Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best Albums 2007

20. Handsome Furs Plague Park

The other half of Wolf Parade (Sunset Rubdown) has got a lot of attention, but I much prefer the electronic-infused music of the other half (Handsome Furs). The HFs come a little closer to the Wolf Parade sound, and that's a good thing.

19. The Acorn Hope Glory Mountain

After seeing The Acorn cheer on Ohbjiou at the London Live Arts Festival (LOLA), encouraging the crowd to "Get their 'O's up" ('O' is for Ohbijou). I thought the guys in the Acorn seemed like pretty fun dudes. Their album, a tribute to lead singer Rolf Klausner's mother, is a little more experimental (read Latin American influenced) than their previous two EPs, Tin Fist and Blankets.

18. Brother Ali The Undisputed Truth

Brother Ali is probably my favourite rapper (albino or otherwise), and I had been waiting for a new album since .... the last one. Sometime in between releasing the Champion EP, and the releast of tUT, Ali split with his wife which had an obvious impact on his work, see 'Walking Away'. Tracks like this, represent the softer, but not best side of Ali, who is strongest when he is confident and telling us the way the world should be. For his best work see Shadows on the Sun [2003] , or Champion EP [2004].

17. Mark Ronson Version

In the aptly titled Version, Ronson, producer for Lily Allen gives his take on a number pop songs 'God Put A Smile on Your Face' Coldplay; 'Toxic' Britney Spears. Amy Winehouse on 'Valarie' is the highlight of the album, and an outstanding, outstanding, song.

16. Iron & Wine The Shepard's Dog

All of Iron & Wine's previous stuff (that I'd heard at least) was really, really, really, slow. This album is certainly more upbeat, and as a result it possible to listen to when you are not horribly depressed, or trying to fall asleep.

15. Voxtrot Voxtrot

I managed to ignore Voxtrot for a while, despite hearing good things, but since seeing them on's 'Interface' their catchy, poppy, rock songs really grew on me. It also encouraged me to find out what 'kid gloves' are...

14. Basia Bulat Oh, My Darling

The world would be a better place if the female vocalists Canada exported sounded more like Basia Bulat, and less like, say, Celine Dion or Shania Twain. A great album, and, I've said it before, but a good one that Mom and Dad might enjoy also... so you can avoid hearing 'A Very Shania Christmas' this year.

13. Beirut The Flying Club Cup

I was a big fan of last years 'death march through the Balkans' aka. The Gulag Orkestar, and thankfully this year's trip through France is less depressing. In my first post on this site, I recommended the videos that Zach Condon put out just before releasing the album. If they don't hook you on the album, you might be dead. You might also just be weirded out.

12. Miracle Fortress Five Roses

It's hard to believe that I'm ranking this as the third best album out of Montreal this year. Five Roses sounds to me like an interesting combination of the Beach Boys (very appropriate since there is a song called 'Beach Baby'), with a dash of singer-songwriter and a hint of electronic keyboard. This album would probably be about 7 or 8 spots higher if Panda Bear's Person Pitch hadn't filled my quota of atmospheric, loopy albums that were clearly influenced by the Beach Boys.

11. David Vandervelde The Moonstation House Band

I wrote about Vandervelde a couple of weeks ago here.

10. Amy Winehouse Back to Black

She may not be someone you'd want to come within, say 100 feet of (for fear of catching some type of disease), but she sure as hell can sing.

9. The Arcade Fire Neon Bible

With so much to hype/expecations to live up to it was inevitable that this wasn't going to do it for everyone. Including me. Still, in my opinion, they are the best band of the 00s.

8. Ohbijou Swift Feet for Troubling Times

Ohbijou (Toronto, On) definitely deserves more attention than they've been getting from Canadian blogs, and hopefully with a new album and some touring in the new year more people will be exposed to their music. I managed to catch them twice, or maybe three times, this year and every time they captivated everyone watching. I would expect them to be a breakout band in 2008. Great for fans of Stars, Feist, any female singer-songwriter, softer stuff by BSS.

7. Great Lake Swimmers Ongiara

Hopefully, opening for Feist on her last North American tour gave Tony Dekker a little more exposure for what is a more polished, upbeat, singer-songwriter album than the previous two GLS albums.

6. Feist The Reminder

Not much else to say that hasn't been said about this album, except to link again to Feist playing 'I Feel It All' on the city bus.

5. Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala

I think quirky, is best way to describe his songs, but he is a great storyteller and an outstanding composer of the Ben Foldsian variety; although with the use of a wide variety of samples Lekman is able to cover a lot more sonic territory than traditional singer-songwriters. My favourite track has got to be "A Post Card to Nina", a song about Jens pretending to be his friends' boyfriend, so she could continue to date her girlfriend. Welcome to the world of Jens.

4. The National Boxer

I had never listened to the National before this year, and hearing Boxer has made me go back through their entire discography. La Blogotheque's , always fantastic 'Take Away Shows', really display how interesting/poetic/cool the songs from this album are. The National's show here.

3. Panda Bear Person Pitch

To be short, this album will not be for everyone. I'd describe Panada Bear (Noah Lennox of the Animal Collective) as a terrific combination of the Beach Boys and Air (who did the outstanding soundtrack for the Virgin Suicides). The album is quite a departure from his first solo work, Young Prayer, after the death of his father. PP was written in Portugal, after the birth of his first child, and is decidedly more positive, upbeat, almost inspiring. This was Pitchfork's number 1 album, for good reason, and on a different day this would probably be my number one.

2. The Besnard Lakes ... Are The Dark Horse

For anyone who has been following along, its been pretty apparent that I'm really, really, into this album. I described them before as a combination of Led Zepplin and the Beach Boys, which on the face of it, sounds akward, but it works for them. Unfortunately, since we live in such an image driven world, I think people that look like this, may never be famous rock stars.

1. Kanye West Graduation

I'll admit, there are a couple of weak spots on Graduation, but the track 'Barry Bonds' notwithstanding, this might be my favourite hip-hop album of all time. Kanye has always been an outstanding producer, and I think this album he doesn't let his rapping get in the way, too much.

Meetings with Castro and Cuervo next week, back on the 4th of Jan.


Jen the Misadventurer said...

I am overjoyed by your inclusion of The National and Beirut, which are two of my favourite - est albums possibly of all time. My own top 10 list (in no particular order, except number 1) was topped by 'In Rainbows' which for me was like coming home after many many years traveling around and experimenting in this and that. I am surprised that it does not figure in your list.

The R.O.B. said...

I don't exactly know what to say... I just don't really 'get' Radiohead. I really liked the Bends... but after that I haven't ever really been able to get into them. That said, I can't say I'm a huge fan of any Brit-rock, Interpol, Bloc Party, etc. etc. just not my scene...

Is your list up somewhere?