Top Shelf 2007

2007Another year down. Everybody still hanging in there? Good. Happy New Year.

2007 will be remembered as the year that everybody finally realized George Bush has been really bad for our country. In the past, times like this have created a lot of really great music. Nixon, Reagan, etc. Did the past repeat itself? Not if you’re looking at the pop charts. That doesn’t mean that great albums are not being released of course. They are, and the lists below prove it.

2007 will also be remembered as the year that everybody finally realized that the music industry status quo is doomed. The executives still want you to purchase their expensive pieces of plastic, but music fans have proven that they really just want the music. Lots of it. And if the music industry can’t figure out how to give us what we want, we’ll just find it on our own. The rules have changed; scarcity has been removed from the economical equation. Deal with it.

Speaking of record labels, 2007 was the first year in a while that Glorious Noise Records did not release an album. I’ll admit that we’re all a little unsure of the future of that enterprise. We’ll see how it goes, but the phrase indefinite hiatus has been bandied about… We’ll try to be sure to keep all three of our releases in print and of course they’ll always be available for download. Cheap. And if you happen to find them on a p2p site, go nuts. We love the albums we released and we still want more people to hear them.

While we’re on the subject of indefinite hiatuses, our sports desk, the Out Route, has been pretty quiet lately. People move on. Things change. This is the internet; blogs are ephemeral. Our national affairs desk, POLJUNK, however, is alive and kicking. These are exciting times for politics junkies.

Exciting times for music lovers too. Lots of changes with music creation and distribution. More potential for democracy. Of course, with greater democracy comes greater responsability. And that’s why it’s the duty of all real music fans to seek out the good stuff and tell everybody about it. So with that, we present to you the Glorious Noise Top Shelf for 2007…


Stacey K. Anderson

Top 10 albums

1. Kanye West – Graduation

2. Jen Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala

3. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

4. Justice – +

5. Iron and Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

6. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

7. St. Vincent – Marry Me

8. The National – Boxer

9. Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris

10. Radiohead – In Rainbows

Top five new year’s resolutions kept

• Listen to more non-rock radio/albums

• Don’t completely destroy iPod

• Volunteer for vaguely hipster charity

• Stay in NY

• See Spoon/”The Daily Show” live

Top five new year’s resolutions broken

• Resist leggings

• Learn to cook crepes

• Write book of some sort

• See the Hives/Stevie Wonder live

• Correctly pronounce “Bowie” every time

Stacey K. Anderson has contributed to Glorious Noise and maintains Chris Martin Pants.

Rosie Berkman

Two Cow Garage – III

I first heard them perform songs from III when we interviewed them for a GloNo feature. Very quickly I was drawn in by the purity of their music. They were incredibly sincere and true and they rocked so very hard. On top of it all, they’re such nice guys that it’s hard not to love them. Their latest record is totally awesome. The songs are good, the production value is superior to their last two records, and it seems that they have never been better. “Come Back to Shelby”, “Camo Jacket” and “Blanket Gray” play in my head on a constant loop, and on my iPod even more often. “Should’ve California”, and “Mediocre” are tender and touching, while still being painfully real. This is the one record and the one band that I have been recommending to everyone this year who asks me what I’ve been listening to, and even those who don’t ask.

Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha

Andrew Bird puts out some of the most stunningly beautiful and captivating music I’ve heard in the past few years. Every record is a triumph of both style and artistic integrity, and his latest Armchair Apocrypha is absolutely wonderful. The arrangements and production give way to clever lyrics that actually made me have to take out a dictionary to understand what he was saying some of the time. Whether it was the infectious “Simple X” that made me want to get up and dance, or the questioning and reflective “Imitosis” I was hooked all the way through, making this an album I can see myself coming back to for a very long time.

Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

Some people love it. Some think it’s Dad Rock. Some think it’s totally boring. And then there are the people who just can’t forgive the VW ads. Personally, I’ve found that I can overlook all of that and love this record just for being what it is. It is not as complex as YHF (which will always be their crowning achievement to me.) It’s actually kind of pleasant. The one thing that really pushed this over the edge from being an ok record to one that I can truly love is the fact that it was the one record that my mom and I could agree on this year. I don’t often get to sing to new or hip music in the car with my mom, but “Either Way” and “What Light” really brought us closer together. Generally my mother’s opinion of music doesn’t affect mine (I’m kind of an elitist, and she’s kind of a folky), but this time it struck me that she was right. This is a really good record. Who cares what other people think? If it is perfect in the moment, just for being what it is, there is no one who can convince me otherwise.

Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free

As I’m sure you could all tell from my review of the latest effort by the fabulous Miss M., I adore her music and this record is definitely one of my favorites of the year. The songs are catchy and fun, but introspective and thoughtful.

The New Pornographers – Challengers

You can’t deny their infectious hooks or the charm of their quirkiness. Carl Newman has a way with arrangements, Dan Bejar has a way with words and Neko Case, well, the woman can sing anything. After putting out the more mellow and mature Twin Cinema a couple years ago, it seems as though they have found their balance. There are softer, sweeter sounding songs, like “Go Places”, a beautiful number sung by Case, while tunes such as “All of the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth” hearken back to the golden days of Electric Version. The addition of new ‘permanent’ member Katherine Calder who fills in for Neko’s vocals when she’s off doing her own thing, as well as providing new keyboard lines and singing songs of her own, has solidified the band into a fun live show and a solid line up.

The White Stripes – Icky Thump

There are times when I get so annoyed with the White Stripes and their shtick. They seem to be all image and nothing more. But, sometimes, man, they sound just right. They may not be fully original or innovative, but they must be doing something right, because Icky Thump is a damn good album. It pulls influences from the blues (something the Stripes are known for), Celtic folk music and 70s rock. “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” has all of the right stuff to form a perfect catchy little number. “Rag & Bone” harkens back to the days of vaudeville blues: it’s one big performance, but it sure is entertaining.

Jesse Malin – Glitter in the Gutter

Jesse Malin is an incredibly talented songwriter and his latest effort proves that he is a great talent in the ‘indie’ rock scene. The hooks are catchy, the production is spotless and the songs get stuck in your head. In a perfect world, Glitter in the Gutter would be played on the radio where all the teenyboppers could hear it. These songs are so accessible, that I can’t imagine anyone disliking them. In fact, I’ll probably start petitioning WXRT to drop the constant R.E.M and Counting Crows in favor of “Tomorrow Tonight” and “Don’t Let Them Take You Down”. This is where it’s at.

Grand Champeen – Dial T for This

Along with Two Cow Garage, Grand Champeen was another band that came to my attention this year thanks to my involvement with Whiskey Bender. It was another ‘where has this band been all my life?’ moment. Live, they rock. They’re fun and energetic. Their newest record is just as entertaining as their live show, if a bit slicker. “Nice of You to Join Us” and “Cities on the Plains” have been going on every one of my party mixes from the last few months. “Take Me Home”, a witty look at the life of an independent rock band, is probably my favorite track on the album.

Chris Murphy – Luminous

After spending a summer checking the GloNo mail box, I learned one thing: We sure get a lot of crap sent to us. It can be overwhelming looking through piles of mediocre CDs, but sometimes there is a gem or two to be found. Luminous was one of those gems. Purely instrumental, and yet never repetitive or boring, Murphy’s songs are joyous and celebratory. He has invited along song famous friends, including Nels Cline, Tim Rutilli and Victoria Williams to create an infectious sound that has a poetry all of its own. Often fine musicians ruin perfectly good tunes by putting stupid words to them. Murphy keeps his songs pure and that’s what makes this album so great.

Shawna James – Honey

Shawna James is one of those artists you’re not going to find unless you search them out. I was lucky enough to stumble upon her via a message board. Honey is a lovely little album, with the right balance between acoustic and electric. James is an inspiration for aspiring female singer/songwriters everywhere. She speaks her mind, hitting on everything from issues of gender roles ( in “Helping Hand”) to religion (in “I’m a Ghost”). In a world of breathy pop stars barely articulating a single word, she sings from the gut, making sure her voice is heard.

Rosie Berkman contributes to Glorious Noise and helps with Whiskey Bender Productions. She made an awesome intern.

John Boston

Albums

• Jesse Malin – Glitter In The Gutter (GLONO Video, Amazon)

• Two Cow Garage – III (GLONO Video, Amazon)

• Babyshambles – Shotters Nation (review, Amazon)

• Grand Champeen – Dial T For This (GLONO Video, Amazon)

• The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen (review, Amazon)

• Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Baby 81 (review, Amazon)

• Steve Earle – Washington Square Serenade (Amazon)

• Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger (Amazon)

• The Ike Reilly Assassination – We Belong to The Staggering Evening (Amazon)

• Son Volt – The Search (Amazon)

Songs

• “Four Winds” by Bright Eyes

• “Goin’ To Acapulco” by Jim James & Calexico, from “I’m Not There”

