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Best of 2007 - Scott's picks (Cover Artwork)

Best of 2007

Best of 2007: Scott's picksScott's picks (2007)
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Scott Heisel is an alumni news editor, reviews editor and reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed

2007: A pretty good year

I apologize in advance for the lack of an in-depth list this year; I've always taken a little bit of pride in the past with adding a variety of creative categories, audio links, etc., but unfortunately, real life has gotten in the way of me having a ton of free time, especially recently, as I spent the past few weeks traveling, interviewing a band many of you like and then writing a cover story on said band for the February issue of Alternative Press. For anyone who's actually let down by my lack of extras below, please check the story out in a few months; I think you'll like it.

The Top 20 Albums of 2007

#20. The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
Anti-
It's kind of weird to go from putting the Weakerthans' last album, Reconstruction Site, at the top slot of my Best Of 2003 list to their new one barely making the cut. Reunion Tour is still a wonderfully fun album, but it lacks the urgency and immediacy of its predecessor. John K. Samson's still probably the best lyricist in the punk scene, however.
#19. Locksley - Don't Make Me Wait
self-released
The first time I saw this Brooklyn-by-way-of-Wisconsin garage-rock quartet, it was opening for the Loved Ones in front of an audience of two (myself and fellow 'Org-er P-Fresh). The lack of a crowd certainly didn't stop them from delivering an energetic, bouncy set chock full of retro-pop that was straight outta `64. Their debut album is a fantastic offering of sunshine-drenched odes to love and life. Don't sleep on this band.
#18.Andrew Jackson Jihad - People That Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World
Asian Man
This rag-tag group of Arizona folk-punks came out of nowhere for me this year with one hell of a knack for socio-political sing-alongs. Who knew folk-punk could actually be not only enjoyable, but really good?
Dinosaur Jr.
#17.Dinosaur Jr.-Beyond
Fat Possum
I'm not gonna front: I didn't listen to Dinosaur Jr. before this year, so I don't know how this record stacks up with their back catalog. What I do know is that this record is one long guitar solo that makes me want to chant "USA! USA!" along with it the entire time. When politicians talk about the terrorists taking away our freedoms, they're referring to J Mascis' right to wail.
#16. The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Addicted To Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century
Chunksaah
Another band who I had heard wonderful things about for years on end but somehow avoided until a few months back. Man, have I been missing out: W/IFS are like a perfect mixture of Meat Loaf, Billy Joel, Blue Meanies and the Hold Steady, and Addicted To Bad Ideas is as infectious as it is wholly original.
#15. The Fall Of Troy - Manipulator
Equal Vision
Show me another band who can switch from Every Time I Die-esque riffing to power-pop straight out of Weezer's playbook (and do it all flawlessly) and I'll give you one American dollar. Plus, Thomas Erak is an absolute motherfucker on guitar.
Say Anything
#14. Say Anything - In Defense Of The Genre
J/Doghouse
While some complain of too much filler between the two discs, after I spent a good amount of time with each disc on its own I realized that this record wouldn't be this record if any of the songs were omitted. It'd be like reading a 28-chapter novel with chapters 7, 12 and 19 removed -- you wouldn't get the whole story. And with Max Bemis, even the whole story sometimes isn't enough, so every last second of audio is appreciated by me.
#13.The Wednesday Night Heroes - Guilty Pleasures
BYO
This is currently the only street-punk album I own in my entire music collection, and it's the only one I ever plan on owning (until the Heroes put out a new record, however). The musicianship on this thing is insane (seriously!) and I highly recommend anyone looking for a more traditional punk rock record to add to their iPod gives this thing a spin.
#12. Against Me! - New Wave
Sire
These guys could've made The Shape Of Punk To Come for their major label debut and some of you still would've bitched, so why not just let them make the album they wanted to make instead? New Wave is blast after blast of intelligent punk rock tackling issues no other band on a major label dares even speak of (the fucked up nature of the music business, the futility of protesting the war in Iraq, the need for something new to keep music from stagnating). It's worth every line of critical acclaim it's receiving if more 15-year-olds become tired of Hinder. look for a change, pick a copy up and have their life changed.
#11. Lifetime - Lifetime
Decaydance
It's adorable how some of you were actually worried this thing wouldn't be up to par with the band's Jade Tree output from a decade prior. I mean, c'mon: Do you really think Dan Yemin, of all people, would've let a band he's in start to suck?
Feist
#10. Feist - The Reminder
Interscope
iPods! Cell phones! Movie soundtracks! Considering how many Feist songs are currently circulating in the mainstream populace, it's a wonder anyone buys this record at all considering you can hear it for free on most TV networks. Regardless, this quirky Canadian singer put out an incredibly enjoyable folk-pop record in The Reminder, one perfect for relaxing on a Sunday morning or for falling asleep to while traveling on long road trips.
#9. Dan Wilson - Free Life
American
Remember Semisonic? Yeah, that "Closing Time" band. Well, here's my left-field pick this year: the frontman's long-delayed, Rick Rubin-produced solo album. Yeah, it's pretty much as adult contemporary as you can get (a 40-something dude who's been making a living recently writing songs for the Dixie Chicks playing piano with minimal instrumentation in the background), but goddamn, does this guy know his way around a melody. Revoke my punk membership card for this one (I mean, shit: Dude duets with Sheryl Crow on one track), but I love it.
#8. The Gaslight Anthem - Sink Or Swim
XOXO
This release only made it this high on my list after seeing the band live twice, with their incendiary set at the Fest 6 taking the cake for one of the most powerful shows of 2007 out of the 125 or so I saw. Every song on this record sounds the same (thankfully, it's a pretty good song) and the sequencing on this thing is totally out of whack (that first song is a terrible opener, and I'd be happier if it weren't on the record at all), but even with those limiters, you can still feel the passion pouring off of this disc, and when it really comes down to it, that's what matters most.
#7. Chuck Ragan - Los Feliz / The Blueprint Sessions / Feast Or Famine
SideOneDummy / No Idea / SideOneDummy
And speaking of passion, nobody delivers more than Chuck Ragan. His three albums this year are nearly impossible to separate for me, and it would criminal to exclude one. They each fit a different side of Ragan perfectly, and I enjoy them all nearly equally, from the raw demos of The Blueprint Sessions to the racuous renditions on Los Feliz to the more fleshed out instrumentation and arrangements of Feast Or Famine.
#6. The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever
Warner Bros.
I tend to avoid British bands on principle, mainly because they nearly all get too much undeserved buzz and their music is almost always patently boring and/or a rip-off of a much better band. The Cribs avoid all of that, delivering a hell of a sophomore album, with quirky dance rhythms, big, brash sing-along choruses and a knack for making a three-piece sound like so much more. This, to me, is what Against Me! would sound like if they grew up in England. Maybe not 100% musically, but definitely attitude-wise.
Crime In Stereo
#5. Crime In Stereo - Is Dead
Bridge Nine
This is one of those records where no individual tracks jump out, yet when played start-to-finish takes on a life of its own -- and what a tortured, fractured, difficult life it is. This band went from being just another run-of-the-mill pop-punk band to becoming a full-fledged progressive rock unit, capable of the highest of emotional highs and lowest of their lows all within the span of one record. Remind you of anybody?
#4. Paul Baribeau - Grand Ledge
Plan-It-X
It's absurd how brilliant Paul Baribeau is. He doesn't use clever wordplay or unorthodox song structures; he simply writes short, inspirational looks at the needlessly complex life of a bearded twentysomething who just wants to love someone.
Big D and the Kids Table
#3. Big D And The Kids Table - Strictly Rude
SideOneDummy
The best ska record of the new millennium. That's all I can say about this record.
#2. Weatherbox - American Art
Doghouse
It takes a lot for me to truly believe in new band nowadays. And sure, Weatherbox aren't reinventing the wheel (a common description for the San Diego quartet involves comparisons to Say Anything, Cursive and Criteria). But there's just something about this record that makes me excited on music again. It's so real (uncomfortably at times), which is a feeling lost on most modern music.
Minus The Bear
#1. Minus The Bear - Planet Of Ice
Suicide Squeeze
There really isn't a more talented band making music nowadays than Minus The Bear. They're endlessly inventive and sound like no one else. This is a band who will be remembered as being important decades from now, and Planet Of Ice is the finest work of their career. This is a deep, dense record that takes repeated listens -- preferably alone and at night -- to really sink in, but the soundscapes the band create are absolutely breathtaking.

