method to his madness. There are all sorts of subtle complexities lurking behind the absurdist surface of Spiderman of the Rings. Dan Deacon is, without a doubt, one of the best lyricists I've ever heard. Ever. And some of his best work is on Spiderman of the Rings.
Shugo Tokumaru - Exit
This one caught me slightly by surprise. Shugo Tokumaru hinted at being a pop/psych-folk mastermind on L.S.T., and has made it onto my year end lists in the past, but I never imagined him churning out a masterpiece like this. It is immediately experimental and accessible, a beautiful mess of clock-like percussion and theremins; a wonderful synthesis of traditional Japanese folk and American psychedelic music.
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Of course a new Wilco album is going to make it onto my top ten. But this one is particularly special in several ways. First, Sky Blue Sky was a grower for me. It took a while for me to to get into, but I definitely came to appreciate the subtleties hidden in all that noise, as well as the pop sensibilities. Second, this is the most comfortable Jeff Tweedy has been with his band, probably ever, and I think that really shows on Sky Blue Sky. Sure, it may lose the experimentation of records like A Ghost is Born and the obvious Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but the best thing it has going for it is the simple conventionality of the songs. With the addition of Nels Cline and Pat Sansone, Wilco is tightened, rounded out and in top form on this beautiful, beautiful album. Fuck the haters.
Au - S/T
Au is an experimental folk outfit from Portland, and their self-titled debut is just mind-blowing front to back. The percussion is incredible, and their vocal harmonies fit seamlessly with violin and piano. I think the best way to describe their music would be "cathartic." Almost like an acoustic Animal Collective.
Mother Mother - Touch Up
"Genre-Hopping" is the only way to describe Mother Mother, a Vancouver indie pop group. Their main inspiration is definitely the Pixies, but they'll easily switch over to honky-tonk country ("Dirty Town") or cheesy mid nineties R&B ("Verbatim"). Touch Up is entertaining start to finish, and has been stuck in my rotation since February.
Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
Spencer Krug continually amazes me, and an album like this makes me not really care that Wolf Parade is taking their sweet time with the new album. Impressive, abstract guitar work and fascinating songwriting are what make this album so compelling for me. Krug continues his streak of amazing records, and Random Spirit Lover is my favorite yet. Really good stuff.
Arcade Fire - The Neon Bible
Like the Fiery Furnaces, you can't expect a band like The Arcade Fire to deliver a one-two-punch after an album like Funeral, but The Neon Bible comes damn close. It is definitely a worthy successor, and is definitely one of the best pop/rock records of the year. Another solid effort from Arcade Fire, which is reason enough for it to make my top list. There are some great songs on here.
Little Wings - Soft Pow'r
Kyle Field makes the move to Marriage Records, with impressive results. Soft Pow'r is short but extremely rewarding to the listener. Here he continues to make whispery NW folk with hushed percussion and overdubbed harmonies. Truly beautiful stuff. This Northwest indie folk pop band turned out an excellent album with Doft Pow'r. It sounds like Lonesome Crowded West era Modest Mouse, but much more mellow.
The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
You can't expect the Fiery Furnaces to outdo a record like Blueberry Boat. It was seminal, but they've moved onto other things by now, and Widow City proves that those things can still be fascinating, experimental and pop-driven in their own right. But it certainly isn't a sophomore slump, either. It's a really solid album.
Now put these on your iPod, hit shuffle, and listen and wait for us to release The Best Albums of 2008.