Thursday, December 06, 2007

2007: Top Ten

See two posts down for my thoughts on the year in music. Sad to say, there's not one homerun in the bunch, but here are a few triples:

Check out Highway 290 Revisited for Richard Nelson's picks.

Bruce Springsteen: Magic

I don't even know what to make of the Boss anymore. He goes all quiet and folky for awhile, he tours with a covers band, then he makes a record that sounds like the proper follow-up to Born In The U.S.A. All in a day's work, I suppose.






Youth Group: Casino Twilight Dogs

I saw Youth Group open for Death Cab For Cutie, and they definitely fit in that indie pop milieu. But they aren't as fussy or self-conscious. These songs stuck with me this year.







Albert Hammond, Jr.: Yours To Keep

Read the review.

Just look at that cover. Awww.







Kaiser Chiefs: Yours Truly, Angry Mob

Read the review.

Though not necessarily compelling as an entire record, this has enough amazing singles (Ruby, Heat Dies Down, I Can Do It Without You, etc) to keep it in the player.



Motion City Soundtrack: Even If It Kills Me

Read the review.

The sugar rush wears off, but it's fun while it lasts!







Sloan: Never Hear The End Of It

Read the review.

Sloan may be the most underappreciated band on the continent. Well, at least the southern two-thirds.





Jimmy Eat World: Chase This Light

If I ever go completely deaf in my old age, this band will be to thank, 'cause I always crank their records. Somehow a combination of the compelling darkness of Futures with the sunny brightness of Jimmy Eat World, this is a solid effort.






Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

There's a joy and majesty to these songs, to go along with a strong air of discomfort.








Fountains Of Wayne: Traffic & Weather

Read the review.









The Shins: Wincing The Night Away

The best kind of record, the kind that compels you to keep listening and rewards you each time, until the songs are etched on your brain.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

2007: Best Of The Rest

Biggest Disappointment
Prince

It wasn't his 2007 album Planet Earth that disappointed. It was the purple one himself, and the self-sabotaging litigious campaign against his fan sites. Completely baffling and unnecessary. Then again, if Prince's decision-making skills were sound, Batdance, Grafitti Bridge, The Rainbow Children album, and the Lovesexy cover photo would not exist.







Best Cover Art
Vicious Vicious: Parade

Lots of great design choices this year, but this one gets the nod for no particular reason. I just like it.








Best Cover Version
Robbers On High Street, Monkberry Moon Delight

A little known McCartney song that wasn't so great in the first place is resurrected and much improved by ROHS. If only their 2007 album, Grand Animals, had been as fun.





Best Title
The Pierces: Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge

They swiped it from the fictional author in Diane Setterfield's 2006 The Thirteenth Tale, but the title is an excellent description of The Pierces creepy/sweet aesthetic. Good book, too.






Best Concert
LOVE, Cirque Du Soliel
The Mirage, Las Vegas

Not technically a concert, I guess, but nonetheless amazing. The sound system was epic and the visuals were breathtaking. Oh, and the music was pretty good too. I only wish more people across the country could see this.

Best Discovery
Flight Of The Conchords

This HBO show about "New Zeland's fourth most popular folk parody act" is hilarious. It's a combination of Wes Anderson, the British Office and Tenacious D. Long live the Rhymenoceros and Hiphopapotamus!

2007 Mixes

Every June and December I create mixes to summarize the half year. Here's what made it:

2007 1
1. The Debut - Hey!
2. The Magic Numbers - Take A Chance
3. Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running
4. Feist - 1 2 3 4
5. The Pierces - Sticks And Stones
6. The Broken West - Big City
7. Fountains Of Wayne - Fire In The Canyon
8. Lucy Kaplansky - Swimming Song
9. Bright Eyes - Classic Cars
10. Youth Group - Start Today Tomorrow
11. Brother Ali - Take Me Home
12. Kaiser Chiefs - Everything Is Average Nowadays
13. Tim Finn - Still The Song
14. Sloan - Can't You Figure It Out
15. The Shins - Australia
16. Wilco - Either Way

2007 2
1. Albert Hammond, Jr. - Cartoon Music For Superheroes
2. Paul McCartney - See Your Sunshine
3. Rooney - I Should Have Been After You
4. Jimmy Eat World - Here It Goes
5. Matt Pond PA - People Have A Way
6. Loudon Wainwright III - You Can't Fail Me Now
7. Glen Hansard & Marketa Iglova - Falling Slowly
8. Foo Fighters - The Pretender
9. Rilo Kiley - Dreamworld
10. Josh Ritter - Right Moves
11. No More Kings - Sweep The Leg
12. White Light Riot - Transit State
13. Motion City Soundtrack - This Is For Real
14. Dan Wilson - Easy Silence
15. Lewis Taylor - Say You Love Me
16. Bruce Springsteen - Your Own Worst Enemy
17. Vicious Vicious - Girl, What's Your Name?
18. Robbers On High Street - Monkberry Moon Delight