Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grace's Top 15 Albums of 2007

2007 has been a tumultuous and grand year in music for myself. I've discovered a lot of new artists and bands, so I'd say this year's list is notably different from the last 'year of' post I wrote for OTR. Dizzying highs and new lows seemed to be the general consensus of this year. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. So long, farewell! Now, enough sappy hubbub, here are my top fifteen albums of 2007. I hope you enjoy.

15. !!! - Myth Takes

!!! are the ultimate dorky dancing, no holds barred musical collective, and have proved themselves to be reigning with their third album Myth Takes. With the most excellent dance moves courtesy of lead vocalist Nic Offer (who reminds me of black cats and outcasts prowling the late night streets in search of mischievous, random fun), !!! pounds all their energy into efforts of punk and dance to create a bloody stadium of electric dance, funk and groove.

!!! Must Be the Moon
!!! Heart of Hearts

14. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity

Deerhoof have crafted a precious gem in the jewel box album. Friend Opportunity still has those inherent Deerhoof qualities with the explosive deception of noise duelling with seemingly incongruous vocals, but they’ve leaned towards a more poppy sensibility. Oddly danceable in all contexts, Friend Opportunity is a full blown will contest of catchy melodies, erratic rhythm and copious additions of tone due to the pedals and loops. Distorted, yet elegant, it’s a bouncing ball of unbridled creativity.

Deerhoof The Perfect Me
Deerhoof Kidz Are So Small

13. I Heart Hiroshima - Tuff Teef

Angular Brisbane rockers I Heart Hiroshima released their début album earlier this year, and I say, ‘tis a very strong début. It’s got that lo-fi sensibility attached to it; raw edges and sound and all. The slightly pessimistic but still funny lyricism gives the album a blunt charm. The detached vocals, tight execution, bassless, energetic sound and equally shared vocal duties yield great opportunities to expand their possibilities, which I believe is a road in the very near future.

I Heart Hiroshima Punks
I Heart Hiroshima Crime

12. Immaculate Machine - Immaculate Machine's Fables

Musical ability runs in one of the vocalists, Kathryn Calder, family tree. Her uncle is the eminent all around star A.C. Newman. Calder and her fellow bandmates have been gifted themselves with the ability to create vivifying tunes complimented with vocal harmonies, profuse enthusiasm and cryptic lyrics. Fables is also secretly musician packed – Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand and The Cribs contributed vocals while Owen Pallett lent his violin skills as the icing and cherry on top of the cake.

Immaculate Machine Jarhand
Immaculate Machine Nothing Ever Happens

11. A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Scribble Mural Comic Journal

A relative newbie on the ethereal pop scene, A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s eerie emanation that coincides with the delirious background sounds like a match made in heaven. The whole album is a mindtrip to a slow descent of ominous possibilities. Whimsical in nature, the striking musical arrangements are simple, yet alluring daydreams radiating innocence. The buoyant, gauzy whispers illuminate the luxuriant electronic layers.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow Wake Up Pretty
A Sunny Day in Glasgow Ghost In The Graveyard

10. Pants Yell! - Alison Statton

I only recently started listening to the new Pants Yell! album but it truly is a rich, textured album. The mellifluous melodies, humble vocals, exciting brass instruments and quick bursts of energy deviating from the usual quietly warm melody always get me smiling. Expressing reverence towards the vocalist of post-punk band Young Marble Giants, Pants Yell! have created elegant compositions with intent to discourse their honest, solemn sentiments to the listener with an almost fragile beauty.

Pants Yell! Reject, Reject
Pants Yell! A New City Life

09. Caribou - Andorra

Caribou falls into the unique and highly perplexing bundle of experimental electronic artists. There’s no definite way to pinpoint any aspect of these artists, but with Andorra, his latest album, it seems he’s flown out a bit. Andorra, for lack of better words, reminds me of spring. It’s a spectrum of lush sounds, wistful vocals and a throw in of summery pops. The sweeping strings, guitars and keyboard serve as the ground for an expansion of his already broad musical palette. Andorra really is a whole new language.