• “No Shame” by Two Cow Garage

• “Aftermath” by Jesse Malin

• “It Makes No Difference” by My Morning Jacket

• “Epitaph” by Two Cow Garage

• “Two” by Ryan Adams

• “Nice Of You To Join Us” by Grand Champeen

• “Weapon Of Choice” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

• “Atlanta” by Centro-matic, from Operation Motorcide EP (GLONO Video)

• “Valentine’s Day in Juarez” by The Ike Reilly Assassination

• “Highways & Cigarettes” by Son Volt

• “Angels On A Passing Train” by Marah, from the Can’t Take It With You EP

Shows

• “This Is American Music” tour at The Hideout (with The Drams, Grand Champeen, Two Cow Garage & Glossary)

• Neil Young at the Chicago Theatre

• The Chamber Strings reunion show at the Double Door

• Jesse Malin at The Double Door

• Von Freeman & his band at the New Apartment Lounge

Movies

• Margot At The Wedding

• 2 Days In Paris

• Once

• Into The Wild

• I’m Not There

• The Lives of Others

• Juno

Miscellaneous

• Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer (book)

• Laurie’s Planet of Sound (record store) – As a number of Chicago’s indie and chain record stores closed during the year, Laurie’s has thankfully survived. It’s the best in the city, and my last hope for my son to grow-up in a world where record stores exist.

• Watching my son grow, explore and discover throughout his second year on the planet.

John Boston runs Whiskey Bender Productions and makes awesome videos for Glorious Noise.

Jake Brown

For People Who Love Garage Rock

• Black Lips – Good Bad Not Evil (Amazon)

• Heavy Trash – Going Way Out (Amazon)

• White Stripes – Icky Thump (article, Amazon)

• Gore Gore Girls – Get The Gore (article, Amazon)

Hail, Brittania

• The Fratellis – Costello Music (Amazon)

• Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare (Amazon)

• Babyshambles – Shotter’s Nation (review, Amazon)

• Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (article, Amazon)

Solid as a Rock

• Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (review, Amazon)

• Son Volt – The Search (Amazon)

• Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (article, Amazon)

• The Shins – Wincing The Night Away (Amazon)

New Old

• Elliott Smith – New Moon (article, Amazon)

• Flying Burrito Brothers – Gram Parsons Archive, Vol. 1 (article, Amazon)

• The Krinkles – 3 – The Mordorlorff Collection (review, Amazon)

• Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall (review, Amazon)

Quote of the year: “If you had Coca-Cola coming through the faucet in your kitchen, how much would you be willing to pay for Coca-Cola? There you go. That’s what happened to the record business.” Doug Morris, CEO of UMG, who apparently doesn’t realize that the bottled-water business is bigger than the record industry.

Jake Brown is a founder of Glorious Noise.

Kristy Eldredge

Top 10 Best Soundtrack Moments Ever

1. “Fight the Power,” in the opening sequence of Do the Right Thing

2. “The Israelites” in Drugstore Cowboy

3. “Halleluiah” during the last 10 minutes of The Edukators

4. Leonard Cohen’s “The Gambler Song,” during a snowfall in McCabe and Mrs. Miller

5. Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” during the nightmarish car ride in Blue Velvet

6. “American Girl” while Jennifer Jason Leigh walks through school hallways in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

7. “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” by the Smiths during The Extras Series Finale

8. The same song at the end of This Is England

9. “Mrs. Robinson,” in The Graduate

10. “It’s Not Going to Stop” by Aimee Mann in Magnolia

Kristy Eldredge has been contributing to Glorious Noise since 2002.

Sarah Horne

Not Exactly A Baker’s Dozen of 2007

1. The National – Boxer (article, Amazon)

2. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (article, Amazon)

3. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky (article, Amazon)

4. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha ( Article, Amazon)

5. Future of the Left – Curses (Amazon)

6. Ted Leo/RX – Living With The Living (article, Amazon)

7. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (article, Amazon)

8. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (article, Amazon)

9. M.I.A. – Kala (Amazon)

10. Bowerbirds – Hymns For A Dark Horse (Amazon)

11. Call Me Lightning – Soft Skeletons (Amazon)

12. Jarvis Cocker – Jarvis (article, Amazon)

13. Bound Stems – Appreciation Night

(article, Amazon)

14. Maritime – Heresy & the Hotel Choir (Amazon)

Sarah Horne contributes to Glorious Noise and maintains Obfuscated Girl.

Kyle Kerbawy

“Big Ten” Albums of 2007

1. Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (review, emusic, Amazon) – also includes my favorite pop song of the year, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.” I never seem to tire of this album, it’s been on heavy rotation since I got it many months ago.

