Favorite cds of 2007
Well here it is, the list of my 20 Favorite cds of 2007. I steer clear of saying the "best" mostly due to that being a totally subjective topic, as well as the mood I am in at the time I listened to the cds. These 20 cds just found their way into the cd player more often than others and struck a chord.
I hope you'll check the list and check out some of the tracks. If you are not really a "downloader" but have Quicktime you should be able to just click on the link and it will open/stream the track. Otherwise, if you are an mp3 person you know "Save target as.."
Nobody really asks me what my faves are, just something that is fun to do and I think its my ninth or 10th year doing one.
20. Kanye West - Graduation
Before you cry fowl I want to go on record as saying his cds have made my favorites of the year in the past. For all his arrogance the guy can write one serious hook and can market himself better than anyone out there right now. He seems generally interested in seeing his music reach as wide an audience as possible and is willing to work and push himself to achieve the goals.
Previous list appearances - Late Registration #10 in 2005
The download was "Homecoming"
19. High on Fire - Death is this Communion
High on Fire continue to shine, showing the few that seem to pay attention that they are one of the best metal bands out there at this time. The albums never let up, and even though vocalist Matt Pike sounds like he swallowed a cup of razor blades and washed it down with a fifth of Jack Daniels no other "singer" could fill his shoes in this band. This years winner of the "Sound track to a speeding ticket" award too.
Previous list appearances - Art of Self Defense #7 in 2000 and Surrounded by Thieves #12 in 2002
The download was "Fury Whip"
18. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
It seems like over the last few years if you blinked your eyes a new Animal Collective cd, or ep was coming out. Couple that with the fact that the band members each have active side projects (or is the A.Collective a side project). A mish mash of sounds that is chaotic at times as it is moving. Not a cd that I reached for a lot, but when I did I always felt like it was the right time.
Previous list appearances - Feels #9 in 2005
The download was "Derek"
17. The Sea and Cake - Everybody
The Sea and Cake continue to release very easy to listen to records. A very lo-fi affair the band wears their trademark sound on their sleeves. Keyboards, bass, drums and occasional vibes or other instruments keep you guessing. The Sea and Cake continue to release solid collections of work that might not be ground breaking, but they are solid releases top to bottom.
Previous list appearances - One Bedroom #16 in 2003.
The download was "Crossing Line"
16. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
First and foremost, the most impressive thing continues to be the fact that two people make this music, two. Jack and Meg White blast through the 14 tracks on the album in what feels like a blink of an eye. That is sort of the trademark though, get in, get rocking, get out. Toss in the odd ball cover (Conquest which the original is heard in an eBay commercial now) and you get the idea. Never a band to sit on the two instruments, we are washed with piano, drums, trumpets and of course the stellar Jack White guitar work.
Previous list appearances - Elephant #6 in 2003 and Get Behind me Satan #24 in 2005
The download was "Icky Thump"
15. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Admittedly I was sort of let down with the sophomore effort from Band of Horses. The debut was such a top notch and it still gets spun a lot. Singer Ben Bridwell continues to be in fine voice, somehow hitting notes that shouldn't be hit. A recent move from Seattle to the Carolinas didn't seem to change the sound of the band, but members seem to be dropping off at a pretty steady clip. Hopefully, things settle back in for the band, and we will get only stronger releases. Its better than I am giving it credit for but I think I wanted so much more. I wasn't let down, but wasn't wow'd like I was the first time around.
Previous list appearances - Everything all the Time #2 in 2006
The download was "Is there a Ghost"
14. Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Most folks by now know this is the band that Natalie Portman professed would change your life in Garden State (this is the 825,291,001 time it has been mentioned on line or elsewhere). The band was already pegged as sellouts and the next big things at the same time. Released in early 2007 the only thing that kept this from being higher on the list is that after a month of solid spins it sort of fell to the bottom of the pile. A wonderful pop record, if you are new to the band this is a very good record to start with, and your local Target even carries it...damn sell outs. ( i kid!)
The download was "Sea Legs"
13. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
A very mellow record that Wilco pretty much had to make. It was a year that many fans cried "sell out" when they had a few songs sold to Volkswagen but band leader Jeff Tweedy kept the nay sayers in check. A moody album that would have me reaching for the fast forward button at some times, and the rewind button at others. The yin to the yang worked and Wilco continue to release terrific records.
Previous list appearances - Summerteeth #14 in 1999, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot #6 in 2002, A Ghost is Born #3 in 2004
The download was "Shake it Off"
12. Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
People that know me are probably rubbing their eyes saying "march you love Queens how can they be #12?" Well honestly this record failed to grab me really from the outset, losing valuable time. Being a long time fan when they played a local show I was in attendance and the new songs packed such a whollop. The cd went back in to heavy rotation and it got many the spins it was neglected of prior. A little uneven at times Homme and co. seem to have the formula locked down and band members are sticking around for longer than one record so if the unit sticks together we will be in for a treat for years to come.
Previous list appearances - Self Titled #19 in 1998, Rated R #1 2000, Songs for the Deaf #1 in 2002 and Lullabies to Paralyze #3 in 2005.
