Burial Feist Imaginary Scoop Justice LCD Soundsystem M.I.A. Spoon Stars The Arcade Fire Wilco Working for a Nuclear Free City

Shortlist Nominees … already?

Maybe there are just too many awards now to keep track, but the Shortlist of Music (the U.S. equivalent to the UK's Mercury Prize) announced its 2007 nominees. The award is meant to honor an album that sold less than 500,000 copies. Of course, this year's nominees were picked by a guy from Snow Patrol, a guy from the Killers, a guy from CMJ and a guy from KCRW … and I suppose it reflects that diverse group (note the sarcasm).

And the nominees are …

  • Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
  • Burial – Untrue
  • Feist – The Reminder
  • Justice – (Cross)
  • LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
  • M.I.A. – Kala
  • Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • Stars – In my Bedroom after the War
  • Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
  • Working for a Nuclear Free City – Businessmen & Ghost

Imaginary Scoop LCD Soundsystem Radiohead Rihanna Young Marble Giants

The 2007 Idolator Critic's Poll is live!

I've been looking forward to this day since the beginning of the year. Finally the results of the 2007 Idolator Pop Critics Poll are in. I will be doing some serious geeking out over the results in the coming days (weeks? months), but for now here are the big winners, according to the 451 critics who submitted ballots:

#1 Album: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver

#1 Single: Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, "Umbrella"

#1 Artist: Radiohead

#1 Reissue: Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth and Collected Works

And for fun, here's how some imaginaries voted (I didn't include some because I was either not sure if they would be comfortable linking to their ballots because they were entered under the staffer's real names or I just didn't see them). If I missed any please let me know or include a link in the comments. Mine is here. Other TIG staffers:

Imaginary Dana

Imaginary Liz

Erik Gonzalez

Bob Ham

What do you all think of the winners and how the critics voted? Anything stand out? To me, it's a personal (and ideological) victory to see Britney score higher than Iron & Wine. The web page for the poll is a wonder of music geekdom. Please check it out and report back here with your good, bad, and whaaaa?s, if you're so inclined.

Chemical Brothers Digitalism Imaginary Scoop LCD Soundsystem Menomena Peter Bjorn and John Radiohead The Arcade Fire Wilco

Best of 2007: Tim Hanken's picks

After much deliberation, here’s my top ten for 2007.

  1. Radiohead – In Rainbows
    After all this time the new record arrives with out a hint of disappointment. They are the best band on the planet right now. Their catalog of work hurts this record in some ways i.e., “it’s not as good as OK Computer” or “I like The Bends better”, that’s fine but In Rainbows was still the best record of 2007.
  2. Menomena – Friend and Foe
    I couldn’t really get into this record until I saw them live and then it all came together. Musicianship, harmony AND whistling; ain’t nothing wrong with that.
  3. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
    This album got bagged on all over the place (Sky Boring Sky, dad-rock, classic rock, radio rock, etc.) but I thought it was an interesting example of what sobriety can do for a band. I love all the Wilco records and enjoy the eccentricities of their previous releases, but Sky Blue Sky was the first one that seemed like a complete and coherent thought. Plus I love classic rock so that probably helped.
  4. !!! – Myth Takes
    I played this album to death when it first came out. “Heart of Hearts” and “Bend Over Beethoven” are two of the best tracks of the year in my book.
  5. Peter, Bjorn and John – Writers Block
    I’m not sure if this is 2006 or 2007 or both, but whatever it’s a great record. I’m still not tired of “Young Folks” and the rest of the album is damn catchy as well.
  6. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
    I’m guilty of judging this record against their previous (yes, I know this makes me a hypocrite considering my remarks about Radiohead above) which really isn’t fair. It took me a while to appreciate this record on its own, once I stopped looking for Funeral part II; I was able to enjoy Neon Bible.
  7. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
    For me, this isn’t a record that I can sit down and listen to front to back, but it’s a great singles record. Just this week I heard a track on a video game and then heard another song on KEXP. I like every song on this record, but for some reason the parts are much greater than the whole for me.
  8. Chemical Brothers – We Are The Night
    There are a bunch of good songs on this record. I love “The Salmon Dance,” I can’t help it, every time I hear it I smile and my day gets a little brighter.
  9. Digitalism – Idealism
    Nothing like a little German electronica to get you going.
  10. Cave Singers – Invitation Songs
    I saw them play at Easy Street for their CD release and didn’t dig it. A few weeks went by and I ended up with Invitation Songs somehow or another and couldn’t believe it was the same band. Love the record, didn’t dig the show, I’ll see them again to try and solve this conundrum. On a side note, can you believe these guys don’t have a Wikipedia page?