2. Blitzen Trapper, Wild Mountain Nation (emusic, Amazon) – Speaking of heavy rotation, I picked this up just a few weeks ago and can’t seem to put it down. Wild mix of sounds and great rock and roll energy throughout.

3. Black Francis, Bluefinger (emusic, Amazon) – Frank Black Francis sounds better on this record than he has in years. Think that Pixies reunion tour rubbed off on him a little?

4. Iron and Wine, The Shepherd’s Dog (Amazon) – This guy, and now his real, full band, too, just seem to keep getting better and better. A surprisingly solid set at the Pitchfork festival this year foretold this excellent release.

5. The Ponys, Turn The Lights Out (emusic, Amazon) – An overlooked gem. I forget where I read this, but it’s true: this band could get zachbraff’d with ease.

6. Dinosaur Jr., Beyond (review, emusic, Amazon) – A glorious return to form. These guys pulled the rare trick of not only reforming for a tour several years after disbanding, but making a great album on top of it.

7. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky (review, Amazon) – Warm, enveloping, and highly enjoyable. You can tell Tweedy’s not thinking about it so hard anymore, and just letting it flow.

8. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (review, Amazon) – The only thing more surprising than these two making an album together is how very good the album turned out to be.

9. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Living with the Living (review, emusic, Amazon) – Rare protest music that isn’t trite or preachy, just in tune with the times.

10. Of Montreal , Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (emusic, Amazon) – If I ran a dance club, I’d want Kevin Barnes’ band playing in it each and every night. Even when writing about depressing times, his stuff just grooves.

11. The White Stripes, Icky Thump (Amazon) – Demands inclusion on the list, if only for the lyric “what, Americans, nothing better to do? Why don’t you kick yourself out, you’re an immigrant, too!” But then, there’s so much more to like about The White Stripes, and this album.

Honorable Mentions

• The National, Boxer (emusic, Amazon)

• Blonde Redhead, 23 (review, emusic, Amazon)

• His Name Is Alive, Xmmer (emusic, Amazon)

• Fields, Everything Last Winter (Amazon)

• Deerhoof, Friend Opportunity (emusic, Amazon)

Favorite Shows

• Best of the Year: Wilco at the Fox Theater. I almost didn’t go, I mean, I’d seen Wilco like 4 times already, so what was the point? Well, how wrong I was. They were phenomenal, an absolute powerhouse of musical excellence that night. I will never doubt them again, I swear.

• Sloan at St. Andrew’s

• Of Montreal at the Majestic

• The Black Keys with The Walkmen at the Majestic

• Spoon at the Majestic

• The Hold Steady with Art Brut at the Crofoot

• Lollapalooza (fave sets were from The Black Keys, Charlie Musselwhite, Iggy & the Stooges, Yo La Tengo, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Hold Steady, Spoon, Sam Roberts Band, and David Vandervelde)

• Pitchfork (fave sets were from De La Soul, Nomo, Iron & Wine, Oxford Collapse, Mastodon, Of Montreal, and The Ponys)

Kyle Kerbawy contributes to Glorious Noise.

Tom Mantzouranis

10. Untrue, Burial (Amazon)

9. Sound of Silver, LCD Soundsystem (Amazon)

8. Let’s Stay Friends, Les Savy Fav (Amazon)

7. Night Falls Over Kortedala, Jens Lekman (Amazon)

6. For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver (Amazon) MP3: “Skinny Love”

5. Cease to Begin, Band of Horses (Amazon)

4. Spirit If…, Broken Social Scene/Kevin Drew (Amazon)

3. Boxer, The National (Amazon)

2. The Reminder, Feist (Amazon)

1. In Rainbows, Radiohead (Amazon)

Tom Mantzouranis contributes to Glorious Noise and founded the Out Route.

D. Alan Nash

10 Tips for Approaching Women

1. Monte Carlo

2. pack of Newport’s

3. 40 ounce malt

4. mustache

5. gold chain

6. fake Rolex

7. easy-e cd

8. cragar ss rims

9. Jensen 6×9’s

10. rolled sock in pocket

D. Alan Nash has contributed to Glorious Noise and the Out Route. Beware.

Alan Paterson

top 10 albums for 2007

1. lcd soundsystem – sound of silver (Amazon)

2. pj harvey – white chalk (Amazon)

3. radiohead – in rainbows (Amazon)

4. arcade fire – neon bible (Amazon)

5. bjork – volta (Amazon)

6. kanye west – graduation (Amazon)

7. feist – the reminder (Amazon)

8. spoon – ga ga ga ga ga (Amazon)

9. wilco – sky blue sky (Amazon)

10. ghostface killah – the big doe rehab (Amazon)

best reissue: sonic youth – daydream nation (deluxe edition) (Amazon)

best track/song: “all my friends” by lcd soundsystem

best ep: sigur ros – hvarf/heim (Amazon)

best album no one likes: jill cunniff – city beach (Amazon)

best movie: no country for old men – coen brothers

best tv show: extras – hbo (Amazon)

best quote/youtube moment of the year: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us.” (YouTube)

Alan M. Paterson takes photos for Glorious Noise. You can see more of his photography at ampstyle.

