Friday, December 21, 2007

top records from 2007

So, for the 2nd year in a row, I have asked a few of my music loving friends to give me their top 10 records for the year. the only rule (which many of them broke) was that the record had to be released in 2007. I'd link to the 2006 lists, but that got deleted in the greatblogpurgeofearly2007.

this is going to be an uncharacteristically long post, but it is a post that I will reference, and you are welcome to reference, as you search for music. simply put, there is way too much great music out there, and 2007 has been a fantastic year for music (anybody who tells you otherwise probably doesn't actually like music very much).

two notes: I'd love to add hyperlinks for you, but I don't have time, and you have google, so there. also, feel free to add commentary, or your own lists in the comments section.

my list first, then my friends (notice I am quick and to the point):

Brian T. Murphy
wilco - sky blue sky
josh ritter - historical conquests of josh ritter
josh rouse - country mouse
travis - the boy with no name
iron and wine - shepherds dog
radiohead - in rainbows
the national - boxer
ryan adams - easy tiger
sea wolf - leaves in the river
small sails - similar anniversaries

sorry, patty griffin.

Brian Barrett
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Patty Griffin - Children Running Through
Greg Summerlin - All Done in Good Time
Led Zeppelin - Mothership (okay it is 100% material released before 1983 but I'm on a LZ kick right now).
RMM - This Breaks My Heart of Stone

disappointment of the year:
U2- The Joshua Tree (remastered). TJT has always suffered from poor mastering - maybe they were rushed as I recall this was the first album released (to my delight) in cd/lp/cassette format on the same day (up until then cds followed lp/c by as much as 2 months). I wanted the re-issue to blow me away but I have a hard time hearing differences btwn original disk and this one.

Jon Black
1. Patty Griffin - Children Running Through
2. Emotionalism - The Avett Brothers
3. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
4. Bright Eyes - Cassadaga (All emo jokes aside, this album is incredible and his live show is great too)
5. Josh Ritter - Historical Conquests
6. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (Best live show I caught this year)
7. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away (I'm surprised at how much I like this band)
8. Icky Thump - The White Stripes
9. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger (Even after his fit, I still like this album)
10. Iron & Wine - Shepherd Dog

Honorable Mentions:
Tim O'Regan - Self-Titled (drummer from the Jayhawks... well crafted american music)
Son Volt - The Search
Lyle Lovett - It's Not Big, It's Large (if you don't like Lyle then you either hate Country or you're not American)
Ryan Shaw - This Is Ryan Shaw (the closest this era is going to get to Motown without actually listening to old motown records)
Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
This Breaks My Heart of Stone - RMC... amazing.

Albums from this year I haven't gotten around to checking out:
1. The National - I saw them with Arcade Fire and I wasn't blown away. I still want to hear their album since everyone is going crazy about it.
2. Band of Horses - Cease to Being
3. Springsteen – Magic

Evander Munger
Patty Griffin - Children Running Through
Travis - The Boy With No Name
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5:55
Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Menomena - Friend and Foe
Great Northern - Trading Twilight for Daylight
Clare Burson - Thieves
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
The National – Boxer

Shawn Avery
1. nine inch nails - year zero
2. through the sparks - lazarus beach
3. st. vincent - marry me
4. clutchy hopkins - the life of clutchy hopkins
5. greg gillis aka girl talk - miscellaneous bootleg cds
6. aa bondy - american heart
7. nine inch nails - year zero remixed (a totally different animal)
8. the rosebuds - night of the furies
9. the shins - wincing the night away (mainly listened to sea legs)
10... honorable mentions...

travis - the boy with no name
the damnwells - air stereo
midlake - the trials of van occupanther
the fire theft (old, but i'm just now going nuts over it)

if i had to recommend some 2007 albums to you guys as no brainers... i would suggest:

3. st. vincent - marry me
4. clutchy hopkins - the life of clutchy hopkins
6. aa bondy - american heart

T.Scott Carlisle
The National - Boxer
Menomena - Friend and Foe
Josh Rouse - Country Mouse City House
Feist - Reminder (even though it was "cool" and over exposed)
Beirut - Pompeii + Long Island+Elephant Gun EP's (Together they equal one album and sound like a gypsy funeral band exploded.)
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky (I like Volkswagens)
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Iron and Wine - Shepherds Dog
Radiohead - In Rainbows
A few random cuts: The Kings of Leon "Knocked Up", Modest Mouse "Dashboard" (the rest kind of gives me a headache), Arcade Fire "Intervention"

For the rest, I was still catching up on 2006 which had a lot of good stuff I slowly discovered over this year, not to mention all the other suff I heard for the first this year that was older then that, like Band of Bees "Sunshine Hit Me" from 2003, some Ben Folds stuff, Sun Kil Moon, etc. There's just too much good stuff out there.

