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Arts and Entertainment

10 Best CDs of the First Half of the Year

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The assignment was simple - of all the great music that gets sent to us, I had to pick the top ten new cds whose street dates were between January 1, 2007 - June 15, 2007.

Despite the fact that so many good records have come out in that time the selections were surprisingly easy to come about.

10. Datarock
Datarock Datarock
Nettwerk Music
Released in the US: June 12, 2007

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Datarock - "Bulldozer"

They're goofy, they're creative, they're fun. They made it to the list.

the rest of the list after the jump...

9. Mika
Life In Cartoon Motion
Universal / Motown
March 27, 2007


Mika - "Love Today"

So what if he sounds exactly like Freddie Mercury. Is that a bad thing?

8. LCD Soundsystem
Sound of Silver
DFA Records
March 20, 2007


LCD Soundsystem - "North American"

Even though we know they're probably laughing at us as they count their money, we love it. We're in.

7. Various Artists
KCRW Sounds Eclectic: Covers Project
Hear Music
March 13, 2007

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The Magic Numbers - "Crazy in Love"

KCRW used their muscle to get a variety of great artists from Robert Plant to the Flaming Lips to agree to let them release 15 tracks of music originally recorded at the Santa Monica College station. Of course we're using a video of a song recorded in England. To be eclectic.

6. David Holmes
Music from the film, Oceans 13
Warner Bros. / WEA
June 5, 2007

Make it the soundtrack for your weekend, if not your life.

5. Wilco
Sky Blue Sky
Nonesuch


Jeff Tweedy - "The Thanks I Get"


Wilco - "What Light"

Jeff Tweedy is like Eric Clapton, in that if you didn't know who either guy was, you'd look at them and say, whatevs, and walk right past em. But then they plug in, and start singing and magic just happens. Tweedy is a fountain of subtlety and it doesn't even bother us that he sold his first single to VW because we saw him not have any money for McDonalds in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and it broke our heart.

4. Kanye West
Can't Tell Me Nothin Mixtape
Bootleg
May 27, 2007


Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothin"

From what we understand Mixtape is an extended cd sampler given out for free to get people excited about the upcoming release of Graduation. The 25 tracks, many of which are full cuts from the cd or other projects Kanye is working on, are awesome and made us remember that bro is the real deal. Download it free here.

3. Arcade Fire
Neon Bible
Merge
March 6, 2007


Arcade Fire - "Neon Bible & Wake Up"

The best punk band in Montreal has an accordion player and a string section. "My Body is a Cage" could be the best song of the first half of the year.

2. Dinosaur Jr.
Beyond
Fat Possum
May 1, 2007

J. Mascis is singlehandedly bringing lead guitar back. OK, maybe doublehandedly. Either way, this album rocks harder than anything else that came out this year - which isn't hard to do - and anything that came out last year. It's a throwback to a better time, when every song had a solo, and every band had a shredder. Some really great songs in here too. Thanks for getting the band back together, J.

1. Sea Wolf
Get to the River Before It Runs Low
Dangerbird Records
May 8, 2007


Sea Wolf - "You're a Wolf"

Like a fine wine, Sea Wolf is simple and unassuming. Then when you least expect it, you're knocked out by it. Longing, dark lyrics mixed with moody music that somehow keeps you tapping your feet, strangely. The album could very easily be haunted, in which case we'd understand how it cast its spell over us so quickly and completely.

Photo of Datarock by Wathana Lim