Friday, June 29, 2007

JK's Mid-Year Assessment

As we reach the mid-point of a year that seems to be flying by, I thought I'd throw out some selections for my favorites albums thus far in 2007. Six months in and the music is already far better than most of what I heard last year; and a Radiohead album is looming on the horizon. As solid as the albums have been this year, I've been equally disappointed by sophomore slumps from hyped UK bands that I've been following ever-so-closely across the past couple years. The guilty, in order of preference:

- Bloc Party: probably the best of the bunch only because they released a collection of 11 b-sides nearly as good as the album itself.
- Maximo Park: I think this is better than it gets credit for but definitely a step down from their debut. The last few songs represent a significant drop off from the opening 2/3rds of the album.
- Editors: It appears they've captured some of their live energy on this one and while there are several excellent songs ("An End Has a Start", "The Racing Rats", and "Escape the Nest") there is some filler on an already short album.
- Arctic Monkeys: Probably the best reviewed of the bunch but I never really got into it.
- Kaiser Chiefs: Just awful.

And with that, here are some JK-approved picks:

1. The National - Boxer
2. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
3. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
4. Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
Handsome Furs - Plague Park

Honorable mention to White Rabbits, Arbouretum, and Apostle of Hustle.

I've only listened to the new Interpol a few times. The first time I heard it, I was pretty sure it was terrible. Fortunately, it's getting marginally better with each listen. How far that goes, I'm not sure. No question that "Pioneer to the Falls" and "Mammoth" are both awesome songs. While it's still too early to pass judgement, I'm fairly certain it's going to provide some strong opinions one way or the other.

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