Derek Phillips

STUFF

The O.C. Cancelled!

News breaks that our favorite teen melodrama is coming to an end. Also: The Final OC Finale (for real this time).

Prince Reigns at Super Bowl XLI

His Purple Badness proves why he’s allowed to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol and still be taken seriously.

Sly Stone Re-Emerges

Sly returns with an interview and a couple live appearances. Sure, he’s a bit hobbled and the bar is pretty low for what constitutes an “live comeback,” but it’s Sly Stone fer fuck’s sake!

The Verve Reunite After Nearly a Decade

The NME’s relentless campaign to reunite British bands of yore pays off when Ashcroft and Co. return for a roundly hailed reunion.

Riviera No More

After six years and loads of fun, the curtain closes on my band Riviera.

ALBUMS

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights

I was happily proven wrong when I said that Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black was the best soul record in decades. Sharon Jones clearly rules over her Dap Kings and we all just live in her domain.

Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Dopey title but what a killer album. The boys from West Texas bring everything great about their previous releases (unforgettable melodies, killer guitar tones, hand claps) and add a touch more production to delver the album I’ve been humming since it first leaked.

The National – Boxer

This album got heaps of praise from indier than thou sites far and wide but it was a real sleeper for me. I kept glancing at my ipod to see what it was when a track came up on shuffle. Cutting through the 7,000 songs to get my attention time and again is enough to prove this is a keeper. NOTE: This is still not Jake Brown’s bag though.

Kanye West – Graduation

This Chicago homeboy has had a hell of a year. After putting out a fantastic album that out delivered on expectations AND forced 50 Cent to eat his words, Kanye’s mother died. Thoughts and prayers, Mr. West…

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Sure, she’s a mess, but why is that any reason not to love her? This is a pretty hot album that tends to get the ladies dancing so what’s not to love? Backed up by the Dap Kings on half the album, Back to Black is Amy Winehouse showing us exactly why we should care about her.

Babyshambles – Shotter’s Nation

It’s not a perfect album or even a great album, but it’s a damned solid album and that’s a lot more than most people were expecting from Britain’s other favorite fuck up. A handful of these tracks even compete with Pete’s best work in the Libertines, and that’s saying something!

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Apocalyptic ramblings from Damon Albarn backed by a Nigerian drummer, the guitarist from the Verve, and one of the CLASH!!! Awesome.

Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

For some reason, hipsters dog this album a LOT. I love it. It’s Johnny Marr playing the kind of guitar I like. It’s Isaac Brock sounding more like Black Francis than David Byrne. It’s got a good beat and I can dance to it. Get back in your satchel, indie kid.

Derek Phillips is a founder of Glorious Noise and also runs Politics Junky: The National Affairs Desk of Glorious Noise.

Jeff Sabatini

Top Ten Songs I Listened To While Mourning The Loss Of Kevin DuBrow By Drinking Myself Into Oblivion…

10. Metal Gods, Judas Priest, 1980 – Yes they were, for a time anyway. Everyone on this list, actually. Which brings up the thing that sucks most about being a somewhat older, somewhat wiser metalhead: The realization that the larger-than-life image that is a requisite part of the metal act is just that, an act.

9. Rainbow In The Dark, Dio, 1983 – I played Dungeons & Dragons during adolescence. We ALL did.

8. Hook In Mouth, Megadeth, 1988 – “E, we elect them, E, we eject them, In the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” The song that launched Dave Mustaine’s short-lived career as a political reporter.

7. Wanted Man, Ratt, 1984 – The backwards drums that kick off Ratt’s first album still raise the hair on my neck a little. Make that a lot.

6. Seek And Destroy, Metallica, 1983 – Nihilism as a personal life philosophy always seemed so cool back in the day, until I saw the sorts of people who actually praticed it, wasted and bloodied, destroying cars in the parking lot after a Metallica show.

5. Balls To The Wall, Accept, 1984 – The guy’s name is Udo Dirkschneider, which is, in fact, the hands-down coolest name for a metal vocalist.

