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Saturday, January 05, 2008

End of the Year Extravaganza: Top 30 Albums! (Part 1)

Yeah. Took a bit longer than I planned. Sorry. Comedy Death Ray download is fixed. And now, on with the bottom fifteen of my favorite albums of the year!

30: Behold... the Arctopus

Super technical instrumental prog-metal with a drum set, an electric guitar, and a 12-string Warr guitar. Reminds me of Buckethead at times, especially his The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell album.

29: Deerhoof
Friend Opportunity

Noisy, experimental rock and roll from the land of the rising sun. Their most varied and probably accessible album to date. Get ready for a touch of hip-hop influence.

28: The American Dollar
The Technicolour Sleep

The first of many post-rock albums in this post. Guitar and keyboard driven, slow-moving melodies. Relaxing and contemplative.

27: Earth

Old Earth songs done in the style they started with last year's HEX album. Warm, beautiful soundscapes. Good for early morning/late night listening.

26: Melt-Banana
Bambi's Dilemma

More crazy rock music from Japan. Hyper fast, upbeat punk rock with high-pitched, yelping female vocals. The musical equivalent of eating a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Red Bull instead of milk.

25: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

A mix of folk, soul, and country rock from this great singer-songwriter. Recorded entirely live in a week's time. This music makes me happy.

24: Iron & Wine
The Shepherd's Dog

Sam Beam decided to move away from his roots, and bring in other instruments. Some people were angry. I was apprehensive. Then I listened to it, and by the end of the second track, all my fears had gone away. Beautiful, layered folk music.

23: Daft Punk
Alive 2007
Part 1
Part 2

This album reminded me why I love Daft Punk after being out of touch with them for a couple years. Their live show features the duo deconstructing their most popular songs and essentially creating mash-ups of their own material. It could easily have been gimmicky, but ends up working really well.

22: Eluvium

Wonderful, droning ambient post-rock. Good for spacing out or reading. Also has a couple solo piano numbers, for fans of his "An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death" album.

21: Of Montreal
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

I almost didn't finish this album. Not because I hated it, but just because I didn't find it as amazing as I was promised. Thankfully I left it on long enough to get to "The Past is a Grotesque Animal", which I ended up loving, and I liked the second half of the album a lot more than the first. I went back and listened to it a few more times, and it definitely grew on me. So what does it sound like? Quirky, electronics-laden indie pop, I guess. Sometimes I suck at describing music.

20: Chuck Ragan
Feast or Famine

Acoustic folk from Hot Water Music vocalist Chuck Ragan, with a certain punk ethos oozing through. I love this guy's voice - there is so much power and emotion in it.

19: Best Fwends
Alphabetically Arranged

What the hell happened here? It sounds like a punk rock band threw up all over an Atari and some keyboards... and I love it. I'm tempted to compare these guys to The Moldy Peaches, not because they sound musically similar, but just because it sounds like two people having a bunch of fun making a record. Upbeat, unpretentious 8-bit punk.

18: The National

You all probably have this already, but here it is in case you don't. Slow, churning indie rock, dark and beautiful. Once again, I suck at writing about music.

17: Sundowner
Four One Five Two

More acoustic punk type stuff. "One Hundred Resolutions" is maybe my favorite song of the year.

16: Venetian Snares
My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)

This is not the soundtrack to a movie, but to Aaron Funk's actual downfall. This is usually touted as a follow-up to Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett, which is understandable as it features the combination of classical string parts and Funk's insane breakcore drum programming. However, only four of the album's fourteen tracks features percussion - the rest is all beatless classical pieces. I never thought I'd say this, but I actually think I like this better than Rossz. There is something sad and desperate and very moving about this album, and as much as I liked Rossz, it never evoked much emotion in me.


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