Friday, December 21, 2007

Mr. Thistles Top 50 of 2007

This list is the result of a constantly updated Excel spreadsheet that I have kept all year, so hopefully nothing deserving gets left out. The sad part is that I wasn’t able to listen to a few albums which I sampled (Sightings, John Wiese, Stars of the Lid, The North Sea) of which I am sure would have made the list. It is inevitable to miss a few though. At some point you just have to give up and post your list, right? Anyways, we’ll get to all those records on FG eventually. Having thoroughly enjoyed this year’s musical fruits I have opted to further inundate you with the ten picks preceding my top 50 albums of 2007 (51-60). This is essentially for my own piece of mind. I already feel horrible for some of the enjoyable albums I have cut (such is the mindset of a music obsessed geek). Hopefully the addition won’t be viewed as too pompous or overwhelming (a general characteristic of ‘lists’ as a whole anyway – I love them though!). You may note that I have also updated my top ten from the time that it was graciously featured in Slowtrain’s year end music-zine. It’s just been that kind of year. In the end, this list represents what has endured and what was just hype. Seeing as how I have give out a virtual 8.5 to everything I have reviewed (I review what I like, so what), we are discussing the potential of removing scoring all together from Forest Gospel’s album features (give us your opinion on this!). The goodness of an album can fluctuate based on mood and time as this list prove. These are the albums that held strong through the thick and thin, hope you likey…(PS – please share your agreements, disagreements and your own list [I know you have one] in the comments; be a virtual friend)

1. Sunset RubdownRandom Spirit Lover – The most multi faceted package of pure orchestrated incredibleness. It has been a long time since I have been so enamored with something so easily labeled ‘indie rock.’

2. GrouperCover the Windows and the Walls – In comparison, nothing else on this list deserves to be called haunting. One of the most beautiful records I have ever listened to.

3. Pumice Pebbles – My first true love of 2007. While it has been slightly upstaged by the albums I’ve placed in front of it, Pebbles is the kind of music that I wish that I would’ve created. Spanning territory from pop to drone to everything else in-between, Pumice is a versatile genius. Also, this would be a suitable blurb without the writing lo-fi.

4. Shugo TokumaruExit – Imaginative folk pop perfection of the Japanese variety. Better than just about anything else you could be forced to call ‘charming.’

5. Aa (BIG A Little A)Gaame – In a year with some great drumming, Aa’s Gaame has the best. Varied, wonderful, frantic rock that is the progressive as it is primal.

6. Yellow SwansAt All Ends / Descension EP – Devistatingly loud and coarse yet beautiful.

7. Bon IverFor Emma, Forever Ago – The second most beautiful album of the year would be the most beautiful in any year that Grouper’s Cover the Windows and the Walls. Melancholy songwriting at its best.

8. Tim HeckerNorberg - A puffy, billowy cloud of electro-acoustic bliss in just over twenty minutes. One singularly perfect, transcendent excursion.

9. Raccoo-oo-oonBehold Secret Kingdom – A production miracle, Raccoo-oo-oon has taken everything that has made them mysterious noise rock maestros and channeled it into a crisp, resilient beast of a record. Behold Secret Kingdom is their masterpiece.

10. Animal CollectiveStrawberry Jam – poppy and weird, Animal Collective continue to knock the socks off every, regardless of when and where you heard them first. Perfect for old timey AC fans and nubes alike.

11. Wooden WandJames & The Quiet – Pure, strong American songwriting of incredible quality. One of the most critically underrated albums of the year in my view.

12. No AgeWeirdo Rippers - Turning arty noise rock into accessible slabs of punk perfection. One of my favourite new bands of 2007.

13. Marnie Stern In Advance of the Broken Arm - Incredible guitar work supplemented by incredible drumming from Hella. Marnie Stern’s debut was the first great CD I heard in 2007 and it is still as beautifully dangerous as ever.

14. Ben FrostTheory of Machines – The pure combination of machine and humanity, Ben Frost’s Theory of Machines is an apocalyptic exercise in grinding cinematics.

15. DeerhoofFriend Opportunity – The most accessible album from one of the best experimental indie rock bands of our generation. An early release date may have caused a lot of people to forget about this one. Amazingly amazing.

16. BeirutThe Flying Club Cup – Didn’t hit the heights of Elephant Gun for me, but was definitely a solid effort in music that can only be measured in terms of grandeur. Blissfully reaffirming music from the boy wonder.

17. Mark TempletonStanding on a Hummingbird – organic, glitchy, kaleidoscopic, gorgeous.

18. NavigatorThrowing Toungues – An on honest, penetrating album of lo-fi bedroom songs that require repeat listens.

19. GownsRed State – gothic Americana with a twinge of no wave. Gowns created an enrapturing, claustrophobic document of Middle America with Red State.

20. Shuta HasunumaOK Bamboo – Low key piano experiments that practically spell ‘pleasant’ without loosing its engaging touch.

21. Rhys ChathamA Crimson Grail – Wildly powerful live document of 400 guitars playing like 400 guitars should; loud and long.

22. Avey Tare & Kria BrekkanPullhair Rubeye – While the concept that managed to piss off more than its fair share, Pullhair Rubeye is much more than a gimmick and nothing less than what Animal Collective fans should have come to expect of an album with Avey Tare.

23. The LionelleOh! The Company We Keep! – This album did for me what Portugal. The Man did last year, produced a sharp indie rock record with which to simply rock.

24. Stag HareAhspen – A single track of gorgeousness from the enigmatic sound voyage.

25. YeasayerAll Hour Cymbals – I still hear Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon here and I think Yeasayer is all the better for it.

26. The National Boxer – A classic down tempo album of for any occasion.

27. Blonde Redhead
23 – I retried this album after initially discarding it and fell in love. Thank you Sassigrass!

28. Morgan PackardAirships Fill The Sky – Check the review from last week.

29. Giant Skyflower Band
Blood of the Sunworm
– Glenn Donaldson strikes again with more psych folk pleasantries that never dip below his standard of genius.

30. HealthHealth – This self titled album sounds like filling a car with discordant guitars and pedals along with a full drums set and a thousand drum sticks and then driving the whole thing off a cliff. It’s that good.

31. WZT HeartsThreads Rope Spell Making Your Bones – Um, this album is kind of like watching the crash of the car in the previous blurb filmed and shown in reverse. Kinda.

32. RadioheadIn Rainbows – A solid release from the Radiohead camp will always find a way onto my year end list, whether revolutionary or not.

33. The Dirty ProjectorsRise Above – Dave has long been one of my favourite musicians and Rise Above seems to be his great achievement after numerous recordings with scattered results.

34. MachinefabriekWeleer – Two discs of compiled beauty from the Dutch experimentalist. If you like avant garde music, this album has a little bit of everything for you.

35. Angels of LightWe Are Him – Michael Gira has had a lot of admirers this year with dedicatory songs from Ben Frost and Klimek and We Are Him is the reason why. No one does gothic Americana quite as heavily or good as him.

36. DeerhunterCryptograms – This album is everything that critics have said about it. It isn’t hard to find someone gushing over Deerhunter this year.

37. ShiningGrindstone – Spastic, orchestral Norwegian metal…how couldn’t you like it.

38. Julianna Barwick
– This album sounds like the more innocent, younger sister to Grouper’s Cover the Windows and the Walls. With that said, it is no wonder that it is so enriching.

39. Kemialliset Ystavatuntitled – This album is possibly the most bizarre on this list and is all the better for it. It sounds like packing a bomb with as many musical ideas as possible and the lighting the wick and watching to see how everything is blown to pieces.

40. Adrian Orange & Her BandS/T – I have never liked Thanksgiving (Adrian Orange’s moniker) too much but something about this release, with its dub influences and choral embellishments is just impossible not to fall for.

41. Luke TempleSnowbeast – A subtle, melancholic romp through some of the most exciting pop made all year.

42. James BlackshawThe Cloud of Unknowing – meditative 12 string guitar picking that are simply transporting in their dreamy composition.

43. BattlesMirrored – Wildly talented instrumental rock. In fact, this is about the only thing that has been exciting about instrumental rock for quite a few year

44. Andrew BirdArmchair Apocrypha – an understated album from one of the wittiest muscians on the independent landscape.

45. MouthusSaw a Halo – The record that was most likely to have been mixed and mastered in a trash compactor.

46. Fiery FurnacesWidow City – Fiery Furnaces at their most rocking and consistent.

47. The Tenants of Balathazar’s CastleA Capella – Hushed, looped vocal experiments that are as surprisingly rewarding as they are unique.

48. Blues ControlBlues Control – Scuzzy blues ragas washed with noisy effects pedals.

49. Clipd BeaksHoarse Lords – No wave album of the year.

50. A Sunny Day In GlasgowScribble Mural Comic Journal – If Fennesz was in a pop band, this is probably how it would end up.

51. Pantha du PrinceThis Bliss
52. SeabearThe Ghost That Carried Us Away
53. MoHa!Norwegianism
54. Besnard LakesBesnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse
55. M.I.A. Kala
56. Eric CopelandHermaphrodite
57. Vic ChesnuttNorth Star Desert
58. Mike WexlerSun Wheel
59. WoelvTout Seui Dans la Foret en Plein Jour, Avez-Vous Peur?
60. Handsome FursPlague Park

-Mr. Thistle


Paul said...

Hello from New Zealand!

My Favourite Releases of 2007:

1. Panda Bear – “Person Pitch” (Paw Tracks)
2. Akron / Family – “Love Is Simple” (Young God)
3. Jana Hunter – “There’s No Home” / “Carrion EP” (Gnomonsong)
4. Liars – “Liars” (Mute)
5. Big A little a – “gAame” (Gigantic)
6. Pumice – “Pebbles” (Soft Abuse)
7. Dirty Projectors – “Rise Above” (Dead Oceans)
8. Animal Collective – “Strawberry Jam” (Domino)
9. No Age – “Weirdo Rippers” (Fat Cat)
10. CocoRosie – “The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn” (Touch and Go)
11. Thurston Moore – “Trees Outside the Academy” (Ecstatic Peace!)
12. Adrian Orange and Her Band – “Adrian Orange and Her Band” (K Recs / Marriage Records)
13. Wooden Wand – “James and the Quiet” (Ecstatic Peace!)
14. Dan Deacon – “Spiderman of the Rings” (Carpark)
15. Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Dandelion Gum” (Graveface)
16. Les Savy Fav – “Let’s Stay Friends” (Frenchkiss)
17. Deerhunter – “Cryptograms” / “Fluorescent Grey” (Kranky)
18. Fiery Furnaces – “Widow City” (Thrill Jockey)
19. Disasteradio – “Visions” (A Low Hum)
20. Eluvium – “Copia” (Temporary Residence)
21. Avey Tare and Kria Brekkan – “Pullhair Rubeye” (Paw Tracks)
22. Efterklang – “Parades” (Rumraket)
23. Sunset Rubdown – “Random Spirit Lover” (Jagjaguwar)
24. John Maus – “Love Is Real” (Upset The Rhythm)
25. Bon Iver – “For Emma, Forever Ago” (S/R; now signed to Jagjaguwar)
26. Beirut – “The Flying Club Cup” (Ba Da Bing)
27. Deerhoof – “Friend Opportunity” (5RC)
28. Dragons of Zynth – “Coronation Thieves” (Gigantic)
29. Stars of the Lid – “Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline” (Kranky)
30. Handsome Furs – “Plague Park” (Sub Pop)
31. Grizzly Bear – “Friends” (Warp)
32. Caribou – “Andorra” (Merge)
33. Yeasayer – “All Hour Symbols” (We Are Free)
34. Kemialliset Ystavat – “Kemialliset Ystavat” (Fonal)
35. Dudley Benson – “Minerals & Rocks” (Golden Retriever)
36. Wooden Shjips – “Wooden Shjips” (Holy Mountain)
37. Sleeping States – “There Are Open Spaces” (Misra)
38. Nina Nastasia and Jim White – “You Follow Me” (Fat Cat)
39. Deer Tick – “War Elephant” (Feow)
40. Health – “Health” (Lovepump)
41. The Ruby Suns – “Lichen Ears” (Lil’ Chief)
42. Timber Timbre – “Medicinals” (Shuffling Feet)
43. Sigur Ros – “Hvarf / Heim” (XL)
44. Angels of Light – “We Are Him” (Young God)
45. Jonquil – “Lion” (Try Harder)

Our lists are very similar it would seem. I agree that the Clipd Beaks and WZT Hearts releases are great - my copies are still en route in the post, so I haven't had the chance to listen to their entirety. I didn't even know Tim Hecker had had that release - even though I saw him play 2 months ago.

I love your work.

Take care and Merry Christmas.

anna said...

i love your list mr. thistle.

Justin said...

Have you heard of It's a site that tracks the music you play on your computer/iPod and tabulates cumulative and weekly reports. It might be easier to use than an Excel spreadsheet.

Al1 said...

I listened to about 150 albums this year, and I have about another 50 that I either bought or "received" for free that I need to listen to. In any event, here is my list as it stands. I included 11-20 through because it is more interesting than 1-10.

1. Strawberry Jam
2. Boxer
3. EL-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
4. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna
5. Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
6. Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
7. New Pornographers - Challengers (I am under the impresson they can do no wrong, and I adore the Neko Case songs on this one)
8. Future of the Left - Curses
9. Marnie Stern
10. Liars - Liars
11. Grouper** (Got this album because of this very blog-thanks)
12. Shit and Shine - Cunts with Roses
13. Phosphorescent - Pride
14. Graham Lambkin - Salmon Run
15. Parts and Labor - Mapmaker
16. Bon Inver
17. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder (I am, apparently, the only person that likes this album)
18. Kevin Drew - Spirt If...
19. Alex Delivery - Star Destroyer
20. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime

Top 3 Worst:
1. Klaxons
2. White Rabbits - Fort Nightly
3. Lucinda Williams - West

Mr. Thistle said...

Hey Paul, really like your list. Probably because ours are so similar. Thanks for the kind words.

Thanks Anna.

I just haven't put the time and energy into starting Last.Fm but I am familiar and if I ever do start one I will let you know.

Like the list Al1. So glad to se that there are other people enjoying that Grouper good.

adam brown said...

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Sassigrass said...

I'm so glad Adam Brown finally got back to Mr. Thistle about that abs diet. He seriously needs it. Thanks Adam

Anonymous said...

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ps. your list is neat.

Our Tiny Servant said...

Dude, where's Frog Eyes - Tears of the Valedictorian!?!?!

Mr. Thistle said...

Touche, I have been kicking myself ever since I practically drowned in that Frog Eyes album. I mean to have Sunset Rubdown at #1 and Valedictorian not on the list is a crime. I'll make up for it though in the midway list coming up. :)