Honorable Mention:

  • Burial – Untrue
  • Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood Soundtrack

    Both of these records sound amazing. Perfectly arranged and composed. That being said the times when I come home and thrown on either of these will be few and far between.

Bands with Deer in their names that almost made the list:

  • Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
  • Deerhunter – Cryptograms

Bands with Bear in their names that almost made the list:

  • Grizzly Bear – Friend
  • Panda Bear

Apples in Stereo Imaginary Scoop Imperial Teen Jens Lekman Just Jack LCD Soundsystem Menomena New Pornographers Radiohead The Eames Era Tracey Thorn

Best of 2007: imaginary embracey's ten favorite albums

On the off chances that 1) anyone cares what their friendly neighborhood imaginary film and theater critic thinks about the year’s music releases, and 2) anyone is doing anything at all during the dead ‘tween-holidays week, much less reading top-ten lists, here are my favorite albums of the year, alpha by artist:

  • The Apples in Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder
  • The Eames Era – Heroes + Sheroes
  • Imperial Teen – The Hair The TV The Baby & The Band
  • Just Jack – Overtones
  • LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
  • Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
  • Menomena – Friend and Foe
  • The New Pornographers – Challengers
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
  • Tracey Thorn – Out of the Woods

My films-of-the-year feature (coming early ’08) will be far more compelling. Promise.

Amon Tobin Blue Scholars Elliott Smith Imaginary Scoop LCD Soundsystem Menomena Radiohead Slow Six The Blakes The Saturday Knights Tiny Vipers

Best of 2007: Joseph Riippi's minima-lists

Anyone who knows me outside of the HTML world knows two things:

  1. I am a big guy.
  2. I don’t know my way around HTML very well.

In order to thwart my big-guy status, I’ve done many things over time. First, I enjoy minimalist art a lot more than big, bombastic art. This carries to music as well: I think the Arcade Fire are gloriously over-rated (too big) and prefer the more subtle stylings from big bands like that of Broken Social Scene. Arena rock was great. But it’s over. Let’s move on.

In any case, given that I like minimalism and I don’t know my way around HTML very well, I’ve opted to display my lists for 2007 WITHOUT the bombast of YouTube videos and such. You want to hear a sample of something? Ask Google. They’re small guys and they know their way around HTML. I’m sure they can find you a YouTube video or free MP3.

That said, here are my lists for the TOP SEVEN best albums of Oh SEVEN (in general) and the TOP SEVEN best albums out of the Northwest:

Best of 2007

  1. Radiohead—In Rainbows
  2. Amon Tobin—Foley Room
  3. Elliott Smith—New Moon
  4. LCD Soundsystem—Sound of Silver
  5. Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen—Book of Longing
  6. The Blakes—The Blakes
  7. Slow Six—Nor’Easter


Best Northwest of 2007

  1. Elliott Smith—New Moon
  2. The Blakes—The Blakes
  3. Menomena—Friend and Foe
  4. Tullycraft—Every Scene Needs A Center
  5. Tiny Vipers—Hands Across The Void
  6. The Saturday Knights—Demo EP
  7. Blue Scholars—Bayani

