Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007 Discs: The Outside Looking In

Note: this is the 1st Entry of a few to come this weekend/coming days. There are many albums not on here, and many here I have only heard a few times. Why this is not the "Top Albums" of the year, but could be or might have been given more time.

85. Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus! ..I really liked the latter 1/3 of this one. It and the band needs more time.
84. Thrice - Alchemy Index Volume I + II - Fire And Water. I listened to the "Fire" disc a couple of times and while there were a couple of songs I liked, I haven't found enough reason to go back to it. Still, maybe the best thing I've ever heard from this band (which honestly isn't a lot).
83. Arch Enemy - Rise of the Tyrant Not having heard a ton from this band, but with my newly found interest in Death Metal, I found myself more impressed than many by this. Still it requires a lot more time to move higher
82. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam My impressions of this band were they were quite odd and avant-garde; however on this new one I would say they may have found a niche for new fans, and outsiders to their style. I still can't get past the whole Pink Floyd-UMMA GUMMA idea with them and that band "The Sounds of Animals Fighting." No matter, this record on early impressions would fit well with many of the Elephant 6 bands. I may be diving more into them in the near future after fully digesting this one more.
81. The Stars of Track and Field - Centuries Before Love and War A myspace sign-in exposure band. Not blown away, but especially the 2nd of this album was fun and catchy.
80. Jason Falkner - I'm Ok, You're Ok I didn't find desire to go back to this from memories of the songs just not quite doing it. Maybe next year, but it certainly didn't measure up to much of his past work. I'm still a fan of his no matter.
79. The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur Probably will receive more appreciation in the coming times, but as a 1st intro to the band, I am liking some of this. Reminds me of Sufjan Stevens among some others and much of it does live up to their name as music very use-able for the Cinema.
78. Sylvan - Presets I am pretty sure I liked a previous sampling more from this band where the recipe/euro/prog-cheese factor didn't come into play. However, I can't deny a couple of tracks worked well. The 2nd track "Signed Away" and the 12+ minute closing title piece mainly were memorable.
77. Anekdoten - A Time of Day
Swedish band I go back a few years hearing, 1st in 2000 at NEARFEST. Their style doesn't seem vastly different on this one, with King Crimson elements still evident. But "In For a Ride" is probably as good a song I've ever heard from them.
76. Ulver - Shadows Of the Sun Having revisited this one again recently, it's effective on what it is, a very depressing and melancholy recording. Which ultimately didn't warrant it to be heard too much, but doesn't detract my respect for this group. I will always remember hearing this right after hearing of longtime Mike Portnoy forumer Keith Kitchens passing.
75. Dethklok - The Dethalbum A new spin on parodied music in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap. Soundtrack/band for the Cartoon Network program "Metalocylpse," when I was given the chance to see and meet Mike Keneally this fall, and among my big Metal exploration ironically, I can't deny getting into their music and the show was a lot of fun. The visuals especially. Hey, I missed out on seeing Annuals for it, and don't regret that still.
74. The Graduate - Anhedonia Another group traced to the front-page of myspace. Partly a guilty-pleasure in their Taking Back Sunday stylings, but I'd be lying to say I don't enjoy more than 1/2 of this record. Some fun, catchy hooks and a bit of electronica makes this an underated album since I rarely see anyone mention it or them. Fans of Paulson probably like or could get into this.
73.Dug (Doug) Pinnick - Strum Sum Up. Trying to digest a lot of this at the last hour here, I can conclude this is some of his best work outside of King's X. But that doesn't mean a ton really. Maybe a couple of these pieces could have, or some of the idea will carry-on over to KX's next soon-to-come disc. In the mean time, my early favorites: "Perfect World" and "All I Want" which features a funky jam, are to keep in mind. The fact it's on Magna Carta may not be however.
72. Chick Corea and Bela Fleck - The Enchanment Not a ton to say about this other than my recollection from the 1st half. Cool the two worked together, but the pieces were not mind-blowing. More of something I'd go back to if in a *Jazz* mood or anticipating a concert from either of them.
