As appeared in Tuesday's issue of the New School Free Press.
Myself and two other reporters on the paper, Kyle McGovern and Joe Veix, picked what we thought were the best albums of the year.
Sky Blue Sky by Wilco
Upon first listen, I was a little disappointed in the album but as time went by, I realized how good it actually is—which is why it’s my pick for one of the year's top albums. There’s a restraint throughout, which only occurs when a band has a total understanding of themselves. Maybe in a better year for music (2006, for instance), *Sky* would have placed lower, but with songs like the haunting “On and On and On” and deceptively solemn “You Are My Face,” it’s something for the boys from Chicago to be proud of.
-By Josh Kurp
Dandelion Gum by Black Moth Super Rainbow
If Boards of Canada stopped sampling, purchased real instruments and dropped Prozac like jellybeans, they'd sound a bit like Black Moth Super Rainbow. BMSR found an unexplored niche between electronica and psychedelic rock somewhere in the boondocks of western Pennsylvania. Compared to other records released this year, Dandelion Gum sounds thrillingly different.
We All Belong by Dr. Dog
With their third record, Dr. Dog have fully established their sound, proving that a classic rock framework doesn't have to sound overly derivative. We All Belong has a subtle, tight production that glues together each harmonious, hook-laden track into a beautiful, cohesive whole.
-By Joe Veix
Boxer by The National
The cover of Boxer couldn't be more fitting: the black and white photograph of the National performing at a wedding fits the record's cinematic arrangements and the band's professionalism. The guitars beautifully complement one another, the drumming is precise and Matt Berninger's slightly-drunken slur makes his wordy lyrics romantic. The National aren't doing anything new, but they have made one of 2007's tightest records.
In Rainbows by Radiohead
The off-balance drums of “15 Step” are familiar—expected even—until that sugary riff sinks in, opening what is Radiohead’s loosest album in years. Free from their contract with Capitol Records, Radiohead actually sound somewhat relaxed. Nothing on In Rainbows resembles Hail to the Thief's tense tantrums. The closest relative is "Bodysnatchers," when Thom Yorke expresses the frustration of being under contract: "I'm trapped in this body and can't get out."
-By Kyle McGovern