The Best Albums of 2007

At long last here are my top ten albums released during the past twelve months. Download all the tracks and play them loud, support the artist by buying their albums, merchandise, or concert tickets, and most of all continue to enjoy great music. This list was ridiculously hard to create due to the amount of talent in the musical realm, but, these are the albums that I was most excited about in 2007. {note : in the list below the artist name links to their website, the album title links to the album on amazon, and the iTunes link will open iTunes to the appropriate information}

All the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

01 : Cloud CultThe Meaning of 8 (iTunes)

Easily the most cathartic album I’ve ever heard the general storyline of this album chronicles the path frontman Craig Minowa took while coming to terms with the death of his son. Most of the tracks on this album have to do with what little Kaidin’s life would have been like {he would’ve turned eight this year} or how he inspired his father and those he met with the joy of life. It was a very close call between Cloud Cult and The Weakerthans for album of the year, but this band from Minneapolis pulled it out in the end. From beginning to end there is not a single note that I would change about The Meaning of 8.

mp3 : Cloud Cult – Take Your Medicine
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Your 8th Birthday
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Purpose

02 : The WeakerthansReunion Tour (iTunes)

Second place, and by a very slim margin, goes to one of my favorite bands of all time, The Weakerthans. Coming a full four years after their previous effort, this studio album had a lot of fans wondering if rust and age would tamper with the signature lyrical and melodic brilliance of The Weakerthans. All fears were laid to rest after one listen, though, with the only complaint being it clocks in under forty minutes. John Samson tells these wonderful vignettes about empty rooms, curling tournaments, and runaway cats that are filled with a sense of forlorn truth. Something in this album rings true on every listen. If you’ve never heard The Weakerthans their newest disc is easily a wonderful starting point.

mp3 : The Weakerthans – Tournament of Hearts
mp3 : The Weakerthans – Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure
mp3 : The Weakerthans – Sun in an Empty Room

03 : RadioheadIn Rainbows

Not much else could be written or said about this album other than what has already been said. Radiohead tops many of the best of lists across various publications and blogs. They released their album completely on their own, with their own website, and charged nothing for the music if that’s what you chose to pay. They bucked convention with this release, just as they’ve continually created new and innovative sounds on each of their albums. This, their seventh studio album and first in four years, is an amazing musical achievement even without the marketing {or lack thereof} hype.

mp3 : Radiohead – Reckoner
mp3 : Radiohead – Videotape

04 : Arcade FireNeon Bible (iTunes)

Although many a rabid fan and critic balked at the slightly new direction Arcade Fire went on their sophomore effort I challenge you to find another band that made this interesting, layered, and talented a second studio album. Moving away from stories involving apocalypse and funerals this album instead finds its voice in a social commentary of sorts {which is perfect when you’re influenced by Bruce Springsteen}. I thought this album was a perfect follow up to Funeral. Yes, it is different, but so are we.

mp3 : Arcade Fire – (Antichrist Television Blues)
mp3 : Arcade Fire – Intervention

05 : Bishop AllenThe Broken String (iTunes)

Throughout 2006 Bishop Allen, which is a collaborative effort between Justin Rice, Christian Rudder, and various backing musicians, released twelve EP’s; one for each month. It was with much anticipation, then, that I awaited their first proper studio full length this past July. And Bishop Allen did not disappoint with The Broken String. From start to end the storytelling, the music, the melodies, and the undeniable fun of the album had me playing it for anyone who would listen. Over five months later it still amazes me that this amount of quality music was put on one album.

mp3 : Bishop Allen – The Monitor
mp3 : Bishop Allen – The Chinatown Bus

06 : Foo FigthersEchoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (iTunes)

Foo Fighters released their most mature and grounded album to date while finding a way to showcase Dave Grohl’s massive talent without the use of a sprawling double album. From start to finish this album shows the diversity of the entire Foo Fighter’s cannon while always keeping you on the edge of your seat, anticipating what song is coming next. From a pure rock anthem like Come Alive, to the bombast of The Pretender, down to the the ecstasy found on The Ballad of Beaconsfield Miners, there is no stone left unturned on this, the best rock album of the year.