Amon Tobin Architecture in Helsinki Bat for Lashes Beirut Bloc Party Blue Scholars Bright Eyes Busdriver Cats on Fire Dizzee Rascal Ghost Stories Grinderman Imaginary Scoop Interpol Iron and Wine Jay-Z Jens Lekman Jose Gonzalez Kate Nash LCD Soundsystem Los Campesinos! M.I.A. New Pornographers Okkervil River Patrick Wolf Radiohead Tender Forever The Fratellis The Long Blondes Tullycraft YACHT

Best of 2007: Erik G's favorite albums

Sometimes I think it takes me waaay too long to come up with my Top 20 albums of a given year. There are a lot of internal debates and arguments that really have no right answer. Really, you reach a point where all the albums are good but how to rank them gets to be quite the challenge. This year was chock full of good music (not matter what the naysayers might groan). I counted something like 175+ albums worth mentioning in 2007, and that is only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything that was released in the year. However, I did whittle it down to 20… well, 22 if you count my 2 EP exception (EP’s don’t count as real albums).

If you’re interested in some sub-lists, like my albums “with apologizes” (albums I didn’t hear but should have) or “best imports” or “most disappointing” (hint, the band who made it rhymes with Milo Biley), check it out here.

So, here we go:

#21 The EP’s – Two EP’s made me happy this year, and really, they would be in the top 20, but it seems unfair to me to include EP’s versus albums. They’re both UK pop, and they’re both brilliant in their own cute way.

Los Campesinos! Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (Thanks to igLiz for this band!)

Kate Nash Foundations (Really, this is only a U.S. teaser EP for her great debut, Made of Bricks).

#20 Peter Bjorn & John Writers’ Block
Sure, everyone likes this Scandinavian band and I was a little behind the curve on them, but this is such a luscious pop record.

#19 The Fratellis Costello Music – Yeah, OK, this album is nothing special, but it didn’t stop me from listening to it over and over. The sort of bubblegum rock they record is just taking a page off of the 60’s British rock that makes me filled with glee.

#18 Tender Forever Wider
The newest album on the list, it’s that synth pop that I am a total sucker for. It might not be as infectious and well-constructed as the Blow’s brilliant Paper Television or YACHT (see above), but it is ridiculously charming.

#17 Architecture in Helsinki Places Like This
A great dance album, just chock full of energy.

#16 Jay-Z American Gangster
Well, it’s no Black Album, but it was a heck of a lot better than Kingdom Come. Jay-Z might be the biggest act in the world right now, not sure what to make of that.

#15 M.I.A. Kala
There are a lot of M.I.A. haters lurking around TIG, but I think she can be briliant. She’s not always brilliant, but when she gets it right, it’s dumbfounding (well, at least to me).

#14 The Long Blondes Someone to Drive You Home
A perfect post-punk return to Siouxsie and the Banshees with the New Wave synths bogging them down (no, I’m not dissing Siouxsie, really). The Long Blondes recorded a disc that is populated with ready-made hit singles, if only radio was interested (and boy, is Kate Jackson is sizzling).

#13 Tullycraft Every Scene Needs a Center
Probably the most mature and diverse Tullycraft album, but that is not to say that they’re missing any of their ageless fun and whimsy (did I just use the word “whimsy”?) Why this disc hasn’t gotten more press baffles me… maybe they’re too busy listening to messes like the Animal Collective.

#12 Busdriver Roadkill Overcoat
Thanks to igAsh for this guy. It is the sort of nerd rap that I gravitate towards (see also Del, MC Paul Barman, etc.) and Roadkill Overcoat is full of obtuse references and complex production.

#11 New Pornographers Challengers
I might be the only person in the universe who liked Challengers better than Twin Cinema. Go figure. There just seemed to be a lot more to offer on this album by the Canadian supergroup, but maybe I was just in the right mood for a new New Pornographers album.

#10 Bat for Lashes Fur & Gold
Think of Bat for Lashes something like PJ Harvey 2.0: the band is really one woman, she makes songs that are dark and sinister and the songs are seductive as all heck.

#9 Amon Tobin Foley Room
I don’t think Amon Tobin has ever recorded an album I didn’t like, he’s just that good. DJ’s seem to be a thing of the past, at least any DJ who is meaningful in the current music scene, but Amon Tobin seems to have been immune from this. (Oh yeah, and any album with the Kronos Quartet gets points from me, too.)

