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December 31, 2007

{     GSB Top ALBUMS in the '07     }    


Here it is, my Top Twelve ALBUMS from 2007. More info and some honorable mentions after the jump below...

1. Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men (Sub Pop)
2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (EMI)
3. Chromatics - Night Drive (Italians Do It Better)
4. Justice - Cross (Ed Banger)
5. The Heavy - Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (Counter)
6. Baroness - Red Album (Relapse)
7. Panda Bear - Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
8. The Tough Alliance - A New Chance (Sincerely Yours)
9. High On Fire - Death Is This Communion (Relapse)
10. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog (Transgressive)
11. Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (Virgin)
12. !!! - Myth Takes (Warp)

Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men (Sub Pop)
Perfect in it's unapologetic Black Flag/Jesus Lizard-ish sloppy hardcore punk rock, these guys fucking kill it. Like: 'come on stage, blaze your face, leave' kinda kill it. They wrote my favorite punk song in recent years ('Boring Girls') and thus I was drawn to this release with bated breath, and damn was I pleased. There's no art in this shit, no coffee-shop-punk aesthetic, no fucking irony (can 2008 get here soon enough?!?!), just solid slam-your-finger-in-a-car-door pissed off, drive fast, punch the rooftop rock.

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (EMI)
Who saw this coming? I sure didn't. I would have never guessed that the LCD dudes would give me a handful of the most moving tracks of the year, one of which got me to call a friend just to remind them that I loved them. Cheesy, but true. 'Sound' turned what I thought was simply a 12" band into an LP band, and a fantastic one at that.

Chromatics - Night Drive (Italians Do It Better)
Sparse and haunting, this will be from this year forward known as the benchmark of what has become my most listened to genre, and yet I'm still not sure of a name. Neo-disco? It's cold, it's minimal, but it's inviting and hooky as well. This shit reeks of NYC afterhours parties and that 5am moment when the coke-bag goes empty. It builds so slowly that the crescendos are usually just a few simple thumps and a splash of guitar shimmer, but the hooks, the hooks will get you...

Justice - Cross (Ed Banger)
"Ohhhhhhhh shit." That was what I first thought when I heard the first track 'Genesis'. Not too cerebral, but appropriate none the less. It's like the long ride up that first hill in a rollercoaster, your heart is pumping and then when you get to the top your stomach is in your throat, you roll over the top and everything just gets LIFTED. I loved every single track on here, each and every one, even the Uffie track. That's right, it might even be one of my faves! Take that! 'D.A.N.C.E.' took the spotlight, but 'DVNO' was smarter. 'Phantom Pt.2' was better than most rock this year, and the rest, well, I need not go on...

The Heavy - Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (Counter)
I found this album on a lark this year as it was never released stateside, but I urge any of you that are fans of the proto-garage riffs of the Sonics or Paul Revere & The Raiders to seek out this bottom-heavy rock heater put out on Ninja Tune offshoot Counter Records. Guitar riffs backed by brass make this rock, but it's the samples and funky soul drums that make it stand out from anything else released this year. It's a concoction that on paper just shouldn't work, but damn, does it work on wax.

Baroness - Red Album (Relapse)
A colossal and steaming cannon of an album, you almost smell the gunpowder after each riff. I'm not really able to call this album metal, as it falls squarely under what I think of as current Southern Rock. Southern Metal maybe, but it's far too honest, too bone, dirt, 'n blood to be tossed in with anyone wearing metal studs. It's the Ronnie Van Zant of rock right now - honest, raw, tight and timeless. Calculated at moments, but predominantly it's a whipping live wire slinging sparks all over creation.

Panda Bear - Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
A headphone album best heard as a whole - a journey, a ride that you should very much so allow Panda Bear's Noah Lennox to take you on. A beautiful folky-tapeloop of a psychedelic trip thru 'Smile'-era Beach Boys-ness and Syd Barrett-with-a-laptop sound. This is the best effort in recent years at what I think of when I reminisce about classic albums from years ago that were not a group of tracks, but a collection that was best heard as a whole. Many have tried, but most all came off as trying-too-hard... this one gets it very, very right.

