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Top 100 Albums of 2007 (1-24)
photo by Julius Metoyer
01. Elliott Smith - New Moon
My first introduction to Elliott Smith came at a time when I was most malleable. My freshman year of college marked the beginning of a long, uncertain journey and Elliott Smith's gentle crooning silenced my discontent. His death, which occurred mere months after I started listening to him, impacted me tremendously. I woke up that grave morning, read the news and sadly placed a pitiful, succinct note on my friend's door that read: "Elliott is dead : (". I will never forget what he meant to the world.Elliott Smith - "Going Nowhere"
02. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
When Vanwyngarden and Goldwasser, the visionaries at the helm of MGMT, met at Wesleyan University back in 2002, neither of them could have expected a four record, six figure deal from Columbia Records. Let alone being hand picked by Steve Lillywhite. Yet somehow they managed to keep those monstrous figures from tingeing their ingenuity. MGMT's Oracular Spectacular is a wondrous, synth-laden extravaganza that engenders a fanciful daze. This prodigal effort embodies a lofty electronic transition from psychedelic folk to glam rock.
via LAistMGMT - "Of Moons, Birds & Monsters"
03. Electrelane - No Shouts No Calls
Electrelane may have broken up, but their memory will live on through their tremendous discs. Like many other records birthed from Brighton, No Shouts No Calls changed my life. No other seemingly slapdash album means as much to me and I can't explain why. It sounds as though these girls just picked up their instruments and started jamming. It's overbearingly simple, but simple is best.Electrelane - "After The Call"
04. New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
New Young Pony Club was the best thing that the UK had going for it last year. Bringing back the likes of Blondie, NYPC stir up quite a dance party. If you haven't seen them live yet, then you don't know what you're missing. They tend to defy all boundaries, musical and ideological, associated with normal acts.New Young Pony Club - "The Get Go"
05. Citay - Little Kingdom
There is a certain heavenly aura surrounding San Francisco-based psych-rockers Citay. Helmed by guitarist Ezra Feinberg (Piano Magic) and Tim Green (the Fucking Champs), the largely instrumental collective initially was initially conceived as a studio project. Perhaps it’s due, in large part, to their incessant use of fuzzy wailing guitars, feel-good rhythms and meticulous instrumentation—enough to induce euphoria. Or perhaps it’s the lucidity of their revivalist vision, which relies heavily upon the likes of Led Zeppelin and Santana.
via CMJCitay - "First Fantasy"
06. Earlimart - Mentor Tormentor
The fact that Earlimart had the luxury of recording in their own studio over years is evident within this well-built, anthemic record. Excuse the contrived cliché, but the proof is in the pudding. Unlike other records, you don't get lost in the latter half of the 15 song endeavor. Mentor Tormentor proves that Earlimart is a heavy-weight competitor for the best record from an LA band since Great Northern and Silversun Pickups.
via LAistEarlimart - "Nothing Is True"
07. St. Vincent - Marry Me
The overwhelmingly beautfiul, Audrey Hepburn-esque Annie Clark filled a void deep within my heart this last year. That void was left empty by trillers across the indie scene, but she managed to sate me single-handedly. Marry Me proves that St. Vincent isn't just some backing musician. Clark is a stellar solo performer, wholly worthy of the accolades of her peers.St. Vincent - "Human Racing"
08. Metric - Grow Up and Blow Away
I've always had Metric's debut album 'Grow Up and Blow Away', thanks to the internet, and I mistakenly presumed it had been released. After recording in 1999, Metric toured extensively and apparently sold some copies of the debut, as it was originally intended for release, to fans. However, 'Grow Up and Blow Away' was simply shelved when Rykodisc snapped up their first label, Relentless. What a terrible case of negligence. Fortunately, Last Gang Records saved the record from potential death by purchasing the rights. The unforgettable collaborative writing of Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw resulted in synth-heavy electro-pop gems. 'Grow Up' and 'On The Sly' are perfect examples of Haines' propensity for ageless indie-pop. Her soothing vocal melodies and ingenious lyrics make for an inimitable anomaly of a record.Metric - "Hardwire"
09. Victor Bermon - Arriving At Night
I compare this album to a rock amalgam you might find on the beach. The composite, loosely yet meticulously strung together, is comprised of various forms of the same element. You arrive at the epiphany that everything is simply made up of everything. Arriving At Night engenders similar notions. Bermon's thirteen gorgeous pastiches of recycled down-tempo bits serve as the perfect soundtrack for deep introspection and the whirlwind of emotions to follow.Victor Bermon - "Farewell Lunch For Laura"
10. James Blackshaw - The Cloud of Unknowing
James does stuff with a guitar that isn't human. In fact, I'm convinced he's a robot. He plays a 12-string like some sort of child prodigy. And when he gets to that euphonious plucking, I almost want to explode.James Blackshaw - "Running To The Ghost"
11. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Iron & Wine, Sam Beam's moniker, is one of those prolific songwriters that can pump out album after album of, for the most part, flawless tunes. I'd like to think that he just wakes up one day, arbitrarily decides to go into the studio, and then effortlessly bangs them out. On The Shepherd's Dog, Iron & Wine consciously explores a variety of sounds, deviating from the minimal lullaby style of Our Endless Numbered Days. I can't say it sounds as though Beam simply popped out these meticulously crafted songs.
