Friday, 28 December 2007

The Albums of 2007!

Best of lists seem to be the bread and butter of any blog these days so here is my side of the story that has been 2007's albums. Remembering I am not superhuman, and haven't listened to everything out this year I am going to be explaining my top 5, just the big deals!

1) LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
It is hard to place this above the others, especially as this has been such a good year for electronic music and also with every man and his dog either agreeing, or shooting anyone down who does for latching on to the trends. However, there is something that happens when I listen to this, and it's the thought that people will still be partying to these classic tunes for many years to come. For me, this album represents 2007, perhaps along with one other, and this is why it is sitting pretty at the top of the pile.

2) Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
Arguably the biggest band in the world at the moment (until the return of Radiohead), coupling an immensely popular No.1 album with breathtaking live shows spanning the US and Europe. For many, this wouldn't be at all 'cool' however, I'd rather a band making music like Because of the Times be the biggest in the world than many others who find themselves splattered across the worlds publications and websites. Filled with potential singles, interesting and tight musicianship, and quirky takes upon the history of rock music this album was almost impossible to separate from the one above. It still was the rock/pop album of the year for me.

3) Frank Turner - Sleep is for the Week
Hilariously funny and starkly truthful lyrics underpin Frank Turner's debut, an album that lead the way for me, for most of the year. On the 13 tracks he doesn't put a foot wrong and they all offer us an insight into different corner's of his mind. Underpinned by a sense of melody and rhythm which bridges the gap between quirkiness and pop appeal this LP was a real triumph of 2007!

4) Feist - The Reminder
1, 2, 3, 4, is Feist "cool" anymore? That is the question many seem to be asking, and one which seems seemingly strange when you realise that Feist's lead single, and advertisers dream, is another hark back to classic 60's pop, something hardly unusual for either the artist nor the whole indie-pop (eugh, genre's!) scene as a whole. The whole album, like Turner's above, doesn't really disappoint throughout and seems a natural progression from 2005's Let it Die. For me the success is deserved and this is an album which will appeal to many, so all the better that it has reached them.

5) mewithoutYou - Brother, Sister
For a moment I thought I'd gone soft but here are mwY to provide a suitable end to the list with their unmistakable brand of alt/rock. As a bass player the first thing I noticed about this album was the super-tight rhythm section and clever, melodic bass lines which sit prominently amongst the mix but to singly focus on bass alone (although bass player's never get enough credit!) would be to ignore the band as a whole, who are very proficient in all their respective instruments. The style's really vary across the album and it is aided by brilliant production, especially in the opener where the light rain is broken by those fast-paced ringing chords. Topped off by deep and introspective vocals, there is longevity in this record and always something to keep coming back to.

That was my personal highlights of this year and the records I feel have offered the most. There are several other records of note I'd like to run through real quick though!

  • M.I.A - Kala - With artists like LCD, Girl Talk and others M.I.A has pushed the envelope this year and this was a record which has topped many proper music journo's lists. Left out alot because she canceled on Nottingham! This wave of dance has helped to make wide-eyed freshers like myself even more aware of the super-hip, vice-led scene which populate the globes coolest districts, bringing it a little closer to rural England!
  • Band of Horses - Cease to Begin - Like a rolling ball of snow (my effort to be seasonal!), BoH are rapidly picking up admirers across the world but this record just didn't quite match their debut for me.
  • Biffy Clyro - Puzzle - Really fun album, just off the list as I've found I haven't listened much since that first month. Much like Zeitgeist too.
  • James Murphy & Pat Mahoney - Fabriclive 36 - If I felt compilation's were worthy this album would be sitting up there with the best but unfortunately I don't and possibly the funnest album of the year will have to be content with this mention.
There you have it, my list and please reply with your favourites of the year. I'm aware of the Animal Collective, Burial and, of course, Radiohead efforts along with many other's but I just couldn't put down stuff that I haven't given my full time to!

Hope everyone continues to have a good seasonal time,
Josh x

Monday, 3 December 2007

Radiohead - Amnesiac (2001)

New month, and I will be updating again hopefully. I've totally lost track of the blog and been awful at updates!
Anyway, what an album to return with. I've never been a fan of Radiohead up until recently, but now I have discovered the beauty of Kid A and Amnesiac, I am converted! (to the electronic stuff at least!)
A mix of glitchy beats, and ambient soundscapes, Amnesiac is a really fulfilling album. Of particular note is the brilliant drumming on the less electronic tracks, which has a real jazzy feel. Pitchfork gave this a 9.0 despite many critics complaining about it not being a return to the traditional rock format.
My favorite track would be the normal cliche, "Pyramid Song" but also of note is the opener "Packt Like Sardines..." which lyrically, is meant to address those expecting Amnesiac to conform back to those rock roots,

"after years of waiting / nothing came / and you realize you're looking / looking in the wrong place / I'm a reasonable man, get off my case"