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Arts and Entertainment

Top 100 Albums of 2007 (50-74)

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photo by Matt Craig

50. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights

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Sharon Jones has been singing since the 70s and was even a prison guard for a short time. Her live performance is unbelievably tight, inspiring feel-good shimmying all throughout the night. There's been a ton of revivalism of outmoded genres this year and Jones is bringin' back the funk! This record sounds like it came from the mid 60s during the height of the funk era. For all you Ubiquity fans out there, this has your name all over it!Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - "I'm Not Gonna Cry"

51. The Strange Boys - The Strange Boys Will Now Forever Be Known As The Martin Luther Kings

I've been hooked on this band ever since I interviewed Sean Carlson and Keith Morris for pre-FYF. No other, practically, unsigned band caught my attention in such a manner. I went as far as to painstakingly rip each one of their songs from their myspace page, a process that soon became futile as the band realized I was writing about them. I fell in love with their 70s surf-infused, garage-rock at FYF. They absolutely stunned me, leaving me with a void that could only be filled by trekking into another state to see them once more.The Strange Boys - "This Girl Taught Me A Dance"

52. Holy Fuck - LP

With a name like Holy Fuck, your music better be jaw-dropping and furthermore, blaring. This Toronto-based electro-death group melt my face with chaotic, improvisational instrumentals. "Lovely Allen" is the single most celebratory act on the entire LP. Cataclysmic booms are flushed away with extravagant arrangements and epic drumming.Holy Fuck - "Lovely Allen"

53. A Band of Bees - Octopus

Recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios, Octopus is a heavily overlooked gem from a heavily overlooked band. The Bees have proven themselves worthy of such esteemed recording surroundings, but they have yet to fully captivate the masses. Octopus is a bumpy, feel-good excursion, reaching into pockets of soul, reggae and blues moreso than ever before.A Band of Bees - "Listening Man"

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54. The National - Boxer

The two unassuming brothers from Cincinnati, Ohio blew my mind with Alligator. Boxer is the perfect soundtrack for utmost delusion. That moment at which you think all is lost. Pitchfork wrote, "It's the rare album that give back whatever you put into it." I couldn't have said it better myself.The National - "Mistaken For Strangers"

55. Slaraffenland - Private Cinema

Quite a few bands have breached Denmark in recent years and made their way into the states, most notably the high-pitched Mew. Slaraffenland have re-created that comforting Modest Mouse-circa-The Moon And Antarctica sound, only with the slight inclusion of horns and random Jazz elements! Private Cinema's loose-leaf construction gives way to an improvisational-based song-writing process.Slaraffenland - "Show Me The Way"

56. Band of Horses - Cease To Begin

This album was really difficult for me to digest. I, like many others I know, wanted a raw, no-so-elaborate continuation of Funeral. Well, we didn't exactly get what we wanted, but Cease To Begin is far more compelling than The Shins' Wincing the Night Away. I compare these two albums because they represent similar progressions: Unrefined and respectable to uber-produced and borderline tawdry. I absolutely hate the ostentatious nature of Cease To Begin, but songs like "The General Specific" rekindle my deep-rooted respect for the band.Band of Horses - "The General Specific"

57. Chromeo - Fancy Footwork

Chromeo, otherwise regarded as the only successful alliance between Arab and Jew, have created one of the most danceable record this year. The beat-laden, electro-funk turns a little switch on in the back of my head. That switch is labeled, "Who gives a shit? I'm dancing bitch!" I love you David Macklovitch.Chromeo - "Fancy Footwork"

58. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum

This is a wild psych-pop record that drives home the ideas of utmost psychedelia. Hailing from PA, Black Moth Super Rainbow (woo, that's a mouthful) seem to be suspended in an alternate reality where Vocoder is God. I can't blame them because every now and again I tend to break out my mini-korg just to sing into that wiry, awsome-sounding microphone. Dandelion Gum is an inventive record that shows no signs of restraint. I mean, come on, who in their right mind creates stage names like "Father Hummingbird" and "Tobacco"? By removing themselves from reality completely Black Moth Super Rainbow has created one of their best efforts to date. Think of a more pysch-heavy Air.Black Moth Super Rainbow - "Sun Lips"

59. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

Andrew Bird is almost too talented and seeing him perform live drives that point home best. No other man could single-handedly recreate an elaborate record full of material live more efficiently than this man. By means of looping whistles, violin arrangements (both staccato and legato), and guitar parts, Bird has successfully captivated my heart once more. He can do no wrong in my book.Andrew Bird - "Simple X"

60. Taken By Trees - Open Field

Victoria Bergsman is the former lead singer of The Concretes, but you probably know her as, "that chick who sings on Young Folks". Her voice is unmistakable, hauntingly stark, and doleful. Open Field is a spry and poignant debut that, arguably, outdoes the work of her counterparts.Taken By Trees - "Lost And Found"

61. Akron/Family - Love Is Simple

None of the records Akron/Family ever put out make any sense. The experimental instrumentation entails tribal drums, homemade flutes, odd time signatures, and god only knows what else. The songs are strange, convoluted means of expression. However, seeing them perform live is integral to the elucidation of such epic nonsense. These guys are good-humored, obscenely talented, and totally underrated.Akron/Family - "Phenomena"

62. The Rosebuds - Night of the Furies

Everyone's favorite boy-girl duo is back in action. Night of the Furies is a short but sweet endeavor that is bound to induce some head bobbing. The Rosebuds have taken a more 80s-driven, electronic path this time around. This disc is chocked full of subdued yet shockingly memorable tunes.The Rosebuds - "Silence by the Lakeside"

63. Coconut Records - Nighttiming

Overall, Nighttiming is meticulously built upon Jason Schwartzman's pop sensibilities, blatantly derived from the likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Despite the pervasive lo-fi vibe strewn throughout the album, I'll remember it as an enticing exemplar of traditional pop-rock, undeniably classic.

via LAist: Jason Schwartzman's glorious reemergenceCoconut Records - "Nighttiming"

64. Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass

Aesop's latest release None Shall Pass is ingenious enough to overcome the gratuitous production. I have a special place in my heart for the Blockhead produced tracks. From the nine tracks on Labor Days, the eleven tracks on Float, and the six tracks on None Shall Pass, his production is integral to Aesop's sound. The title track "None Shall Pass" is a juxtaposition of medium-paced thumping with Aesop's glib, almost indistinguishable flow. The song bursts with energy amidst chorus to verse segues. At 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 listen for the sample of pitch-altered women singing in fiery chorus. Hot damn! I can't get enough of this song.Aesop Rock - "None Shall Pass"

65. Shout Out Louds - Our Ill Wills

The Shout Out Louds' sophomore album is uber-reminiscent of an 80's feel. The syncopated high-hat feel interspersed with poppy piano hooks and sparse string arrangements is tucked neatly behind the unmistakable vocals of Adam Olenius. Olenius' singing approach brings a modern-day Robert Smith to mind. It's plain to see the overwhelming (in a good way) Cure influence on this record. Ultimately, the pop sensibilities of producer Björn Yttling combined with the much more mature writing style of the Shout Out Louds makes for one of the better albums to be released this year.Shout Out Louds - "South America"

66. Do Make Say Think - You, You're A History In Rust

Do Make Say Think aren't limited to their surroundings. In fact, they tend to make the most of them through inclusion. A hiss, a crackle, a pop--any ambient natural matter is included, which makes this recording entirely unique. The ghostly, orchestral arrangements of vibes, woodwinds relinquish form and collapse into one unearthly dribble.Do Make Say Think - "Executioner Blues"

67. The Sea and Cake - Everybody

I'm in love with Sam Prekop. Prekop not only a front man and songwriter, but he is a photographer and all-around-man-about-town as well. Chi-town that is. Anyways, The Sea and Cake are back with their seventh album (!!) and things haven't gone awry. They've maintained all their bumbling jazz propensities and every tiny nuance that's formed their idiosyncrasies in the last ten years. Everybody is a rather alluring endeavor in that it strikes the perfect balance between comfort and change.The Sea and Cake - "Up On Crutches"

68. Brother Reade - Rap Music

"You know they told me that the classics never go out of style, but...they do, they do. And somehow Bobby I never thought that we do too." You'd never stop to think that the spoken-word album opener is a verbatim tip of the hat to "Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull," the opening track on Refused's groundbreaking album The Shape Of Punk To Come. Hip-hop duo Brother Reade are the epitome of savvy. They have single-handedly transformed the way I think about the genre. Rap Music is a mammoth effort, meticulously crafted in a respectable fashion that ensures longevity. Rap Music will never go out of style. Bobby and Jimmy are incredibly clever and, consequently, you've got to bring your "A" game to really "get" it.Brother Reade - "Like Duh"

69. Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare

The Arctic Monkeys broke out onto the scene like a bad case of herpes. I'm sorry. I really hated the Arctic Monkeys when they first emerged. "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" haunted me in my sleep. It was pretty brutal, but the release of Favourite Worst Nightmare heralded the big switch. I started to understand what it was exactly they were vying for on their debut album. They just managed to bring it all together on their sophomore effort and that cohesion helped usher me into fandom. I guess this really is my Favourite Worst Nightmare. "Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend" is a b-side from the album that will forever remain my favorite Arctic Monkeys tune. Nothing is more indicative of their new, more mature sound. It's a shame it never made the cut.Arctic Monkeys - "Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend"

70. Le Loup - The Throne Of The Third Heaven Of The Nations' Millennium General Assembly

Le Loup is one of the highlights of my CMJ experience. They're definitely spearheading this year's most progressive music. The combination of programmed beats and banjos recall The Books' spasmodic essence, but this septet creates far more expansive, triumphant jams. This is what makes D.C. so special.Le Loup - "Le Loup (Fear Not)"

71. Wintersleep - Welcome to the Night Sky

They sound like they're from the UK or France, but they hail from Canada. They put on a tremendous live show that has garnered quotes like, "one of the most popular live shows in Atlantic Canada." You'd think that doesn't matter much because, after all, it is Canada. Well, you're wrong! I tried to go see them at CMJ, tried being the keyword, and failed miserably. The small room was brimming with hipsters. I thought I had mistakenly walked into some other showcase for some other bigger band. That ought to give you some idea of how much clout they have built amongst the fringes of the indie scene and yet you've probably never heard of them. Consider them the REM of the Canadian indie scene.Wintersleep - "Dead Letter & the Infinite Yes"

72. Land of Talk - Applause Cheer Boo Hiss EP

This EP should have been a full length in the first place. Originally released in 2006, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss boasted a meager, but nevertheless wholly satisfying seven songs. Then they proceeded to re-release the EP with a few bonus tracks, augmenting the total number of tracks to ten. I'm not complaining because I can't get enough of front woman Liz Powell's dynamic vocals, which virtually induce trembling at first listen. I could just get down on my hands and knees and worship this woman.Land of Talk - "Sea Foam"

72. Wooden Shjips - S/T

You have to see this band live in order to understand why they're so goddamn good. That explains how Pitchfork managed to bungle up their attempt at reviewing one of San Francisco greatest Psych bands. Their lo-fi, muddy sound is reminiscent of Spacemen 3 if you swallow enough horse tranquilizers. I know they're capable of much better, but this is one hell of an innovative disc. I suggest you snag the vinyl version, which includes a bonus disc that outdoes the actual album.Wooden Shjips - "Losin' Time"

73. Dungen - Tio Bitar

This doesn't touch Ta Det Lugnt. It comes nowhere close, but Dungen have done it again. It's as though San Francisco's heyday descended upon Sweden. Swedish psych-rock has never sounded so good and singing along has never been this tedious.Dungen - "Familj"

74. Blonde Redhead - 23

23 was supposed to thrust these well-regarded New York indie rockers into stardom. We have yet to see any physical manifestations of that notion, but 23 is comparable in magnitude to 2004's Misery Is a Butterfly. Alan Moulder + My Bloody Valentine-tinged guitars + Sonic Youth's noise = Eargasm!Blonde Redhead - "23"

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