Top 25 Albums of 2007

<p><img src="" alt="sexy" /> </p><p>Consider that, if not on paper alone, 2007 might be the most important calendar span in indie music's recent memory.  With so many big-name indie artists...


25. Band of Horses – Cease To Begin

After the band's lovable debut, singer Ben Bridwell took them in an even more ambitious direction.  This album features a bolder, more radio-ready sound, and each song is a little less wild-eyed and a little more complete. 

24. Immaculate Machine – Fables

The New Pornographers’ Kathryn Calder makes two appearances on this list, thanks to the wide-ranging bop of her original group.  She shares vocals with Brooke Gallupe and Luke Kozlowski, and the trio takes the listener from their boring hometown of Victoria to the wide-open oceans, without ever losing your ear.

23. Illinois – What the Hell Do I Know? EP

These Philly boys go to all fifty states on their second EP, managing to craft melancholy sadness, hip-shakin’ white boy hip-hop, expansive Anglo guitars, southern-fried rollick, fried-fried storytelling, and more – all in only seven songs.

22. Caribou – Andorra

1960s' psychedelia never had it so good.  The best part is, they're not even hippies.  Led by Dan Snaith, Caribou's knowledge of and ability to reproduce the acid days is unmatched, especially with the intricacy of the effects they employ on Andorra.

21. iLIKETRAiNS – Elegies To Lessons Learnt

After putting some English on post-rock by singing about the past in last year’s ‘mini-album’, Progress/Reform, these Anglo-Saxons expands their sound in all directions on their first full-length.  Epic and crashing like few others could manage, they can make one’s heart rend over the littlest-known tragedy of the British Empire.

20. The White Stripes – Icky Thump

Jack's legend only grows larger with Icky Thump, as it shows off a stranger side of the band, through some of the heaviest, most complex tracks of their careers.

19. Cocorosie – The Adventures of Ghosthorse & Stillborn

One of the most eccentric duos in all of indiedom, the Casady sisters made perhaps the most hypnotizing albums of the year.  It's loaded with both gorgeous simplicity and highly artistic material that seem to flow through the past, present, and future equally. 

18. Ra Ra Riot – Ra Ra Riot EP

Another smash debut, the ‘strings-included’ seven-piece brought an uplifting swell of sound to their EP.  Recorded before the young collective suffered the tragic death of drummer John Pike, the emotion was powerful even before fate made it that much more so.

17. St. Vincent – Marry Me

Annie Clark of The Polyphonic Spree steps out of the throng with a saintly record all her own, where the multi-instrumentalist plays the crooning barroom belle that is the shelter from the war in the occupied Paris that we all live in today.

16. Fields – Everything Last Winter

On Fields' debut, brit-pop gets a kick in the pants with high-flying guitars, soaring vocal harmonies,  and rare intensity.  The album churns strongly throughout, while including everything from heavy anthems to delicate serenades.

15. of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Not in a while has a relationship spurred such a creative process like that of Kevin Barnes' for this album.  Twisted dance moves, runaway electronic rants, and kaleidoscopic melodies are just a few of the album's epic desire.

14. Apostle of Hustle – National Anthem of Nowhere

Broken Social Scene’s Andrew Whiteman carves his own path, his own nation, mixing Canadian collectives with Cuban calypso into epic-yet-intimate folk-rock, and putting the rest of the Toronto Social Scene on notice.

13. White Rabbits – Fort Nightly

This debut album finds the Brooklyn-meets-Middle America six-piece delivering dance hall stylings to barroom indie rock, taking the listener on a rollicking journey through the Old West that exists only in our dreams.

12. Blonde Redhead – 23

After several albums that vigorously pushed the artistic envelope, the trio found a groove and made electronic pop just seem easy.  23 is wonderfully forward-thinking, catchy, emotional, and elegant.

11. The Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills

The Swedish invasion reaches new heights with the Stockholm five-piece’s fun and powerful sophomore release, as it effortlessly moves from bopping danceability to grand emotion, and everywhere in-between, all the while never missing a beat.

10. !!! – Myth Takes

Indie funk never had it so good.  !!!! has infinite energy and a near-limitless ability to write a powerful dance track.  Powerful electronics, thick rhythms, and a massive vocal presence make this album leap out of any speakers.

9. Feist – The Reminder

The first Broken Social Scenester to flirt with the mainstream, Leslie Feist landed a couple tracks in commercials while creating one of the most organically rich and well-rounded albums of the year.

8. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

2004’s Funeral was the biggest breakthrough success of anyone in indie-rock since The Strokes (or maybe Nirvana), but the Montreal collective somehow managed to release a follow-up that wasn’t stuck in the shadow.  No, it’s not as good as Funeral, but it more than stands on its own with driving power and orchestral hi-jinks.

7. Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond

Punk-rock all-stars Lou Barlow, J Mascis, and Murph bury the hatchet, reunite, tour, and record maybe their best album yet.  Drawing upon the band’s whole history, from the hard and dark days of the original trio to the Barlow-less grunge era to the sadder Mascis solo work; it’s everything you love about this much-loved band.

6. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

James Murphy and the crew further blur the border between rock and electronica with an album that transcends dancefloors, rock halls, radio waves, and even bedrooms.  Sound of Silver is indescribably unique and undeniably overloaded with cred.

5. Kings of Leon – Because of the Times

Already with a sound that belongs echoing across British music festivals, this rock family polished it even more, ingeniously mixing Brit-rock anthems with their well-fueled Southern fire.  

4. The National – Boxer

Move over Interpol and Editors, there’s a new king of sad, dark, Joy Division/Smiths-inspired indie rock.  The Brooklyn band has been growing with each album, and their impacting tragedy only gets bigger and more powerful on their latest.

3. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

The Austin alt-rock stars stay pretty close to 2005’s wonderful Gimme Fiction, but add a ‘Billy Joel in his seventies heyday’ element, which reaches its pinnacle in the irrepressibly awesome single, “The Underdog”.  Not a record that sweeps you off your feet on first listen, but one that will stay in your rotation and just get better and better with each spin.

2. The New Pornographers – Challengers

Initially giving a scare to their loyal fans, The New Pornographers escaped their sunny vibe and produced their most complex and inventive album yet.  Given the talent in their lineup, it was only a matter of time before the group put it to such multi-dimensional use.

1. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

Known mostly for changing lives with an acoustic ditty, The Shins blossomed on this album with vividly creative tracks that begin asking the question, "how big can this band get?".  They straddle the indie/mainstream line as well as anyone, and their lush, imaginative pop songs allure music fans from everywhere.

See also: Our Top 15 Albums of 2006

Staff Top 9 Album Lists of 2007:

 Chris Fore  

9.   of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
8.   Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
7.   Blonde Redhead – 23
6.   !!! – Myth Takes
5.   Feist – The Reminder
4.   The New Pornographers – Challengers
3.   LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
2.   Kings of Leon – Because Of The Times
1.   The Shins – Wincing The Night Away 

 Ted Chase  

9.   The New Pornographers – Challengers
8.   Apostle of Hustle – National Anthem of Nowhere
7.   Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
6.   White Rabbits – Fort Nightly
5.   Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills
4.   The National – Boxer
3.   Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
2.   The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
1.   Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

 Jean Anderson  

9.   The Sea and Cake – Everybody
8.   Immaculate Machine – Fables
7.   Black Francis – Bluefinger
6.   Feist – The Reminder
5.   The New Pornographers – Challengers
4.   Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills
3.   The National – Boxer
2.   Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
1.   The Shins – Wincing The Night Away

 Tom Balfour  

9.   Architecture In Helsinki – Places Like This
8.   St. Vincent – Marry Me
7.   Illinois – What the Hell Do I Know? EP
6.   Thurston Moore – Trees Outside the Academy
5.   Menomena – Friend or Foe
4.   iLIKETRAiNS – Elegies To Lessons Learnt
3.   The National – Boxer
2.   Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
1.   Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond

 Graham Goodwin  

9.   Fields – Everything Last Winter
8.   Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
7.   iLIKETRAiNS – Elegies To Lessons Learnt
6.   Ra Ra Riot – Ra Ra Riot EP
5.   Apostle of Hustle – National Anthem of Nowhere
4.   Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
3.   Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills
2.   The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
1.   The National – Boxer

 Michael Gutierrez  

9.   Cat Power – The Greatest
8.   Drug Rug – Drug Rug
7.   Low – Drums and Guns
6.   Ra Ra Riot – Ra Ra Riot EP
5.   Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
4.   The White Stripes – Icky Thump
3.   Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder
2.   Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
1.   Middle Distance Runner – Middle Distance Runner

 Anna Vesely  

9.   Grant-Lee Phillips – Strangelet
8.   White Rabbits – Fort Nightly
7.   Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Spirit If
6.   The National – Boxer
5.   The Twang – Love It When I Feel Like This
4.   Feist – The Reminder
3.   St. Vincent – Marry Me
2.   The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
1.   Arcade Fire – Neon Bible 


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