My Punknews.org Mixtape, 2007 edition

    Side A
  1. Thrice - Firebreather
  2. Envy On The Coast - The Gift Of Paralysis
  3. Bomb The Music Industry! - 493 Ruth
  4. Every Time I Die - Rendez-Voodoo
  5. The Wednesday Night Heroes - Dead End St.
  6. Minus The Bear - White Mystery
  7. The White Stripes - Conquest
  8. Big D And The Kids Table - Souped-Up Vinyl
  9. The Hives - Fall Is Just Something Grownups Invented
  10. Against Me! - The Ocean
    Side B
  1. Thursday - Ladies And Gentlemen: My Brother, The Failure
  2. Intramural - Queens Of Comparison
  3. Boys Night Out - Up With Me
  4. Olympia - Olympia Is A Motherfucker
  5. The Gaslight Anthem - I Coulda Been A Contender
  6. Dear And The Headlights - Sweet Talk
  7. Hot Rod Circuit - U.S. Royalty
  8. Red Fox Grey Fox - Up With Mittens, Down With Gloves
  9. Paul Baribeau - Ten Things
  10. Weatherbox - Trippin' The Life Fantastic
In Closing

Thanks for taking the time to read my list. If you're interested in receiving my mixtape for the year (on CD format), I'd love to trade mixes with you. E-mail me if you're interested (scott at punknews dot org). I hope you all have a great 2008, and that you each find what you're looking for, or at least take a step towards it.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Pinhead Gunpowder - Shoot The MoonBrand New - Your Favorite WeaponBrand New - Deja EntenduSaosin - Translating The NameThe Backup Plan - Dearest Whomever...The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Somerset - PandoraThursday - A City by the Light DividedJawbreaker - Dear YouThe Clash - London Calling

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
miff (January 4, 2008)

"I tend to avoid British bands on principle, mainly because they nearly all get too much undeserved buzz and their music is almost always patently boring and/or a rip-off of a much better band."

how fucking arrogant. there are plenty of other good british bands

maverick (January 3, 2008)

"This list wins just because of Wednesday Night Heroes. Scott have you seen em live?"

