Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sean's Top 10 Albums of 2007

2007 was sort of a blur for me when it comes to music. No, not because I tripping out at raves every weekend, but rather because I listened to a lot of new albums without having many of them enter into permanent rotation for an extended period of time. When I first started considering my top 10 list, nothing was really jumping out at me. However, after bit more contemplation, I settled on 10 picks that I'm pretty satisified with.

10. Sloan - Never Hear The End Of It (Sony Canada/Yep Roc)
Originally I wasn't really considering putting this album in my top 10. Sloan are one of my favourite bands of all-time, but have been in steady decline since the late 90's when they stopped being obsessed with The Beatles and started getting obsessed with 70's rock. Never Hear The End Of It is definitely inconsistent, but it contains a whopping 30 tracks. I realized that if you boil it down to the best 15 songs or so, it's easily the best Sloan record since Between The Bridges.
» MP3: Set In Motion
» Buy it on Amazon

9. Chromeo - Fancy Footwork (Vice)
Although I grew up in the 80's, I've never really been all that nostalgic for the music of that era. With the exception of some fist-pumping 80's hair metal and the occasional old school rap tune (and of course, Devo), I rarely feel the need to revisit that particular period in music. Which is why I was so surprised that Chromeo's Fancy Footwork totally had me hooked on their authentic 80's synth hooks and R&B party jams all year long.
» MP3: Outta Sight
» Buy it on Amazon

8. El Ten Eleven - Every Direction is North (Ind.)
Just stumbled across these guys towards the end of the year through the documentary Helvetica. They contributed a number of songs on the soundtrack, and it totally suited the futuristic, modern vibe of the movie. What can I say, I'm a sucker for instrumental music in the vein of The Album Leaf and Don Caballero.
» MP3: Every Direction is North
» Buy it at CD Baby

7. The Go! Team - Proof of Youth (Sub Pop)
Although The Go! Team's first album Thunder, Lightning, Strike took a while to find its audience, the band toured like crazy in 2006 and built up a ton of buzz. The problem is, they took so long to release their follow-up album that by the time it hit stores, a lot of people had already kind of moved on. Well, except me, I suppose. For whatever reason, their unique mixture of team chants, fuzzed out samples and old school hip-hop sensibility was just as exciting for me the second time around, and the addition of guest stars like Chuck D only strengthened it.
» MP3: Titanic Vandalism
» Buy it on Amazon

6. !!! - Myth Takes (Warp)
Myth Takes took a while to grow on me, but I think seeing !!!'s sweaty and electric live show was what finally turned me on to a lot of the songs contained within. I think their self-titled album is still the most infectious thing they've done to date, but there is a lot of fantastic music on this CD.
» MP3: A New Name
» Buy it on Amazon

5. Radiohead - In Rainbows (Ind.)
I've never really considered myself among Radiohead's massive throng of devotees, but ever since I decided to give OK Computer a chance, I've rarely been let down by anything they've done. It some ways, it's a predictable phenomenon that every album they release ends up on people's best of the year lists. In my case, I can honestly say it's never pre-meditated. Their music just fascinates me to no end.
» MP3: Jigsaw Falling Into Place
» Pre-order it on Amazon

4. The Octopus Project - Avalanche (Peek-A-Boo)
Another stellar instrumental band that combines a lot of guitar-based rock with electronic elements in order to come up with a robotic fusion that's right up my alley. Last year they released a collaboration with Black Moth Super Rainbow, but I think this album improves on that significantly.
» MP3: Ghost Moves
» Buy it on Amazon

3. Battles - Mirrored
This instrumental supergroup had me excited ever since I heard the sonic exploits of their initial EPs, but their debut full-length album was at first listen almost a little too weird for me. I finally came around though. It may be too experimental and off the wall for a lot of people, but it borders on musical genius.
» MP3: Snare Hanger
» Buy it on Amazon

2. Coconut Records - Nighttiming
Nothing more than a simple pop album, and coming from a Hollywood actor no less. I was never really into Jason Schwartzman's first band Phantom Planet, but for some reason this solo album unexpectedly got more airplay from me than just about anything else released in 2007. "West Coast" would probably get my vote for song of the year.
» MP3: West Coast
» Buy it on Amazon

1. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends
Whether or not Les Savy Fav were ever really officially broken up, Let's Stay Friends can be considered a comeback album of sorts, and it is proof positive that they certainly shouldn't have called it quits when they did because they're at the top of their game and still getting better.
» MP3: Kiss Kiss is Getting Old
» Buy it on Amazon

Honourable Mentions:

A trio of great EPs that deserve mention: Vampire Weekend - s/t, Flight of the Conchords - The Distant Future and Magic Weapon - Residue Hymns. Vampire Weekend's debut album would have made my top 10 except it doesn't officially come out until January.

Animal Collective
, Miracle Fortress, Panda Bear and Caribou all put out great albums this year that were influenced in some way by the Beach Boys. All were superb but maybe because they all came out around the same time, they all kind of got grouped together in my mind and never stood out individually to me.

Of Montreal, Deerhoof, Arcade Fire, Spoon and Enon also put out new albums that essentially did more of what they're each good at. Great records, but I suppose they all played it safe in a way, which is maybe why they didn't quite crack my top 10.


Giovanni Guillén said...

Solid list. I’m glad somebody didn’t forget about Go! Team and also spread some of the love towards El Ten Eleven.

Rian said...

I downloaded all ten of the offered songs on both your and Zak's lists and I must say, those twenty songs make a very solid playlist in iTunes. Good picks.