Perfect Sound Forever

PSF: 2007 Writers' Poll
What we loved last year

Volcano the Bear, Mavis Staples, Elton Dean, George Jones, Kammerflimmer
Left to right: Volcano the Bear, Mavis Staples, Elton Dean, George Jones, Kammerflimmer

It's that time again but since most of our scribes can't contain their love of music in a puny list of 10 items, here's their list of 15 favorite releases of 2007. We don't have a tallied-up poll here- instead, we'd like you to read through all the individual choices of our scribes. See what you agree with and what you don't agree with and hopefully, you'll find some things you'll want to explore too. Enjoy!

Michael Baker

I picked 15 because it is the solution to the Reconstruction Conjecture: N(1,s) + N(2,s) + ... + N(n,s) = C(|E|,s),[ + Britney’s waistline, ca. Thanksgiving 2007]. And because I was thinking that ever since David Ruffin died no one has bothered to talk to me, musically or otherwise. But this has been a fab year: bright bursts of sunshiny pop that have lifted my hopes, expanded my horizons, and challenged my dreamscape. Jes kiddin’, you Pollyanna mother fuckers! This list’s songs call to mind corpses rotting in Rwanda, girls named Ping Pong walking away, Akron in August, and BBQ and beer in Memphis. And I could not get enough. I must thank Goner Board, Satch, WFMU, Hoboken’s Tunes, and the fancy pants at Trouser Press for introducing me to much of this, for I no longer leave my home because I have everything I need here—unsigned postcards from the Yukon, Power Rangers vids, dirty pics of Madonna, and killer, soul-breaking musical slabs of honesty and brutality and truncated forgiveness. This shit almost killed me. Maybe next year. Thank you artists. And RIP Stockhausen, Wagoner, Lazlo Kovacs, and Vonnegut.

8 PM The Hex Dispensers The Hex Dispensers
9 PM Eddy Current Suppression Ring Eddie Current Suppression Ring
10 PM Silence
11 PM Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones Arriere Garde
12 Cococoma Cococoma
1 AM Silence
2 AM Lamps LampsLamps
3 AM Silence
4 AM Sadies  New Seasons
5 AM Jason Isbel Sirens of The Ditch
6 AM Silence
7 AM Harlan T Bobo I’m Your Man
8 AM Ike Reilly Assassination We Belong To the Staggering Evening 
9 AM Silence
10 AM Silence
11 AM King Khan & His Shrines What Is?
12 Mark Sultan The Sultanic Verses
1 PM Psychedelic Horseshit Magic Flowers Droned
2 PM Silence
3 PM Haunted George Pile O’ Meat
4 PM Clockcleaner Babylon Rules
5 PM Silence
6 PM Silence
7 PM Wooden Tit Return to Cinder

EP of the Year
Staags Five Songs From the Staags!!!

Singles of the Year:
None. My car got boosted.

Darren Bergstein

2007... well, numerically the year doesn't matter. The music continues, the amount of good music being released continues, unabated. What keeps metamorphosing is the mode of delivery. Downloading and the MP3 medium are becoming the norm; CDs are going the way of the dodo, I'm afraid, contrary to what anyone says. The audiovisual artform is in danger of extinction—the writing's on the wall, the future looks dim. I, for one, will always champion music as a synergistic collaboration between aural rendering and tactile physicality. This year I made it a personal mandate to acquire recordings that were "packaged" as eye-popping objets d'art, intentionally rebelling against this whole idea of music as mere data. Regarding the genres of electronic(a) and experimental music: they both might have went more "underground" this year, but so what? Mainstreaming such musics, or pigeonholing their respective artists, was a fool's gesture anyway. More tellingly, this was the year I "rediscovered" synth/sequencer music, strolling amidst the borogroves of memory (moog) lane, and loving every minute of it. The list below is, of course, subjective (as are all lists of this type) and simply "representative" of another 365 days that never failed to surprise, titillate, confound, and challenge.

Tim Broun

Full disclosure - I worked on number 3. In no particular order:

Kevin Chesser

Robin Cook

Ken Cox

Jorge Luis Fernandez

M. Freerix

Tyler Friedman
author of Tyler Friedman's 2007 Record Picks

Aaron Goldberg re-issues:

Pádraic Grant 2007 was quite a mixed year for music in general. In the more mainstream releases, there was a clear divide between those who offered formulaic, by-numbers indie, and other artists who delved into the spirit of experimentation. Ian Brown's The World Is Yours divided critics, but was pure gold to me, a lover of strings and Marvin Gaye. The same division marked releases by Beastie Boys and Explosions In The Sky, which I similarly enjoyed. On the hip hop side of things, Jay-Z's brilliant, conceptual American Gangster captured the imagination with its combination of artistic integrity and commercial appeal, a perfect antidote to 50 Cent's Curtis. Overall, the album that captured my imagination was not the headline-grabbing In Rainbows by Radiohead (which led to predictably hysterical reactions regarding the innovative method of purchase) but Jens Lekman's Night Falls Over Kortedala, a release that points the way forward in 2008, with its humour, creativity and melodic ingenuity. On the whole, 2007 was quite a good year for music, yielding a few albums that will be considered classics, but the growing aesthetic maturity of some acts suggests greater bounties in the years ahead.