The Tough Alliance - A New Chance (Sincerely Yours)
Perfect pop in every way, this is a shining example of the Swedish sound I've fallen in love with more-so every year. It shimmers in the sun like the best Pet Shop Boys, and their videos depicting girls jumping rope and dolphins playing in the waves, as lame as in sounds, are spot on. It feels good to love this album.

High On Fire - Death Is This Communion (Relapse)
High on Fire reemerge with a burner of an LP: slow and low, that is the tempo. Like a barn full of fireworks being sprayed down by a hundred firetrucks, it's hot and wet and you feel it blowing up but it's never as brash as most metal these days. Doom metal at it's best this year.

Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog (Transgressive)
A solid new release from Florida's Sam Beam, he's moved fully into the studio now and I think he even put on a nice shirt, and while that may scare many of you away I can guarantee you that he's made it work. Once you get comfortable with the fact that you'll never have another piece as delicate as 'Creek Drank the Cradle' from Beam, then you can let this album hang out with you on the nights when you in the mood for something more uplifting and progressive, yet still dusty with wizened years of studying song. Yes, it's more 'studio', but only in all the right ways.

Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (Virgin)
I hate to keep pulling this, but if you weren't able to see them live on their recent tour then this is about as close as you're going to get to the best damn live set from the best damn party band on the planet. Perfect in every way. 'Nuff said.

!!! - Myth Takes (Warp)
More of the same from !!!, but that is far from a bad thing. When perusing my most played tracks from this past year, singles from 'Myth Takes' kept popping up, but the funny thing is that I don't recall 'getting' this album when it first came out. Maybe that's the problem with the digital age, tracks tend to become accidental faves. But I thought it can't be solid front-to-back, but upon looking at the tracklisting, yeah, it is. A solid stand-out in '07 that isn't a billboard-strength piece, but more of a super-sexy CraigsList ad that you just can't help but drop a line to.

Honorable Mentions:

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool (Atlantic)
Still too early to tell if it will hold up, the December release of Lupe's 'The Cool' is the only thing holding it off my Top Twelve. I hadn't really cared for his previous efforts, but this one nails it. So many standout tracks, the only thing I worry about is the same thing I talk about holding back Kanye's 'Graduation' below.

KanYe West - Graduation (Roc-A-Fella)
Another great album marred but a handful of tracks, Kanye's Graduation was slammin' when it was 'on', but nearly embarrassing when it was 'off' ('Drunk and Hot Girls'). Great stuff, but it just didn't get the plays.

Dri - Smoke Rings (Range Life)
Upon first listen to the 'singles' off this album I was sold. It was wonderful, a solid female pop singer with solid pop hooks, but for every handful of amazing tracks there are a handful of snoozers. Thus it can't be a Top Twelve, although it is still very highly recommended.

M.I.A. - Kala (XL)
Wow, now this one I put up top, then took off, then put back, then removed again. An absolutely stunning array of styles and tracks, but that was it's downfall. The production trials and troubles shown thru on Kala's release and although several songs are classics ('Paper Planes') let's be honest, there are some tracks on this album that are downright annoying.

ediT - Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup)
Another collection of tracks that just banged in my headphones, and based on iTunes play-counts would be a shoe-in for a Top Twelve album, but alas, for some reason it just gets barely squeezed out. A banger does not a classic make, there still needs to be soul... or something.

Muscles - Guns Babes Lemonade (Modular)
Australia's Muscles writes tracks that are too dumb to be taken seriously, but infect you enough that he scored an opening spot for motherfucking Daft Punk on their overseas dates. His singing, if you can call it that, is atrocious, but somehow great in it's badness and you allow it because the tracks bounce so well. I thought 'Ice Cream' would be his only great track, then I said the same after 'One Inch Badge Pin', then 'Sweaty', but when the full album finally made it to me I soon realized just how great this guy was.

Thanks, and be ready for my Top Tracks and Top Remixes of 2007 as well in the coming days. I'm a list-making fool...

By Garrett in Notice

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