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|Jom's Top 15 Albums of 2007|
As some of you have seen, members of the Sputnikmusic staff have been rolling out their personal Top 15 lists. Stay tuned for the authoritative collaborative/cumulative staff list by New Year's Day (as a quick note, less than one-third of my Top 15 made it onto the collaborative staff list [and if they did, they didn't crack the top ten, for the most part], so most of you need not worry -- my picks had very, very little impact on the collaborative staff list). In light of this, I'm not really going to post any blurbs (because, let's face it, none of you read those things anyway), but I will link you to artist mySpaces so you can stream some of their music. I know I'm the mainstream guy and therefore have VERY little sway with the purists/whorers, but any complaints about my picks can be directly forwarded to the Kiss My Ass Club. Happy Holidays and good luck and good health to you all in 2008. -Jom
|1||Fair to Midland|
Fables From a Mayfly
If anybody is to give a crap about my list (shut up, Magic 8-Ball, with your "Outlook Doubtful" reading), it'll be because this album is on here. One of the most innovative and intriguing albums of the year is fronted by an incredible vocalist in Darroh Sudderth, who seamlessly transitions from soprano to bass with impeccable ease, and contains some KILLER instrumentation as well. Track picks: "April Fools and Eggmen," "Upgrade^Brigade," "Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes," "Dance of the Manatee," "Vice/Versa."
Stream four tracks at: ://www.myspace.com/fairtomidland
Somewhere in the Between
The brass and woodwind sections on this album are absolutely stellar and trump what you heard on 'Everything Goes Numb.' Tomas Kalnoky, as expected, delivers anthemic, lyrics-as-long-as-dissertations tracks with gusto. "The Receiving End of It All" is their best track to date, without question, but feel free to check out "We Will Fall Together" (streaming on their Sputnikmusic artist page), "What a Wicked Gang Are We," "Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe," and "The Blonde Lead the Blind."
Also, stream tracks from a fanpage (it has better songs than the "official" Victory Records-run mySpace): ://www.myspace.com/streetlightmanifestoslm
Just like In Flames showcased in 2006 that they are still relevant in the metal community, Dark Tranquillity meet - perhaps even surpass - sheer relevance with 'Fiction.' Track picks: Terminus (Where Death is Most Alive)," "Nothing to No One," "Misery's Crown," and "Icipher." Stream two tracks from this album's Sputnikmusic page, or visit ://www.myspace.com/dtofficial
Blackhawks Over Los Angeles
Very socially and culturally aware, 'Blackhawks...' should be remembered as one of the best punk albums of 2007 thanks to its lyrical content but also its knack for combining technicality with melody and harmony to create some awesome tunes. Track picks: "All the Nations," "A War Called Home," "Blackhawks Over Los Angeles," "Calling," and "Mission Statement."
Stream tracks at: ://www.myspace.com/strungout
Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
I took a LOT of crap from every other staff writer for having this album so high on my list, but I'm not even a Motley Crue/glam fan. What makes this album so appealing and amazing for me is how it is centered around Nikki Sixx's memoirs (his book is a great read as well, if you are interested). Chronicling his darkest hours in his "personal hell" as well as his coming-to-grips with his demons and struggles to get clean, Sixx's story (sung by an amazing James Michael, who is one of Sixx's longtime musical collaborators alongside DJ Ashba) is unashamed and the album's production is nothing short of crystal clear. Track picks: "Life Is Beautiful" (one of the best singles of the year), "Accidents Can Happen," "X-Mas in Hell," and "Heart Failure."
Listen at: ://www.myspace.com/sixxam
The Hunters Lullaby
The Our Lady Peace frontman's break into the solo realm yields one of the coolest albums to listen to this year despite its short runtime. Comprised of hip-hop-esque backing drum beats, all-acoustic instruments, delicate piano pieces (courtesy of Chantal Kreviazuk, Maida's wife) and a very unique vocal presentation (according to the artist, this album is "a collection of poems put to music"), 'The Hunters Lullaby' should be listened to by all. Track picks: "Yellow Brick Road," "Sex Love and Honey," "Careful What You Wish For," "Confessional," and "The Less I Know."
Listen to more at: ://www.myspace.com/rainemaida
The Meanest of Times
If you even remotely like this Boston group, there's no reason why you wouldn't dig this record. From bar-room brawl topics to searing social commentary regarding their native city, the wide array of instruments the band incorporates into their sound can distinctly be heard throughout. Track picks: "(F)lannigan's Ball," "I'll Begin Again," "God Willing," "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya," and "Shattered."
Stream some: ://www.myspace.com/dropkickmurphys
|8||Jimmy Eat World|
Chase This Light
"Big Casino" is the single of the year for me (and I contend that it's even better than "The Middle" (from 'Bleed American') and "Pain" (from 'Futures') in terms of awesome Jimmy Eat World singles), but the rest of this album is very, very good as well. While it has a more pop-rock tilt compared to 'Futures' and especially their earlier work, this record is very accessible and very easy to get into and enjoy. Alongside "Big Casino," check out "Let It Happen," "Electable (Give It Up)," "Here It Goes," and "Chase This Light."