mp3 : Foo Figthers – The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners
mp3 : Foo Fighters – Come Alive

07 : Sigur RosHvarf/Heim (iTunes)

Sigur Ros is easily my favorite band that I cannot seem to describe to others. Or for that matter get other people to listen to. They’re a band out of the great land of Iceland and lead singer Jonsi sings in one of the most beautiful falsetto voices I’ve ever heard. If the angels from on high sang in Icelandic then this is what the music backing them would sound like. This release was a double album with the disc labelled Hvarf containing studio versions of previously unreleased tracks and the disc called Heim containing acoustic versions of previous favorites.

mp3 : Sigur Ros – Heysatan
mp3 : Sigur Ros – Staralfur

08 : BeirutThe Flying Club Cup (iTunes)

Originally scoring much higher in my list Beirut fell to number eight after repeated listenings. Although this album didn’t have the staying power I thought it would have it still is a solid effort from Zach Condon throughout the mix as he brings his particular ecclectic/gypsy/folk/balkan style of music and makes it a true edition to the great new American Folk wave. There’s something in his music that cannot be found anywhere else. Due most likely to his extensive traveling throughout eastern Europe during his developmental years and the fact that a wrist injury keeps him from playing the guitar properly.

mp3 : Beirut – Guyamas Sonora

09 : Band of HorsesCease to Begin (iTunes)

The critics who hated and/or panned this album when it was released have almost nothing in common with me. I, for one, cannot fathom what they were looking for in the second studio album from Band of Horses. Cease to Begin showcases a sound and style that are uniquely theirs; from the driving guitar rhythms to the unique crooning style of frontman Ben Bridwell. I thought this album was solid from start to finish with the inclusion of a few incredible tracks like Island on the Coast and Is There A Ghost. Band of Horses is one of the best bands in the past couple of years and I’ve been excited about their music since their first release.

mp3 : Band of Horses – Island on the Coast

10 : Sea WolfLeaves in the River (iTunes)

Rounding out the top ten albums of 2007 is this little gem by Sea Wolf. This band is the brainchild of Alex Brown Church, who formerly played with the band Irving, and he incorporates a variety of devices and sounds to tell his stories. Although at times the record can sound like a smooth amalgamation of various sources, in the end it is a blissful thirty five minute mosey through Alex’s life, music, and stories.

mp3 : Sea Wolf – Leaves In The River

Download all the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

And there you have it. In my humble opinion those were the best albums of 2007. Other noteworthy albums that didn’t quite make the top ten include In Our Bedroom After The War by Stars, Wednesdays by Wakey!Wakey!, From Here We Go Sublime by The Field, Sawdust by The Killers, Magic by Bruce Springsteen, B Sides Live by Zach Williams, Graduation by Kanye West, and We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse. As talented and wonderful as this past year has been I’m looking forward to 2008 when there will be new albums by my favorites Sufjan Stevens, Cloud Cult, the Magnetic Fields, the Postal Service, and Weezer.

For those of you who just found my blog take a minute a peruse other posts here at The World Forgot. I hope you enjoyed yourself this year, 2008 is sure to bring something amazing to everyone.

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Zach Williams

Today’s blog formula is simple.  Zach has some new music on his myspace so I’m posting it here.  Zach is a great guy {although we’ve never met} and he hangs around with great people {although I’ve never met them either} and they all play some pretty great music out in NYC {this I can attest to as Zach is brilliant, as is a guy he knows who goes by the moniker Wakey!Wakey!}.

There’s no long story here.  There’s not even an anecdote.  I am simply beginning to wonder if/when the rest of the world will wake up and take heed of the wonderful music Zach Williams puts together.  Enjoy the music.  Cheers.

mp3 : Zach Williams – Across the Bridge (Live at Rockwood Music Hall)
mp3 : Zach Williams – Got No Place (Live at Rockwood Music Hall)

This is what indie folk music should sound like.