Chris Copeland
Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
Patty Griffin, Children Running Through
Josh Ritter, Historical Conquests
The National, Boxer
Feist, The Reminder
Radiohead, In Rainbows
Joseph Arthur, Let's Just Be
William Fitzsimmons, Goodnight (Thanks for this one Murph)

Number 9 & 10 are albums only partially listened to but have me full of anticipation:

Band of Horses, Cease to Begin
Marc Cohn, Join the Parade

Clint Wells
katherine mcphee - katheryn mcphee
fall out boy - infinity on high
toby mac - portable sounds
relient k - five score and seven years ago
korn - mtv unplugged:korn
dokken - from conception live '81
third day - chronology volume one
the dogg pound - dogg chit
W.A.S.P. - dominator
toby keith - big dog daddy

e* (official winner of the 2007 verbose awards)
Ok, here we go (no particular order at first, some order later):

Easy Tiger - Ryan Adams.
- I should've been a huge Ryan Adams fan years ago, but I resisted for some reason. This album effectively ended that resistance and made me atone for my years of neglecting him. "I taught myself how to grow old" has been playing in my head constantly since the first time I heard it.

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone - Explosions In The Sky
- This is the kind of music I would make if I could make music. This is what they make 6 foot tall amps for. This is what I hope they play at my funeral.

Zeitgeist - Smashing Pumpkins
- It would be easy to assume that the Pumpkins are done, that their time was the 90s and we should accept that and move on. This album is a thundering, snarling, riveting, gripping rebuttal to that viewpoint. This album makes me feel like I'm in the middle of the movie Bladerunner, wearing black leather and a cape, leaping from rooftops at night in the rain, punching through walls.

In Rainbows - Some band
- Yeah. Some band sort of lost me about 10 years ago. I need rhythm, I need verse-chorus-verse. I gave up. They were too hard, to inaccessible for my cheap ears. Then this. Then "All I Need" on repeat for 12 hours straight. Then "Videotape" in the dark teatime of my soul. I still don't get all of it. But there is depth and weight to this album, and these songs in particular, that is breathtaking.

Boxer - The National
- I still like their last one better, but this is still easily in the top 10. "Start A War" punches me in the gut every time I hear it.

An End Has A Start - The Editors
- This is an album filled to its entirety with achingly sad, shiveringly cold songs. I loved every one. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Door" and "Escape the Nest" kill me.

Friend and Foe - Menomena
- I'm not a drummer, but I bet a lot of drummers kick themselves a little bit when they hear this record. Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. Creative, creepy songwriting.

3 Icky Thump - White Stripes
- I saw them at Sloss this year. It should be pretty obvious that I like guitar from my list. Jack doesn't play guitar. He plays whatever instrument it is that Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton played. The sounds he makes, and the audible savagery that his guitar and Meg's tribal, primal, off-balance drumming create, are collectively one of the most forceful things I've ever heard.

2 The Story - Brandi Carlile
- She has the best female-folk-alt-country-rock voice in the world. I saw her twice this year and once last year, and I think that any of those shows could go down as one of the finest complete-band performances I've ever seen. She is the only person in the world that can cover Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, Radiohead's Creep, Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues, Counting Crows' Raining in Baltimore, and CCR's Fortunate Son, and sincerely do right by all of them. (I know you don't believe me, but I've heard them all firsthand, and you're wrong.) She's talented enough to sell millions of records on her own, but with Gibb Droll on guitar and the Hanselroth brothers on bass / rhythm, her band could play by itself and I'd pay to see them. Her songs are relatively simple, kind of like 50,000 pounds of high explosive and a lit fuse are relatively simple.

