Monday, April 07, 2008

BEST MUSIC OF 2007 — PART THE SECOND

Boris and Michio Kurihara — Rainbow
I hate Boris because I never know if I'm going to get a 70-minute feedback loop or some crazy psychedelic shit. This album is not a 70-minute feedback loop, but every song is a testament to stretching an idea out as far as it goes or sounding like Neil Young sitting in on a Sonic Youth session unaware that anyone was recording. You Laughed Like a Water Mark and Sweet No. 1 may have been the rock songs of the year.

Burial — Untrue
Burial finds you tripping your face off in some London hole, propped up in a doorway between two rooms, each with similar djs spinning separate sets. You're drowning a bit and someone's offering you a drink and so is her twin sister and you realise some guy's got a microphone in your skull and he's recording what you're thinking. I'm not sure if you'd only hear this in the best or the worst clubs, but this was the weirdest thing I listened to from 2007.

Café Tacuba — Sino
It would be unfair to call this Café Tacuba's In Rainbows, but it sort of is. It's perfectly fine rock that incorporates all the experimentations of the past in the name of traditional song-craft. But, as solid as it is, there's nothing that makes me want to have their children. I miss wanting to have their children.

Demiricous — Two (Poverty)
Normally, the somewhat-back-to-form Slayer would have the distinction of thrash album of the year. This year, Demiricous proved they're not just fans — they're the last, best hope.

Eric Copeland — Hermaphrodite
Proof I'll buy anything if the reviewer strings the right words together. This sounds like the demos Dan Deacon gave up on early.

Explosions in the Sky — All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
It's ok. Epic post-rock from the Isis school. Their older albums seem to be about something a little bit more. The songs on this sound like they're trying to do too many things at once. The royal sampler.

The Good, the Bad and the Queen — The Good, the Bad and the Queen
The players keep changing, but every David Albarn band starts to sound a bit the same, don't they? It's great fodder for putting your library on random.

High on Fire — Death is This Communion
There was a long stretch there when stoner metal was getting a bad, radio-friendly name. High on Fire knows we want to swing our hair to some serious rhythm and they remember the lesson Lemmy is just as important as the lesson of Iommi. As fun as the title suggests. Seriously.

Klaxons — Myths of the Near Future
They could've called this, "Album for Justin Fox." Atlantis? Interzone? As Above So Below? Gravity's Rainbow? Magick? Four Horsemen? 2012? And that's just in the song titles! Ultimately, it's dancey post-punk all over again. But, so what? Have some fun, the world is ending in 4 years!

LCD Soundsystem — Sound of Silver
I have to be of mixed feelings here. I enjoy disco. I love David Bowie. I love the Talking Heads. I grew up with 80s post new wave. I like Radio 4. I like Lou Reed. And I really like the way he gets of bunch of these work together in parts. I don't like when he tries to say something. You know how New York Telephone Conversation sucks it on an otherwise brilliant album? That's LCD's 'message' songs. Sing about this mythical 1980 all you want, you're awesome at it. Don't do Magnetic Fields novelty, please. (this doesn't mean the great Us V Them, but New York, I love You? North American Scum? ewww...)

M.I.A. — Kala
M.I.A.'s kryptonite is Arular. It turned out to be so great (once i figured out what it was) that even a superior follow up wasn't going to have quite the same impact. If for no other reason than so many people in every corner of music have tried to figure out how to capture her magic. I really need to hear this everywhere I go, which I think is the way it's best heard; not in my headphones or alone in my apartment, but in bars and parties fixing memories with friends in place.

Magik Markers — Boss
I so wish this album was awesome. I think the next one might be. This one sounds too much like a band with great taste that can't quite get past their devotion of Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey. I can't either, but I don't have a band. That sounds like them.

Middian — Age Eternal
If you could separate every instrument on a Sabbath or Motorhead album onto separate records and then spin them all at different speeds, under water on the side of a volcano, you might have something like this. I like it, but I wouldn't put it on if anyone else were in the room.

Nadja — Radiance of Shadows
Nadja — Touched
Old people walk faster than Nadja play. Deaf actors hear more notes than Nadja fans. Nadja play at a bpm of about 30. Everything they do play is buried under some much distortion and fuzz and static that you have to sometimes treat notes and vocals and beats as matters of faith. But deep deep deep buried in there are these beautiful little songs that reward you for letting yourself get swept away in the gentle madness. Touched is maybe better than Radiance, it has Stays Demons on it, which is gorgeous.

The National — Boxer
Social Distortion? Sure. Leonard Cohen? Yup. Joy Division? A little. The Pogues? Yeah. Morphine? Ok. Dark, literate, rhythmic, and I fell hook, line and sinker. Maybe I'll laugh about t in a couple of years, but I'd like to have the sort of night this would make a great soundtrack for.

Neurosis — Given to Rising
It's not as good as the stuff that inspired a million metal bands to explore ambiance and soundscapes and noise. Whatever. You can only define a genre once. They're back to being one of the best, just when the small corner of the world they created is getting as big as it will ever be.

Novembers Doom — The Novella Reservoir
And this is one of the band's that best reflects what Neurosis has done. Doom mixes soundscapes and textures and post-rock and death metal and epic narration and... melody? People should so play Twilight Innoscence to bed teenage girls and I think I want Leaving This playing at my funeral. Cheesy? As hell. Kind of awesome? Wasn't Jim Steinman?

Pelican — City of Echoes
Pelican makes post rock metal for epic walks through town and they yank you around musically from one idea to the other before you can figure out what the internal mechanism is. No one is doing fun post rock except Pelican.

Prodigy — Return of the Mac
I can't stand Mobb Deep. I always forget this, and then I buy their albums. I bought this solo album hoping to hear the promise others have heard. This sucks.

Rosetta — Wake/Lift
Of all the Isis-alike albums in the post-metal, trance-metal, ambient metal genre to come out this year, Wake/Lift might be the strongest, if least distinct, and most uneven. If someone told me it was the new Isis, I would believe them, and I'd also say this contained of their best work. Red In Tooth and Claw is epic like Lawrence of Arabia. Wake is like storming Normandy. Lift and Temet Nosce aren't great, but Monument sounds like one built from guitars and howls and frantic drums. So, blind taste test failures, but music awsomers.

Rwake — Voices of Omens
And here's the heaviest and most punishing and yelling at you for being so unbelievably stupid and slow and dirge-like and southern sludgey and insane. This is like listening to an Arkansas mental institute's cathartic screamercise. I love it.

Sage Francis — Human Death Dance
You can have too much of a good thing. With this album, i had too much of Francis' ultra-clever, ultra-self-aware, ultra-scathing, ultra-sarcastic, slam poetry hip hop. The album's fine, but I have more than enough of his stuff now.

Shining — V. Halmstad
Nothing makes me laugh quite like children crying. Too bad, because I think I was supposed to take it seriously. The Swedes need to get a sense of humor before they all kill themselves.

!!! — Myth Takes
I know I'm late to the party. Oh well. Kind of fun if forgetable.

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