If you like Zach’s style, and happen to live in or near to NYC, you can catch him live December 6th at The Knitting Factory.  74 Leonard Street, New York.

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Zach Williams

As long as I have blog left in me I will continue to represent Zach Williams as one of the best undiscovered artists currently on the planet.  He continues to play amazing live shows where he not only entertains the crowd, he goes so far as to woo them.  Yes woo them.  When Zach finishes a set and walks off stage the audience cannot help but consider themselves hopelessly in love with this sound.  With this voice, this style, this humble man from New York City.

I encourage you, I implore you, to please check out Zach’s music.  Go to his myspace page, stream his entire album on his own site, or just grab these tracks, and more, that have been posted here on The World Forgot.  Whatever you do don’t brush this post aside.  Let the new folk sounds of Mr. Williams sink to the depths of you and ease you through this middle of the week menagerie.  He’s brilliant and you’d be the fool for choosing not to hear his songs.

mp3 : Zach Williams – Dirty Feet (Live at Rockwood)
mp3 : Zach Williams – Mountain Water (Live)

The song entitled Dirty Feet is a little bit of new folk mixed with hip hop.  If that can be believable.  This is the live take of the track and it sounds a bit like jazz, a bit like new folk, and a bit like whatever it is you just imagined new folkhop to sound like.  The second track, Mountain Water, is more of the Zach Williams bread and butter.  It’s pure and simple with lyrics and melodies that tug at your heart.  His albums will make perfect Christmas gifts.  Trust me.

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Zach Williams

He has a new album up on iTunes, also available on cdbaby, and I would say this is one album that is a must download for anyone who appreciates solid music. He’s a touch piano man, a touch new folk revival, and a ton of heartfelt lyrics wrapped up into one performer. In the past he was headlining with a band called The Ramparts before he moved to New York to get serious about his career. And from the reviews I’ve heard from personal friends in the NYC area his shows are personable and amazing.

If you’re a skeptic you can head over to his myspace page and listen to some of the tracks that you’ll find on the download ready album. Honestly, his music speaks much louder than my reviews ever could. Please make sure to listen to the stand out tracks Got No Place and Hospital. It’s the type of music you can get lost in. And if you want a little more substantial offering either open iTunes or download the tracks here below. And maybe, just maybe, if you ask nicely I’ll do a few more posts about Zach here and put up the loads of tracks I’ve culled from various web locations.

mp3 : Zach Williams – Across the Bridge (Live at Rockwood)
mp3 : Zach Williams – Fears (Live at Rockwood)

Trust me on this artist, you will not be disappointed. He is easily in my top five best artists of 2007 and that is a not something I would say lightly.

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Zach Williams

Let me say what I’ve been saying for a couple of months now. Zach Williams is amazing. His music, his style, his lyrics, all things together combine to form music that is both interesting, personal, and original.

I would place Mr. Williams alongside such artists as Page France, Asher Lev, or Sufjan Stevens, all of whom he shares a faith and a similar sound with. A certain type of new folk sound with a lot of indie darling credibility. Acoustic yes, raw yes, delicate and intricate double yes. Although I cannot seem to find the exact words to accurately describe his music I would say that above all things Zach’s music is quality.

And on top of musical talent Mr. Williams has the knack of meeting and warming to people like they’re old friends. A friend of mine recently met Zach after his show at Rockwood in NYC and had nothing but warm things to say of their brief encounter. If you check out Zach’s myspace account, which I highly recommend as it’s regularly updated, you’ll find many people that not only love his music but have formed some sort of personal connection with the man behind the music. That’s actually where I met him.

Mark my words, this man will be huge. All he needs now is a little attention.

check out Zach on myspace

mp3 : Zach Williams – Maybes
mp3 : Zach Williams – James
mp3 : Zach Williams – Push
mp3 : Zach Williams – War of 38 (Guitar Version)
mp3 : Zach Williams – Hospital Dream
mp3 : Zach Williams – Fears (live at Rockwood)
mp3 : Zach Williams – Dirty Feet (live)

buy Zach Williams EP on cdbaby for 8.00