Following its often noisy predecessor, Cryptograms, Microcastle
mostly eschews rage for atmospherics, offering a gentler and more
meditative Deerhunter. Whether it’s due to Bradford Cox’s time spent
touring and releasing records as Atlas Sound or simply stylistic
evolution, the gorgeous pop melodies paired with fuzzy, laidback
guitars suit his proper band just fine.
9. Lucinda Williams - Little Honey [Lost Highway]
After a career of breaking our hearts with lovelorn laments, Williams
kicks off her ninth LP with unbridled glee. It’s her most sonically and
emotionally diverse record ever, and her best since Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.
8. Sun Kil Moon - April [Caldo Verde]
Kozelek’s comforting voice floats on a blanket of ringing guitars, a
ray of golden solace peaking through dissipating springtime
thunderheads;?a harbinger of struggled-for inner peace.
7. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals [Illegal Art]
Gillis creates giddy friction between disparate moods, tempos and
genres—all of which hook up like drunken college kids. In an
apocalyptic year, Animals sounds like the last party on Earth,
one final chance to cram in every great beat, hook and riff before the
whole planet goes poof.
6. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes [Sub Pop]
calling this Seattle band’s debut “pastoral,” eliminates countless
opportunities for fun with psycho-topography: Opener “Sun It Rises”
shimmers like a silvery mountain lake, “Oliver James” howls up from a
glorious harmonic canyon, and “Meadowlarks” best embodies the romantic
rolling knolls Fleet Foxes’ sound is most associated with.
5. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins [Jagjaguwar]
Rough, lush and magniloquent, this album is far more than a postscript to 2007’s The Stage Names.
Singer Will Sheff wails “we have lost our way,” but the claim couldn’t
be further from the truth on this brilliant, cacophonous cataloging of
fame and misfortune.
4. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago [Jagjaguwar]
Vernon’s rags-to-riches story only adds to the beautiful depth of this
folky debut. Stitched together during a self-imposed winter isolation
in a Wisconsin cabin, this nine-song heartbreaker brims with a quiet
intensity and a hushed vibrato that’s raw and addictive enough to leave
Sam Beam jealous.
3. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend [XL]
trumpeting its Afro-pop influences, this scholastic quartet of Columbia
grads made the year’s most rambunctiously inventive (and hyped) debut.
From its pulsating symphonic flourishes to frontman Ezra Koenig’s
sprightly falsetto, Vampire Weekend’s infectious pop rock never strikes
a false note.
2. Sigur Rós - Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust [XL]
record’s most exhilarating peaks are found in its hushed sonic valleys,
especially the anguished opening strains of “Festival.” The first half
of the song scrapes away all sonic clutter, featuring a minimalist aria
of keyboard swells and lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’s falsetto soaring
beyond heaven to an even more blissful plateau.
1. She & Him- Volume One [Merge]
Maybe it’s just a sweet little folk record—a tiny, flawless diamond. Or maybe
it’s a pristine distillation of harmony and craft; 50 years of
songwriting experience served up on a spinning silver platter. Either
way, it’s our album of the year. Produced with touches of girl-group
splendor and arranged with a dreamy, old-fashioned vibe, She &
Him’s debut couldn’t be more adorable.
Read the Paste cover story on our album of the year.
Check out Paste's top albums of 2007
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