As 2007 is dragged off, bloated and howling like William Shatner, I have compiled a list of my 21 favourite albums of the year, in the fine tradition of bloggers everywhere.
† by Justice
Justice eschew current electronic trends by being more Sega Megadrive than Nintendo Enterainment System. How did a budget Daft Punk manage to pull my pants up over my head and make me D-A-N-C-E to crunchy retro robofunk? How brilliant is this, exactly?
All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone by Explosions in the Sky
Not a band at the height of their powers, but a band still better than 99% of all recording artists in 2007. All of a Sudden… is as heartbreaking and anthemic as you could hope for, and the remix disc is pure class. Both versions of Catastrophe And The Cure are spellbinding.
Asa Breed by Matthew Dear
Techno darling Dear turned his hand to classic pop arrangements on Asa Breed. The best songs here appear to be channeling Davids Byrne and Bowie in a robot séance. Honestly, it’s that good.
The Destruction of Small Ideas by 65daysofstatic
65daysofstatic have pushed the button marked “EPIC”. The Destruction… is a tremendous, electrifying experience from start to finish. It ought to be taught in schools.
Eyes Set Against the Sun by Mira Calix
Is Mira Calix Warp’s best kept secret? On Eyes Set Against the Sun, she creates a bewildering and beautiful world of sound, structurally loose but rich in tone and texture. It’s a challenging but deeply rewarding record, and I strongly recommend at least investigating it.
The Flying Club Cup by Beirut
Zack Condon is an incredibly talented young man, and I feel it’s important to note that for all the unconventional instrumentation and arrangements, it’s his ability to write bloody brilliant songs that deserves the most attention. The Flying Club Cup is a fantastic, rousing album of brilliant songs dressed up in smart arrangements.
Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters by The Twilight Sad
Oh, teenage angst. Even in my twenties, I still love you. I love it when a soft Scottish burr becomes a seething, hateful wrath, and when a pretty guitar line explodes like the birth of a universe. The Twilight Sad give me ten boners.
Hvarf / Heim by Sigur Rós
Ack, a live/outtakes double, why why why why why? Because the live recordings here are absolutely amazing. The performance of Starálfur gives me whole new chills that the original cannot match. And because the studio recordings on Hvarf are as good as anything else in the Sigur Rós cannon; Hljómalind is especially wonderful.
In Rainbows by Radiohead
Radiohead’s strongest set of songs since Kid A, and their most mature release to date. In Rainbows is gorgeous, sophisticated pop; an unbridled pleasure from start to finish.
The Magic Position by Patrick Wolf
Magic is right; this is a pop masterpiece by a young man who may actually be a genius. Gleefully bright and brash one moment, heart-rendingly tragic the next, almost too clever for words, this is a phenomenal album. Where Patrick Wolf will go from here is anyone’s guess. Probably JUPITER.
Marry Me by St Vincent
Perhaps not as clever or brilliant as some people would have you believe, but Annie Clark is a brilliant songwriter and a wonderful guitarist. The fluidity of her playing is as notable as her sharp lyrics and neat hooks. Occasionally the theatrics fall short, coming off as overwrought and over-inflated, but this is still a great album.
Mirrored by Battles
Dance music for teenage robots spazzed off their knobs, cramming droid-drugs down their metal faces in a chrome cavern filled with AI glitterballs. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON BATTLES.
Moog Acid by Jean Jacques-Perrey & Luke Vibert
Veteran composer Jean Jacques-Perrey’s beguiling Moog music is tweaked and processed by Cornish chameleon Luke Vibert, turning out some of the richest, most exciting electronic music of 2007. Ironic, given most of the source material is forty years old. Absolutely indispensable.
Places Like This by Architecture in Helsinki
Someone fed the Muppet Babies Animal’s adrenal gland and got them to record an album. Somehow, this is brilliant.
Sea of the Dying Dhow by *shels
Former members of the UK “screamo” scene create downcast, atmospheric post-something-or-other. Tremendous swathes of guitar and hollered vocals batter these gloomy shores, and anthems, both upbeat and comedown, shine through the iron clouds. So it’s all good.
Sun Down / Sun Rise by Jesu
Jesu’s finest outing this year was not his latest LP, Conqueror, but this sprawling, hypnotic 12″ release. These two pieces condense all the finest ingredients of Justin Broadrick’s muscular melancholia into forty mesmerising minutes. Alliterative!
Super Taranta! by Gogol Bordello
The sound of Rum, Sodomy & The Lash crashing a car into London Calling‘s face. Super Taranta! is a dizzying rush of bonkers shouty-punk and rowdy folk music. Fuckin’ ace.
This Is My Ship by Dartz!
By turns gleefully silly and razor sharp, Dartz! nail their targets with laser-guided accuracy. Infectious songs are enhanced by deft guitar work, cunning arrangements and nonsense lyrics. An excellent debut from these boys.
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse
Isaac Brock vomits his angry, drunken heart out and smears it all over a collection of glossy pop-rock songs. It’s compelling and brilliant. Honestly, what else do you want from a Modest Mouse album?
Yell & Ice by Subtle
Subtle’s remix companion to 2006s frankly astonishing For Hero: For Fool is as madcap and wonderful as the album that spawned it. Totally addictive.
You, You’re a History in Rust by Do Make Say Think
Recording a follow-up to Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn can’t have been easy, but with …History in Rust, DMST do themselves proud. Rather than attempt to recapture the glory of its predecessor, this album occupies its own space as a stirring, life-affirming record of simply gorgeous music.