Wednesday, 16 January 2008

2007 Ain't Nuthin' But Meat! Best Albums Ne?

Taking time out of my busy schedule posting stuff about Japan here, so please indulge me. Bills had his up good and early, but y'know better late than never, here are my best albums of 2007 (there's some J-Pop in there to keep it a little topcal too).

Oh but let’s get this out of the way first:

Battles, Panda Bear and Deerhunter are NOT VERY GOOD.

None of them are terrible, but I expected to be blown away by all three after reading so many good things only to find all of them… middling? Uninspiring? Kinda crappy? People were calling “Atlas” single of the year, the future of music etc. Really? The future of music is novelty math-rock? I guess it’s a fairly original field to work in but I’m gonna stick my neck out and predict that not everything in the future will sound like a rockin’ pre-school TV theme. I know, I know, going by the many, many bloggers out there I’m clearly outvoted on these three, but well… I’m right and everyone else is wrong. Sorry about that, but you know, it was going to come out in the end.

For 2006 I just couldn’t put together a top 10 favourite albums, there just hadn’t been enough that I loved. 2007 however was just chock-a-lockin’ with good to great albums that I loved through and through. Still, digging through the billion and one best of 2007 lists on the internet I feel fairly aggrieved that a bunch of my choices aren’t mentioned more often. How can bands like Melt-Banana still remain criminally underground in a world with the internet? Whatever, looking at this list now it seems my musical taste is skewing more and more towards the louder, more obnoxious end of the spectrum, and frankly I’m glad about that.

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First please commence opening wide for the Annotated Top Ten!

Liars – Liars

Where do you go from a rhythmical, noise-rock exploration of the ego/id struggle? To songs! Genius! I’m pretty sure that Liars are one of the best bands in the world right now.

Melt-Banana – Bambi’s Dilemma

Finding a prickly, fruitful, middle ground between the longer tracks on their last-album Cell-Scape, and the spastic thirty-second tracks that they started off with. Frantic!

Future of the Left – Curses!

I got the Japanese edition with BONUS TRACKS! JAPANESE BONUS TRACKS! That I’m pretty sure you can download off itunes everywhere else in the world, but still.

Black Francis – Bluefinger

Oh whatever. I still can’t see why people don’t love Frank Black, and certainly I’m certain now that I prefer his solo stuff to the Pixies, but his last three albums have pushed even my patience. Back to the rock here, I was just so, so happy. You can’t imagine how happy. I’m serious, I probably cried. Then again I’m crying at anything right now, so that’s not so remarkable.

Radiohead – In Rainbows

Because, yeah! It’s really fucking good!

Saul Williams – The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust

I guess I didn’t listen to much hip-hop this year, and this is a sort of cross-genre thing anyway. But still that makes two phenomenal albums that you could download off the internet for free last year.

Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings

You’ve got to get past the fact that it’s REALLY annoying at first, coz before long this sounds like the electro version of a strange child on the sugar-high of a lifetime. It’s one big Technicolor Smile/Hug!

Marnie Stern – In Advance of the Broken Arm

I can’t believe this didn’t show up in more end of the year lists. One woman, a whole lot of crazy guitars, and a gonzo-octopus drummer. But really interesting songs, that was the kicker for me.

Shellac – Excellent Italian Greyhound

A while after this came out I thought of it as being uneven but full of great moments. But when I listened back to it recently it was just awesome through and through.

Nina Nastastia and Jim White – You Follow Me

Not as good as her last solo album On Leaving, this was still almost perfect. It takes quite some drumming to make a song sound more spacious than it would have with only guitar.

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But it didn’t stop there! Here’s some more great albums that I loved, but that weren’t quite in the top ten:

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works

Might’ve slugged something out of the top ten, but I’ve only just started listening to it. It’s pretty incredible, but for me The Dillinger Escape Plan will always be labouring in the shadow of the Irony is a Dead Scene EP, which is probably THE BEST rock recording of the last ten years. Sorry, I like telling people that. Coz it’s true.

Yourcodenameis:Milo – They Came From The Sun

Who have now broken up? That sucks, but I’m glad I saw them live last year because at that gig they finally lived up to everything I hoped they could be. They never quite did it on record.

Charlotte Hatherley – The Deep Blue

Really great throughout, but I can’t help but love the fast songs more. She’s just so good at them!

Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends

Just didn’t quite blow me away like some of their other stuff. Still amazing, and I’m sure they’re still the best live band in the world.

Travis Morrison Hellfighters – All Y’all

Again, when you make one of the best albums ever with your former band you’ve got a lot to live up to. I really thought this was a great album, but… man it ain’t The Plan.

Tokyo Jihen – Variety

The J-Pop release that I picked up the day it came out. Really smart, urbane, rocky, guitar pop played with phenomenal skill by a great band, fronted by a great singer. The songs are unpredictably good, and the execution is just flawless. When a gibberish bass-break sounds awesome, you know that you’re dealing with professionals.

Carina Round – Slow Motion Addict

Is this even out in the UK yet? It’s pretty great, even if she is all up in LA sniffing coke off solid gold yetis or whatever. That “doot-do-do-do-do” hook in Down Slow is awesomely smart.

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