Albums Of The Year 2007 (Rob)

Ok, so after much humming and hawing I have decided upon my albums of the year. Feel free to comment/abuse:

10. Minus The Bear- Planet of Ice

There's something I really, really like about Minus The Bear. With 'Planet of Ice' the Washington math-rockers added a depth to their distinct sound that set it apart from their earlier offerings. The sound is impeccable, and the songs are as good as ever, taking the listener through an elaborate series of ups, downs and what-the-hells. The guys are great musicians, but also great songwriters, and that stands to them. I can't wait to see where their sound goes next.

Listen to 'Knights', 'When We Escape', or this one- 'Double Vision Quest':

Click me for mp3

9. Elliott Smith- New Moon

At the start of the year I certainly didn't think an Elliott Smith album would be featuring on this list, probably because Smith has been dead over four years. But in May, the 'Kill Rock Stars' record label released 'New Moon', a collection of songs written and recorded by Smith at the time of his pant-crappingly good eponymous album and it's follow up 'Either/ Or'. The guy must have been hard pushed for space on the earlier albums, because the material that is collected here is spectacular. Undoubtedly of the same calibre of the stuff that made it on to the original album, ad some of these tracks could even be considered as being among his best work. So far from being an item for completists, 'New Moon' turned out to be something we thought we had seen the last of- a genuine 'new' album from one of the greatest artists of our time.

Here's 'Looking Over My Shoulder':

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8. Battles- Mirrored

This one wins the award for most original album of the year. As I'm sure anyone who has heard it will agree, this stuff is off the wall. 'Atlas' is blissfully demented, conjuring up images of tribal sacrifices while echoing 'The Wizard of Oz'. Strange. But brilliant. No one could ever accuse these guys of not trying hard enough, and on this (their debut) album it really pays off. I'll be interested in seeing where the future leads them.

Here's the hook-tacular 'Tonto', featuring 'The Best Change in a Song Ever' (TM):

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7. Bright Eyes- Cassadaga

Conor Oberst set the bar fairly high for himself with 2005's simultaneously released 'I'm Wide Awake It's Morning' & 'Digital Ash In A Digital Urn', and it has to be said that he doesn't quite reach the same heights with this years 'Cassadaga'. The album has one or two definite slip-ups ('Soul Singer in a Session Band' is rambling in that most un-Oberst of fashions- he has nothing of interest to say) but nonetheless features several examples of the kind of material that makes Oberst one of the most exciting songwriters on the planet (in particular the lead single 'Four Winds', which makes poetry out of political commentary). All in all not Oberst's strongest effort, but we can rest assured he's far from finished.

Here's the excellent 'I Must Belong Somewhere':

Click me for mp3

& Click me for the pretty cool video

6. Les Savy Fav- Let's Stay Friends

This has proved a gateway for me to appreciating Les Savy Fav, whom I had never got around to listening to before the release of this album. And what an album- A mix of quirky indiepop, drawling rock, stadium power chords & barely contained aggression. It's a discovery that has seen me raid Ste's mp3 collection looking for more LSF and ensured that this album has barely left my stereo for quite some time. The only downside is that I missed their Dublin show. Damn.

Here's 'The Year Before The Year 2000':

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5. Justice- Cross

Everyone else is saying it, but it's true so I guess I'll follow suit: Justice are the rightful heirs to Daft Punk's throne. And this album proves it. Delicious production & amazing beats layered on top of some funky samples that also happen to be catchy as hell. Well done, sirs, well done. If only they played this in every club...

Here's D.A.N.C.E.:

Click for mp3

4. Modest Mouse- We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

In my opinion the strongest Modest Mouse offering to date. By far. And they're by no means a weak band (and I'm by no means an obsessive Johnny Marr fan). This record was perhaps best recognised for its stomping lead single 'Dashboard', which was duly impressive. But it was when I listened to 'The Parting of the Sensory' that I really started to appreciate 'We Were Dead...'. The song is insane, and definitely made me sit up and take notice. Also worth a mention is the bitchin 80's style backing vox on 'We've Got Everything'. Classic.