via LAistIron & Wine - "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car"
12. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer
I'll admit that, initially, this record was hard to sink my teeth into, but Hissing Fauna gradually became a go-to. Utilizing the powers of heavy psych-rock ballads and mini-pop gems, Of Montreal have done it again. It makes you wonder how prolific a band can actually be.Of Montreal - "A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger"
13. Chromatics - Night Driving
14. Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X
Glass Candy and Chromatics represent a nu-wave (ha! get it?) of disco-infused electro. Italians Do It Better own the rights to both of these bad boys and thus they ruled the underground dance club scene in 2007.
With hard beats and oscillating synths, Glass Candy's Kraftwerk cover may resemble the original entirely, but it never gets old. Chromatics' "Running Up That Hill" is a chugging anthem that brings me back to the dance clubs of the 80s. Chromatics - "Running Up That Hill"
Glass Candy - "Computer Love (Kraftwerk)"
15. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
Again, I generally do not stray this way. However, the Field managed to seize hold of my attention with mesmerizing house. Whenever I listen to From Here We Go Sublime, I pretend that I'm snowboarding in the Alps, wearing some really atrocious outfit that's acceptable by European standards. That's pretty much all I have to say about that.The Field - "A Paw In My Face"
16. Bowerbirds - Hymns For A Dark Horse
According to Last.fm, we're calling this nu-folk. Great. Do we need any more divisive sub-genres? Bowerbirds hail from an immensely creative area: Raleigh, NC. Americana, folk and bluegrass seem to penetrate most of the music down south, but Hymns For A Dark Horse promise far more than your average "nu-folk" record. Bowerbirds is a powerful group slated for huge things in 2008.Bowerbirds - "In Our Talons"
17. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
It's like Led Zeppelin, the Band and the Grateful Dead revived from the dead and partied in one big room together. Blitzen Trapper's latest Sub Pop disc is raspy and feel-good. It just warms me to the bone.Blitzen Trapper - "Wild Mountain Nation"
18. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
I disliked this disc at first. I thought it was far too mainstream for my liking. However, after some extensive listening I let my guard down. Britt Daniels' rather absurd lyrics turned into meaningful, thought-out proverbs. All of the sudden, I could understand why people loved this overly-poppy, contrived record. I saw the light and I'm calling it the Ga Ga effect.Spoon - "Don't You Evah"
19. Justice - †
I hate to put Justice on this list because the aftermath of their success is just disgusting and vile. I knew that the French super-duo would make it big, but not this big. And yes, that changes things. The first time I watched them was amidst a sea of yuppy-turned-electro-heads at the Detour Festival. I stayed as long as I could, but their newfangled fans ruined it with their idiocy. All in all, † is a groundbreaking album for the dance scene and I loved it initially. That's all that matters, I suppose.Justice - "Phantom Pt. 2"
20. Caribou - Andorra
Dan Snaith is a completely fucking genius. It's scary how much is going on inside of his head. I watched a BBC mini-documentary about him once and I almost melted. Andorra proves that Snaith can, in fact, branch outside of his electro roots and effectively so. "Melody Day" presents Snaith as Elliott Smith with headphones spewing heavy psych-rock.Caribou - "Melody Day"
21. Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things
I almost forgot that this album even came out in 2007. It's been a long journey for Fujiya & Miyagi. They are the most idiosyncratic group I listen to. Transparent Things put their repetitive, jazz-electro driven tone on the map. I have no doubt that they will be huge in the coming years.Fujiya & Miyagi - "Conductor 71"
22. Studio - Yearbook 1
Studio is pretty obscure in the States, but I inadvertently stumbled across a few tracks prior to acquiring Yearbook 1 and I've been addicted ever since. Their music sounds like a clash between Zoot Woman and Phoenix, even Hard Fi at moments. This album may be comprised of prolix tracks, but they make you get up and dance.Studio - "Self Service (Short Version)"
23. Burial - Untrue
I don't usually stray this way. UK-based Burial is almost too techno-house-y for me, but their is a certain ghostly quality that I can't get enough of. Untrue is chocked full of chopped vocals and pitch-altered goodness.Burial - "Archangel"
24. The Honeydrips - Here Comes The Future
The Honeydrips are a prime example of how good the Swedish scene really is. They struck it big when Pitchfork put "Fall From A Height" in their top songs of 2007. If that doesn't work, then opening for Jens Lekman should do the trick.The Honeydrips - "Fall From A Height"
25. Menomena - Friend And Foe
I remember watching Menomena with a huge backing chorus at Bumbershoot last year. They blew me away. Friend And Foe proved to be no less expansive. Songs like "Muscle'nFlo" and "Wet And Rusting" stood out as orchestral indie sagas in a rather abrupt and to-the-point year.Menomena - "Wet And Rusting"