1 Because of the Times - Kings of Leon
- This one came out of nowhere for me. I've never been a KoL fan, but the first song on this album -- Knocked Up -- grabbed me deep in the wanderlust-open road-redneck-pregnant teenage girlfriend part of my soul and has not let go. The whole album appeals to me like Exile on Main Street appeals to me. It's visceral and dirty and authentic and volcanic. I saw them at the Tabernacle and I had some sincere concerns that they were going to tear the place down. I still kind of wish they had. "On Call" is captivating

Barely missing the list:

Cease to Begin - Band of Horses. If I were perfectly honest, I'd say this was a little disappointing, if only because their first album was one of my favorites of the last 5 years. Still pretty damn good though.
Kala - M.I.A. "Paper Planes" alone is enough to put it very high on any list.
Neon Bible - Some Canadian Band. "Intervention" alone is enough to put it very high on any list. I got a little tired of the Jesus-band posturing this year, but let's face it -- they're making incredibly good music. The pipe organ intro to Intervention means that it will probably be the song that gets me kicked out of my condo.
The Meaning of 8 - Cloud Cult. Can't decide if they're an art exhibit or rock band, but great music nonetheless. Very disappointed I haven't seen them yet. Will fix that this year.
Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem. "All My Friends" is basically a perfect song. I wonder what it feels like to make a perfect song?

EPs that I really dug that promise great things:

-The Blakes EP. The Blakes are touring the country, burning places to the ground. They will be famous if they live long enough. (Big if.)
-Dead Confederate - Dead Confederate. Athens strikes again. Watch out for them. Really.
-Fameseeker and the Mono - Arizona
-Is Is - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
-Pela. Their "Anytown Graffiti" would've been in the top 3 of my 2006 list if I had known about them then. They're recording a new album right now.
-Arthur & Yu
-Ha Ha Tonka
-Le Loup

Finally, a list of trendy bands that I don't believe are good / just can't get into no matter how much the blogosphere gushes about them, and which I am happy to see that none of you are including on your lists:
- Of Montreal
- Panda Bear
- Animal Collective

I will probably put excerpts of some of my faves on ye olde blog for your listening pleasure.

Jeff Irwin
my top ten is a top 3:

wilco - sky blue sky
radiohead - in rainbows
tori amos - american doll posse

honorable mentions:
thad cockrell - to be loved
the silver seas - high society

FURTHERMORE, i'm with mr avery, i'm going to have to get easy tiger now. also, like mr tubbs, i have perhaps.. put off this ryan adams guy too long. what the hell, pretension is so 2007.

Hunter Barrow
Here are my favs of 2007 (in no particular order):
1. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (These guys continue to get better and better and this album is people’s exhibit F in the case against the badassness of Britt Daniels and crew. His voice makes me want to be reborn as a Marlbro Light.)
2. The National – Boxer (What can I say about this one? It’s right as rain. “Do you really think you can just put it in a safe behind a painting, lock it up and leave?....” Hell no, I don’t. One of the best albums put out this year.)
3. Iron & Wine – Shepard’s Dog (I hated this up until I heard the first chorus of Flightless Bird, American Mouth. I started the cd over and fell in love. It’s pretty and bucolic, like Eva Green. And plus, you all love it, so it HAS to be good.)
4. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha (“This joker can whistle” was my first thought when I heard this record. “I think I’m in 1920’s Kansas” was my next. This is one of those albums that just takes you to other places.)
5. Editors – An End Has a Start (For the second straight year, the Birmingham kids are in my list. Brilliant album of death, decay and broken hearted hope.)
6. Kings of Leon – Because of the Times (I love the Followill boys. What can I say. I too saw them at the Tabernacle and after they finished only skulls and ashes remained. They still give better shows than pretty much anyone else in music.)
7. Rogue Wave – Asleep at Heaven’s Gate (One word. Solid. Front to back, it’s a great album. It stayed in my stereo for about 2 months straight.)
8. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova– Once (OK OK...yes, this is a soundtrack, BUT it is beautifully brilliant. You NEED to see this film. You will then understand why I chose this and why it’s not actually a “soundtrack”)
9. Blonde Redhead – 23 (Creepy as always, but in a more adult-themed Halloween party kind of way. Like your mom in a french maid costume drinking a Tab.)
10. Laura Veirs – Saltbreakers (OK, so yeah, it’s sweet and quirky, but this girl can craft a melody. Sometimes, when I want to feel girly without having to listen to the Garden State soundtrack....this album becomes my elixir.)
11. Richard Swift – Dressed Up for the Letdown (Yeah, I gave 11....who wants to make something out of it? He’s like Rufus Wainwright with the gay turned way down. He’s one hell of an American songwriter. Plus, anyone who can sing “I wish I was dead most of the time, but I don’t really mean it...” gets my vote.)

