Stranded In Stereo: Under Review: Music 2007, Part 1

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Under Review: Music 2007, Part 1

We're rounding the month of June with a two-part blog showcasing the best releases of the first half of 2007. The idea is to list the albums that I think we'll be in my Top 10 at the end of the year, and see how many of them live to see that mark.

The Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
More sugar coated than a mouthful of cotton candy, Robert Schneider and the rest of the Elephant 6 collective created an album that wasn't just full of great hooks and classic pop songs, but also contained a new musical innovation. Dubbed The Non-Pythagorean Scale, Schneider used keyboards to create and entire new scale (discussed in much detail on the enhanced portion of the disc.) This scale helped create segues between the albums, balancing out such pop fare as "Same Old Drag" and "Sun Is Out." [
Buy Here]

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Easily the most anticipated album of (the first half of) 2007, this Canadian collective did not disappoint. Growing from their phenomenal debut, Funeral, the band relies on the huge pipe organ of "Intervention" to carry listeners throughout the "Ocean Of Noise." Hands down, though, "(Antichrist Television Blues)" takes the cake for its apparent portrayl of Joe Simpson and his management skills towards his famous daughters, Jessica and Ashlee. [Buy Here]

The Good, The Bad & The Queen - The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Coming together to form the greatest supergroup since the Traveling Wilburys,
Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz fame) teamed up with Paul Simonon of the Clash, Simon Tong of The Verve, and Tony Allen to make a phenomenal album. Rather than make some post-punk meets African beats record, the band (who technically claim not to have a name) craft their own sound. A very calm affair, songs like "80s Life" are nothing but voice and piano with hitns of Tong's guitar here and there, while "Herculean" is the best attempt at marking their territory, not only showcasing elements of all their past projects, but the work of producer Danger Mouse as well. [Buy Here]

Menomena - Friend And Foe
This album one was of the most pleasant surprises that came to me in the first quarter of the year. I was only familiar with the name of this Northwest band (and its obvious homage to the Muppets) before checking them out, and it's definitely still getting the most play on my iPod. (Fact: "Rotten Hell" is #1 on my Most Played playlist, knocking off Bob Pollard's "Zoom." Bloody Hell is more like it.) Even better is this trio's live show, where everyone shares vocal duties, the drummer beats the shit out of his set during the repetitive beats, and there's even a live saxophone. Ten points right there. [Buy Here]

Panda Bear - Person Pitch
I was never one who checked out Animal Collective, but maybe I should check out Strawberry Jam when it drops later this year. This is Noah Lennox's 3rd album as Panda Bear, and definitely not so far from the realm I've been dabbling in lately (really been getting in to lots of experimental/electronic/dub/dance stuff. Too much Hot Chip, but oh well.) "Bros" is the clutch centerpiece, a 10+ minute meditation that is equal parts Beach Boys (with the heavily reverberated vocals and harmonies) as it is Gang Gang Dance (everything else that is swirling around.) One would think you might fall in to a trance when listening to the album while staring at it's amazing album cover, but I haven't. Yet. [Buy Here]

To Be Continued.

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