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12/17/2007: "friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears"

below is what i found best in music in 2007. there is a rough 1 minute sample for each, or you can get the full songs as a CD-length, single MP3 here.

hit the jump & enjoy!

Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
sample track: "Five Fingers"
i call this whip-hop as in white-hip-hop; i am soooooo witty. in truth, it is kinda urban-core-geek-hop: the samples and rhythms are more Cut Chemist than 50 Cent and the lyrics don't even come close to mainstream rap. i like all of that - hope you do too!

Jay-Z - American Gangster
sample track: "American Dreamin'"
modern mainstream rap, sold as a "concept" album (read: no individual track sales), with 70s R&B layered in. the Marvin Gaye sample on this track is awesome and Jay-Z's raps are as tight as ever. the 'Tony LaRusa' line is classic.

Dj Doc Rok - American Zeppelin
sample track: "American Dreamin'"
interesting mashup, which to me highlights now strong Jay-Z's lyrics are; they really standout in the pared-down mashups and mesh well with the 70s blues-rock of Led Zeppelin. check it out at www.DjDocRok.com

Paul Wall - Get Money, Stay True
sample track: "I'm Throwed"
H-town rap from the heir-apparent of chopped and screwed. if you aren't into 'syrup in your drank', then all you gotta do is slap on this disc, slide down in your car seat and motor real slow. same effect, less risk.

Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!
sample track: "Tr(n)igger"
mixed by Trent Reznor and Flood, envisioned and performed by Saul Williams, the man responsible for the original poetry slam. this track embodies all that is rolled up in that previous sentence. and the sample of Public Enemy is so tight. did i mention that you can download it for free? Trent seems really pissed at his old label....btw, you can pay for it afterwards like i did. it's worth it.

Black Francis - Bluefinger
sample track: "Threshold Apprehension"
best Pixies album since Surfer Rosa.

Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace
sample track: "Come Alive"
mainstream modern top 40 rock from the man who helped bring us grunge. what makes this standout is that every song is polished and pure; whereas i can't stand 21st century radio, if they just played more Foo Fighters, all would be alright. and of course, who can do the quiet/loud didactic better than an ex-Nirvana member?

Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
sample track: "I'm Designer"
whether it's 70s fuzzrock or Zeppelin-esque rhythms; whether it's California thrash or noise metal - this band does it all better than anyone today. and lyrics? Chuck Palahniuk mixed with Douglas Coupland...for readers (is the last line talking about Paris or Brittney?):
My generation's for sale,
Beats a steady job.
How much have you got?
My generation don't trust no one,
Its hard to blame,
Not even ourselves.
The thing that's real for us is: fortune and fame,
All the rest seems like work.
Its just like Diamonds
In shit.

Dax Riggs - We Sing of Only Blood or Love
sample track: "Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain"
i lived in Louisiana for about 1/3 of childhood; i would have stayed longer had i found Dax Riggs sooner. dark and moody like the bayous, while strong and black like my women. oops sorry, i mean like my coffee with chicory. ultimate tour would be Dax with QotSA. someone make it happen.

Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew - Spirit If...
sample track: "Farewell to the Pressure Kids"
on the heels of their 2006 Juno award winning album comes the newest BSS concept: each member will release an album of their own design backed by the other members of BSS. so what makes this different from a regular BSS release? don't ask me, i just like it. if you are new to BSS, then may i suggest: buy 'em all, let god sort 'em out.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
sample track: "Don't You Evah"
my second Texas-born band; these guys show why Austin's music scene still rules supreme. as good as any album in this band's catalog, which says a lot since 2005's Gimmie Fiction was Billboard's #1 independent album for the year. this track shows how to use Pro Tools and still sound real. think spare and tight, with wit and verve.

Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin
sample track: "Is There a Ghost"
two bands on this list are hard for me to describe: Bands Of Horses is one; Pinback is the other. these guys remind me a lot of Minus The Bear, which i know is making David's list. but for me, i found them more accessible. i still can't pin what/who/where the remind me of, but whatever it is, it is damn addictive.

Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs
sample track: "Good to Sea"
i played this song at least ten times after downloading the whole album. once i wore the grooves off of "Good to sea", i actually found the rest of their stuff just as good. from Police-inspired grooves to the progrock guitars and keyboards...i can't even really classify these guys, other than to say it is such an interesting album. i have heard "difficult" and "complex" in reviews, so might i suggest more than one listen prior to flame-mailing me. trust me, this stuff will grow on you like kudzu.

Feist - The Reminder
sample track: "I Feel It All"
one, two, three, four...i am guessing Leslie Feist sold more iPod Nanos than Wilco sold V-dubs. my inclusion here is kinda cheating, since Feist tours with BSS often, but hey, this disc shows her range and skills when not making hits with the rest of Canada's alterna-collective. and hey, if you buy the disc, you get that catchy Nano commercial song too....

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
sample track: "Impossible Germany"
more commercial music with VW picking several Wilco songs for their 2007 ad campaign. usually i hate sell outs, but somehow i am guessing that Tweedy and gang didn't sell out; maybe they just loaned the songs to them? regardless, at least it was VW and not some fat, white guy pants company or shitty beer (sorry the The and Jane's.) anyway, these guys make some of the most poetic music around. plus on Sky Blue Sky the guitar tracks are just so strong (this track is an example.) but warning, i find this release kinda melancholy. not that there is anything wrong with that.

Radiohead - In Rainbows
sample track: "Nude"
gimme break - if you haven't heard about this release, then just turn back to your local radio station right now...or shoot yourself in the head. either or (both feel about the same, i think.) what you may not have heard (once you get past the hype of NO PRICE DOWNLOAD!!!1!!11) was how good the music is. well, it is; really good and worth buying. i did. (ps - it is no longer free for download.)

To Be A High Powered Executive - We Don't Want It Safe, We Want It Secret
sample track: "Building The Fort"
one of the best things of late 20th century music was the rebirth of vocal-less music. whether it is the drone-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the shimmering bursts from Explosions In The sky, i really dig the style. these guys have added their own twist with the keyboards/synths. plus they have a song that clocks in over 11 minutes, a prerequisite for bands of this category.

Patton Oswalt - Werewolves and Lollipops
sample track: "The Dukes of Hazard"
i actually found myself buying several comedy albums this year; i am guessing it is b/c David cross didn't release one and i was jonesing. could have been b/c i was coming off TiVoing Comedians of Comedy. either way, Patton is pretty witty and his humor has an edge almost as sharp as Cross'. great disc that stands up to multiple listenings.

Replies: 5 Comments

haha - you beat david! you know he's sitting next to me right now cursing his computer (wordpress is giving him a go).

mrs. cobb said @ 12/17/2007 08:11 PM CST

p.s. nice job with the mp3! you've been busy!

mrs. cobb said @ 12/17/2007 08:13 PM CST

And you beat Atomic Ned too!!! "Impossible Germany" is the best song of 2007, hands down.

chip said @ 12/17/2007 09:59 PM CST

Great list. Thanks for the DL.

Check for mine Wednesday morning.

DAC said @ 12/18/2007 03:19 PM CST

i want a free download of friends romans countrymen lend me your ears. coz i have a exam of this speech thanks

jomar said @ 02/01/2008 09:10 PM CST

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