There could have been a lot more shoegazer pop on this list (Magnetic Fields, Blood on the Wallz) as well as some discs I got in '07 that didn't come out til this year. I encourage you to at least LISTEN to all of these and maybe you'll find some new kind of kick. For everyone that said this was an off year in music I say, fuck off. There were a slew of great records that didn't make this list (it was so god damned hard not to put Gentlemen Jesse in this collection). And if you put Girl Talk in your list you need to slit your throat.
10. Wavves - S/T CS
I just heard this band (actually one man named Nathan Williams) a few weeks ago and it seriously rocked my va-jay-jay. This dude probably kicked in his amp with a pair of steel toed boots before recording some of the most luscious California beach pop I've heard in a long time. The layers of noise washed over the hooks and melodies are absolutely essential to the beauty of the tunes. Plus, Mr. Williams has a righteous 80's era skater cut right out of Thrasher. And not in an ironic manner.
There is no YouTube video I can put here so just check out the tracks here.
9. The Night Marchers - See You in Magic
John Reis can do no wrong. Except for breaking up the Hot Snakes and Sultans in the same year. And just after he put the only rock 'n' roll band EVER allowed to use horns (Rocket from the Crypt) to bed. He soothed my wounds with the Night Marchers which was a little more caustic ("I Wanna Deadbeat You", "Open Your Legs") than I was expecting. They kill live, also. It's not RFTC, but I'll take a John Reis band over 75% of music any day.
8. Lords of Altamont - The Altamont Sin
So, they pick up the bassist from the MC5, sound more stoned than usual and take their sweet fucking time to deliver one hell of a record. I should punish them for that but how can I when they consistently kick out the jams this fierce? 1%er, fuzzed out, Farfisa drenched, down and dirty rock 'n' roll. I love everything Jake Calvaliere has ever been involved with but the Lords of Altamont easily take the cake. Sorry, Bomboras.
Lords of Altamont
7. Harlem - Free Drugs
I despise 99% of bands from Austin for a multitude of reasons but these cats are brilliant. They pilfer from the Pixies, 13th Floor Elevators and Nuggets era garage rock for a truly excellent album that is impossible to resist putting on repeat. Just check out "South of France" and tell me you're not hooked. They got moved up on the list simply for titling a song "Psychedellic Titties."
6. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
The way I described it to a co-worker when it first got thrown into the rotation at work was what the Happy Mondays second album would've been if they binged on acid instead of crack. I stand by that. A great psychedellic electro-pop album that is in no way pretentious or hipster fodder. It's far to busy waving middle fingers to the subculture and stealing Madonna beats (seriously, "Electic Feel" owes its life to "Lucky Star") to be considering a brooding work of contemplative overload. These kids are just having a blast with infectious dance music.
5. The Raveonettes - Lust, Lust, Lust
Take the shoegazer cannon of the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, strip out all of the distortion and swap out the Brian Wilson worship for Phil Spector girl groups and what you get is one of the more crucial European bands in recent memory. They just keep getting better.
4. The Baseball Project - Vol. 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails
Scratching your head at that title aren't ya? Well, you're not a baseball nerd then! I love baseball with all my heart, believe it to be a parable for life and this album more than evokes my passion for the game. It is literally dripping with unabashed love and devotion to America's passtime. Steve Wynn (the mastermind behind the criminally ignored Dream Syndicate) along with friends including Peter Buck (of R.E.M. fame) deliver a sixties style pop album that ranks this high simply for the song "Ted Fucking Williams." Here is the backstory for the song's title:
In the bullpen tonight Jim Pagliaroni was telling us how Ted Williams, when he was still playing, would psyche himself up for a game during batting practice, usually early practice before the fans or reporters got there.
He'd go into the cage, wave his bat at the pitcher and start screaming at the top of his voice, "My name is Ted fucking Williams and I'm the greatest hitter in baseball."
He'd swing and hit a line drive.
"Jesus H. Christ Himself couldn't get me out."
And he'd hit another.
Then he'd say, "Here comes Jim Bunning. Jim fucking Bunning and that little shit slider of his."
"He doesn't really think he's gonna get me out with that shit."
"I'm Ted fucking Williams."
3. Flogging Molly - Float
This doesn't have the barroom rousers that Swagger and Drunken Lullabies had but Dave King's lamentations on returning to Ireland amidst peace for the first time in his life have served his songwriting greatly. Not that he needed any help. There are a few writers that liked their more raw, punk stylings and punish the band for scaling back for the sake of...well, better songwriting. Bollocks to them. This is by far their finest album to date. They have now earned the crown as the new Pogues.
2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig! Lazarus! Dig!
I'm on record (in print!) as saying that I would gladly grab ankles for Nick Cave. The man is a genius and this year the Bad Seeds new offering was easily my most anticipated record. They did not fail me in the least. In fact, this is the best record they've released since Murder Ballads and is just as snarky, fun and insane. Come on, the title track is a hillarious diatribe reimagining Lazarus' alternate experience on Earth as a bored, pissed off, resentfull junkie. Dig comes so close to topping the noisy, Stooges inspired and absolutely filthy Grinderman offshoot Cave and Ellis released last year. That really says a ton about the strength of this record.
1. Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
Holy shit, I cannot believe the evolution of this band. For their first LP release (which was a collection of EP's and singles) they sounded like the second coming of Black Flag. Then Hidden World dropped and was incredibly challenging as the band grew to compose 5 minute hardcore epics layered with experimental instrumentation and layers and layers of guitar tracks. I never thought I would be so in love with a band this raw that lovingly embraced Pro Tools, with up to 70 tracks of instruments at a time!!!! but here we are. On The Chemistry of Common Life, Pink Eyes and crew (which includes Rachel Lee Cook's little brother) continue their fuck you to religion ("So what's the point of ever being born again?") and deconstruction of the state of modern man. Yes, a band named Fucked Up is that deep, that intelligent and still able to make you want to go off. I cannot believe how they have crossed over from hardcore heroes to indie snob delights. I understand it but it stills bugs me out. Shit, the mainstream music rags are fellating them at every chance and you know what...they deserve every bit of acclaim and praise they recieve. Fucked Up will go down as the greatest punk rock band of their generation. Mark my words.
Honorable Mentions: Henry Fiat's Open Sore - Mondo Blotto, Blood on the Wallz - Liferz, Okmoniks, Magnetic Fields - Distortion, Yuppie Pricks - Balls, Blacklisted - Heavier than Heaven, Lonlier than God, Gentlemen Jesse
THE BEST BAND I HEARD IN 2007 BUT DIDN'T FREAK OUT OVER TIL THIS YEAR GOES TO...
Clockcleaner. Babylon Rules is fucking phenomenal and they are the best thing out of Philadelphia right now. Totaly caustic and uncaring sounds of the Birthday Party meeting Big Black for drunken brawl.