Jon Kane's Top Ten Albums of 2007
In alphabetical order:
A Place To Bury Strangers – A Place To Bury Strangers
This Brooklyn three-piece recorded one of the finest albums of 2007, referencing My Bloody Valentine with their nu-gazing guitar antics and Jesus and Mary Chain by way of their distorted feedback. Sheer unadulterated music thrills lie ahead for those yet to hear this outstanding effort by A Place To Bury Strangers. The earthquake inducing wall of sound feeds on its own aggression spitting out some joyous ‘Psychocandy’ moments. ’Missing You’ makes for an impressive opening, introducing the listener to the exhilarating and blood-pumping rush of the music contained within.
Canadian oddities, Animal Collective, are masters at what they do having made consistently good albums of an abstract and experimental rock nature for the past few years. On ‘Strawberry Jam’ their big-budget third and most accessible album, they’ve made some of the weirdest sounds on an album released this year – or any other year for that matter. ‘Fireworks’ summed up the whole album with its seven minutes of greatness. If the movie ‘Donnie Darko’ was a record, it would be this one.
Lightning strikes twice for The Arcade Fire as they snaffled all the quality this year. ‘Neon Bible’ compounded the success of their debut, so much so that the band can now rank themselves as one of the biggest recording artists, gaining entry into the mainstream and setting up anchor. The good ship ‘Arcade Fire’ will be here for years to come. Come join the crew. Joining fee = Purchase of ‘Neon Bible’.
On the Warp stable, New York four-piece Battles, introduced themselves with an album of maths-rock inflected with mutated acid loops. An acquired taste certainly, ‘Mirrored’, if you leave it to its own malevolent devices, will more than surprise you with frighteningly ingratiating rhythms and instrument freak-outs that go all over the place. Essential.
The dub step sounds on ‘Untrue’ by anonymous London based producer Burial, gave rise to a haunting widescreen mish-mash of ambient soundscapes and downbeat vocal samples. Evoking images of an aftermath of terrorised urban dystopia where the majority of man has fallen to the bomb. ‘Untrue’ pre-empts the possibility of push the red button warfare that will enslave the world in just a short few seconds, leaving a living nightmare in waiting for those that survive.
With her third album and major label debut, Feist brought a touch of class to the charts in 2007. The lilting svelte tones of ‘1234’ and sparing instrumentation on ‘The Reminder’ beg to be listened to on headphones where the sublime music craft will sound its best. Pop at its purest.
LCD Soundsystem perfected the knack of writing glorious dance-rock tunes with the release of their second effort ‘Sounds Of Silver’. Much shorter than the well-received debut, the clattering dance rhythms are matched by some choice lyrics, most notably on ‘North American Scum’, tackling the subject of continental divide with deadpan humour. ‘All My Friends’ made for a cracking album centrepiece and lay claim to perhaps being the finest song of 2007.
There are lots of pretenders to Radiohead’s throne. Vying for supremacy, not one can eclipse the sounds that Radiohead make. In 2007, the band sound like album centurions, able to pick up their instruments and thrash an album out at will, whilst power-mongering their way through the music industry business model by setting the value of their music at the mercy of their buying public. ‘In Rainbows’ as an album entity, was one of their most accessible yet.
New Zealand’s one man band Shocking Pinks, recorded a throwback to what most Glasgow bands sounded like in the early 90’s replete with some songs sounding like they were recorded in the de rigueur stale sweat of those band’s basements. A modern-age gloom pervades throughout with ‘This Aching Deal’ making for one of 2007’s listening highlights, being a wonderful lo-fi gem of sweet dream pop magic.
Music Valhalla is a very hard place to get to. Existing in the collective consciousness of music listeners, only bands who have the required quality can enter. Navigating dangerous paths, a guide is on hand to lead The Twilight Sad to their goal. Overcoming great challenges, traversing vast plains and scaling large snow covered mountains in the freezing cold, they finally reach Music Valhalla, a heavily fortified fortress. They look up and massive wooden doors with a large beam across stare back, watching them intently. The guide knocks quietly on the door.
“Who dares knock!” said a voice from nowhere as it boomed, shaking the ground beneath. The surrounding trees trembled.
“The Twilight Sad, plus one guide” said a dashing young man in fine robes, complete with pointy hat.
“There is no guest list! And why should I let you in!” the voice boomed again. By this time the trees were losing a leaf or two.
“Fair play squire, I was expecting this so let me tell you why” said the handsome guide.
“Go on and stop calling yourself handsome!”
“The Twilight Sad with the release of their debut full-length ‘Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters’, have become one of Glasgow’s foremost bands. Their poignant and transcending debut is one filled with drama and at times very intense anthemic indie-rock. The fruits of their labour may not illicit much monetary gain but perhaps their legacy will live on in the form of new people listening to it when we’re old and grey....but still very handsome.”
“Is that good enough?” the by this time slightly impatient guide barks.
“Yes, they meet the required standard, please enter!”
Just then, the trees began screaming at the noise of the huge door opening. The deafening sound of cogs whirring into action could be heard everywhere, for these doors open not very often. Slowly, the door opened and the most magnificent sight revealed itself.
With a huge grin, the guide looked round and turned to The Twilight Sad and said “Shall we?”
With a collective nod of yes, they all scampered to the entrance, quickly going inside, the doors clanking and closing firmly shut behind them. Everything was silent once more with the trees sighing in the wind.
What became of the guide and the band, only time will tell.
And so began the never-ending story of The Twilight Sad.