Titillate your eardrums with the new sounds of 2007
This year has delivered so much awesomeness (along with a little bit of not-so-awesomeness) to our eager eardrums that it became impossible only review a couple albums: we’d be selling you short. This guide will help you through your music shopping adventures as you attempt to sort through all the new releases, and make educated purchasing decisions. Good luck!
Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Probably a little too polished and clean for most hipsters; however, their talent and cohesiveness is something to be admired. Johnny Marr is a nice, welcome addition. Isaac Brock’s fascination with modes of transportation interests me for reasons I will probably never understand.
Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
This actually bored me; save the rare exceptions I was moved (which, believe me, were rare). Neon Bible (to loosely quote the Cohen Bros.) only aroused my appetite for the Arcade Fire without bedding it back down again. I had to go back and listen to Funeral to gain satisfaction. The music is big, swelling and lovely. The lyrics can and often do fall lifeless to the floor only to have me sweep them to the curb—good thing the music is brilliant enough for me to not.
Menomena, Friend and Foe
My favorite album of the year to date. This Portland trio seems to run the gamete of genres to draw inspiration from. Menomena has the best drummer you’ve been too scared to hear, too. They’re quirky and fascinating: prepare to be impressed.
LCD Sound System, Sound of Silver
First, let me say I am not a fan of dance music, but I can definitely see my hips moving slightly to and fro. It is a comfortable mix of dance and rock–it avoids the persistent, metronome like thumping of base lines and provides the welcome surprises generally absent from dance hall junk.
The Besnard Lakes, Are the Dark Horse
The first two tracks are completely dumbfounding (that is to say, “What did I just hear? That was fantastic!”). The first five tracks could easily stand on their own as five of the best songs of the past year. Conceptually, it doesn’t require active listening to enjoy and appreciate—just put it on and let it move.
Bloc Party, A Weekend in the City
I think I heard this whole album when I listened to Silent Alarm; I wasn’t too impressed. “The Prayer,” “Hunting for Witches,” “Waiting on the 7.18” are the best songs and are all very well done. If follow-up albums are sequels, Silent Alarm is “First Blood” and A Weekend in the City is “Rambo II”—admittedly entertaining, but as far as substance is concerned, it is just more of a repeat of the first.
Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Okay, I love breakup records. I especially love breakup records that haven’t fallen into sad acoustic land, a place where self-pity overshadows the broken heart—those are okay sometimes, but they are mostly annoying. Of Montreal did not do that. Of Montreal simply did what they do best, only made it much darker—no good times here. Upon closer inspection of the lyrics, one should realize just how depressing this album is: VERY! But the honesty and the willingness to be open about a disintegrated relationship allows the album is expose its humanity, making it all the more heartbreaking.
Panda Bear, Person Pitch
This is Panda Bear from the Animal Collective…get it. If you think you like Animal Collective then you’ll probably also think you like Person Pitch.
Here are some single tracks you should download. Some of them are still bootlegs, some are advance singles, some are already released albums, and some can be found on YouTube:
Radiohead: “All I Need”
Radiohead: “Bangers ‘n Mash”
The National: “Fake Empire”
Panda Bear: “Comfy in Nautica”
Albert Hammond, Jr.: “101”
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: “The Sons of Cain”
Papercuts: “Outside Looking In”
Papercuts: “Dear Employee”