Yes, I am a Tornado Chaser

Yes, I am a Tornado Chaser

My Top 10 20 Albums of 2007

I know it’s been a long time coming, but here they are, the records that I felt killed it last year. As an added bonus for my tardiness, I’ve included 20 must listens from 2007 instead of ten. The lists aren’t in a hard “most favorite to least favorite” order, but are all worth enjoying, so please do. The first 10 have small reviews as well. I have also made a podacst of my 30 favorite songs from last year that I will post as soon as I can figure out how. As always, feel free to comment if and where you see fit.

Pissed Jeans – Hope for Men
I’d say I listened to this more than any other record in 2007. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes these visceral, outrageous berserkers so appealing… The devastating caterwaul of white noise guitars? The reckless slurs frontman/resident maniac Matt Korvette? The uncorked violence on a rhythm section hell-bent on kicking you fucking skull in? Whatever the case, I can scarcely remember the last time I heard a record that sounded this raw, unhinged, and truly powerful. Cut from the same cloth as elder greats like The Jesus Lizard and Flipper, but owning allegiance to no one, Pissed Jeans have reaffirmed my belief that rock music can and should be punishing.

The Besnard Lakes – Are the Dark Horse
Sort of the exact opposite of Pissed Jeans’ barbarous onslaught, The Besnard Lakes crafted a record so beautiful and out to pasture that I have a hard time coming up with the right words. If I was told this record was made in a century-old barn, but that barn was on Jupiter, and the engineer was a half-octopus/half-Greek God, I would probably believe said possessor of such unbelievable information. Guitar layers and scores of vocalists pile up on top of one another and the whole thing checks out to sea, leaving you with what might have been if Roger Waters circa 1973 and Thurston Moore circa anytime had teamed up to build a rocket out of plate reverb units and room mics.

Battles – Mirrored
The talent from Don Caballero meets the drummer from Helmet and they throw a jazz guitar virtuoso in there and let him sing through a vocorder. What’s not to like? Had this record been made by robots, I doubt it would have been as flawlessly executed.

Pterodactyl – Pterodactyl
This might have been the biggest sleeper hit of the year. Angular guitar/loop based indie rock has all but been perfected by this New York trio. The riffs are unflappable, the production is water-tight, and the noises are appropriately blasted. Peterodactyl expertly mix equal parts cutlass-like guitars, big ass drumsets, Tom Verlaine, and the sort of intimidation that can only come from a 500-pound flying lizard.

LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
What can I say about Sound of Silver that almost every other rock critic hasn’t said about two-dozen times? Whatever, all you need to know is this record is undeniable as both an ass-shaking collection of great electronic rock and a testament to the extensiveness of James Murphy’s songwriting and production. If you were even the slightest bit interested in Murphy’s previous work (both in LCD Soundsystem or as a member of the production team DFA) then do yourself a good one and check this (although I’m sure you already have.)

Tera Melos – Drugs to the Dear Youth
Watching this band evolve has truly been a pleasure. Drugs to the Dear Youth is the first record for Tera Melos as a three-piece, but the loss of second guitarist Jeff Worms hasn’t slowed them down a bit. Six tracks of studio precision, jazz-math freakouts, and more layers than a crate of onions. This could very well be the sound of the future.

Pharoahe Monch – Desire
Eight years is a long time in between full lengths. In the rap community, it might as well be forever. Seldom does a hiatus like that prove fruitful, but if you have heard Monch’s Desire, then you know he pulled it off. This is one of the best rap records I’ve heard in a long time, and cements Monch’s skills as one of the most innovative wordsmiths of our time.

Radiohead – In Rainbows
Name one other band in the world that demands listening parties with subsequent releases. If you ever had any doubt, let me put it to rest…in the grand scheme of all things music, this is the greatest band in the world, and probably of my lifetime.

Los Angeles quartet HEALTH fucking bring it on their debut. Think everything great about The Boredoms and Liars ran through a whole smorgasbord of weirdo effects and processors and microphones taped to speakers and t-shirts and all other kinds of crazy shit. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

Clipd Beaks – Hoarse Lords
This one came to me late in the game (admittedly during the second week of 2008) but that’s not going to stop me from enjoying it every day from now on. Psychedelic noise is about the only description I come up with for this ramshackle freak party. Everything about this record swirls and shouts in your face while the big-ass bass lines hammer your skull and your ears punch your brain in the teeth while repeatedly saying in sign language, “It’s about time.”

10 more:

No Age – Weirdo Rippers
Ferocious Eagle – the Sea Anemone Inside of me is Mighty
Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends
Planets – Planets
The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters
Big Business – Here Come the Waterworks
Justice – ✝
Words – Words
Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb
White Rabbits – Fort Nightly