February 17, 2008

Missing the boat

So, it's been a while. And for that I somewhat apologize. We got hitched and...lots of things spring up when you get married.

We kind of missed the boat to post our thoughts on some of the music that came out last year. But there sure the hell isn't anything stopping us from doing it two months after the start of a new year! So, for the few readers we have...sorry. But without much ado, here are my personal picks from 2007.

These were extremely hard to pick and really I don't think that I have them in order but I do. But I don't. My top 10 is more of a "Choose your own adventure" novella.

10: The Fragile Army - The Polyphonic Spree
I'm usually a bit apprehensive when it comes to things that come out of Texas, and even more apprehensive of bands that contain more than 5 or 6 members. However, Tim DeLaughter has been the self-appointed band and choir director of the spree for over 5 years now. The creation of this record is one of the finest Polyphonic releases yet. The dynamics of this record are what really draws me in to it and keeps me sticking around. The single, "Running Away", is the ultimate feel good song of the release, and maybe of 2007. Part of the draw of this album to me is how reminiscent it is of Electric Light Orchestra, music my parents raised me with, with a more modern ethereal quality that brings it into 2007 (now 2008).

9: The Con - Tegan and Sara
I know this record didn't get rave reviews, but this is my personal top 10 of 2007. This record is so much more mature than anything they have released before. The dynamic of the continuity is somewhat problematic, however, I could not stop listening to this record for a good month of so last year. The grungy sound of some of the songs on this record take me back to happier days of the 90's - some of the few parts worth keeping around (at least in my mind). The playful melodies contrast very well with that grunge, as well as the charged lyrics driving the songs in.

8: Help Wanted Nights - The Good Life
A big complaint against The Good Life's past two releases, which include this one and 2004's Album of the Year, is that they are concept albums. While it may not be everyone's thing, I don't feel right calling this album a concept album - unless that means that depression, divorce, the examination of human relationships (and some potential downfalls), and drunkards counts for a "concept". Perhaps more country tinged than past Good Life releases, Kasher seems to work it to his advantage. "Kelly Aimee" is possibly the best song on the record and I can't get enough of it. I really don't know what else to say about this record other than "I love it". Simple enough.

7: The Shepard's Dog - Iron and Wine
A common thread between everything listed thus far on my list is that of maturity; mature in sound, voice, complexities in musicality, etc. However, this record is the beacon of maturity on my list. Sam Beam has gone from sincerely and beautifully austere to even more complex, honest, polished with a hint of folklore looming in the distance. The perfect record for sitting on the back porch and sipping at a lemonade, going to sleep to, driving to, dancing in the rain...it's just good. Not many records can leave me floating in the air like a balloon and then bring me to my knees crying, but this one can..

6: Cease to Begin - Band of Horses
I am absolutely in love with Ben Bridwell's voice and that would be part of the reason why this album is placed at number six on my list. This is an album I can only listen to at home, however, because of how comforting the release as a whole is. It doesn't necessarily put me to sleep, but it's a sit down and relax kind of record. Explosive moments are a bit lacking on this release, but that doesn't make it any less of a solid album. The ambient sound captured in all of the guitar reverb provides a lot of solace to me, which makes it an at home album.

5: Asleep at Heaven's Gate - Rogue Wave
For me, the subtle nuances in nearly every song are what captivate me the most. Breakdowns, reverb and twinkling guitars, driving percussion, vocal choruses...those are all things I love about this album. Some of those elements even occur all within a single song. I feel as if this record is a means of wide open arms screaming out "Here I am, come and get me. This is all of me." and that is a much needed breath of fresh air in otherwise stale releases or periods of music.

Ok, there's five for you. I'll have my remaining top five tomorrow. I know you're all foaming at the mouth in anticipation.

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