The Best of 2007

Avalanche

2007 Top 10 Albums
All in all I would call this a relatively weak year, especially when compared to last year, in terms of volume of quality releases. Nonetheless there were a fair share of good records making this year a memorable one. Here is my most played albums of 2007 in no particular order.

Kylie Minigue – “X”/ Duran Duran – “Red Carpet Massacre”
If pop Top 40 music were around, I would look forward to hearing tracks from these albums of these vets with serious pop-chops. These outings involve Kylie being helped by her gang of Swedish super producers and Duran Duran being aided by Timbaland.

!!! – “Louden Up Now”
LCD Soundsystem seems to get all the attention but !!! are my fav NY purveyors of infectious electro dance anthems as amply illustrated in “Louden Up Now”.

Rosebuds – “Night of the Furies”
The Rosebuds are a recent discovery who have this new-waveish pop gem on Merge that is full of great backing vocals.

Blonde Redhead – “23″
Another epic aural masterpiece from the good people of Blonde Redhead.

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – “Blood Dope Sin Gold”
If you snoozed on MLWTKK for the past 10 years and need a new infusion of drug induced disco-sleaze, then pick up this remix of choice cuts off of their recent records.

Apples in Stereo – “New Magnetic Wonder”
Psychedelic pop goo so catchy it is sick.

Low – “Drums and Guns”
This is Low’s best set of songs since “Secret Name” but the production is very non-traditional which is great on one level but the songs are definitely best experienced live.

Child Ballads – “Cheekbone Hollows” EP
The modern logical heir to the Rollings Stones if the Stones were more literate and progressed through the 80s and 90s. Killer band and absolutely killer live.

Shriekback – “Glory Bumps”
Shriekback is a criminally over-looked super-group composed of members of Gang of Four and XTC. I contend that nearly any band that made its mark in the 80s or 90s will be ignored in this decade regardless of how good a record they put out (see Echo & The Bunnymen for last 3 records). This is this years example.

Dean and Britta – “Back Numbers”
Formed from ex-Luna, albums like this one and L’Aventura (both produced by Tony Visconti) make the sting of Luna breaking up pretty easy to bare.

Shins – “Wincing the Night Away”
After hearing this record, I was mystified how this album got a fairly luke-warm critical reception. Wincing is 5 times better than the previous two albums.

Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”
A recent discovery, Patrick Wolf has an unfortunate penchant for piano ballads which will have you hitting skip on the cd player, but the rest are blood-rushing crankers.

2007 Top 10 Concerts
If record releases were a bit weak this year, live shows certainly weren’t. This best of list are culled from over 70 well chosen shows with highlights including a particularly good Coachella and CMJ Music Marathon. Here is a list of the most
memorable bands seen this past year.

Electric Six – Maxwells
I started the New Year of 2007 with a bang, that is with Electric Six at Maxwells. Pitchfork perennially eviscerates their record releases but live there is few that are half as fun and entertaining. Note to Pitchfork: leave Electric Six alone and go see them live and relax.

Patrick Wolf – Webster Hall
I had only heard one song by Patrick Wolf before the show and was pleasantly surprised that there are still a few bands out there that had missed my radar.

Child Ballads – Studio B
Always killer. Never Filler. At this point, I would likely take a Child Ballads show over a Jonathan Fire*Eater show.

Xiu Xiu – Blender Theater
Their cover of Joy Division’s Ceremony alone was well worth the price of admission.

Iggy and the Stooges – United Palace
This show showcased (and I suspect not a debut) of little Iggy. Big Iggy was too busy thrashing around to notice that he was in the middle of a wardrobe malfunction in the pants area, hence the unfortunate appearance of little Iggy.

Pogues – Roseland
The first show that Shane McGowen played after having his drunk ass fall off the stage in Boston. He came rolling out in a wheelchair and the crowd went nuts.

Jesus and Mary Chain – Coachella
Frankly, if JMC played a whole set of the Reid brothers burping into the microphone, they would still make this list. I can’t think anything that could possibly keep me from thoroughly enjoying JMC, although awful Scarlette Johanson guest vocals came close.

Baby Dayliner – Mercury Lounge
Baby D had a top contender of album of the year last year, but this year I had to settle for seeing his booty shaking show….a must see live. I sure hope he has another album in the pipeline.

Van Halen – Madison Square Garden
I enjoy any show that showcases fights in the audience. Rednecks and retards, an endangered species in NYC, came out of the woodwork for this one. The show ended fittingly with a brawl in the seats behind me. Sweet.