71. Miracle Fortress - Five Roses. Brian Wilson stylings, although the vocals seem to be about the tone rather wording as I can't claim to have understood much. Vocals-as-an-instrument if you will. But maybe the best overt recapturing of that style in recent years. You could swear some of this was taken from the *Smile-Sessions*. The last 1/3 of this album I liked the most.
70. Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Is Is
This EP for the most part worked. One or two of the songs made Indie radio, and it got me more motivated to check them out. The riffs and melodies worked for the most part, and maybe will inspire my exploration more into them now having heard this. "Kiss Kiss" is not only a great band, but song from this group.
69. Dean Magraw - Unseen Rain. Longtime Minnesota-based guitarist put out a record with his trio-lineup with Jim Anton and JT Bates. I especially enjoy some of the Pat Metheny-like pieces "Eva Arriving" and "Mali" along with "Isabella." Still likely a *Jazz-mood* album for me, but one of Dean's better works.
68. Bockman - Chasing Dragons having currently misplaced this, I can only go buy revisiting the tracks on myspace and memory. A fun, happy, catchy melodic record for the most part. The XTC comparison probably fits most, but also bands like The Polyphonic Spree and Jellyfish of course can be heard in hints on it. For a debut, they show some promise at a minimum.
67. Liquid Trio Experiment - Spontaneous Combustion. Fort what it is, it's about as good as expected and still worth hearing. Petrucci's absence does affect the level of enjoyment that I normally get from LTE. Also since these are so much of loose jams, it's nothing I can play everyday. No matter, it has it's value and moments to not forget, most notably on "Firedance."
66. Dial - Synchronized New project from the recently departed bassist of Pain of Salvation, Kristoffer Gildenlow. Probably 2/3 of this record have songs I liked, but not overwhelmed by. More folk and pop than his work with PoS, his dutch girlfriend has a nice voice and is featured here on some of them. As well, Kris himself can be mistaken for his brother vocally at times, which for the most part is a good thing. "Jewel" and "Childhood Dreams" are probably two of best parts of this one.
65. Behemoth - The Apostasy. One of my newest favorites in discovering Death Metal. I was floored by their live show, and hearing this, some of the criticism I have seen either can be explained one of 2 ways. Their past work was so damn good, this record's inconsistency is it's only flaw. Or that it was simply overlooked. Not everything on here slays, but a few of them brought me back to that show again. "Kriegsphilosophie" and "Libertheme" I can say have added to my interest in them even more. The grooves, riffs, phrasing, and tightness just works incredibly well when they're on. I cannot wait to become more familiar with them, as these guys are *teh shit* when they're on their game.
64. Rush - Snakes And Arrows. The result of another Rush record has led me to not have faith in their genius again. They're like a veteran DH hanging around as much for his name as for trying to reach statistical milestones. "The Main Monkey Business" was the needle in the haystack, and a couple of the other songs had some moments. But it was for the most part rehash of the last few albums; which I and I imagine now even more of their fans have come accept. We can at least get much out of their concerts still.
63. Nile - Ithyphallic Only a brief amount of time I've given this one, their earlier stuff I was impressed by. This was more spotty, especially some the rituals the song titles conjure up. However, the rituals are part of their charm at the same time, just a song like "Eat of the Dead" is probably not one I'm gonna go back to. Thankfully the whole thing didn't give me that reaction.
62. Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes Soncially good, tracklist is ok I suppose, performance not lacking really, except for the fact they don't seem like amazing *live versions* really. Had some other bands made a recording like this in 2007, they may warrant a higher spot. But at least it's in their catalog now and for me having not seen one of the Ghost Reveries-Tour shows. The forthcoming DVD may have more to get up about next year.
61. Laura Veirs - Saltbreakers Fun, cute, cheery, and clever-pop record from this woman who I only had known from her experience with The Decemberists. Every piece is good here, but not highly addictive to make it higher on my list. Still, I'd say she's somewhat underated as I don't see her name that often.
60. Editors - An End Has a Start One that definitely I got into at 1st, but especially after seeing their show, I realized how much of this record is samey. Still, it's not without songs I still like to an extent. Just not as much as I did at 1st. The riffs and catchy hooks can be found on the 1st 3 tracks especially. Fans of this record and them, may want to check out Bloc Party for a more complete record from 2007.
59. Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew - Spirit If. In such a short time this record went from optimism to falling short. My new found love of BSS got me excited here, and the 1st impression made me think it belongs in there with their best work. Not quite. The 2nd half did work moreso, "Frightening Lives' may end up being the 1 classic track on it; although who knows, maybe this one will grow on me with some time.
58. Canon - Wide Awake I found a copy of this for next to nothing and the prog word was tagged on the sticker on the jewel-case. Over a few plays I got to liking this more, despite production quality and some hints of Thom Yorke vocals I tend to loathe. Although at times I hear a Jeff Buckley voice in their singer too (funny how that is for me, but it's more in the writing approach and annunciation where Buckley is vastly more for me than Yorke). But not quite enough to consider it a classic, but more of certainly a band to watch. The title track, "Renaissance" and "Don't Trust the Teachers" are some of the best parts of it.
57. Alcest - Souvenirs d’un autre monde. A 2nd assessment has given me much more appreciation for this band doing their own brand of Post-Metal if you want to call it that. As it goes along, the builds and melodies become more evident, which doesn't force this one into dragging or boring sections that often can happen with this style.
56. Hiromi Uehara - Time Control Being new to her but reading mention and comparisons to Return to Forever, I appreciate much of this album. But it didn't quite blow me away beginning to end, as I hoped. Still the Metheny-like piece "Deep Into the Night" is in fact a classic, and the pieces with *Time* in the title seem to have some nice sections (especially piano) that are worth going back to. I may owe it myself to seek out her earlier stuff as there is no question she is one of the newer artists bringing the classic elements of Jazz-Rock. Having David Fiuczynski of Screaming Headless Torsos on here is an added bonus.
55. Between Two Skies - A Thousand Conscious Moments. This debut EP has some of this young group's best material on it. "Walker Floater" and especially "Hand Over Heart" are dramatic yet create a mood I appreciate. The people who dig dredg and Tool I wish knew more about this band. Maybe with more time. They are one of my favorite local groups, maybe it won't just be *local* in the next few years.
54. Animosity - Animal As technical and tight a Tech/Death band I checked out this fall, the biggest issue I have recently found with this is the samey-ness of their sound/these songs. I did get into their live show as well. I'm not familiar with their back-catalog, but for what they do, they do well. One of the better new bands in this style no matter.
53. Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta! Having just heard this for the 1st time, it may be unwarranted to put it ahead of some of these post-Top 50's. But I was pretty floored by a lot of this, some really technical playing here. But still the fun, energy, and spontaneity that I'd expect from a Punk-type band with horns and other non-traditional rock elements. Probably even better live, this album at 14 tracks might be not without added fat. No matter, when you got half a dozen or more songs that are crazy-ass shit, they become progressive to me. I'm not sure their previous record did that much, as I recall being bored by it. Maybe time has changed my take on them and this style. I'm not into punk rock, but this may be one exception so-to-speak.
52. Chase Pagan - Oh Musica Singer/Songwriter debut record that I find can and should appeal to fans of Ben Folds, Ours (a few tracks reminds me totally of them "Time to Myself" for one), The Dresden Dolls, and Murder By Death among others. A lot of it Piano-driven. Some layering and emotional vocals included, this album does not include any bad songs on it, just not quite enough moving songs to crack the top 50 (although in other years it may have). "Walzting in the Sky" still may be the best cut on here as it's been on the myspace for many months, but it's hardly the only highlight.
51. Born of Osiris - The New Reign. Less is more. Clocking in at 21 minutes, it's funny how this one seems short, but at the same time seems much longer or at least much more than just that. The length of a sitcom episode, yet these guys give a lot more to offer than you would think on paper. Sort of like Between the Buried and Me sans for the clean vocals and dreamy sections. The songs flow into each-other and phrases are tight. As I wrote earlier in the year, the thing is over before it starts, there's no way to say anything on here is excessive.

expected next: No's 50-26....

No comments :