Zack Newcott's Bestest Year In Music 2007
Well, the year is almost over, which means that every blogger on the planet is making their top list of what they have decided everyone else should love by now. Let's face it, this is really just an opportunity for hipsters to take lesser known bands and shove them into the faces of those who actually enjoy what they listen to, which obviously means I have to participate. So shove it readers, here's my list of the best albums to be released in 2007.
Flight of the Conchords - The Distant Future
Yes, the album from the comedy/indi/folk band who started the show who then released this album from the show based on their previous comedy material. it's confusing, but what we all should know by now that Flight of the Conchords is one of the best shows on television, if not THE best. So it makes sense that their EP album, which contains only a modest five songs (unfortunately lacking many of their best works), fits in well with this list.
Once - The Soundtrack By Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
The reason the movie Once worked so tremendously well is that the key players involved with the film were members of the same band, The Swell Season, who had previously proven their own excellence in music making. The soundtrack to the film is logically just as impressive as the emotional pull the film created. While a good number of these songs are repeats of the Swell Season's earlier release, it is nevertheless a solid album. One of the best movies of the year along with one of the best albums.
Here is a live version of their song Once.
Bishop Allen - The Broken String
Yeah, you've already listened to him. He does that song "click, click, click, click" so adequately put to use by Kodak in their holiday commercials. Yeah, the rest of the album is great too and also isn't trying to sell you something. I suggest you listen to "Flight 180" before Jet Blue gets to it.
Fionn Regan - The End of History
The mellow melodies and subtle finger pickings of Fionn Regan serve to compliment his delicate lyrics in such a way that his songs become utterly delectable to the human ear. So, yes, his album The End of History is incredibly good. Listen to it, and then buy it.
Be Good Or Be Gone
Johnathan Rice - Further North
I first listened to Johnathan Rice from a recording of a live performance preceding David Bazan. If you know me, you know how much I love the Bazan, and since there is no new Bazan album to speak of this year somebody has to take his place. Johnathan Rice is more than qualified. In fact, he's all around pretty amazing. His lyrics alone show tremendous depth while his melodies are undeniably catchy. While I admit that I preferred his live solo performance, his completed album is fantastic.
If you would like to download his live performance here is the link:
Johnathan Rice Live
Page France - ...and the Family Telephone
When I listen to Page France, I get confused. Their lyrics are so good it hurts my brain. Combining biblical imagery with childlike playfulness, Page France manages to create an altered listening state where the strictly religious meld with the adolescent. I have resolved that essentially any meaning can be taken from their works, however their undeniably catching songs built upon minimalistic melodies make them mentally inescapable.
Here's a Telephone
Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
I listened to this album a good number of times, and although many of these songs leave you with a bitter aftertaste with the lyrical cynicism and sarcastic wit the band is known for, it's still written well enough to stick with you. Yes, it can be shallow, but is a shallowness it is self-aware of. It's catchy too.
The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
I don't know how I came across the Weakerthans, but I'm really glad I did. This band is quite simply, charming. I really enjoy any listening session having to do with them. The lyrics are fun and inventive, ranging anywhere between a cat's soliloquy and bigfoot. There is also a depth here, in which the songs contain considerable depth. Meanwhile, they manage to twist their songs in such a way to create an emotional resonance which extends beyond a simple listen. This really is a great album, if not the best of the year.
Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch
I can always recommend a Sondre Lerche album, even if it's not remotely related to the kind of music you're into. He is a tremendous musician and with his abilities as a songwriter his works manage to envelope qualities of every type of music raging back to the early 1920's. His new album is also very cool.
To Be Surprised
Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
This is a pretty amazing album featuring demanding lyrics and beautifully constructed melodies. I can't recommend it enough, so listen to it.