Okay here it is the grand finale, my top ten of the year. The albums I listened to and enjoyed most this year. There was so much great music this year that a short list of twenty five doesn’t nearly it do it all justice. There’s obviously way more omitted than included.
And, as I promised I have giveaways. A copy of The Swimmers – Fighting Trees that most of you will need to wait until it’s March release to get your hands on, but I have it for you now, and a copy of The Broken West‘s I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On autographed by the whole band(Thanks Ross!)
Once again I’ll make it easy to win just leave a comment or send me an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with “Top 25 Contest” in the subject line.
You don’t have to, but feel free to get creative in the comments – your top albums, what I missed, etc. If you leave a comment make sure you leave an email or some way to get in touch if you win. I’ll pick 2 winners at random on New Year’s Day from all the entries. Good Luck !
1:The Swimmers – Fighting Trees
Back in January of this year when I received a rather unassuming email from Steve Yutzy-Burkey, not so unlike a lot of other emails I receive everyday from bands, letting me know they had shows upcoming and that their new album Fighting Trees was
streaming from their website if I wanted to give it a listen. What I found at the end of the link was a record I would unabashedly call one of the first truly important releases of 2007. Now nearly a year later, I’ve seen the band live more than a dozen times and there is no single album I listened to or enjoyed more this year. It’s the perfect balance of catchy hooks,vocal harmonies and intelligent lyrics that I just can’t seem to get enough of. The record saw a limited Philadelphia area CD release this fall on Mad Dragon Records, who signed the band and will officially release their record to the rest of the world in March 2008. Watch out for it.
2:The Broken West – I Can’t Go On I’ll Go On
Guitar driven, smart, power pop. Reference points of Big Star,The Beatles,Cheap Trick and more come to mind but the sound ends up undeniably all The Broken West. A dozen songs here and each one could be a single in it’s own right, no filler here just great music.
3:Julie Doiron – Woke Myself Up
The best overlooked album of the year. Emotional, ragged and real with a sound that falls somewhere between fellow Canadians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Forget Feist you need this.
4:The Clientele – God Save The Clientele
Alasdair Maclean describes the band’s sound on this record: “The band are setting free their inner Monkees; a lovely blend of Big Star twisted power-pop and country achin’, with flashes of the Beatles at their most joyful and upbeat.” He’s dead on, it’s a perfect Sunday morning record, filled with smooth sixties overtones but never sounding retro or dated.
5:Blitzen Trapper – Wild Mountain Nation
What Wilco could sound like if they didn’t sand all the edges off. The perfect mix of alt country and indie rock, they delivered one of the best live shows I saw all year.
6:Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter
One of the best new songwriters of a generation, Josh amped it up a bit more than his earlier records for this one and created a new classic. And as good as this is, I somehow feel it’s still only hinting at the future greatness Josh has in him.
7:Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
I’ll commit blogger heresy here and say other than a song or two,their debut Funeral did nothing for me. But with only one real clunker(Black Wave),this one is just shy of perfect. Anthmemic and engaging it grabs you right from the first listen. Openly embracing their Springsteen influences in their sound this time around didn’t hurt at all either.
8:LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
James Murphy obviously honed his ear for what works during his time as a bouncer at Trenton’s alternative rock club City Gardens all through the mid to late eighties and delivered an album that put all that knowledge together for something relevant right now. Their live show is phenomenal, hearing All My Friends live was one of most transcendent concert moments I’ve ever experienced.
9:Creeping Weeds – We Are All Part Of A Dream You’re Having
One of Philadelphia’s most original sounding bands this manages to run the gamut from desolate spacey piano, to jagged edgy guitar rockers and all points in between, and it all works. And having seen them live like 8 or 9 times this past year I can tell you they’re an awesome live band as well.
10:Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha
Twelve solid midtempo pop songs filled with hooks,violin, whistling and more, from th eopening notes of Fiery Crash it creates an alternate world and holds you there right through to the final notes of Yawny at the Apocalypse. One of the best sequenced albums of the year, each song perfectly setting up the next, just like a great mix tape.