4. Paradise City, Guns N Roses, 1987 – When the real estate bubble burst last year, no one living here noticed.

3. The Number Of The Beast, Iron Maiden, 1982 – Really, what teenager is not in the employ of Satan? Thankfully, most do not have the power to make their evil take its course.

2. We’re Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister, 1984 – One of the Sister’s two well-known anti-authority chants (you know the other), it may be simplistic but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Bonus points given for recording “O Come All Ye Faithful” to nearly the same tune on last year’s “A Twisted Christmas.”

1. Metal Health, Quiet Riot, 1983 – Anyone who wants to argue that this is not the greatest metal song of all time can kiss my ass. I’m serious — I’m not writing this just because it’s Mr. DuBrow that we’re eulogizing here. Sure, there are better thrashers, with better guitar solos, and just plain more lyrically inventive songs. There are plenty of better bands, many of which didn’t even make this list. But this sophomoric rant captures the essence of “Heavy Metal” as we used to call it back in the ’80s. Yes, that was when I was in elementary school, back in the days of the PMRC, back when metal wasn’t a punchline, back when Mr. DuBrow was still alive.

Jeff Sabatini is a founder of Glorious Noise and writes about cars for the Wall Street Journal.

Mike Visser

Top 10 videos posted on POLJUNK, a year-end round up to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you crazy…

April 20: Friday video: Bill O and Geraldo

May 29: Opening day at the Creation Museum

August 3: O’Reilly attacks Dodd, loses

August 12: Before space aliens took over Dick Cheney

August 19: “You’re going to look great in a burka!”

September 28: What you need is a good tasering…

October 3: Witness the Specularium…

October 11: Jimmy Carter: The U.S. “certainly” tortures

November 2: Clinton picks up AFSCME nod

November 2: Drew Carey: America’s most lovable pothead

Mike is a Politics Junky.

Todd Totale

1. RADIOHEAD – In Rainbows (review)

2. AMY WINEHOUSE – Back To Black (review)

3. ARCADE FIRE – Neon Bible (review)

4. ALLISON KRAUSS & ROBERT PLANT – Raising Sand (review)

5. DEERHUNTER – Cryptograms (review)

6. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE – Strawberry Jam (review)

7. OKKERVIL RIVER – The Stage Names (review)

8. BLONDE REDHEAD – 23 (review)

9. PIG DESTROYER – Phantom Limb (review)

10. THE WHITE STRIPES – Icky Thump (review)

11. IAN HUNTER – Shrunken Heads (review)

12. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – Sound Of Silver (review)

13. THE SHINS – Wincing The Night Away (review)

Todd Totale contributes (a lot!) to Glorious Noise and maintains Glam-Racket.

Stephen Macaulay

Macaulay’s Top 10

1. The return of the Police. No, not those three old guys that are making an attempt to cash in big on the Boomers before they all start collecting Social Security (and the analogous social benefit paid in the rain forest), but the cops that showed up a second time after I’d had that guy run into me. Fender benders are a bitch.

2. High School Musical 2. Actually, this should be in first place, but as it is actually the second, this works a bit better this way. “Why?” you ask. Well, if you must ask, the answer just won’t be satisfactory.

3. The Writers Guild strike. The theory goes like this. If people are tired of watching reruns, then they may turn to other means by which they can be amused. This could mean that they’d turn to GloNo instead for their entertainment purposes. This would then allow us to rocket in popularity, then cause the proprietors to gain all manner of ads, which would then permit them to pay us unseemly amounts of money for our endeavors. Of course, at that point, members of the Writers Guild would then recognize that this is where it is all happening, abandon their careers in television and films, and the next thing you know, the entire GloNo staff will be replaced by names that you generally see in rolling credits.

4. Proactiv Solution. This, as you may know, is the anti-acne product popularized by Jessica Simpson. Jessica’s musical career is about as relevant as her acting career; has anyone outside of her family seen The Dukes of Hazzard (the Pizza Hut commercial doesn’t count)? The point here is that good skin is a key attribute for everyone, musical or not, as it can distract people from what you don’t do well, as in Jessica’s case, sing and act. But it can get you a football player as boyfriend, all of which leads to the inevitable conclusion that people who write top 10 lists are generally all-too familiar with the disjectia of popular culture.

5. The Run-Up to the 2008 Presidential Election. Have you ever seen such a gaggle of buffoons? Sure, there are the exceptions. But overall, this whole two-ring circus (metaphorically a third party would be helpful) is the most entertaining thing going. By far.

