Wednesday, December 12, 2007

i don't do orders because it's too hard.

my favorite albums of 2007, IN NO ORDER.

the unlovables - heartsickle

with the ergs putting out a uneven EP, other pop-punk acts had a chance to shine, and the unlovables(mikey erg drums. jeez, what bands isn't he in?) and the steinways(covered below) really took advantage. the unlovables are a female-fronted pop-punk band who is reminiscent of zolof and the rock and roll destroyer, but without the male vocals and keyboards, and with more sass. this entire album is cute and catchy as hell, with "Dance Party for Two(Your Room, 3 A.M.)" as a particular standout, though this might partly be due to my fondness for late night dance parties.

fishboy - albatross: or how we failed to save the lone star state with the power of rock and roll
holy fucking fuck, this album is awesome. fishboy sounds a lot like a more absurd neutral milk hotel at times, and at others, a more indie-rock tullycraft. i have not heard a more charming album this year, and you probably haven't either. if i did ratings, this might be #1. "The Details of our Trip" examine a world influenced by the actions of Fishboy ("everybody knows the band, talks to ghosts and holds up banks for money,") and I can't help thinking that maybe that would be a much more fun world to live in.

okkervil river - the stage names
okkervil river are awesome. this is their best album. meta-indie-country rock ftw.

streetlight manifesto - somewhere in the between
Har Har Har! Ska sucks! Luckily, this sounds a lot more like something the World/Inferno Friendship Society might come up with. There's a lot more sea-shanty than ska-bounce in this album, and I am thankful. Well, to be honest, I am more thankful for the honest and direct lyrics instead of traditionally silly ska lyrics. I suppose that's never really been Streetlight's thing anyway, though... so... this is basically a long winded attempt to avoid saying I like a ska album. Which is silly.

and really only a big deal because i used to make a big deal out of not liking ska.

you guys win.
this album is great. punchy horn lines, declarations of triumph in the face of failure, and yeah, probably some parts you can skank to. (not that i would. honest, folks. honest.)

paul baribeau - grand ledge
this is a more accomplished and introspective album than paul baribeau's earlier efforts. it is earnest, and wrapped in winter, and charming. it is perfect for long car rides at night with someone, for those mixtapes for cute boys/girls, for drinking tea alone on your windowsill, for travel of any kind. "if i love you, i miss you." is perhaps my favorite lyric of 2007, mostly because it is direct and true and heart-felt.

this album makes me cry almost every time i put it on.

jason anderson - tonight
jason anderson has finally wrote an album that captures the excitement and love of his live show. so maybe it sounds a little bit(ok, a lot.) like bruce? the boss fucking rules. so does jason anderson. see him live if you can, though he doesn't tour as much as he used to.

wolves in the throne room - two hunters
this album is the ultimate argument for voting green. if dirty hippies from the west coast can craft something this fucking evil and beautiful, then perhaps the rest of us should give up our cars and move to a cabin in the woods. who the fuck says united states black metal is a dead scene? this album rivals 'dead flag blues' in it's scope and sense of apocalyptic dread.

bludwulf - cryptic revelations
can we kill the punk vs. metal rivalry finally? bludwulf play thrash metal with snarled punk vocals and the resulting mix is far more interesting than the last slayer album(which i really did not care for, your millage might vary.) i don't think this counts as crossover, but i like it a lot more than most crossover revival anyway.

weakerthans - reunion tour
while not their most solid album, the high spots here outweigh the clunkers by far. the weakerthans are definitely following in the tracks laid down by their last album("Reconstruction Site"), so if you liked that one, you'll probably like this one. this is music written for late fall, for deep winter, an album focused on failed connections and tripped wires. these songs linger in the air like breath on cold days, reminders of people who have passed this way.

wingnut dishwasher's union - towards a world without dishwashers!
so pat the bunny has a new band, and it's a lot more hopeful than johnny hobo and the frieght trains, and i am glad. sounds mostly the same as johnny hobo, but i like the new lyrical direction a bunch. folk-punk 4eva!

kayne west - graduation
so kayne is almost as good as he thinks he is. there are two bad songs on here, but the good ones are so really very good. you know what this sounds like. hey, you remember when he was more known for saying our president doesn't like black people? i had forgotten.

xo skeletons - bored by heaven
wes screaming about being bored and disaffected is pretty much always awesome. the subtraction of guitars(ok, yeah, there is some guitar on this album, but you know what i mean.) and the addition of shitty dance beats makes this even more poignant. cage guests on this, and it's awesome. it seems california hasn't made wes any happier than boston did(which sucks for him, but heck, the music is awesome. writing this sentence made me feel vaguely repugnant.)

th' legendary shack shakers - swampblood
oh goodness, does this record rip your face off and then nail it back to your skull. th' legendary shack shakers play balls-out southern horror rock with gusto and verve. if you liked the direction clutch has been heading in, you owe it to yourself to check this album out, and then you can sell all your new clutch cds back to the music store(ok, i liked the last clutch album, but i like this one much more. that's really all i'm trying to say. sorry for the snark.)

skeletonwitch - beyond the permafrost
i recently was heard to proclaim "what the fuck good is ohio?". i quickly retracted this, as integrity popped into my head RIGHT AFTER I SAID IT, but i forgot about this band too. this band is also from ohio, and awesome(though they don't really sound like integrity at all.). skeleltonwitch plays awesome blackened thrash and really don't make any missteps on this album.

but seriously, ohio is like one of the worst states.

defiance ohio - the fear the fear the fear
"the list" is maybe the best song defiance ohio have ever written. with every release, defiance ohio becomes a more complex outfit, vocally, lyrically, and musically. this is what happens when folk-punk grows up.

nine inch nails - year zero
trent reznor becomes relevant again, news at 11. this album from the former oink member is not without it's mistakes, but good god, "capital g". shiiiiit, son. this is much better than "with teeth".

the steinways - missed the boat
snotty, immature, totally fucking awesome. these are songs about how much warped tour blows, and all those awkward high school relationships that really were probably just about sex but no-one wanted to admit it at the time. perfect summer music. they're doing a short tour with dear landlord soon, and that should be fuckin' killer.

vampire weekend - blue cd-r
these guys get a lot of flack for being safe, but i prefer to think of them as charming. happy earnest african-influenced indie rock about the rich parts of massachusetts, and college-y things. this is really great lying about on the quad as it starts getting warm music.

tullycraft- every scene needs a center
tullycraft writes indie-pop perfection, and this album is no different. in a discussion i had recently about twee, a friend of mine was complaining that it was too one-note in thematic quality, and i brought up this album as a counter-point. with songs ranging from "the lonely life of the ufo researcher"(a paean to the kind of desperation needed to cling to slim hopes) , to the more twee-friendly jaunts of "the punks are writing love songs", tullycraft displays a depth that most of their contemporaries cannot claim. they are also totally and wonderful dance-able, by yourself in your bedroom, or with some of your closest friends.

jena berlin - quo vadimus
i had never heard of this band until 2007, when they opened for nakatomi plaza at a house on my college campus.(in the spirit of honesty, it should be noted i booked this show.) however, their live performance and the tour ep they had for sale made me a fan instantly. their catchy brand of post-punk combined with their insightful lyrics and their knowledge of when to be quiet and when to howl makes this one of my favorite cds of 2007.

so yeah, that's that.
new content soon.