The download was "3's & 7's"
11. M.I.A -Kala
If there is on thing Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam tries to prove, yet again, is you can't pin her down as a specific genre of music. Hip hop to grime (a UK term for drum and bass) there are a myriad of samples to wade thru as well. M.I.A wanted to settle in to a studio to work on the record but had a series of visa issues and censorship issues she resorted to myspace and the internet to get her music out. She "vacationed" around the word and recorded various sections, all which seem to bleed in to the tracks. At times a sort of uncomfortable listen since its both poppy but political, it still leaves you wondering what the next track will bring and how much more you can stand. A very interesting listen. Check out the down load of the track "Paper Planes' where she samples the loop from the clash song "Straight to Hell" and samples gun shots and cash registers
Previous list appearances - Arular #8 in 2005
The download was "Paper Planes"
10. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Oh where to begin? If you had no idea this woman's back story over the last several months consider yourself lucky. If she can get her act together, and even come close to what she captures on Back to Black on the follow-up these ears will be VERY happy. She needs to get it together, and fast as this downward spiral she has been in as of late is going to end badly. If you haven't heard of Amy, put on the record and be taken away, this woman has some pipes and quite a soul, albeit a little blackened at the moment.
The download was "Tears Dry on Their Own"
09. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
It seemed like ages between records but Arcade Fire made the wait worth it. A tighter record (yet a smidge weaker) than Funeral the Montreal band lived up to, and exceeded expectations. We can only go upward from here and America bore witness when they tore the roof off on Saturday Night Live.
Previous list appearances - Funeral #2 in 2004
The download was "Intervention"
08. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
In reading many year end lists it surprises me that this was was not on many (at least the ones I read). Just when it seemed like the band is about to get "bigger" they announce a break is looming. This will leave me, and like minded individuals salivating for a while, but if they come back refreshed, it is a good move. How their music is not used in more tv shows or movies is beyond me (yeah I know they scored the sound track to Friday Night Lights) watch that film and you'll understand what I mean. Always an explosive, and mind bending listen from these Texans.
Previous list appearances - Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place #3 in 2003.
The download was "Welcome,Ghosts"
07. Tunturia - Maps
Sometimes you just have to believe what you read. Glowing reviews for the Toronto band piqued my interest before even hearing a single note of music. After tracking the cd down, and paying over $20 US dollars for it I pretty much wanted to be floored. Well, i have fallen and I can't get up. As the bands mypsace page declares about their sound/image: "the exact opposite of what happens at a rock show"
The download was "Echoes of the Umoved Mover"
06. Rosetta - Wake/Lift
Yet again, I read a glowing review of another record (this record)and it sort of seemed to sum up some of my favorite bands and genres. So, what the heck, lets take a chance. This is not a record for just anyone. I am not saying it to be arrogant, pretentious or what have you. The music hits VERY hard and the vocals are very growly and almost indecipherable couple those two things and I am sure most of the people reading just tune out, but for those that are willing to check it out the reward is immediate. This is not your big brothers cheezy hair metal rip off stuff. Each member seems to understand the abilities of their instrument with the the context of the track no one person goes off noodling on their instrument.
The download was "Lift/3"
05. Caspian - The Four Trees
Boston instrumental band seemingly came out of nowhere to grab me, shake me and restore my faith that good music is still begging to be found. A record that causes me to grin ear to ear on each listen. This is the third totally instrumental album on the list and a few others have very little vocals. Sometimes music really can strike a chord without some sappy lyrics getting in the way. If you can, track down the ep "You are the conductor" and complete the already awesome collection of releases.
The download was "Some are White Light"
04. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
Read enough message boards of people singing praises to a certain band it can sometimes pique your interest. I saw KOL open for U2 in the past and they were "okay" but did little to have me rush out to grab their cds. After glowing fan reviews I decided "what the the heck, if it sucks seems like enough people would buy it". It is a rock record, straight up rock. Nothing fancy just four guys chugging out the monster riffs and hooks to pull you right in. So many tracks were put on repeat over the past year. When the line is sung "Geeetah..go get'cha" in "Black Thumbnail" it gets me every time. Rock needs to be this fun all the time.
The download was "Black Thumbnail"
03. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Every year I surprise even myself (and perhaps some of you readers) by tossing a cd on the list that is from "left field" as some like to say. I read a great review on this cd and took a chance, so glad I did. You should too. This is the real deal folks. Hop on the band wagon now.
"The download was "Let them Knock"
02. Sigur Ros - Hvart/Heim
Hvart means Disappeared while Heim means Home. One disc acoustic the other older tracks the collection is perfect for new and old fans. Currently there is no single band making music now, or perhaps ever, that has moved me the way that Sigur Ros has. Goosebumps and throat lumps, this band gets to me every time.
Previous list appearances - Ágætis Byrjun #1 in 2001, ( ) #3 in 2002 and Takk #1 in 2005
The download was Hijomalind
01. Battles - Mirrored
Every now and again a cd comes along that restores your faith that there is still great music to be made and heard. This album, a challenging listen mind you, offers such a wide variety in one single package. After a few years of eps the band finally put out a stunning full length cd. Easily my favorite record of 2007.
The download was "Atlas"
Well that is it, a very strong year I felt overall. A few records didn't make the cut that should have, and, I am sure, even next week, albums on this list I will have thought should have been higher or lower.
Enjoy, and please check some stuff out. The songs will only be posted for a week..seriously, so if you want em, grab em. If you check something out and dig it, buy the whole thing. Please support the artist/bands buy grabbing a cd, or seeing a show. The mp3's are really just meant to be a sample and can and will be removed at the artist/management request. If you are one of those persons please contact me and the song will be removed as soon as I am made aware.
Happy 2008 to all the readers (all 4 of you?) and for those that have stuck around be sure to check back soon for the first Random Musings/March to the Sea giveaway prize package extravaganza!
All the best in 2008
Labels: 2007 favorite cds