6. The iPod. This device, which underwent still another stylistic transformation this past year, continues to stick it to the record companies, which is if not a wholly unalloyed good thing, then at least an amusing thing. The problem, of course, is that we will all get used to hearing music that has been edited to a state of marginal audio quality such that scratched 45 rpm records may be able to make a comeback because they’ll sound astoundingly rich. (Imagine what music from the following would sound like.)

7. Phil Spector’s trial. Not that I’m in favor of murder. But you’ve got to admit that his various and sundry outfits and hairstyle were nothing if not diverting.

8. Flight of the Conchords. New Zealand’s best contribution to music, ever. And this includes Crowded House and the various Hobbit-related musicians that Peter Jackson cast in his film. Of course, I’m not sure Bret and Jermaine weren’t among them, however.

9. Revolution 9. This, of course, has nothing to do with 2007, but can’t you just hear it droning from the White Album, “Number 9, Number 9, Number 9. . . .” Or, in reverse, “Turn me on, dead man.”

10. The other lists on this page. Damned if there’s anything important on mine. And you made it all the way to the bottom of the list.

Stephen Macaulay has been contributing to Glorious Noise since 2001 and ruffling hipsters’ feathers since he dissed Gore Vidal in 1982.

Did we miss anything? Let us know! And what are you looking forward to in 2008?

See previous GLONO Top Shelves from 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002.

Thumbnail image via “scotty dog 2007” at flickr.

13 thoughts on “Top Shelf 2007”

  1. My dozen favourites from 2007 were:

    The Aliens – Astronomy For Dogs

    It’s exciting. It’s retro. It’s modern. It’s unusual. It’s engaging. And that’s just the first song. If you haven’t heard the record, imagine the Beta Band re-recording Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

    Band of Horses – Cease to Begin

    I really liked Everything All The Time, but I fell in love with Cease to Begin. It’s the record that you can count on being there for you when your friends are all busy on Saturday night.

    The Hives – The Black and White Album

    They once again bring the rock, but this time with new-wavey sounds peeking through here and there. Most enjoyable.

    Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

    Fantastic stuff. I sincerely hope that this record’s appearance on multiple Best of 2007 lists will make new fans in 2008. Lush and ornate without being overdone – a tricky balancing act.

    Manic Street Preachers – Send Away the Tigers

    A glorious return to form. Ten cracking good tunes, finding a beautiful balance of romanticism, vitriol, and rocking out. The only complaint I had on first listen was that the record was too short… but then a cool hidden-track version of Working Class Hero emerges from the ether like an after-dinner drink to cap the feast. Tasty.

    The National – Boxer

    I had never heard of these guys before seeing “Fake Empire” on Letterman. After buying this record, I’m disappointed that I didn’t become their fan until now.

    The New Pornographers – Challengers

    Lots of people seem to like this record, but few seem to love it. I think this is their best album yet. At the risk of sounding sexist, their earlier records were kind of like the effervescent hot chicks you used to lust after in your twenties, where all the most appealing elements were right there on the surface. This record is more like the slightly bookish but ultimately more seductive woman you long for in your thirties. I guess that’s just a clumsy way of saying that Challengers is a more mature record, except in this instance “mature” isn’t a euphemism for “similar, but crappier”.

    Okkervil River – The Stage Names

    Thankfully we live in the internet age, making it possible for me to hear this record. The local record stations sure as shit weren’t playing it.

    Radiohead – In Rainbows

    Set aside the distribution hype for a moment. This record is excellent, and the band still sounds like it’s working from a different playbook than everyone else. Bodysnatchers, Reckoner, and even some of the songs from the bonus disc are going to be live concert staples for awhile.

    The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

    A new high-water mark for the band. And despite being the least Shins-sounding song on the record, Sea Legs is still my favourite. Makes me wonder what the next record could sound like.

    Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

    Still economical of sound, but with even more hooky rhythms and interesting ideas than before.

    The Weakerthans – Reunion Tour

    Winnipeg’s indie darlings return with eleven more tales of urban disillusionment, finding greater truths in the litany of the mundane. And Tournament of Hearts perfectly captures my remembrances of those high school evenings I spent down at the curling club for men’s league.

    Lots of honourable mentions too. Ted Leo, LCD Soundsystem, Joel Plaskett, Wilco, and Great Lake Swimmers all put out enjoyable records. All in all, a great year for new music.

  2. I liked Dungen’s Tio Bitar a lot. It’s pretty all over the place but it is just purely musical & rocks the hell out of most bands, and I’m surprised it has escaped so many lists. It’s not for everyone though, but not much is.

    Menomena has a pretty decent record called “Friend and Foe” and I thought I’d see them on a few more lists.

