2007's Best Music

I haven't contributed any diaries lately, mostly because I've been preparing year-end lists for the various publications to which I contribute. I get an average of roughly 25 albums in the mail each week, and I set the best ones aside in stacks. I tend to those stacks throughout December, listening to all the contenders to make the final Top Ten cuts. Given that we occasionally discuss music on here, I wanted to list the best of what I heard this year, in hopes that people might find something they like. "Recommended if you like" comparisons are provided below the relatively obscure artists (defined as musicians who have not appeared on the cover of a major music magazine.)

Between the Buried and Me "Colors"
Recommended if you like: King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, guitar harmonies

Amy Winehouse "Back to Black"

Jens Lekman "Night Falls Over Kortedala"
RIYL: Smiths, Squeeze

Horse The Band "A Natural Death"
RIYL: 8-bit Nintendo music, Mr. Bungle

Blonde Redhead "23"
RIYL: Sonic Youth, Portishead

Shearwater "Palo Alto"
RIYL: Bowie's old slow songs, Neil Young

Shannon Wright "Let in the Light"
RIYL: PJ Harvey, Regina Spektor

PJ Harvey "White Chalk"

Electrelane "No Shouts No Calls"
RIYL: Elastica, Sleater-Kinney, Blondie

Nine Inch Nails "Year Zero"

James "Blood" Ulmer "Bad Blood in the City"
RIYL: Gritty blues about New Orleans, with Living Colour's Vernon Reid supplying extra guitar heat

Vic Chesnutt "North Star Deserter"
RIYL: Bob Dylan, Fugazi (on this album, the venerable paraplegic singer/songwriter hangs with some indie-rock backing musicians; it's a little louder than his usual fare, but by not abrasive)

Chris Knight "The Trailer Tapes"
RIYL: Merle, Waylon

Elliott Smith "New Moon"

Bright Eyes "Cassadaga"

Wilco "Sky Blue Sky"

Tiny Vipers "Hands Across The Void"
RIYL: Cat Power, Fiona Apple

Bat for Lashes "Fur and Gold"
RIYL: PJ Harvey

Figurines "When The Deer Wore Blue"
RIYL: Flaming Lips, Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"

The following are subdivided into categories. I turned these in for a Pitch assignment; I'll add the RIYL's where applicable.

Metal-Only Bin

10. Dillinger Escape Plan, Ire Works (Relapse)
RIYL: Faith No More, spastic metal/jazz fusion

9. Death Breath, Let It Stink (Relapse)
RIYL: Motorhead

8. Pig Destroyer, Phantom Limb (Relapse)
RIYL: Bands with names like "Pig Destroyer" (it's pretty much as brutal as it sounds)

7. Xasthur, Defective Epitaph (Hydra Head)
RIYL: Harrowing pain (it's darkly ambient synths and guitar paired with extremely scary screams)

6. Machine Head, The Blackening (Roadrunner)
RIYL: Early Metallica (this band tarnished its name with some radio-metal albums in the late '90s, but this album is filled with 6-9 minute classic metal epics)

5. Baroness, Red Album (Relapse)
RIYL: Queens of the Stone Age, Iron Maiden

4. Yakuza, Transmutations (Prosthetic)
RIYL: See Dillinger Escape Plan

3. Wolves in the Throne Room, Two Hunters (Southern Lord)
RIYL: See Xasthur

  1. Horse The Band, A Natural Death (Koch)
  2. Between the Buried and Me, Colors (Victory)
Fresh Female Voices

10. Arch Enemy, Rise of the Tyrant (Century Media)
RIYL: Slayer, with an attractive female singer

  1. Feist, The Reminder (Cherry Tree)
  2. Dri, Smoke Rings (Range Life)
RIYL: Lauryn Hill

7. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, 100 Days, 100  Nights (Daptone)
RIYL: '70s dancehall soul

6. Charlotte Gainsbourg, 5:55 (Vice)
RIYL: Air, seductive chanteuses

  1. Tiny Vipers, Hands Across the Void (Sub Pop)
  2. Bat for Lashes, Fur and Gold (Caroline)
  3. Electrelane, No Shouts, No Calls (Too Pure/Beggars)
  4. Shannon Wright, Let in the Light (Quarter Stick)
  5. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (Republic)
`Head Explodes' Albums (Prog, Experimental, Noise, Instrumental, Epic, etc.)
10. Jesu, Conqueror (Hydra Head)
RIYL: Long, mesmerizing waves of ebbing and flowing instrumental sound

9. Sigur Ros, Hvarf/Heim (XL)
RIYL: Jesu description + indecipherable vocals

8. Isis, In the Absence of Truth (Ipecac)
RIYL: Jesu description + sporadic growly vocals

7. Gonzales, Solo Piano (Sunny Side)
RIYL: Contemporary jazz/classical

6. Grails, Burning Off Impurities (Temporary Residence)
RIYL: Jesu description + tribal percussion

5. Battles, Mirrored (Warp)
RIYL: King Crimson, Talking Heads, techno

4. Black Dice, Load Blown (Paw Tracks)
RIYL: noise.

3. Explosions in the Sky, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (Temporary Residence)
RIYL: Jesu description

2. Minsk, The Ritual Fires of Abandonment (Relapse)
RIYL: Isis + Grails descriptions

1. Hrsta, Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes (Constellation)
RIYL: Godspeed! You Black Emperor, really creepy Bee Gees covers

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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