Best Records We Heard in 2007

Thanks for the link, Caretaker!


*They did not necessarily come out in 2007, which is what makes our list unique


Depeche Mode, Songs of Faith and Devotion

Early in 2007, my band Five Star Crush arrived in a place where I knew I needed to understand Depeche Mode. All I knew going in was that Mrs. Stasny, CHS‘ high school art teacher, allowed three kinds of sound in the room while we were working: herself reading “The Hobbit,” Loreena McKennitt, and Violator. I found Songs of Faith and Devotion and Playing the Angel one night at Half-Price Books, and haven’t been the same since. -h

Mastodon, Blood Mountain

Riffs from most every sub-style of metal you’d care to mention, songs about weird creatures and epic battles, superb production; Mastodon may not have broken virgin soil with Blood Mountain, but they mercilessly hit on all twelve cylinders throughout. -h

Ideal Cleaners, Muchacho

A solid second LP from Lincoln, NE indie-grunge heroes. The record is raw, short, and tight. It rocks from start to finish, and is more complex rhythmically and thematically than it lets on. Also, there’s always a caustic sense of humor in IC’s lyrics, especially in “Hey, Foxy Network”, my personal fav. off the album. -Cory

Flobots, Fight With Tools

This is the first LP from Denver, CO hip-hop group. They are comprised of a full band (bass, viola, guitar, drums, trumpet, and 2 MCs) and put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. They’re pretty political and progressive, and deal with race relations, poverty, foreign policy, and of course, ass-shaking. -Cory

Neil Young, Harvest

It’s just an awesome folk record. “Harvest Moon” is one of the best folk songs ever, it’s just one of many on this record. I just recently got re-into Neil Young (my dad blasted him when I was a kid), so it’s fun rediscovering. -Cory

Band of Horses, Cease To Begin

It’s ambient, reverby, catchy, and the lead singer has the same Neil Young/Doug Martsch/even sort of Tom DeLonge thing going on, but the music is big and epic and great. Think crazy echoey anthems. -Cory

Ha Ha Tonka (formerly Amsterband), Buckle in the Bible Belt

At an end-of-the-year show for Bethany College in tiny Lindsborg, Kansas (Swedes rock), I was treated to a thoroughly enjoyable set of southern-tinged indie rock by these fine young men. Imagine my surprise as they’ve showed up in the pages of SPIN and Paste since! -h

Snowden, Anti-Anti

Snowden’s singer and bassist have a gentle two-step, front-and-back dance move that I found myself emulating about a third of the way through their set at KC’s RecordBar. Dark, chilled dance grooves, subtle hooks, and a pervasive sense of small-scale mystery kept me listening all year. -h

MIA, Kala

When your one Timbaland track is buried in the order, you’ve got a hell of an album on your hands. MIA brought the color, sound, and ambiguity of the developing world into my house and car with a healthy dose of self-awareness and her completely unique beat production. 4/4 stars. -h

Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury

Just a great, great, great hip hop record; it’s got some “gangster” themes (lots of drug-selling rapped about, but it’s autobiographical), but they also touch on other stuff; once in a while they get profound, and the lyrics are always brilliant. Add that to great beats produced by the Neptunes, and wowie! Clipse was also the best act at Pitchfork Music Fest this year! -Cory

The Shins, Wincing The Night Away

A totally different record production-wise from the shins, and the songs aren’t as completely strong and awesome as they are on Chutes Too Narrow, but this is still years better than most other pop being put out. I hope they go back to being more folky, but that’s a selfish thing :) -Cory

Led Zeppelin, IV

I say we take Led Z out and just file it under “records that Cory should have been listening at least 5 years ago but never got around to” because this record is OOOOOOOLD! Classically awesome and I’m glad I was ready for it. -Cory

No way!  If you discovered it this year, it goes on the list!  See # 10! -h

The Hold Steady, Boys And Girls In America

What a refreshing experience to listen to a “hip” band that is as earnest as Bruce Springsteen, as nerdy as Weezer and as rocking as 38 Special! -Cory


10) Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model

Costello’s first record with the Attractions, produced by Nick Lowe, is my paragon of quirky song-pop. There is NO STOPPING “Lipstick Vogue.” I can’t believe I waited until 2007 to find out. -h

9) Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer?

This album is fucking awesome in every way and I am SO GLAD that I bought it. It’s really flamboyant and weird, but it’s also really accessible somehow. I mean, there’s a lot of crazy programming and beeps and boops, but the pop melodies are SO strong! Every song is a hit! And it is one of those great albums that are best listened to whole. -Cory

8) Kanye West, Graduation

I like it better than Late Registration but not as much as College Dropout. I guess every Kanye record is super different, and this one is just different in another way that I really like. It’s slicker, I think, but not in a bad way. -Cory

7) The Good Life, Help Wanted Nights

I like this record the best out of anything Kasher has made, besides probably The Ugly Organ. It’s REALLY bare, and tells the story of a guy who gets trapped in a small town on the way to CA. The songs are somehow really folky but also really pop-catchy (especially “Heartbroke”). -Cory

6) Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Somehow they bested themselves, even with all of the hype surrounding Funeral.  Neon Bible is just a better pop record, and out of all the bands out there channeling The Boss these days, I think these guys do it the best.  And at the same time, it’s a weird, dark, beautiful record.  It’s epic like Funeral but more to-the-point.  “Ocean Of Noise” is this big drippy reverb-backed ballad monster-piece.  -Cory

5) Radiohead, In Rainbows


4) Feist, The Reminder

I haven’t been this in-love with a record since Common’s Be two years ago. -h

I have been listening to this record over and over and over, and I finally get it; it’s beautiful, but I still have yet to connect with it on a personal level. – Cory

3) Elliott Smith, New Moon

A double-disc collection of b-sides and rarities from my favorite songwriter. The songs on this record are ghosts that remind us of Smith’s genius. The songs are vulnerable, creepy, breathtaking, beautiful, sad, and optimistic. It’s amazing that a b-side collection can be this good all the way throughout. I was a tiny bit bummed on his last official record (From A Basement On A Hill), and this collection of songs completely negates any disappointment I had about Basement and has become one of my favorite Elliott Smith CDs. It’s a shame that most people won’t hear “Angel In The Snow”, because it’s one of my favorite songs ever, and it’s certainly one of Smith’s best. -Cory

2) The Return, The Arsonist Plays The Architect

If Danger Danger Silent Stranger was The Return’s identity statement, fulfilling every promise implied in their earlier work, Arsonist… is a leap into an alternate universe where the rock is harder, the skronk is skronkier, the soul is deeper, and the melodies are even more incisive. Derek & Co. are masters of the monster they’ve created, letting it rampage and reining it in with perfect purpose. -h

What Howie said. Also, I love “Divisionism” SO MUCH. – Cory.

1) Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

It’s Spoon’s perfect pop record. I can’t understand why “The Underdog” or “Finer Feelings” or “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” didn’t sweep the Grammies. OR THE NATION. -Cory


Sally Ride, It’s A Trap, and Cory Kibler, The Silent Woods. -Cory

Katherine Lindhart, The Humble Antiphon, and The Combine, (Upcoming EP). I love that MFR’s music is getting more diverse, with our first art song and hip-hop releases in late 07 / early 08. -h