Here's 'The Parting of the Sensory':

Click for mp3

3. Feist- The Reminder

This record is a great example of the 'something for everyone' phenomenon- you'd be hard pushed to find someone who could turn up their nose at it. Mellow, at times funky, always good. Every once in a while the world needs an album like this- full of beauty & simplicity.

Here's 'My Moon & My Man':

Click for mp3

2. LCD Soundsystem- The Sound of Silver

Smart, dancy & all about the songs, James Murphy's second record as LCD Soundsystem pressed all the right buttons. Hit singles galore, and never losing momentum, 'Sound of Silver' dances wildly on the fine line joining the worlds of dance & rock. Its popularity has got to owe something to the fact that it pretty much soundtracked the summer, but it did so deservedly.

Lead single 'North American Scum' takes over where 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House' left off, and 'All My Friends' is a "Baba O'Reilly' for this generation. But we all know them so well by now, instead I'll pay tribute to the album by giving you it's fantastic opener, 'Get Innocuous!!':

Click for mp3

1. Beirut- The Flying Club Cup

This one has to take it. The fact that I immediately fell in love with this album made me worry about its longevity, but I'm still playing it today as frequently as I was a couple of months ago when it came out (but now singing along more).

With Beirut, Zach Condon has taken a decent concept for a sound (one which flirted with success on the band's first album) added a load of inspiration from acts that have gone before and crafted a masterpiece of style and songwriting. The ebbs & flows of the orchestration are hugely endearing- each line carries a huge emotional weight, be it delivered through vocals, trumpet or violin.

I absolutely love this record, and the following song is already one of my all time favorites- 'Cherbourg'. Enjoy:

Click for mp3

Near Misses:

Rilo Kiley- Under The Blacklight (Pity about the live show..); Arcade Fire- Neon Bible (Very close call); Radiohead- In Rainbows; Holy Fuck- Holy Fuck LP; !!!- Myth Takes (So very good. 'Must Be The Moon'- single of the year?); Bloc Party- A Weekend In The City (best production of the year, easily); Patrick Wolf- The Magic Position (some amazing tracks, but far too much ego-driven filler for it to make the cut)...

Click for last year's top 10.

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December 17, 2007 at 10:01 PM Brian Cleary said...

Hi, I just happened on the site through

I'm probably on the older side of things but I would agree wholeheartedly with the Bright Eyes review. I found most of the album great apart from the opening track and one or two others. Four Winds is a great song, it's the reason that I bought the album in the first place. If The Brakeman... is possibly my favourite on the whole album.

Other faves of mine during the year are (in no order)

Nick Lowe - At My Age
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Richard Hawley - Lady's Bridge
Tracey Thorn - Out of the Woods
Rilo Kiley - Under The Blacklight
Newton Faulkner - Hand Built....
Plant/Krauss - Raising Sand
King Creosote - Bombshell
Joni Mitchell - Shine

And many others.

Finally, great to see an Irish site blogging about good music. Great work!

December 18, 2007 at 8:02 PM Clockwork Rob said...

Hi Brian, cheers for reading!

'Brakeman' is a pretty good track alright, hopefully Oberst's next offering is gonna be as strong as that (or his earlier stuff, which has far too many highlights to list).

I've been hearing good things about the Plant/Krauss album, I think I'm gonna have to check it out, along with your other suggestions.

Thanks a mil, and glad you like the blog!

December 22, 2007 at 3:52 AM Karl Hungus said...

Can't say I really agree with any of those choices.

December 22, 2007 at 4:21 AM Clockwork Rob said...

Oh well..

What were your favorites, Karl?

January 10, 2008 at 1:17 AM Clockwork Rob said...

Aha, I see you're into the old 'metal'. Understandable why my picks did nothing for you then. C'est la vie..