Tom Szwech is the principal architect and sole proprietor of Bag of Songs, a freakishly good blog devoted to the rock and roll music that the kids like. You should visit his site. Every day. Forever. He shared his list of his favorite albums of aught-seven with us.
I listened to so many great records this year that even a list of 50 would shortchange something. The ones that really stuck with me and got played to most are the ones that ranked higher in the long run.
1. The Swimmers - Fighting Trees - far and away the one record I listened to most, in the rotation since January and still going strong. The perfect balance of catchy hooks,vocal harmonies and intelligent lyrics.
2. The Broken West - I Can't Go On I'll Go On - Jangly, smart, power pop. And it shows that they're musically well schooled, the last time I saw them live they threw in covers of Tegan And Sara, Yo La Tengo , and Buffalo Springfield.
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 one.
4. The Clientele - God Save The Clientele Smooth like a Sunday morning pop, filled with sixties overtones but never sounding retro or dated.
5. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation - What Wilco could've sounded like if they didn't sand the edges off. 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 on this one and created a classic.
7. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible - Their first, Funeral, did nothing for me, but only one clunker (Black Wave) on this one kept it just shy of perfect. Embracing their Springsteen influences openly into their sound didn't hurt.
8. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver - James Murphy obviously honed his ear for what works during his time as a bouncer at Trenton's City Gardens all through the mid to late eighties and delivered an album that put all that knowledge together for something relevant right now.
9. Creeping Weeds - We Are All Part Of A Dream You're Having - One of Philly'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 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 - 12 solid midtempo pop songs filled hooks, violin, whistling and more, what else could you ask for. It plays really well as a whole, one of the best sequenced albums of the year, each song perfectly setting up the next, just like a great mix tape.