://www.myspace.com/jimmyeatworld for some short clips.
I'm sure most of you who are still reading this have been scoffing at my list by now, but you'd be surprised that this album has some great cuts on it. Having a bassist (Dean Bernardini, the Loefflers' brother-in-law) that delivers some punch to the rhythm section certainly helped, but Pete Loeffler's individualistic lyricism and vocals are really, really enjoyable. Try "I Get It," "Saferwaters," "Saturdays," "Paint the Seconds," or "Brainiac."
Listen at: ://www.myspace.com/chevelle
DIY purists clamoring for the band's early days can shove it. Moving to a major label doesn't automatically discredit you as an artist, and the effort that went into 'New Wave' is obvious. Track picks: "Thrash Unreal," "White People for Peace," the title track, and "Up the Cuts."
Listen at: ://www.myspace.com/againstme
A stellar mix of pop-punk and post-hardcore, even with a couple hiccups along the way, but there truly are some fantastic vocal and instrumental performances on this album. Track picks: "East of 1989; Battle Of The Bay," "Rx Contender the Pretender," "I Can Do This on an Island," and "Swamp Kittens."
While they unfortunately disbanded this year, you can still stream at: ://www.myspace.com/hopesfall
|12||Minus the Bear|
Planet of Ice
Some new elements were added to the surf-rock/alternative hybrid MtB sound, but the Seattle act is still as catchy as ever. If you like old Minus the Bear, you'll like this. If you haven't heard Minus the Bear yet, this is a fine place to begin. Track picks: "Knights," "When We Escape," "White Mystery," and "Ice Monster."
Stream some stuff at: ://www.myspace.com/minusthebear
My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go
Beautiful, elegant, graceful, and soothing are all acceptable adjectives to describe this album's mellifluous sound (okay, so that's five adjectives). Due to an unfortunate throat ailment, Aereogramme's vocalist (and the rest of his bandmates) opted to go for a mellower, simpler sound. However, fans of Explosions in the Sky, Isis, and even dredg are encouraged to give this a whirl. Track picks: "Barriers," "Nightmares," "The Running Man," and "Trenches."
Stream a couple tracks at: ://www.myspace.com/aereogrammeofficial
Try to quash your coughing and eye-rolling. I was surprised as hell, too, when I discovered that this is the best Static-X album this decade ('Wisconsin Death Trip' was released in 1999, haha) and one of the best in the nu/alternative/whatever-it-is metal genre in 2007. Shocking, I know, but Wayne Static's hair has always been that tall. Why was this album so good? It certainly helps to have the musicians that created WDT back (for the most part, the electronic drums still dominate there, but Nick Oshiro's drumming is steady and solid here), and while some of the solos by Koichi Fukuda can be irksome, they tend to bolster, rather than hinder, the album's core sound. And, as always, Wayne Static may not ever write songs with more than two or three words per line and doesn't alter his delivery much, but he is still a really, really cool human being and a charismatic frontman. Track picks: "No Submission," "Electric Pulse," "Behemoth," "Destroyer," and "Forty Ways."
Stream clips at ://www.myspace.com/staticx
Quick the Word, Sharp the Action
This album was a grower, but one thing's for certain: fans of the customary Hundred Reasons sound, as well as those who like a combination of rock, post-hardcore, and pop, will enjoy this album. Also, a welcome sight to see the vocalist return to expected form after having career-threatening nodes on his vocal cords in 2006. Track picks: "No Way Back," "Sick Little Masquerade," "Out of Time," and "Break the Glass."
Stream some of their tracks at: ://www.myspace.com/hundredreasons
|In case anybody gives a crap at this point (which I doubt, but I genuinely appreciate anybody who read/listened/etc.), seven albums that missed my cut are, in no particular order, the following:|
Say Anything / In Defense of the Genre
Do Make Say Think / You, You're a History in Rust
Battles / Mirrored
Explosions in the Sky / All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone
Bad Religion/ New Maps of Hell
Lifetime / Lifetime
The Weakerthans / Reunion Tour
Please do check out those records as well, and thanks again for reading/listening.
|Been a fan of Static-X for quite some time now. I have been meaning to check this album out. 1 and 3 are pretty solid. I need to hear 7,11, and going to pick up 12 some time soon.|
|1 is incredible. and 11 YES! i love hopesfall so much. i can't wait to hear what the new band is going to sound like with their members. hopefully like hopesfall. haha. 12 was also a great release.|
|Everything I've heard off this is good to great. This is still a great looking list.|
|jom it's good you have such a great personality|
|Most of these albums are great, nice work.|
|Good list Jom. Though in regards to New Wave, it's not all that major label/selling out crap that gets me, it's just easily their weakest album, plain and simple. Still a good album though.|
|oh fuck me it was late and who puts dots in between times anyway|
|I give you a "huzzah!" for the Static-X props! its so true!|
cept i like Cannibal MORE than WDT!! :O