Caribou Melody Day
Caribou Desiree

08. Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm

Marnie Stern's proficient guitar work has captured my applause. Everyone’s always blabbing on about how girls can do things just as good as boys, and Stern proves that without a doubt. She leaves her trail of destruction one song at a time with crazed impetuousness, procuring a greatly opulent energy all the while teaming it with her nearly nonsensical, strange vocals. She masters something not many people can achieve – an elaborate, all guns a-blazing album. Hurrah!

Marnie Stern Grapefruit
Marnie Stern Precious Metal

07. Do Make Say Think - You, You're a History in Rust

Do Make Say Think records have a penchant of being gossamer until I listened to You, You’re a History in Rust. Of course, I expected the same technical skill and interplay between each song, but You has captured more than my attention. There’s no need for eloquent discourse when you’re talking about Do Make Say Think. My favourite, The Universe!, is shift from normal counterparts with harsh guitars that explode into an almost discordant mash of noise and emotion.

Do Make Say Think The Universe!
Do Make Say Think Executioner Blues

06. Bonde do Rolê - With Lasers

A listen to this record is a dance across the line from puritan to raucous, sex permeated fun of the decadent kind. They rattle on about sex after school and metal fans in the most indubitably brusque and offensive manner, which is quite entertaining. The album has that certain quality to strike up camaraderie, which is rare. Bonde do Rolê were supposed to tour the country in January but unfortunately cancelled due to friction in the band.

Bonde do Rolê Bondallica
Bonde do Rolê James Bonde

05. Yelle - Pop-Up

"Cuizinier avec ton petit sexe entoure de poils roux" is the first line that Yelle sings with a sense of satisfaction from the song Je Veux te Noir, a ferocious criticism about a man and his words. I can see how she garners comparisons with Uffie. They also both have that electro pop French related girl persona. She really did pop up out of nowhere with her brand of electro pop being of the infectiously catchy kind. I recently saw her life at Parklife, and it was voice losing, crazy dancing fun. Always a plus!

Yelle A Cause Des Garçons
Yelle Je Veux te Voir

04. Gutevolk - Tiny People Singing Over the Rainbow

Japan is really a land of everything – the pure pop purveyors, the noise rockers and then there are the experimenting, electronic crafters to name a few. Gutevolk, or Hirono Nishiyama, is the perfect cast of the third. Nishiyama adds a bit of everything in the pot from cloudfuls of bedroom pop, lashings of ambient leanings and decent sprinklings of folk aesthetics. Her heavenly vocals make for a very delightful listen and the animated, perspicuous arrangements is a child’s dream come true.

Gutevolk Portable Rain
Gutevolk The Door to Everywhere

03. Shugo Tokumaru - Exit

Do you remember that scene from Amélie where he watches the tape with the many different scenes in it? Exit is like that; like a demented dragonfly whizzing through the perilous soundscapes, finding a new experience in each one. Tokumaru is a provisioner of blithe guitar pop and he created Exit, a feast for the ears. Each track paints their part of a sweet sounding anecdote for the lazy Saturday afternoon.

Shugo Tokumaru Parachute
Shugo Tokumaru D.P.O.

02. The Most Serene Republic - Population

My first post about TMSR hoped that they would hone their youthful enthusiasm into their second album and the result is something I would have never imagined of – a complex, rousing collection of unblemished perfection that opens up to one amazing record. It combines the best aspects of their previous album with a more refined outlook to create a daring album of monolithic proportions. It's got the compelling flourishes and the pensive moment then and now.

The Most Serene Republic Compliance
The Most Serene Republic Neurasthenia

01. To My Boy - Messages

Messages seems to be the typical cold new rave record from first glance. In actuality, it’s more like a carnival ride overflowing with exuberant fantasticality. Eccentric beats accompanied by grand vocals seems like a sure-fire road to a pretentious disaster but To My Boy can basically pull off anything. The lyrical goodness resembles the Jetsons - the image of the information age with hovercars and computers. Messages is an exhilarating ride through binary codes that never fails to hit the right beat.

To My Boy Eliminate
To My Boy In the Zone


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