#8 Patrick Wolf The Magic Position
This album has so many high points (and its fair share of album filler, too). Wolf put together some of those unforgettable pop songs that will never get heard, but maybe that is what makes it so exciting (and check out Wolf’s outfit on this clip from Conan).

#7 Radiohead In Rainbows
Possibly the most anticipated “surprise” release of the year. No one really saw it coming, but then the whole world was talking about Radiohead, their “screw you record industry” moves and, well, a darn good album on their part. That being said, I haven’t listened to it as much as I expected. (By the way, not sure if this is the official video for “All I Need,” but it is great anyway).

#6 YACHT I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real.
One (former) half of the Blow, YACHT took that next step to put together a synth pop gem. It isn’t as lovelorn as Paper Television, but it makes up for it with just plain enjoyment.

#5 Beirut The Flying Club Cup
I feel like Beirut is slowly filling in that Neutral Milk Hotel-shaped hole in all of our hearts. The album draws in so many influences and so many sounds that each listen feels new.

#4 Dizzee Rascal Maths & English
First of two albums in my top five that weren’t technically ever released in the U.S. Dizzee has the leg up as Maths & English was released digitally, but that just baffles me as the album is the most “America friendly” Dizzee has recorded. It is just filthy, from start to finish.

#3 Cats on Fire The Province Complains
My find from Finland (and lacking a U.S. release), Cats on Fire put down one of those melancholy pop albums that you wish Belle & Sebastian could record. It is only a matter of time now before Cats on Fire wins the hearts of all the dark-sweater-and-bespectacled modern rockers of the States.

#2 Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala
You just knew he would record an absolute gem. All his talk about retiring was just he Scandinavian version of Jay Z’s posturing, and what he went and did was record an album that matures his sound, tackles new directions and is generally impossible to ignore. (And how charming is this version of “The Opposite of Hallelujah” recorded in Japan with a makeshift band?)

#1 LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver
Congratulations! You made it, and is it any surprise what you find at #1 for 2007? Pretty much since the first time I popped Sound of Silver in and heard it unfold, I knew this album was special. James Murphy is so dynamic and captivating, creating club anthems (“North American Scum”), techno-ballads (“Someone Great”) and even a classic crooner (“New York I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down”). It might not seem monumental yet, but just you wait.


Honorable Mentions: Ghost Stories – Quixoticism; Grinderman – Grinderman; Jose Gonzalez – In Our Nature; Okkervil River – The Stage Names; Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond; Blue Scholars – Bayani; Bloc Party – Weekend in the City; Interpol – Our Love to Admire; Bright Eyes – Cassadaga; Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

Architecture in Helsinki Bloc Party Die Fantastischen Vier Dinosaur Jr. Dizzee Rascal Imaginary Scoop Jens Lekman K.I.Z. Kanye West Kate Nash Kings of Leon LCD Soundsystem Patrick Wolf Rumble Strips Ted Leo & the Pharmacists The Horrors

Best of 2007: Erik G's favorite songs

OK, well, nobody likes to reflect and rank more than I do (I’m a scientist, I love to quantify), so here goes. I’ve got my favorite songs of 2007 – no, not best or most innovative, but rather the songs I liked … lots and lots and lots. There is a little overlap from my forthcoming Best Albums, but also some curveballs. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention:

  • “Girls and Boys in Love” by the Rumble Strips
  • “Sons of Cain” by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
  • “Jack the Ripper” by the Horrors (special note: If the Horrors had a brain and released the original fast demo version of this song on their debut Strange House, it would have been an easy top 10.)
  • “Ragoo” by Kings of Leon
  • “Heart It Races” by Architecture in Helsinki
  • “Geld Essen” by K.I.Z.

#10. “The Prayer” by Bloc Party from Weekend in the City – This song is one of the most interesting songs Bloc Party has recorded. Too bad the rest of the album (short of “Hunting for Witches”) just wasn’t as cool.

#9 “Heinrich Maneuver” by Interpol from Our Love to Admire – OK, well, this is really nothing we haven’t heard before from Interpol, but heck, their skill lies in writing incredibly catchy, dark pop songs. And as much as I tried, I couldn’t stop listening to the song … too bad the whole album didn’t have the same effect on me.

#8 “Stronger” by Kanye West from Graduation – Seems like every time I think “Kanye is just overrated” he goes and records a song like this. OK, sure, he stole … er, em … borrowed a lot of it from Daft Punk, but then he had then in the video, so they’re all good. The man knows who to turn French techno into U.S. hip-hop gold.

#7 “Einfach Sein” by Die Fantastischen Vier from Fornika – The first of the songs that weren’t really ever released in the U.S. Die Fantastischen Vier are Germany’s godfather’s of hip-hop and this song is sort of their “well, we’re middle aged now” song … bitterly ironic and fabulous.

#6 “Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo” by Jens Lekman from Night Falls Over Kortedala – If anything, the new Jens Lekman album just had too many great songs for me to find just one to obsess over, but this one might be my favorite Jens song ever (even if some people I know get driven nuts by the saxophone).

#5 “Pussy’ole (Old Skool” by Dizzee Rascal from Maths & English – Technically, the U.S. “digital-only” release of Maths & English didn’t include this song thanks to sampling issues, but it might be the perfect melding of old school and new school, with Dizzee in his top form.

#4 “Almost Ready” by Dinosaur Jr. from Beyond – Now, if someone told me at the beginning of the year that Dinosaur Jr. would have recorded one of my favorite new songs of 2007, I would have thought you were crazy. Lo and behold, Gandalf, er, J Mascis the Grey put together the most purely enjoyable rock song of the year.

#3 “Foundations” by Kate Nash from Made of Bricks – This song might be the biggest “guilty pleasure” song of the year for me. I really have no right to like the song as much as I do, but I found myself listening to the song over and over and humming it when I was wandering about. If this can’t become a U.S. hit, I’ll be convinced that American music listeners are scared of “British” songs.

#2 “The Magic Position” by Patrick Wolf from The Magic Position – Handclaps, oboes, footstomps, this song was such a remarkable piece of music that you can find something new to hear with every listen. Patrick Wolf really is the pop answer to Conor Oberst, a wunderkin of modern rock, and I can’t wait to hear where else he can take us.

#1 “Someone Great” by LCD Soundsystem from Sound of Silver – I honestly don’t know what I can say about this song. The other day I was driving to SF and this song came up on my iPod. It literally made me tear up. Yes, that is sad in a number of ways, but the fact that James Murphy could record an electronic epic packed with so much feeling is a testament to his genius. Hands down my favorite song of the year. (Note: I wouldn’t normally link to a cheesy fan-made version of the video, but the edited version of the song from the official video is a travesty.)

Stay tuned for my best albums (if you need something to read)…

Aqueduct Blue Scholars Brandi Carlile Charmparticles Eddie Vedder Fleet Foxes Imaginary Scoop Interpol Justin Timberlake LCD Soundsystem Menomena Minus the Bear Modest Mouse Ms. Led Paramore Schoolyard Heroes Siberian Spoon The Klaxons The Shins

Best of 2007: imaginary stella's picks

It’s always odd to revisit what you’ve reviewed over the course of a year. Sometimes, much can change – as after subsequent listenings, you realize that record you thought was pretty decent just blows (see The Killers’ Sam’s Town) or you come to love an album that you’d previously dismissed as mediocre (see “Into the Wild” soundtrack). The true test of a “best release of the year” is its stability, so I’ve tried to pick “long-haul” contenders—albums I’ll go to for months (or even years) to come, with no requirement for a set amount of finalists. Here’s what made the cut…


  • LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (this one sits significantly higher than the rest)
  • Interpol: Our Love to Admire
  • The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
  • Eddie Vedder: “Into the Wild” soundtrack
  • Minus the Bear: Planet of Ice
  • Aqueduct: Or Give Me Death

And, topping the list of what sadly wasn’t as good as I expected:
Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

I’ll leave it at that. I can hardly fathom how disappointed I was by that output (mixing the quirky fire of Modest Mouse with legendary jangler Johnny Marr? How did it fall so flat?).


