The first installment of our top 100 of 2007 albumlist.
100. Panamericana byFederico Aubele
Federico Aubele, who hailsfrom Argentinawas discovered by Thievery Corporation, and Panamericana is hissophomore effort on their label, Eighteenth Street Lounge. Aubele hassucceeded in creating exactly what he set out to do by weaving together some ofthe very best musical elements from across the Americas. He has come up withsomething completely unique, but absolutely familiar. No matter what side ofthe equator you happen to call home.
99. CoronationThieves by Dragons Of Zynth
This album is like a jar of moonshine - complete hell going down, but ifyou can get through the first few gulps, everything becomes warm, fuzzyand rapturous. Complete chaos is controlled with a deftness that simplycannot be manufactured, or gained by luck alone. The record has vast peaks andvalleys, wrapped in enough distorted fog to hold your focus while you try tofigure out what the hell is going on. But it never becomes annoying enough toturn you off.
98. Coarsegoldby The Dying Californian
The Dying Californian started as a band in Santa Cruz, CAover 10 years ago under the name Nuzzle. As their sound evolved into a moreWilco-leaning alt country animal they changed their name. And it fits. Themusic has a lonely, melancholic flavor and California indie scene sensibility. Therecord weaves and meanders at a measured pace, and the harmonies wrap you in awarm blanket of sound that prods you to stop what you're doing and focuson the experience. And once you do, the CD moves to an easily accessiblelocation in your collection.
97. Head Home by O'Death
O'Death found new life this year on Ernest Jenning Records with the re-releaseof 2006's Head Home. And it's a very good thing. If you haven't had thepleasure of hearing the record or seeing them live, now's your chance. The band combines the standard bluegrass instrumentation of acoustic guitar,banjo, fiddle, bass and drums, but they play cabaret flavored songs (ala ManMan or Tom Waits) with a punk rock energy. And before you say this should notbe included because it's a re-release of a 2006 album, please rememberthat this is my list, so I make the rules.
96. Oreskaband byOreskaband
If you told me I would select a Japanese schoolgirl ska band as one of mytop 100 in 2007 last year at this time, I would've told you that you were nuts,but here you have it. Oreskaband has become a sensation in Japan and havebeen featured all over Japanese television, including an appearance in a TVcommercial for the popular Japanese candy Pocky, which doubles as a music video to promotethe band. You must hear to believe.
95. The Budos Band II by The Budos Band
The Budos Band II is an instrumental soul freakout made to be heard by the glowof black light among bongs and hot chicks with afros. Fans of jazz, soul, funkand jam bands may migrate en masse to this fine album, and I would be thrilledif they do. But my greater hope is that The Budos Band helps a youngergeneration dig into some truly great music of the past.
94. Anthem byChristian Scott
This 23-year-old virtuoso was honored with a Grammy nomination last yearfor his debut Rewind That, and
Anthem builds upon it's success while taking daring steps to find it's ownvoice. Jazz traditionalists won't appreciate the melding of rock, soul andhip-hop, while smooth jazz fans won't get the complex ideas presented. Theywill both be missing a fine effort. Christian Scott is reaching for art andsucceeding.
93. Blasts of Holy Birth by Lewis & Clarke
Blasts of Holy Birth makes me feel much the way I did driving throughthe Delaware Water Gap (Lewis & Clark's home) with my wife next to meand the autumn leaves setting a backdrop. It's calming, but with bright colors,much as it's represented on the cover art. Pianos, strings, acoustic guitars,harp, keyboards, horns and understated drums create a sedate and welcomecollection of songs that are delivered without grievance.
92. DigitalShades, Vol. 1 by M83
Digital Shades contains the warm tones and grandiose crescendos that arepart of what we love about M83, but the record is decidedly low-key, moody, andat times, otherworldly. It contains some minimal vocal parts that fit well, butthe large majority of the sounds are electronic brushstrokes that paint whatends up being a strong ambient effort. Anthony Gonzalez has captured some ofthe very best elements of Brian Eno's ambient masterworks on this release,which is enough to chalk it up as a success.
91. WhiteShoes & The Couples Company by White Shoes & The Couples CompanyThe record is a mostly shiny and happy endeavour. So much so, that itattracted 18 butterflies, 5 songbirds, 3 fuzzy bunnies, a rainbow and a unicornto my patio as I listened outdoors. If the music's ability to attract cute andmystical creatures isn't enough for you, I would also tell you that the bandwas named one of the Top 25 Bands on MySpace by Rolling Stone Magazine, and oneof the most Crushworthy Bands of 2006 by All Music Guide, who proclaim WhiteShoes.., "the best indie pop band from Indonesia."
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