Thursday, 20 December 2007

The best albums of 2007

25. Alasdair Roberts - The Amber Gatherers
Alasdair Roberts may have started using electronic instruments but he's not allowing anything remotely modern to permeate his music. Traditional and, indeed, anachronistic, The Amber Gatherers is the album of the year in 1822.

Best track – I Had A Kiss Of The King's Hand

24. Dan Deacon – Spiderman Of The Rings
Dan Deacon's silliness might alienate many, but Spiderman Of The Rings is a joyous, happy and fearless album.

Best track – Snake Mistakes

23. Radiohead – In Rainbows
It broke more ground commercially than it did musically, but In Rainbows was still another wonderful album from Radiohead. Gentler, prettier and, dare I say, happier than ever, Radiohead sound more relaxed than they ever have on In Rainbows.

Best track - Reckoner

22. Bill Callahan - Woke On A Whaleheart
Having ditched the Smog and (smog) monikers, Callahan no longer feels as enigmatic. The dispassionate delivery is still there but Woke On A Whaleheart snatches at the same painful honesty we haven't seen from him since The Doctor Came At Dawn.

Best track - Sycamore

21. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
While it's a bit too wilfully pretentious to be the triumph many think it is, Sound Of Silver is a rowdy and touching consolidation of dance and rock.

Best track – All My Friends

20. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Good news for people who loved Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Isaac Brock and his band didn't break new ground but they improved on the dancey guitar pop of their 2004 highlight.

Best track - Dashboard

19. Jay-Z – American Gangster
Yeah, so Jigga's retirement didn't last that long after all. His comeback LP was a soul-saturated rap experience that recalled his first Blueprint album. Time will tell if it's a one-off or whether American Gangster marks the start of the second-half of Jay-Z's career.

Best track – Ignorant Shit

18. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
An extraordinary record that laughs and dances in the face of it's actually pretty depressing subject matter.

Best track - Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse

17. Jeffrey Lewis – 12 Crass Songs
Jeff Lewis covering Crass actually make sense. His witty anti-folk tunes have consistently masked a blunt wit and angry idealism that Crass would be proud of. Played with Lewis' upbeat melodies, many of Crass' songs are unrecognisable from the originals. It's fun but thought-provoking stuff.

Best track – I Ain't Thick

16. Dinosaur Jr – Beyond
An ass-kicking return from J Mascis and Lou Barlow that both recaptures their previous brilliance and succeeds on its own fuzzed-out merits.

Best track – Almost Ready

15. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
A highly danceable and bewilderingly confident debut that captures the unbridled excess of hipster parties better than most.

Best track - Kids

14. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
There's nothing that quite matches the spiritual stomp of Funeral but Neon Bible is another unflaggingly passionate and ambitious album from one of the world's great bands.

Best track – Keep The Car Running

13. Grinderman – Grinderman
If every track had been as good as the first two, it would've been the album of the year at a canter. Nevertheless, Grinderman marked a scorching and raw return to Nick Cave's fire and brimstone roots.

Best track – No Pussy Blues

12. The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Just as brash and noisy as the rest of the catalogue and just over-indulgent enough, Jack and Meg have made the most peculiar and beguiling record of their decade-long careers.

Best track – Catch Hell Blues

11. Wu-Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams
Ghostface and Raekwon are wrong. 8 Diagrams is sprawling, dense, deranged and the most interesting album the Wu-Tang Clan have made. It's not quite their best but it's certainly not to be dismissed as the work of a hip hop hippie either.

Best track – Rushing Elephants

10. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
Just like his work with Animal Collective, Noah Lennox's third solo album is simultaneously poppy and abstract. As warm and trippy as anything he's ever recorded with his band.

Best track – Take Pills

9. M.I.A. – Kala
Another genuinely thrilling album from M.I.A. that lifts samples from artists as diverse as Jonathan Richman and Wreckx-N-Effect. Even more daring and adventurous than the outstanding Arular, Kala is a quite brilliant cross-cultural jam.

Best track – Paper Planes

8. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
Or how Animal Collective finally added catchy pop to their love of the abstract. Strawberry Jam is easily their greatest album and one of the highlights of the year.

Best track - Chores

7. The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
So this is what it would've sounded like if Ride recorded a minimal techno record. From Here We Go Sublime is a truly idyllic record that will surely light up the life of all but the most miserable bastard.

Best track - Everday

6. Justice – †
Funky, rough-edged and over-driven in all the right places, Justice's debut is an absolutely killer party record. One of the most perfectly sequenced dance records you'll ever hear. The world is theirs for the taking.

Best track – Genesis

5. Battles – Mirrored
Not just to be admired by chin-stroking prog fans but a genuine answer to the question of where modern music has to go next. And it's absolutely fucking bananas to boot.

Best track - Atlas

4. Pekos / Yoro Diallo – Pekos / Yoro Diallo
Recorded to cassette on the streets of a Bougouni market, Pekos and Yoro Diallo are two Malian musicians who made one of the most hypnotic, joyful and beautiful albums of the year. I beg you all, give this album a chance.

Best track – Untitled 1

3. The Weakerthans – Reunion Tour
John Sampson is one of the few songwriters capable of making me feel sad and happy at the same time with the same lyrics. He's also proved on Reunion Tour that he's one of the great observers of human behaviour.

Best track – Reunion Tour

2. The National – Boxer
The National followed 2005's masterpiece Alligator with another truly monumental record. Like its predecessor, Boxer is restrained, grounded but totally self-assured. After just one listen you can't help but wonder why all bands can't sound like this.

Best track – Slow Show

1. Les Savy Fav – Let's Stay Friends
After a six-year hiatus from recording, Les Savy Fav have finally made an album to match the frenetic energy of their live shows. Stratospheric rock nestles alongside furious post-hardcore and tight rhythms back Tim Harrington's loose lyrics. Startling and propulsive, Let's Stay Friends is absolute proof positive that nobody rocks the party like these dudes.

Best track – Patty Lee

No comments: