Monday, December 31, 2007

The Top Records of 2007 continued (Albums 16 - 40)

The Hot List - Day Two:

Spotlighting the best music of the year.
Listen to and download a track from each album before you buy.

The Top Albums #1 - 15
and now: Albums 16 thru 40
in no specific order..

Mason Proper -
There is A Moth In Your Chest.

I have no doubt today that Mason Proper is perhaps one of the top ten most underrated bands operating in the United States today. Perhaps this status is due to their most unusual songs or the fact they hail from Michigan. But good, my friend, is good! Their brilliance was recognized by New York label Dovecote Records this past year. And what resulted was this gem of a record. Expect very big things from this band in the next year - I am! Below you will find the most inclusive, detailed interview of the band to-date and my original album review.

Here's my original writeup on the album There is a Moth in your Chest.
The Secrets of Mason Proper Revealed: Two-Part RSL Interview!
Mason Proper - Myspace

Id Guinness -
Cure for the Common Crush.

Underground Album of the Year?
Pick this one up!

I really can't stress enough how much I have enjoyed this artist's material. Id is a Vancouver musician who has gone and created a phenomenal debut album. Rather than to go on about the man, why don't you just listen to the music and read my original review of the LP?

Ryan Adams -
Easy Tiger.

Guilty as charged. - I am certainly a fan. But I will never be a blind follower as the RSL review of this record clearly demonstrates. It's a somewhat scathing review of the artist's statements and deeds - but a glowing review of the music! (Confused? No worries - read on!) This mention of Ryan as a top 30 record of 2007 comes just days before the prolific performer releases another new record. Here is one of the most beautiful songs of the year:

Easy Tiger Review (must read!) on the RSL
Ryan Adams - Lost Highway page
Ryan Adams - Myspace

Rilo Kiley -
Under the Blacklight.

I am still not able to fully put into terms how fantastic Rilo Kiley was live on this tour. What a huge success - despite what some of you snobby hipsters might say - this album and its songs are brilliant! This record is a recipe for a live show and it works really, really well. This album got bashed about by some longterm purists. Hold your breath Rilo Kiley fans... This is my favorite record they have ever done. The sooner you get over it, the quicker you can enjoy this amazing, amazing record.

"Under the Blacklight" -Review of the RSL
Rilo Kiley - Official Web
Rilo Kiley - Myspace

Spoon -
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

There is nothing I can say that Britt Daniel or Spoon's music can't tell you. The songs are rich and full. The narratives are textured and interesting. A lot of people picked this Austin band's record as their favorite of the year - it would have been a sin not to make my list! Here's The Underdog:

Spoon - Official
Spoon- Myspace

Prints - the Prints EP.

I have to be honest - the self-titled Prints record is one of my favorite albums of the year but it found some pretty tough opposition and got pushed out of the top ten. Listen, download and then check these guys out!

Here's my writeup on Prints.
Prints on Myspace

Tim Williams -
When Work is Done.

After I interviewed the red hot Tim Williams, I predicted he would do great things. It was with great satisfaction that I worked with Dovecote Records (NYC) this year to help bring his rising star to Boston. Tim has had one hell of a year - and his accomplishments can all be tied to the success of this highly recommended album.

Tim Williams - Web - Myspace

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs -
the Is Is EP.

One of my favorite live bands, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released the Is Is EP to hold their fans over until the next big release. A great little album and a tremendous band!

The YYYs official page
Hot Concert: The YYYs live in Australia!

Ween -
La Cucaracha.

Having just seen Ween in concert a few weeks ago, I am a fan renewed. The new material and the talent level of those tracks performed live are just amazing. If you waited and avoided getting to this band - now is the time to give them a try. The new album is extremely accessible and just damn good.

Ween - Web - Myspace

Battles - Mirrored.

Battles have been classified as a "math rock band." The awesome Mirrors album is the first they have produced with a singer. Hopefully this is the beginning of great things to come!

Great Northern -
Trading Twilight for Daylight.

This is one of the most most positive/upbeat albums of the year! I had occasion to review this one way back - before it came out. Here's a recap of my review and the incredible music video for "Home." The video was created by Winch & Pulley (CWK, Irving, the Shins, They Might Be Giants) in Los Angeles and was one of my favorite music videos this year!

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky.

I am guilty of not loving this album perhaps as much as I should. Wilco are one of the most talented groups in the world. Sky Blue Sky is a lovely album. Here is Walken:

Wilco - Official
Wilco on wikipedia

Fionn Regan -
End of History.

What a wonderful and most unexpected treat! Irish singer and performer Fionn played Boston (the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge actually..) and blew the doors off the place. (Surprise - that's what all his shows are like!) The tracks are individual and yet somehow cultural explorations as well. This stands as one of most impressive live shows I saw this year. Please pick up this album, absorb the sound and improve your life!

My write-up: Fionn Regan on Ryan's Smashing Life
Fionn Regan - Official
Fionn Regan - Myspace

Animal Collective -
Strawberry Jam.

I was lucky enough to be there at ground zero - day one of the current Animal Collective tour which opened up here in Boston. This group grows on you fast - like the moss that grows on old food in dorm room fridges! Lots of people downloaded this one early when it became available as a leak on torrent pages. The band didn't bat an eyelash. They just told people to listen to the album straight through as it was intended. I agree.

Here's my writeup on the Animal Collective.
Animal Collective's new video: Peacebone is released
Animal Collective - Myspace

Arcade Fire -
Neon Bible.

There wasn't a band on the receiving end of more hype in 2007 than Arcade Fire. Their tremendous Neon Bible album made for some great listening. The group continues to grow and evolve on this record!

Ryan Adams interviews the Arcade Fire: Hot Q&A
Arcade Fire on Myspace

David Vandervelde -
Nothin' No EP.

In June, Chicagoan David Vandervelde released a truly remarkable EP that changed the way my ear was hearing music in 2007. Rich and full songs with a little bit of bar-room in them - this is a must have EP!

David Vandervelde: Nothin' No
David Vandervelde on Myspace

Annie Lynch & the Beekeepers -

I couldn't have more pleasantly surprised when I booked this band into one of the RSL exposure gigs in 2007. Annie's new album (just out) was one of the latest albums to be added to this list - but it is very deserving of its place on the list. One of Boston's best kept secrets may not be a secret for very much longer. This is a band to watch in 2008.

My 2007 Album Review
Annie Lynch & the Beekeepers - Myspace

Tigers and Monkeys -
Loose Mouth.

This album rocks. I receive a lot of music in the mail each month but if a third of the records prove to be half as good as this one from New York's Tigers and Monkeys it would make things a hell of a lot easier for me. This CD literally came out of no where and has been in regular rotation at my house. Tigers and Monkey's Loose Mouth is a Top Record in 2007!

Tigers and Monkeys - Official
My plug of the Loose Mouth album: Review

Aaron English -
The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon.

In March I reviewed a most unlikely candidate for album of the year. Seattle singer-songwriter, pianist Aaron English and I crossed paths and I was (thankfully) able to listen to his music. Tremendous from the start, his strong music is sharp, bold and clean. He is the only musician in the I have ever compared to Peter Gabriel. Listen.

Here's my original writeup on Aaron English'sThe Marriage of the Sun and the Moon.
Aaron English - Official Web
Aaron English - Myspace

Beirut -
The Flying Club Cup.

Meet Zach Condon - the man behind the modern orchestral beauty that is Beirut. In 2007, Condon and the band released a remarkably and dreamy album that soothed souls and finished dreams. If you have never heard an instrument sing or a singer sound like a stringed instrument, you may want to listen to The Flying Club Cup. Recommended music!

Beirut - Web - Myspace

Voxtrot -
Voxtrot (LP).


As I write that Voxtrot is one of the greatest bands in 2007, I have my fingers crossed. Vocalist Ramesh has been recently hospitalized and subsequently released for medical reason(s) unspecified. I wish him a speedy recovery. The band plays here this Saturday and I certainly hope the show goes on. (I have the flu, so hopefully we'll both be there!) I have missed this great Austin band every time they have played here. Not only does Voxtrot rock, they also have their own little side project of note. The band's Jared Van Fleet just happens to "be" Sparrowhouse - one of my favorite indie acts of the last two years. Take a listen to Voxtrot:

Voxtrot on theRSL
Voxtrot - Official Web
Voxtrot - Myspace

Silverchair -
Young Modern.

The great Australian band is back and - in my mind, better than ever. Gone is the teen angst and the self-loathing. This is critically, the best album this group has ever put out. There are long-term fans out there who will disagree, but this is a huge departure from the lyrically-poor albums put out by this still-very-young and very much growing band. I was lucky to see the band play live at the Paradise Boston (thanks again East-West for squeezing me into an already sold out show!) and was not disappointed to say the least. This is a band with a cult following around the world and they are now starting to get good. I expect more to come. Check out the album review and enjoy this song!

RSL Album Review: Young Modern
Silverchair - Official
Silverchair - Myspace

Explosions In the Sky -
All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone.

We head back to Austin for this latest review. Explosions in the Sky released the Double-Length LP "All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone" this spring when everybody else wasn't paying attention. I literally stumbled across it on the new release shelf at Newbury Comics. "Oh Yeah. I forgot about this one!" What a happy accident. Instrumental and Rock Explosions ensued. This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen from front to back and I think I learned as much about myself from listening to it as I did the record. It's just that kind of powerful, trance-inducing stuff. For those unaware - there are skilled music technicians out there. Meet Explosions In the Sky.

If you are in Boston - the band plays 10/13, 10/15, 10/16 at the Orpheum!

Explosions In the Sky - Official
Explosions In the Sky - Myspace

Maps -
We Can Create.

Maps creator James Chapman

Northampton, UK is the site of our next musical discovery. James Chapman is a remarkable man. He had a musical concept and created all of its parts, painstakingly recording all the instruments and editing each, carefully, into a multi-track recorder. Then he finally brought the pieces together. The result is "We Can Create." The album was a bit raw but it met enthusiastic ears at the labels. The album was reproduced and Chapman was allowed to form a band to play his music. They are currently on tour. The sounds are insanely rich and full - certainly modern, but the experience is a human one. (We feel the breath pass through our longs and the coursing of the blood through our veins in these tracks.) Remarkable music!

Listen to Don't Fear here and then check out my initial review for another track!

The RSL Review of We Can Create
Maps - Myspace

Calvin Harris -
I Created Disco.

I wrote about Calvin Harris early this year - when he was making waves in the dance clubs of Europe but had not yet made a dent in the states or anywhere else overseas. The cat is waaaay out of the bag. "I Created Disco" is being enjoyed by tens of thousands of people right now and the remixes are proliferating daily. Nothing profound on this album - just great fun. Sometimes fun is enough! Check this one out.

Calvin Harris - Web - Myspace

ALBUMS 16 - 40 for 2007!

Click HERE for ALBUMS 1 - 15

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