Brevity is the devil’s gift my friend. We’ll keep it to a paragraph for each of the following albums. It must be noted ahead of time that we excluded the following albums from consideration:
- Feist – “The Reminder”
- Radiohead – “In Rainbows”
- LCD Soundsystem – “Sound of Silver”
- Arcade Fire – “Neon Bible”
Not because we didn’t love those four albums, we did, but because at this point the fellatio parade has been going on for the better part of a month now. If you are inclined to hear from me, when so many others have put it so much better, just how tasty these albums are, then it shouldn’t be difficult. I figured it’d better to exclude those four and point out four other albums that I particularly loved this year.
If you are scoring at home, and you must know, then LCD Soundsystem was my favorite album this year. James Murphy and Co. really stepped up to craft something that was tighter, more adventurous and more thrilling than their last album. I don’t trust any year end list that doesn’t have this album in one of the top three spots. That’s really all their is to it.
So here are the favorites that kept The Sly Oyster offices rocking in 2007.
12. Tegan and Sara – “The Con” As Whitney over at Pop Candy so noted, “I like my pop songs like my skirts: short and tight.” Nothing was as sort and tight this year or offered such unexpected enjoyment.
11. White Rabbits – “Fort Nightly” Cutting across the grain when so many indie acts so the same, these guys seemed fully formed and unique. Plus no other album had such a dance-ableness and youthful verve as this one did.
10. Wilco – “Sky Blue Sky” Clearly divided most of music fans. You either loved it’s subtle intricacy and deft guitar work from Nels Cline or you thought it was boring. We’re most certainly the former.
9. Apples in Stereo – “New Magnetic Wonder” I think we might be the first publication to include this disc anywhere. Sure it was over long but there were numerous pleasures to be had, with their brand of psychedellic folk pop gems.
8. Kevin Drew – “Spirit If . . .” Probably the best Broken Social Scene record that isn’t actually a BSS full-length. Kevin Drew brought his A-game and it shows on this confident, rocking collection.
7. JJ Grey and Mofro – “Country Ghetto” I’m slowly turning into a redneck country boy, it won’t be long before my top albums consist of Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Brooks and Dunn. Actually that will never happen.? These guys have a great swamp funk sound, like they’re sitting on their trailer park steps, swatting away the flies and making earnest, provocatively good tunes.? It’s not original but it’s a sweaty slice of goodness.
6. Ryan Montbleau Band – “Patience on Friday” Soulful, jazzy, playful, funny, romantic, heartfelt and exquisite. Lots of adjectives come to mind when listening to this disc. This is often times the kind of album that gets over looked when it comes to critical type of lists that are self-important but this one has been on my player non-stop since picking it up.
5. The New Pornographers – “Challengers” Sure we’d like more Dan Bejar and Neko Case, but settling for Carl Newman isn’t such a bad thing. This is a grower of an album, unlike The National’s. Good in the beginning, fantastic in the end, offering similar pleasures to past efforts, but in entirely different ways.
4. Patrick Watson – “Close to Paradise” Classy album all the way. Full of ambient pop gems that sound like Jeff Buckley, the tunes soar and fall and feel so right in between a pair of headphones.
3. Iron and Wine – “the Shepherd’s Dog” Didn’t know Sam Beam had this in him, but I’m sure glad he did. No one elevated their musicianship more than he did with the full backing of a band. He takes African instruments and makes a glorious celebration of life.
2. Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted” I kept waiting for the magic of this album to wear off and it never did, I suspect because it’s the real deal Holyfield. The UK band had me shimmy shimmy shaking at the soda fountain and though they appropriated a lot from music in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s there was something about it that sounded so punk. Like we’re going to do something no one else is doing and just not care, but we secretly hope you like. Well like it we did.
1. Spoon – “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” A brisk album that delivered more in 10 songs than most bands deliver in an entire career. The band has never been more soulful, more packed with energy, more poignant and more spot on. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for an encore next time around, but I’m going to savor this one for a long, long, long, long, long time.