31 December 2007

Top 2007 Albums

These albums were chosen by the four of us using a weighted rating system, with each of us having 10 points to evenly distribute over 8-15 albums. Click on an artist's name to see our review of the album, the album name to purchase a copy, and mp3s to download ahoy before you ring in the New Year!*

The 12 winners (ties at #2 and #8) with their point totals are below:

1. Jens Lekman: Night Falls over Kortedala (26.8)
The Opposite of Hallelujah.mp3

Don't mind Jess plagiarizing herelf, but she's gonna quote her blurb in The L Magazine's top 25 album list, (which you should all check out as well, even though it's not as cool as this list because Jens is only #6 and not #1)
Every song on Kortedala joyously unfolds like the start of a newfound love affair, replete with all the smitten excitement, endearing awkwardness and the good kind of nervousness that any worthwhile relationship naturally entails. With its swirling retro-pop samples seamlessly integrated into the Swedish troubadour’s distinctly contemporary tales of romantic melancholy, it’s hard not to be won over by his lyrical wit, aw-shucks charm and total lack of irony. Whether he’s slicing up avocados, getting a haircut or flirting with a deaf girl, Jens effortlessly transforms those mundane little moments into the stuff that magical glockenspiel-laden epiphanies are made of. Doing what few albums this year (or any year) could accomplish: Kortedala inspires, reaffirming life and restoring faith in that crazy little thing called love, for even the most cynical. Don’t let anyone stand in your way.
Our favorite fine feathered friend fingerling-a-lings a finely focused effort.
A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene.mp3, Plus Ones.mp3
The audio equivalent of a rich, satisfying novel.
Listen for our friend Sufjan ticking the ivories on a few tracks of this rock-solid rock album.

"It's got enough atmosphere to start a planet: One minute of rapt attention, at two minutes my mind was blown. By the time the three-minute mark rolled around, my face was so melted as to leave my corpse unidentifiable." -June

Overture.mp3, Accident & Emergency.mp3
Creepy and joyous, all at the same time: Wolf's broad-reaching voice and lyrics take back seat to impressive layers of Rachmaninoff-inspired pop compositions as colorful as the packaging.

Radiohead: In Rainbows (11)
Not only the best pick-your-price album of the year, but one of the best in general. A real return to real rock, and their best opus since OK computer.
7. Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (10.3)
Jess again quotes herself: "It’s a weird mix of accessible melodies and dark synth-powered vitriol, a constant battle between the two tones, ending gloriously in a draw."
Between My Legs.mp3, Slideshow.mp3
Epic and operatic and tongue in cheek and melancholy and oh-so-very Rufus.

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: Living With the Living (10)

9. Magnolia Electric Co.: Sojourner (9.6)
Hold Music.mp3, Lazy (Lazy).mp3
A more mature sounding recording that doesn't sacrifice any of the playfulness of their earlier albums.

Runners-Up (chosen by two or more of us)
So few bands actually sound their best when they sound more like themselves. Spoon is one of them.
Mmmmmm...slacker-rific! Now, with new improved sound and delicious hooks!
Does liking this album take me one step closer to soccer mom-dom? Aw, fuck it. Jeff Tweedy will never break my heart.
You Don't Know What Love Is (You just Do As You're Told.).mp3
People keep saying the White Stripes have done all they can. People can be dumb sometimes.
I Feel It All.mp3
Please, let's divorce this album from all its commercial appeal, because let's face it no matter how hard Apple might try, Feist proves you can't commodify a broken heart.

EPs we liked (not ranked)
You! Me! Dancing.mp3
The most fun 16 minutes I've heard all year, like if AiH had a love child with Art Brut.

Black Kids: Wizard of Ahhs
I've Underestimated My Charm (Again).mp3
Yeah, maybe the blogs overestimated their charm, but hey you gotta admit they're catchy.

Grizzly Bear: Friend EP
He Hit Me.mp3
Psych-folk masters rework old material and freak the crap out of me. In a good way, of course.
Hold It In.mp3
Damn near-addictive piano-based, power-pop, proving quirky vocals and handclaps are always a winning combination.
Holland, 1945.mp3
A small selection of pared-back Neutral Milk Hotel covers from one of the best acts to come
out of new weird America.

Seems Like Home To Me.mp3
With voices that sound older then they are as inherently American as Bruce Springsteen and pb&j.
New Zealand's 4th-most-popular guitar-based digi-bongo a capella rap-funk-comedy folk duo!

Individual picks

Jess liked...
Richard Hawley: Lady's Bridge
I'm really just a sucker for his croon.

The Cold, The Dark & The Silence.mp3
This album is so gorgeous, I can't even justify its majestic, autumnal gorgeousness.

The penned landscape of downtrodden America; Americana at its must rustic, rural--and authentic.

LCD Soundsystem: The Sound of Silver
The one album that made me want to dance and cry at the same time, despite not being coordinated enough to do so.

June liked...
Instantly arresting lyrics, unstoppable guitar riffs and rock beats; the songs stand on their own but work best as a collective unit.

Where cacophany, noise rock, J-pop and a complete lack of irony in the joy of music collide into brilliance.

Castanets: In the Vines
Haunting gorgeous... or gorgeously haunting? Asthmatic Kitty's best release this year.

Trent Reznor has been busy this year, putting out his own album (Year Zero) and producing this fantastic over-the-top grindcore work from preacher/poet/musician Saul Williams.

Megan liked...
Everything I hate combined to make something I love.

Megan raved about this album at length just a few posts down, but she'll say it again: kickass album with kickass choruses!

If The Brakeman Turns My Way.mp3
The boy wonder isn't a boy anymore, and it's fitting that his new album has a more mature
sound. Sure, a lot of the clumsy charm of his earlier stuff is gone, but the polished, grown up
songs on Cassadaga are just as rewarding in their own way.

Myriad Habour.mp3
Energetic and melodic and instantly enjoyable.

Lizzie liked...
State Radio: Year of the Crow
Griffin House: Flying Upside Down

*For those of us currently West of, say, Casablanca.


merry meghan said...

This list saved my New Year's Eve, guys. Love, your favorite Seattleite.


LMS said...

You are so clearly my people.


_ said...

Ohmgod. This is such a great list. Welcome to my feeds list.