Here we go, fifteen of my top albums of this year. It's a strange mixture but the usual to expect from me. This year was overwhelming with music, maybe not so much as finding it sometimes hard to keep up to, without having some to creep up on me at the last moments and some I'm still yet to discover and listen to. As I said last year, numbers are never good to me so disregard them and just enjoy them as they are. So long 2007!
15. GoodBooks - Control
We all have a guilty pleasure, mine is GoodBooks. It can be random and make partial sense sometimes but it sounds good that you can't stop listening and dancing. Apart from the wordiness of the lyrics resembling that of an old history teacher, the album is a young endeavour of the band's curiosity of the world (war & politics, without raising any agendas). The music, however is like a smooth textured crème brûlée (how that works, I'm not sure), ignited by its 80's influenced electronic beats and fine melodies.
They've proved themselves more than just forming a band of irony (apart from the fact, they are still funny as before), which has made us grown accustomed to Argos' familiar outpourings from strange relationships and ex-girlfriends, drinking Hennessey with Morrissey to punk rock music. A bit heavier and messier than the début, it nonetheless pulls out some witty anthems we're expected from them. Touring at the moment for the Meredith Festival, I look forward to Saturday's show at the Factory Theatre.
Filled with dreamy pop ballads, boy/girl duets and influences from 60's girl groups, The Brunettes have recreated its (cringey) atmosphere of pop culture. Notably darker and longer than the usual short bubble gum pop of their previous records, Structure & Cosmetics leaves me a little puzzled. Nevertheless, their shows are adoring and lovely and they'll be back to play in Australia for the Laneway Festival 2008.
Dear Andrew, Lachlan and Mike of Die! Die! Die! you are the sweetest band despite your noisy loud thundering sonic punk music and masquerading yourself in fake blood, but then you bring out this record and changed the perception of the way my ears react, quite like metal grinding upon metal delivering a high pitched resonant screech transformed into a rhythmic driven synchronising flow of drum and bass. At times it recalls bands like At The Drive-In, The Blood Brothers and even a little of Les Savy Fav.
Released by DFA Records, this self titled record is a compilation of selected tracks from previously released albums. Picking up music as a young child and been in many bands before, (such as The Brunettes, Pig Out, The Incisions and others) Nick Harte, interestingly incorporates many of these styles of lo-fi noisy dream pop, electronica, funk, jazz and rock to make up what is of the Shocking Pinks. The songs speak emotional recollections, bitter relationships and turns them into warm melodies of exquisiteness.
After a long awaited return, they're back! Their sense of rawness, party mess and antics of their performances still make their fans love them and share the aim of what the band hoped to make this album appear to be. Defying their career span as a whole from rediscovery, the band have come to sum what is of their twelve years of music making. To me, that sounds like the final chapter, but as enigmatic as they sometimes are, I hope that's not the case, but rather another opening. Yes, let's stay friends.
09. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
Mysterious and ever changing, HIssing Fauna, Are The Destroyer? is a concept album about Kevin Barnes' exploration of his alter ego "Georgie Fruit"; we uncover the glam rocker behind the depression, drugs and emotional instability, but what we get is this dispersion of colours, scattered in the sky, sparking all sorts of frantic behaviours and feelings. It's like suffering from a psychedelic head trip and not being able to recover. It's hard to know where things will end up next for Of Montreal.
Swedish crooner, Jens Lekman never fails to make hands clap, feet tap and mouths whistle. It's a swoonful album that makes you fall in love easily. With guest appearances from his friends and fellow musicians Frida Hyvönen and El Perro Del Mar, Night Falls Over Kortedala is a journey through Jen's neighbourhood in Kortedala, venturing out into its heart of countless lonely nights and a side of him which opens him to escapism. His song writing fits well with his style of silly pop music, witty and amiable.
Another return from an old love, Spoon's new one is more upbeat, confident, swayful and smooth. They deserve the praise they've been receiving with more than twelve years and six albums under their belt. Spoon have continued to make enjoyable music by reformulating what they do best and tuning it (even if that does mean towards a "commercial appeal") but they've managed to pull it off and craft this experimental piece finely with these catchy hooks, repetitive at times but consistent.
Ok, this is an EP, more so a mini LP. You were warned, this is crazy dance punk gone absolutely mental in matching jump suits with asthma attacks, complete panic and drowning in sweaty synths and sharp guitar hooks. Provoking their live audience as much as this record has, revisiting some sci-fi movie characters in terms of interpreting into musical expression, So So Modern are more than just a band, they are revolution of creativity. This is the sound of the future; a cataclysmic chaotic confusion combo.
Victoria, you take us into your world and we are instantly wrapped within its splendour, making us feel warm and fuzzy by the glow of the sun shining upon the skin. This is an amazing solo debut showcasing minimal arrangements and compositions with her wiskful enchanting coy vocals. A beautiful combination of folk and pop, Open Field is personal, poignant and bittersweet as much of her lyrics confess: "I don't want to be standing alone without a hold to hold".
Intrigued by the uniqueness their sound, I wasn't sure what it was, but it sounded like an odd mixture of Latin dancing music and rock. Having two drummers it packs quite a energetic and rhythmic punch along with its thumping keys and three singers, but it doesn't sound as cluttered as the six piece from New York presume to be, instead rather joyous fun for everyone with music tastes of different kinds. White Rabbits deliver a refreshing new sound, self described by the band themselves as "honky-tonk calypso".
The words can't really pin point this record, put it into an expression and it becomes a smile. Reworked from the songs of the ten tracks from last year's twelve month ep project, including two previously unreleased tracks, The Broken String is a sparkling treasure chest of timeless cinematic songs in addition to its grandiose orchestration. It's two core members Justin Rice and Christian Rudder (also actors) write effortless likeable tunes which just as internet/blog friendly and a soundtrack to this summer.
On the same note as White Rabbits, is Vampire Weekend's début self titled record with their cultural tinge of tropical afro-beats and ska. Not the norm I would delve into but this is absolutely wonderful and incredibly infectious. But what? The album isn't technically released until late next month (which so happens to be next year) and this is just a (Blue CD-R) demo cd! Well, I'll let this slip under "demo album LP" and hopefully you'll all forgive me with all the music, because this really is an album to be put into its place.
Named after the singer of Young Marble Giants, the album not only did it initially make my day, but my whole year. It's become an album to unwind to after a long day. Nothing more than falling short of words to say, Pants Yell! are an earnest indie pop band assembling sweet melodies, jangly guitars and bells chimes to accompany its lyrical melancholy; very much something to hold on to at night. Yet still, this is to be released in Australia in February 2008 by Popfrenzy with the addition of a bonus track.
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