Having hosted radio shows and written for various magazines, I'm used to running down my favorite records/shows/etc. every December. But for the first time in years I haven't submitted a list or had the opportunity to otherwise profile my picks, so I'm going to do it now.

National Boxer

Occasionally I hear too many appealing things about an unknown band or album to ignore. This scenario usually leaves me thinking "what is everyone else hearing here that I'm not?" but The National actually met and exceeded my expectations with Boxer. This somber and beautifully restrained album instantly reminded me of the mood created when I first heard Red House Painters way back. Without really sounding anything like RHP, that is.

Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I keep thinking they must have peaked by now, but this album is easily as good as the three that preceded it.. maybe even better.

hollAnd The Paris Hilton Mujahideen and Love Fluxus

Two albums of clinically perfect guitar pop in one year (with another coming in spring apparently) and I don't recall seeing a single review, ad or mention of hollAnd anywhere online or in print. It kind of blows one's mind.

Scout Niblett This Fool Can Die Now

Admittedly, this one didn't really come together for me until I saw her play at the Media Club. I listen to and enjoy a lot of 'difficult' music, but this is a whole other kind of difficult, operating entirely within the realm of traditional rock music, but still needing a certain amount of attention and investment or else it just seems too obtuse. Regardless, everything clicked when the more rocking elements came to the forefront at the show, and I've spent a lot of time listening to this album since.

LCD Soundsystem Sound Of Silver

I found the first LCD album to be a huge letdown, especially after being blown away by one of their first live shows outside of NYC. But after the excellent 45:33 piece for Nike, I had a feeling SOS would be something different. It was, and the more organic approach to combining traditional rock/pop with dancefloor elements has me confident SOS will avoid sounding like the 00's version of Screamadelica 10 years from now.

all Death From Above/Abroad 12"s, October - December

Much as the broader approach of SOS was a pleasant surprise, in late summer the DFA blindsided us by pumping out an impressive run of 12"s by Holy Ghost, Mock & Toof, Altz, Bot'ox, Gucci Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair, Still Going, and others in the span of a couple months. Seriously, at one point they released three in a day and more the following week. Every time I thought it was over, another one would trickle out, mostly artists I'd barely heard of. For all I know, there could be another half-dozen planned before March.

Dinosaur Jr. Beyond

Even though I didn't spend that much time listening to it (partly due to the horrible mastering, and the decision to relegate the last third of the album to a bonus 7" that manages to sound even worse than the Lp), this is among their best albums as far as I'm concerned.

Arcade Fire Neon Bible

What caused everyone to gush over the questionable Funeral, I heard in Neon Bible. Musically and conceptually, this had enough depth to keep me listening throughout the year.

Freeway Free At Last
Devin The Dude Waiting To Inhale

Truthfully, I listened to the Clipse' Hell Hath No Fury a lot more than either of these in 07, but when I listened to new rap albums (as opposed to individual tracks), these were the ones.

Bruce Springsteen Magic

Dude has always had bumpy moments, and Magic doesn't escape this. But it's a solid album from the Boss if you can get past the frustrating (over-) production.

Sex Vid Tania EP

I get down with modern punk/hardcore about as frequently as modern jazz or bluegrass, but I do manage to stumble onto one band every year or so that reminds me of why I was so into that stuff 10-15 years ago. In 2007 it was Sex Vid. Managing to evoke the bleak, pain-riddled atmosphere of the best Black Flag stuff, the bad vibes just seep from this EP. Live, they're a cloud of pummeling destruction floating around the room.

all the No Age EPs

No Age rival Daft Punk for the best show I've seen in the last five years. After seeing them, I didn't just want more, I wanted to join the band. Recorded, it's just not the same, but they do manage to capture a lot of what makes their shows so great: equal parts complete chaos + noise and soft, dreamy melodies. Hopefully their upcoming album for Sub-Pop will be more in line with the live show.

honorable mention:
The Psychic Paramount Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural Lp

Technically this was released in 2005, but the vinyl version took an extra two years. This was a total shot in the dark for me, a completely blind purchase at Scratch based on two things: I recalled that No Quarter had released something by Earth; the band name and cover art combined to invoke a most excellent vibe involving feedback, transcendent noise and interplanetary sonics. I was right, more or less; Gamelan is some heavy, heavy psych shit that is light-years from the mental picture "heavy psych shit" just gave you. Very modern, but faithful to the spirit of what Ash Ra Tempel and others were cranking out in the early 70s. And very much in the red.

Next time I'll run through my list of the records I actually spent the most time listening to.

Back to the tracks..

As LNR, Rick Lenoir and Larry Thompson are responsible for the dance classic "Work It To The Bone". Later on, they linked with Gary Wallace and released a handful of EPs as Black Ice Productions, Chicago Trackwerk, Four On The Floor, and a few other aliases.

Here's the first side of their Playtime Kids EP on Night Club Records.

Men On Drums

I Need A Track (How Dare U Mix)

Men On Drums flips the Dominatrix sample later used by Kevin Fisher for "Women Beat Their Men"; I Need A Track is a raw, almost ghetto-style house track. Enjoy..

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