Benj Pocta
1. Beruit - both of their releases this year ("Lon Gisland" EP and "The Flying Cup Club")
One of the reasons I bought a ukulele last month. Great sense of melody, kind of exotic/balkan feel.

2. St. Vincent - "Marry Me"
Reasons to be in love with this girl: a) She has worked with The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan and they both like her, b) she is a guitar goddess, c) her album title is partically a reference to "Arrested Development" (I read this in an interview). Also, her music is great.

3. Phosphorescent - "Pride"
This might be my album of the year. The track "Wolves" is easily my favorite song this year and the other reason I bought a ukulele. This guy sort of does similar things to Sam Beam and Will Oldham with a flair for the Southern Gothic.

4. Iron and Wine - "The Shepherd's Dog"
I saw him last week and he was simply perfect, even with his cold.

5. Feist - "The Reminder"
What really sold me on her was a performance she gave on Jimmy Kimmel (sp?) Live while on a bus. After I saw that I bought this album.

6. Spoon - "Ga Ga, etc."
They sort of evolved a bit on this album. I've always like Spoon.

7. Bowerbirds - "Hymns for a Dark Horse"
I love this band. I went to a Vanderslice show just to see them as the openers. Maybe the best concert of my concert year. They have a bass drum, a nylon-stringed guitar, an accordian, a violin, and an knack for interesting harmonies. Check these guys out if you haven't yet.

8. Wilco - "Sky Blue Sky"
It is Wilco and it is good.

9. The Avett Brothers - "Emotionalism"
Really like these guys. I saw them last month, and though their set/songs seemed a bit formulaic at times, I came away really impressed by how well they do what they do.

10. Menomena - "Friend or Foe"
I had a week or two this year with this being the only album I listened to.

Fred O. (owner of lasers edge)
Nick Lowe - At My Age
Lewis Taylor - The Lost Album
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Vulture Whale - Vulture Whale
Laura Veirs - Saltbreakers
Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is
Ry Cooder - My Name Is Buddy
The Avett Brothers - Emotionalism
Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin
I'm Not There - soundtrack

Nick Fiedler
1. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter - Josh Ritter
2. The Shepherds Dog - Iron and Wine
3. Cassadaga - Bright Eyes
4. Live in Dublin - Bruce Springstein
5. In Rainbows - Radiohead
6. Cease to Begin - Band of Horses [ht to Josh for letting me know this was out]
7. Ga ga ga - Spoon
8. The Boxer - The National
9. Drums and Guns - Low
10. Oh Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer - Of Montreal


Robert said...

Great list BTM!

Have you heard this record yet? You know I rarely give it up for music in the mainstream but these guys are fantastic!

CK said...

Thanks for all the great music tips, guys. Again Brian, I must complain that you don't have any female friends offering their two cents, but hey, what can I expect?

I've only got two albums and an honorable mention. New music requires focus and attention, which I don't have enough of these days because I'm trying to keep my 1 1/2-year old son from setting himself on fire. I used to fall asleep listening to music via headphones, and maybe I need to start doing that again.

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (hell, YES)
Feist - The Reminder

Honorable mention goes to Spoon. I've always admired Spoon for producing consistently good music, but it's never captured my soul. Spoon is kinda like Squeeze in that way — great live shows, dependably good music that makes nice party background noise, and prolific — but never heart-stopping. But several songs off of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga have gotten themselves stuck in my head recently (probably because Scott has been playing it a lot).

I saw the National live (not opening for Arcade Fire) and they rocked my socks off. So they should probably get an H.M., too. I want to listen more to Radiohead's new one and Icky Thump.

Also, thanks for momentarily exposing e*'s identity. I was wondering.

The Woottons said...

Looking forward to getting a few of these. I'd like to echo the plug for once- good movie, good music.

Nicholas said...

You are a day late and a dollar short.

george edema said...