Of Montreal – The Kids Are Alright (The Who Cover)
Nada Surf – See These Bones
The New Whole Ususals – No Name Sally
Foo Fighters – Band On The Run
Josh Ritter – The River (Springsteen Cover)
AA Bondy – There’s A Reason
Drug Rug – Day I Day
PJ Harvey The Piano
Shrinking Islands – The Slow-Moving Aftermath
The Silver Seas – The Country Life
Just about a week ago I had a chance to catch Josh Ritter play as show for WXPN’s Free At Noon series at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. It ended up being one of the best shows I’ve seen all year. Now, thanks to the magic of a friend who rocks, I have it to share with all of you today. This is the radio broadcast portion, Josh also came back out after it was off air and did a spine chilling rendition of Bruce Springsteen‘s The River as well as his own song Kathleen to cap off the afternoon. Enjoy on this holiday weekend.
WXPN Free At Noon with Josh Ritter
August 24, 2007 at World Cafe Live
To The Dog Or Whoever
The Temptation Of Adam
Girl In The War
encore off air
The River (Springsteen)
Buy The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter
Here’s one more taste of the amazing new Josh Ritter album The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter that hits stores tomorrow. Watch as Josh and the band get their inner Spoon on in a song that would make Britt Daniel proud. [Buy it]
Josh Ritter and the band perform “Minds Eye,” from the Fall 2007 new album “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter.” Filmed and edited by the folks of “Juan’s Basement.”
I don’t often go back to the same record so quickly, but thanks to my inbox I can now bring you some more music from the gem that is The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter. I talked a little about Josh Ritter‘s new album before, but my little sysnopsis didn’t really do it justice, you need to hear it. This is one of those records that just gets better and better with each listen. A best of 2007 contender for sure. It hits stores next Tuesday, August 21, when you should all rush out and buy it immediately. In the meantime here’s another taste for you. This is the opening track called To The Dogs or Whoever. Listen as it opens with some M.Ward style noises, morphing into Dylanesque verses, which break into a chorus that’ll have you singing along on the first go around. Oh and he’s on tour too, dates here.
If you’re a fan, Josh Ritter and rock in the same sentence? you’re thinking to yourself about now. Doesn’t he write those nice, folky, singer songwriter type songs like Kathleen or Thin Blue Flame ? Yes that’s him, but he obvously he must have been keeping some of that emotion bottled up inside because his new album The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter is rock and roll like Nick Lowe used to write in the late 70′s and early 80′s, (the Labour Of Lust /Rockpile period) that stick in your head for weeks after just one listen.
Check out the opening track To The Dogs Or Whoever which starts out as a Dylanesque ramble then bursts into an organ filled singalong chorus “I thought I heard somebody callin’,In the dark I thought I heard somebody call” or the single, Right Moves, with its chugging motown bass line and try not to dance along. The whole album is one great song after another. Fear not lovers of his acoustic side there’s plenty there to keep you satisfied as well, check out the brilliant Temptation Of Adam or Still Beating for a taste of that classic Josh Ritter storytelling.
Paste Magazine Presents
JOSH RITTER (full band tour):
03-Oct-07 Northampton, MA – Pearl Street Ballroom
04-Oct-07 Boston, MA Somerville Theater
05-Oct-07 Boston, MA Somerville Theater
06-Oct-07 Westport CT – TBC
09-Oct-07 Washington D.C. 9:30 Club
11-Oct-07 Charlottesville, VA – TBC
13-Oct-07 Lewisburg, WV – Carnegie Hall Performing Arts Center
14-Oct-07 Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage radio show
15-Oct-07 Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
16-Oct-07 Chicago, IL – Park West
17-Oct-07 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
18-Oct-07 Boulder, CO – Fox Theater
20-Oct-07 Boise, ID – Egyptian Theater
21-Oct-07 Seattle – Showbox
22-Oct-07 Portland – Aladdin Theater
23-Oct-07 Portland – Aladdin Theater
24-Oct-07 San Francisco – Bimbo’s 365 Club
25-Oct-07 Los Angeles – El Rey
27-Oct-07 Tucson, AZ -Plush
29-Oct-07 Austin, TX – the Parish
31-Oct-07 Birmingham AL – Workplay
01-Nov-07 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
02-Nov-07 Nashville, TN – Exit-Inn
03-Nov-07 Louisville, KY – Headliners
04-Nov-07 Cincinnati, OH – Southgate House
0?-Nov-07 Carrborro, NC – Cat’s Cradle – TBC
07-Nov-07 Philadelphia – World Cafe Live
09-Nov-07 New York – Webster Hall