Jason Gross For my ridiculously long full list, see my blog.

Billy Hell The event of the year was undoubtedly the Dirty Three curating All Tomorrow's Parties at Minehead, three days of excellent music by the seaside. This was the year of Jim White, as he drummmed on three of the best albums of the year and the Dirty Three didn't even release an album. Time warped and almost infinite multitudes of music eddied out. Melt Banana were speeding up years ahead of everyone else, making hyper hardcore that sounded like it came from the future. Conversely PJ Harvey sent slow elegance from the past. Old hands Michael Gira, Throbbing Gristle and Dinosaur Jr all made fine albums. Lets hope it's less than another seven years before the next Shellac album. A nice surprise came with the reactivation of Wire but Read Yellow split up. Requiem: sadly Lance Hahn of J-Church and Paul Raven, bassist of Killing Joke, died in October. "Too many funerals."

Guiseppe Ielasi, Future of the Left, Laura Veirs, Jamie T, Sir Richard Bishop
Left to right: Guiseppe Ielasi, Future of the Left, Laura Veirs, Jamie T, Sir Richard Bishop

Ed Hurt

Jesse Jarnow WFMU DJs not withstanding, we all live in the secret museum of the air these days. Anyplace you can pick up a wifi signal, you can pluck anything you want from the ether: WFMU, a Japanese teenagers' J-pop playlists, MySpace demos, Beyonce, and everybody else. What's really weird, though, is that the weirder it gets, the more I return to white 20/30/40somethings residing (in the words of Bill Wasik) on the hipster archipelago. "Mars needs songs!" I typed into my AIM away message sometime last year, not really knowing what it meant at first, but soon translating it literally. Eventually, I accepted Vampire Weekend into my life, a conservative Indie balm in a world that has become too eclectic, and a million times more wonderful.

Ore Koren 2007 has been a "new-stalgic" year. First we have a debut project from the band of Damon Albarn (Blur) and Paul Simonon (The Clash) which's doing what the Germans never could - take Britain by a storm. Then we have new albums by two 70's pillars which show - especially The Boss - that you can still produce kick ass rock'n'roll even if you're in your late 50's or early 60's.

The last album in my list is also my favorite, featuring amazing Dylan covers, sometimes (please don't stone me) better than the original. My favorite song is Sonic Youth's version of "I'm Not There."

I hope that in 2008 we will see John Cale producing another album for Petty Smith.

Calliope Kurtz

Dave Lang

George Light

Ben Malkin
Commentary: Mostly exploring the past these days. Past present future is all now nowadays. Also, what will the digital revolution do to cd's? Will vinyl and digital downloads be our next incarnation of the future? And what happens when all the hard drives crash? Hope there's no earthquakes to smash the vinyl. Vinyl's revenge? At least it gets people thinking about albums again. And it sounds better. Q: What about those of us who live in tiny apartments & have no room for such things? The digital tidal wave crashes on our heads. (See ‘Neuromancer.') Cheers!

(ps: Blonde Redhead's new album really is one of the best I've heard the last decade or so.)

Ellis Maytham

I only bought one new album which was stunning

David Gilmour On Island

only 2 great re-issues I know about

Moby Grape Moby Grape
The Move Message from the Country

Alexander McLean

Domenic Maltempi

Marc Philips

Danny R. Phillips

2007 was an extraordinarily average year in music; this being my exceptionally opinionated point of view. If it weren't for Britney losing the mind beneath her hairless dome (something that provided me some much needed entertainment), the albums listed here, my daughter entering 6th grade and the birth of my son Jack, I probably would have taken some Hibernol and slept through the drudgery that was '07 in the Great Midwest. Alright, enough of the bullshit…. Here's my list in no particular order. Enjoy!!

Danny Roberts Yes, its true, this year may well have been 1994 again. Its been a heavy lo-fi reformation acoustic dance fest in my (serpentine) pad this year, and yes i've taken to wearing plaid and band shirts again. I can't decide whether i'm approaching the classic midlife crisis or if the majority of the bands on my list really are better than the current crop. Time will tell, but for now these were damned fine albums. I even found space for my fave local band Findu5 (if radiohead can release an "official" album without a label then why can't they?) and i may yet be the only person to actually like Baldy Corgans new disc. Hey ho, 2008 beckons....

Tim Shannon

Al Spicer

Mark S. Tucker

Keith Walsh Far from being a best of '07, this short list comprises my favorites from the music that found its way to my CD player or Windows Media app during the last year.

Kurt Wildermuth

Here's my list, and all the artists are old favorites:

These aren't the "best" of 2007, just the only new CDs I happened to buy. I like 'em all very much, and I love things about each, but "Release the Stars" is the only one I love all the way through.

Mike Wood

Stars of the Lid, Neil Young, Milton and the Devil's Party, Fire Engines, Japancakes
Left to right: Stars of the Lid, Neil Young, Milton and the Devil's Party, Fire Engines, Japancakes

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