6/22/09

A year of interesting albums - pt. 2: 2007

In a sudden attack of listmania I decided to pick my favourite albums, or at least the albums that caught my interest the most, and make a list for each year. As radio host for faroese radio rock show "Rokkstovan" I have spent a lot of time listening to records. And if there was no radiohost gig (which there actually hasn't been for six months since the show has been put on hold due to economical issues at the station), I probably would have listened to them anyway.
I’m going to slowly work my way backwards in time. Each blog will contain a list of about 10 to 15 albums that range from “awe-inspiringly excellent” to “interesting”. The selection will of course be extremely subjective and open to much debate. Leave comments if you want ☺
Am in no way saying that this is a definite list. Let's wait and see whether the albums represented here will stand the test of time. There might be changes made to the list in the future. If I come across a really great album that I haven't heard, that album might replace one of the listed albums. But this is it for now.
Please note that electronic music is likely to be underrepresented, since a lot of electronic artists release great singles while not doing much in the "cohesive album as a whole"-department. With a few notable exceptions. And those will be included. 


So here goes "A year of interesting albums - pt. 2: 2007". In no particular order except a sort of chronological one.

EDIT: The Field's From Here We Go Sublime has replaced Band of Horses' Cease To Begin. It's a better album, that's why.

Dälek: Abandoned Language
 








Experimental hip hop/rap duo from New York. The music (courtesy of Oktopus/Deadverse) is a thick and layered brand of shoegaze/IDM with heavy hip hop beats at it's base. Add to this fascinating murkiness the philosophical urban rhymes of MC Dälek and you've got the recipe for something unique. Which it is. Demanding (and therefore rewarding) stuff.

The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible









Indie darlings from Canada. Great stuff for the most part. The use of cathedral organs works to great effect. One good example is "Intervention" which was one of the really good songs of 2007.

LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver









Energetic stuff. A mix of modern dance music and something a lot more Kraftwerkian (well, isn't everything electronic released since the 70's "Kraftwerkian" in one way or other?) This is a great dance album. You will soon learn to love it.

Grinderman: Grinderman









Nick Cave picked up the guitar and started rocking with four of the Bad Seeds. Primal garage rock at it's very finest. "No Pussy Blues"? No, it won't be a favourite of your mother-in-law, but it's one of the coolest no nonsense rock songs in a long time.

Stars Of The Lid: And Their Refinement Of The Decline









Ambient duo that releases their stuff on Kranky. Cool label that has released albums by Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Bowery Electric, Labradford, Atlas Sound etc. This is very ambient and very spacey. Nice when the (night)time is right.

Teitur: Káta Hornið








Teitur released a collection of faroese songs on this album. Thoughtful stuff. A bunch of great songs. Love the sound too.

Björk: Volta









A crazy, eclectic and playful album that features a wide range of sonic adventures. The track "Declare Independence" was dedicated to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. This pissed off quite a few people in the Faroes, which I never really understood. I took it as a salute of sorts. A fun album with some interesting guest spots (Anthony Hegarty, Toumani Diabaté etc.)

The White Stripes: Icky Thump









 If you're interested in rock in the noughties there's just no way around Jack White. He is a force, a genius, shaman, showman, singer, songwriter and guitarist par excellence. You don't have to listen to their music ALL the time, you just have to acknowledge that White Stripes so far have released a string of very consistent rock albums and Icky Thump is up there with the rest of them.

Justice: Cross









When we will be looking back at the noughties and electronic music, this album will stand as a milestone. Justice ARE the sound of electronic popular music in this era. Definitely indepted to Daft Punk etc. but also a force of their own. This is a very strong debut album. It's dirty, gritty mid-range electro with a rock 'n' roll edge. Oh, and these guys ARE rock 'n' roll. I realised that when I saw the "A Cross The Universe" DVD. They might be French and into fashion and electronic music, but they are a WHOLE LOT more rock 'n' roll than a lot of what passes for rock 'n' roll these days. It will be interesting to see how they follow up this album.

Ricardo Villalobos: Fabric 36









This is stoned music. Ricardo Villalobos is from Chile, lives in Berlin & makes fascinating no-compromise minimal techno with a latin bent. The Fabric series used to have DJ's pick a bunch of other people's tracks and mix them together, but Villalobos changed the approach by only using his own tracks (!) and thus creating a mix album with his own music. So simple yet effective. A great listen. If you put some effort into it. Oh, and it's good for dancing too...

A Place To Bury Strangers: A Place To Bury Strangers









Oliver Ackerman builds effect pedals. The brand is Death By Audio. He also plays radical psychedelic shoegaze rock in a trio. The band is A Place To Bury Strangers. Traces of Velvet Underground, Jesus and Mary Chain etc. pop up here and there. As they should. After all this band is from New York. Quality stuff. Acquire this album and thou shalt not regret it. 

Radiohead: In Rainbows









So what can you say about this band that hasn't been said before? One of the (if not the) greatest rock bands of the last two decades. They count at least one timeless masterpiece among their catalogue of releases (maybe more, but let's not get ahead of ourselves...) In Rainbows is a warm, sunny, soulful album which was a great and well chosen development from this band. And no, let's not talk about "pay what you want" models etc. here. This is a MUSIC blog, you know.

Burial: Untrue









So dubstep is the new thing and has been for a time now...I'm not a dupstep afficionado, but this album is very intriguing and beautiful. A dark, dubby, haunted soundtrack for the post commercial wasteland....(wow, not even sure what that meant!) The sampled voices from all over the place really add to the overall atmosphere. Burial is on the map. For good.
 
ORKA: Livandi Oyða








My friend Jens L. Thomsen (who has mixed my upcoming album) masterminded this album. He gathered some friends (me excluded, boo hoo!) one winter day at his fathers farm and they went inside and started building instruments from scrap. From whatever was found lying around. Then they wrote some songs and recorded them and Jens commissioned remixes from Third Eye Foundation, Deadverse (from the aforementioned Dälek), Bookworms and his own remix duo project Com-Data. The result was a truly brilliant album that combines rural and urban in a fascinating symbiose. Would not be surprised if the kids will dig this in the future ....one good thing about not being in this band is that I get to be a all out fan and wear the t-shirt! :)

The Field: From Here We Go Sublime
  










Debut album from this Swedish artist. Trance inducing shoegazey techno? Something like that. Cut up bits of sound arranged together into dreamy soundscapes. Beautiful and kind of groundbreaking stuff. 

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