    Also like the Wilco. Great sounds, lovely tunes, and even as really good “lite rock” (dumb nomer, I know) sort of an antidote to the usual indie rock strategies.

    Radiohead is great as always.

    And the White Stripes had enough excellent, inspired songs on their record to make it worthwhile, even if there’s some filler like almost all their records.

  3. @Stephen Macaulay:

    Bret from FotC was indeed in LotR. He was an elf.

    and I’m gonna have to put them #3 on my list of New Zealand bands behind Tall Dwarfs/Chris Knox, and The Clean… So now that I’ve exposed myself as both a LotR geek, and a Kiwirock geek, I’m gonna shuffle off to my weekly Klingon lesson before I have to talk to a girl or something.

  4. Happy New Year, friends. In no particular order:

    Amy Winehouse – “Back to Black”

    The Shins – “Wincing the Night Away”

    The Broken West – “I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On”

    Okkervil River – “The Stage Names”

    The Weakerthans – “Reunion Tour”

    Band of Horses – “Cease to Begin”

    Dinosaur Jr. – “Beyond”

    The White Stripes – “Icky Thump”

    Arcade Fire – “Neon Bible”

    Gram Parsons with the Flying Burrito Bros. – “Archives Volume One: Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969”

  5. Things I loved this year (most of which were new to me):

    “I Caught You in a Lie” – Robert Parker (1967). Thank you Funky 16 Corners.

    “Conquest” – Patti Page (1952). Thanks Jack and Jake.

    “Secret Heart” – live versions by Feist. Thank you live-bootleg bloggers around the world.

    Betty Davis. Thanks to I don’t remember whom.

    Best old stuff I had kinda forgotten about but came across again:

    Little Feat. Thank you my man in Montpellier.

    Best downloaded live boot:

    Talking Heads at the Stardust Ballroom 1979.

    Summer Fun:

    “Separated by Motorways” – Long Blondes.

    “Fuck Friend” – Bitchee Bitchee Ya Ya Ya.

    Best concerts:

    Love Bandits @ Studios Campus

    White Stripes @ Zénith

    Brewed by Noon (w/ Marc Ribot) @ New Morning

    Allen Toussaint @ Espace 1789, St-Ouen

    Les Ongles Noirs @ Théâtre Mouffetard

    New Year’s Resolution:

    Listen to a lot of Roberta Flack.

  6. n8, I discovered Tinariwen way too late for them to make an impact on my ’07 impressions, but I’ll definitely be listening to them a lot more in ’08.

    More non-white artists who put out records I love: Ghostface (as always), Madlib (as always), Pharoah Monch, Aesop, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Randy Crawford & Joe Sample (EXCELLENT), Alicia Keys (flame away, she’s great), and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the reissue of Jorge Ben’s “Forca Bruta” really made every weekend morning in the summer remarkable.

  7. 1. abra moore – on the way

    2. suzanne vega – beauty and crime

    3. radiohead – in rainbows

    4. the innocence mission – we walked in song

    5. rufus wainwright – release the stars

    6. beastie boys – the mix up

    7. sinead o’connor – theology

    8. buffalo tom – three easy pieces

    9. bjork – volta

    10. iron and wine – the shepherd’s dog

    11. mandy moore – wild hope

    12. tori amos -american doll posse

    13. patty griffin – children running through

    14. andrew bird – armchair apocrypha

    15. the white stripes – icky thump

    16. ryan adams – easy tiger

    17. kings of leon – because of the times

    18. barenaked ladies – barenaked ladies are men

    19. wilco – sky blue sky

    20. the weakerthans – reunion tour

    my top 8 has been pretty consistent since september. the rest of the list gets tricky and it’s hard to pin down really, as i love all them a lot and think that some of the artists have made career resurgences for me. i also think the list from 9 down could easily change and switch over the years. they are all really good albums and it’s hard to choose which ones make it. a lot of it was based on repeat play and how often i listened to the albums throughout the year. good year overall.

  8. Todd, have you ever listened to the Sister’s version of O Come All Ye Faithful? I think it would be enough to change your mind.

  9. Wow – how did I miss the new Andrew Bird? It’s almost perfect – a worthy follow-up to The Mysterious Production Of Eggs.

    My other tops of 07 echo everyone else’s: The Shins, Modest Mouse, Icky Thump, etc. Really happy about Baby 81 – BMRC back on track.

    My huge fave this year, tho, was the discovery (finally) of The Black Keys. Unfortunately, Magic Potion was a 2006 release or it would’ve topped my list. Rock!

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