Y'all's Wilco love has me skeptical of your lists. Sky Blue Sky wasn't good. There were a couple of tolerable songs but most of them seemed better suited for 30 second commercial excerpts. I'll still look into some of your other suggestions though. Thanks to all of you for putting the time into this. As one who can't put the time or money into music consumption these days I rely on respected reviews for the few purchases I can make. I only bought a few albums this year.

- The Shins, awesome band, good album, two dead songs in the middle disrupt its flow.
- Feist, pretty good. I saw her on SNL and had to get the album. The live performance was better.
- Califone, wish I hadn't bought it. Another band whose live performance makes their albums sound bad (I saw Arcade Fire on TV one time and thought they were unbelievable, but when I try and listen to their album I get bored).
- Wilco, This album brought to mind 70's light rock except I would have rather listened to Gordon Lightfoot. It was hypnotically monotonous, the songs were too long and repetitive, the whole project was pedestrian. If any one doesn't have this album and is convinced they should have it by all the lists in this post, I will gladly sell you my used copy for $5. There is a good chance I'll be in Birmingham in the coming weeks and I could even hand deliver it for those in the Birmingham area.
- The Search, Jay Farrar needs an editor. So much wasted potential. Sometimes I dream about meeting him in St. Louis and giving him a stern talking to about what he should be doing with his music.
- Radiohead, I like it a lot, but it doesn't blow me away like Kid A or OK Computer did. I guess you can't hold that against them though.
- Regina Spektor, my favorite album of those I bought this year (I don't know if it is a 2007er or not). She is incredible.
- Cake, Fashion Nugget, This is an old one I finally got around to giving some time to. These guys should be much more highly regarded than they are.
- BONUS: Jamie Soles, any album from Jamie Soles is worth its weight in gold. Look him up and buy his stuff.

e* said...

Hey, if you don't want verbose, don't invite a lawyer. Certainly not a blogging lawyer.

I'm proud of my verbose list!

Brian T. Murphy said...

robert - I think you and I have different definitions of "mainstream"

ck- yeah. it's a mix of reasons. 1. I don't like women. 2. women don't like me 3. my friends are mostly male. also at this point, I want to 4. insert some sort of comment where I assign blame to the PCA for my disrespect towards women. it's not my fault really, I'm a victim of this system I live in. I can't the fact that I am victimized. I like feist a lot, I can't get into arcade fire or spoon, but I need to listen to spoon some more and give them some more time. anyway. thanks.

wootons - saw once wednesday night. I almost saw it this summer, but didn't. great movie. great soundtrack. no doubt about it.

nick - I know I know. several people beat me to this, this year. what can I say? I'm getting slow in my older years.

george - I don't like everything wilco, but I like sky blue sky. but it's cool if you don't dig it. I love that you listed fashion nugget for this years list. very nice.

e* - I like the verboseness.

Brian T. Murphy said...

also - I have added top ten lists from nick and fred o.

Clint Wells said...

man...low low blow on the wilco record. sheesh.

bruce said...

i love that new korn album also

Liz said...

top song of 2007:

Getting Better - The Beatles, Sgt. Peppers

top hip-hop song of 2007:

Pop, Lock, and Drop It - Huey

Anonymous said...

2007 - WHAT I LIKE THAT WASN'T LISTED HERE: "a female perspective"

- Nina Nastasia & Jim White - You Follow Me
Break things.

- Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
Drink lots of cheap beer.

- The Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil
Rock n roll, ya'll.

- The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters
Cry into your coffee.

- Land of Talk - Applause Cheer Boo Hiss (EP)
Dance in your underwear.

- King Khan & the Shrines - What Is?!
Go for a drive.

I liked alot of you guys' picks as well. (Spoon, St. Vincent, Iron & Wine, The National, etc.)

Andrew and/or Amy said...

So, I used to be able to weigh in on this discussion, but lately my music album intake has hit an all time rock bottom. This is mostly due to reasons that ck is going through, except I don't have any kids. I do, however, want to point out that I did get the new Interpol album for Christmas from my wife. It's now January 7. I have not stopped listening to this album. I'm not sure what it is, but I listen to albums a lot longer these days as well. The Interpol album only gets better with each listen, and I'm on listen #7 by this point. Strangely enough, this happened to me and the first Editors album. I listened to that album for like 4 months. So in mid-May 2008 I will have probably stopped listening to my Interpol album and will have moved on to the new Iron and Wine album which I also just got for Christmas. My apetite is not as voracious, just much more harder to please.