Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking For Some Good Music?

Check Out James' Top 10 Albums of 2007.

Boxer - The National

An album of beauty and subtle darkness. Matt Berninger's deep, yet soft vocals intertwined with the brilliant guitar work, propels each slow-burning track in an incredibly satisfying way.

Favorites Tracks:
#1 Fake Empire
#6 Slow Show

Friend And Foe - Menomena

This album is pure fun and imagination. Horn blasts and loud drum rolls explode and mesh with beautiful piano figures in a way that surprises and delights. This band is full of ideas. Even when these songs fail to reach greatness, they never fail to entertain. Layered vocals are at times almost humorous in there delivery and yet can be moving and effective. An adventurous album that never strays too far from accessibility and rewards repeated listening.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Muscle'n Flo
#3 Wet and Rusting
#6 Rotten Hell
#8 My My
Neon Bible - Arcade Fire

The follow-up to 2004's Funeral (while not as brilliant as that record overall) is filled with moments of sheer power and beauty. Rarely do you find such raw emotion, passion and energy in music. This is a band we are sure to be hearing a lot about for years to come.

Favorite Tracks:
#3 Neon Bible
#4 Intervention
#6 Ocean of Noise
#7 The Well and the Lighthouse

Strawberry Jam - Animal Collective

Left field noodling mixed with the pop sensibilities of the Beach Boys. This album/band takes some getting used to, making them a "love it or hate it" affair. The more I listen, the more I am siding with the "love it" camp

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Peacebone
#4 For Reverend Greene
#6 #1
#7 Winter Wonder Land
#9 Derek

Person Pitch - Panda Bear

The drummer for Animal Collective (a.k.a. Panda Bear) may have outdone the rest of the collective with this solo effort. Even more of a Beach Boys influence is on display in this beautiful collection of songs and sounds. While a couple of songs linger a bit too long for their own good, the majority resonate with a brightness and beauty that stays with you. Sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Comfy in Nautica
#3 Bros
#4 I'm Not
#7 Ponytail

Sky Blue Sky - Wilco

This band has been churning out pure quality for well over a decade now. This release is a decidedly subdued affair in comparison to their recent work. While not completely successful as an album with a few missteps in spots, there are still moments of sheer brilliance that compare with Wilco's best work. Perfect album for a summer afternoon.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Either Way
#2 You Are My Face
#4 Sky Blue Sky
#5 Side With the Seeds
#9 Leave Me (Like You Found Me)
#11 What Light

Armchair Apocrypha - Andrew Bird

Where did this guy come from? This album is my first exposure to Andrew Bird and I am wishing I had heard of him sooner. His music mixes such divers elements as eery, spaghetti-western style whistling and delicately plucked violin strings with more traditional rock instrumentation. The songwriting is impeccable as each song brings you into it's own unique world and allows you to linger for a while.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Fiery Crash
#2 Imitosis
#6 Dark Matter
#8 The Supine
#10 Scythian Empires

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Spoon

This album is pretty much fun from start to finish. Spoon's sixth album shows a band that is at the top of it's game and is now getting the commercial success it deserves. Great rhythm and hooks all over the place keep things moving along nicely. A truly solid effort.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Don't Make Me a Target
#3 You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
#4 Don't You Evah
#5 Rhthm & Soul
#6 Eddie's Ragga
#10 Black Like Me

Wincing the Night Away - The Shins

I really can't say enough good things about The Shins. This album takes them down a slightly different path than in the past; it is more subtle but no less brilliant. Lyrically, James Mercer shines as always with his large vocabulary and complete sentence structures that fill entire verses at times. While a few slight miscalculations keep this album from perfection, it stands as an amazing piece of work with a handful of absolutely classic songs.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 Sleeping Lessons
#2 Australia
#4 Phantom Limb
#6 Red Rabbits
#7 Turn On Me
#10 Girl Sailor
#11 A Comet Appears

In Rainbows - Radiohead

This is the sound of a band that no longer feels the need to hide behind the (admittedly brilliant) electronic experimentation of the past few albums. In Rainbows is a revelation of sorts as it represents the bands most accessible work in years and does so without abandoning what makes them so unique in the first place. There is not a bad song to be found in this collection.

Favorite Tracks:
#1 15 Step
#2 Bodysnatchers
#3 Nude
#4 Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
#5 All I Need
#6 Faust Arp
#7 Reckoner
#8 House of Cards
#9 Jigsaw Falling Into Place


Christian & Erin said...

I forwarded this post to Christian's brother Aaron, who is a fellow musical genius (fellow to you, not to me; I'm a musical dud), and this is how he responded:
you know what I love about this? 85% of these albums are on my top
ten as well. And the rest are honorable mentions. ha. that's kinda cool

So now I know I am very impressed with both of you. And now I can do put my head in some sand...

Walnut said...

im surprised i didn't see Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros on the list.

my rhymes are bottomless....................

Desta said...

Just to make people feel better, I've never heard of 4 of those and I LIVE with James. But as of today we own 6 of those cds and I've actually listened to ALL of 3 of them. And parts of the other 3.

Amy said...

while I've never actually listened to most (or all) of these choices, I do find the cover art fascinating.