Not that NW artists don’t count in overall, national polls! I just felt like making a separate list. To wit:

  • The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
  • Eddie Vedder: “Into the Wild” soundtrack
  • Minus the Bear: Planet of Ice
  • Aqueduct: Or Give Me Death
  • Blue Scholars: Bayani
  • Ms. Led: Shake Yourself Awake
  • Siberian: With Me
  • Schoolyard Heroes: Abominations
  • Menomena: Friend and Foe
  • Charmparticles: Alive in the Hotspell



Just call me John Cusack in “High Fidelity” — I can’t stop making lists! Here are my top songs of 2007. This is basically a list of the most-played new tracks on my iPod this year…

  • “Underdog” by Spoon
  • “Dashboard” by Modest Mouse
  • “Split Needles” by The Shins
  • “Someone Great” by LCD Soundsystem
  • “Golden Skans” by Klaxons
  • “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
  • “Misery Business” by Paramore
  • “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
  • “What Goes Around…Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake


Art Brut Fountains of Wayne Imaginary Scoop Imperial Teen Kelly Clarkson LCD Soundsystem Marnie Stern Nellie McKay New Young Pony Club Sally Shapiro Spoon

Best of 2007: ChrisB's Top 10 list

{Over the coming weeks, our staff writers here at TIG will be posting their best of 2007 lists. We welcome you to read, comment… and most of all, VOTE for your own favorites in our Best of 2007 Readers Poll.}


Since I have the time and am not terribly anxious to go outside in the rain again but am looking to start an argument or two, here's my list of my top 10 albums of the year, with YouTube-age of my favorite song from each album (where available).

I also want to encourage everyone comment and/or to list their top 10s in the comments below.

10. My December, Kelly Clarkson, Sony/BMG (song: "How I Feel"):

9. In Advance of the Broken Arm, Marnie Stern, Kill Rock Stars (song: "Every Single Line Means Something"):

8. Fantastic Playroom, New Young Pony Club, Modular (song: "Ice Cream"):

7. Disco Romance, Sally Shapiro, Diskokaine (song: "Hold Me So Tight"):

6. It's a Bit Complicated, Art Brut, Downtown (song: "Direct Hit"):

5. Traffic & Weather, Fountains of Wayne, Virgin (song: "Someone to Love"):

4. Sound of Silver, LCD Soundsystem, Capitol/DFA (song: "North American Scum"):

3. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon, Merge (song: "Eddie's Ragga"):

2. Obligatory Villagers, Nellie McKay, Vanguard (song: "Zombie"):

1. The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band, Imperial Teen, Merge (song: "Room With a View"):

Feist Imaginary Scoop LCD Soundsystem

Let's add another list: Amazon's staff Top 30 for 2007

If we're looking for the mainstream USA "Best of 2007", here it is: the staff list!


1. Feist: The Reminder
2. LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
3. Kanye West: Graduation
4. Radiohead: In Rainbows
5. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
6. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
7. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
8. Elliott Smith: New Moon
9. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
10. Robert Plant/Allison Krauss: Raising Sand
11. Kings of Leon: Because of the Times
12. Ryan Adams: Easy Tiger
13. Lily Allen: Alright, Still
14. M.I.A.: Kala
15. The National: Boxer
16. Stars: In Our Bedroom After the War
17. Panda Bear: Person Pitch
18. Foo Fighters: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
19. Peter Bjorn and John: Writer's Block
20. Wilco: Sky Blue Sky
21. Patrick Wolf: The Magic Position
22. Common: Finding Forever
23. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings: 100 Days, 100 Nights
24. Bloc Party: Weekend in the City
25. Blonde Redhead: 23