Erasure – McCarren Pool Park
As much as I like seeing the hot new thing, the real action is seeing true veterans at work. I realized after seeing Erasure this year that they have a monster back-catalog of hits to rival nearly anyone.

PJ Harvey – Beacon Theater
Although not a huge PJ fan, I was impressed that I liked the show despite her legion of insufferably rabid fans.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Death by Audio
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone always find the best DIY venues to perform. This one was notable because it was the first venue that I have seen in quite awhile that (gasp!) openly allowed smoking and of course because CTFTPA have consistently been putting out some of the best albums of the decade.

Kevin

2007 Top 10 Albums
I think I actually bought more new music this year than the past two years combined. Here are my favorite records of 2007 in Best of the Best to Worst of the Best order.

Celebration – “The Modern Tribe”
I was actually surprised that this record didn’t make it on very many Top of 2007 lists. Easily my most listened to record of 2007 it still graces my car stereo at least twice a week.

Jens Lekman – “Night Falls Over Kortedala”
This record is on everyone’s list. Rightfully so.

Love of Diagrams – “Love of Diagrams”
Since it’s the only thing available in the US, it will get constant play until something new comes out.

Bella – “No One Will Know”
The 12 year old girl who apparently lives inside me loves this record. Damn catchy and the best synthpop record I’ve heard in a while.

Moonrats – “Tour EP”
All the same songs I had been listening to on their MySpace page but now in CD form.

Blonde Redhead – “23″
They consistently put out good records even though they are slowly drifting from their days as a post-punk powerhouse to a My Bloody Valentine knock-off.

Jay Z – “American Gangster”
What can I say, Jigga Man appeals to my inner gangsta.

The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra – “Demo”
Just a four track demo from a local band, but I’m really digging the tracks.

A Place to Bury Strangers – “A Place to Bury Strangers”
Until The Jesus and Mary Chain put out a new record, I’ll have to be content with this one.

The Child Ballads – “Cheekbone Hollows” EP
Technically I think this came out in 2006, but I didn’t see it on my list last year, so it’s going here.

2007 Top 10 Shows
Looking back on some of the shows I recorded this past year I realized that it was a damn good year for live music. I saw some truly incredible bands, both old and new. Here’s the Top 10 going from unbelievably amazing to just amazing.

Cornelius – The El Rey, Los Angeles
“The Ultimate Sensuous Synchronized Show” was jaw droppingly astounding. It reminded me how I felt after walking out of the one and only Pizzicato Five show I saw. I can’t wait to see him play in a couple of weeks at Disney Concert Hall.

The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
I burned up some airline miles to go see Jim Ruiz play his first show in over five years. Most people thought I was insane to fly all that way but it was worth it. Best part about it was getting my request for “Stormtrooper” dedicated to me.

Jens Lekman – Troubador, Los Angeles
I found out about Jens about a month after he played his first LA show at Spaceland back in 2005, but I made sure to buy advance tickets to the extremely sold out Troubador show this past fall. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who captivated a crowd quite like Jens did. Certainly memorable.

The Pulsars – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles
Up until the day before they played, I had no idea it was “The” Pulsars from Chicago (now LA) playing their first show in over 10 years. They played all songs from their first record and they were just as great as I remember them from the first time I saw them.

Celebration – The Echo, Los Angeles
I was looking forward to this show for months since they were finally playing a show where they were headlining and tickets didn’t cost $25. They were everything I had hoped and more. I’m hoping to catch them again real soon.

Moonrats – The Scene/Il Corrale/The Echo/6th St. Warehouse/.etc, Los Angeles
I saw Moonrats a bunch of times this year and every time they were great. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would probably be the show at The Scene when they played to about 15 people or Il Corrale which was a great place to see them.

The Jesus And Mary Chain/Bjork – Coachella, Indio
The Jesus and Mary Chain were great at Coachella, much, much, much better than the performance they gave the night before at The Glasshouse. The first half of Bjork’s set was pretty uninteresting, but the second half she picked it up and busted out the Reactable which I was really excited about.

Love Of Diagrams – Safari Sams, Los Angeles
I missed their show the night before at Spaceland which I regretted, but Love Of Diagrams put on a great show despite playing on a 5 foot high stage to virtually no one. Their show at The Echo later in the year would have been better had it not been plagued with sound problems. A running theme of shows at The Echo lately.

The Blow – The Echo, Los Angeles
Even though it was just Khaela and a laptop, she still had everyone dancing. I’m looking forward to seeing her later this month at The Fonda.

Thee Mad Lovers – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles
This show has a special significance on top of being a great show overall.

That’s it for 2007. Looking forward to another great year of shows in 2008. (This will easily go down as the longest post in TSOI’s history…)

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