Unfortunately, I haven't; they haven't played anywhere near Cleveland since I discovered them in June.

-Scott

NotPatriotic (January 3, 2008)

This list wins just because of Wednesday Night Heroes. Scott have you seen em live? They are my favorite current live show. I have seen em 5 times in the past 5 years, in basements twice. Score is for Wednesday Night Heroes.

GlassPipeMurder (January 2, 2008)

Please recommend me some! Who else would you suggest?
The Forgotten, Pistol Grip, Swingin' Utters, The Scarred, Cock Sparrer, One Man Army, Whiskey Rebels, Shock Nagasaki, are all quality.

Icapped2pac (January 2, 2008)

Yo Scott, thanks for making that comment about the first song on Gaslight Anthem's album. I remember checking the stream on this site, listening to that song, and quickly qriting them off. Judging by all these lists, I really must've missed something by not gojng further.

Also, I wish you would've had time to include a "didn't hear until 2007" list, because I know the Polar Bear Club EP would've been at the top of it, right? That show we saw in Parma, along with the incredibleness that is the new album, inspired me to drive 7 hours to Rochester to see them on New Year's Eve, and they once again did not disappoint.

maverick (January 2, 2008)

"Wednesday Night Heroes are freakin' amazing. there's plenty of good street punk out there, though, Scott."

Please recommend me some! I seriously love the WNH record and would love to get into more bands who are as talented as they are in the genre. Everyone always told me A Global Threat were one of the better bands in street punk, but when I saw them live I was wholly underwhelmed. Who else would you suggest?

-Scott

Conduit (January 1, 2008)

"This band went from being just another run-of-the-mill pop-punk band to becoming a full-fledged..."

I'm not trying to be rude, but holy shit, have you ever listened to the other crime in stereo records?

TeaEssAre (January 1, 2008)

dude, strictly rude isn't even the best big d album

R3vengeTherapy (December 31, 2007)

Props on the acclaim for Planet of Ice. It deserves every bit it gets. Still not my absolute favorite of the year, but it's in the top 5.

Is Dead is my favorite.

GlassPipeMurder (December 31, 2007)

I also have to agree with your assertion that Reunion Tour is good but disappointing. Recon Site was a 10/10, RT is about a 6/10.

F_Ward (December 31, 2007)

"This band went from being just another run-of-the-mill pop-punk band to becoming a full-fledged..."

It would be a stretch to ever describe CIS of old as a pop-punk band. With that said, ...Is Dead is probably my favorite album of the year.

Archangel (December 31, 2007)

New Fall of Troy sucked, Say Anything is a motherfucking joke, and putting Dinosaur Jr behind Big D is, wow, I have no words.

jeremys (December 31, 2007)

How It Goes > Strictly Rude

damnitsderek (December 31, 2007)

Feist is the reason I can finally enjoy an iPhone/iPod/iTunes commercial, and I thank her for that.

greg0rb (December 31, 2007)

Nice list dude, probably the most like mine! Props on being the only other person to give Dino Jr a list spot... and Say Anything I think? And yeah yeah I know I need to get that Minus the Bear. I will soon.
-Greg

GlassPipeMurder (December 31, 2007)

Wednesday Night Heroes are freakin' amazing. there's plenty of good street punk out there, though, Scott.

facetofacereunion08 (December 31, 2007)

good list. 2 things:
1. No American Steel?
2. Paramore is band of the year in AP??? What scott?

winiferd69 (December 31, 2007)

Score is for including Andrew Jackson Jihad, The Fall Of Troy, Say Anything, Against Me!, Weatherbox and Minus The Bear.

branden (December 31, 2007)

that locksley band sounds cool, ill try that out. i dont really like most of the other stuff on here though.

fattony (December 31, 2007)

Just when I thought I couldn't disagree with your list more, you put Crime in Stereo, Big D, and Minus The Bear in your top 5. I love it!

RiseAbove (December 31, 2007)

It's about time Paul Baribeau gets so love!

XCARLUPANDDIEX (December 31, 2007)

no aws ?

DickAround (December 31, 2007)

Awesome list.

Dinosaur Jr.'s new album is just as good as You're Living All Over Me. it's great. Best played at a loud volume. Or seen live.

Neill_Cawley (December 31, 2007)

I've really tried, and I am one of the people that didn't let the major label signing try and take away from the music, but I find New Wave to be a very boring and forgettable record from one of my favorite bands.

I understand the comments from this site in these lists, and see where they come from, but I don't think it makes it a top 10 record, or even a good one.

Thrash Unreal is an excellent pop/rock song, and very well written, but to say the same about New Wave (song) or post a video of Stop seems absolutely insane.

Honestly, putting New Wave as one of the top albums of the year seems just as crazy as not giving it a chance to begin with. As if making it top 10 is a way of compensating for those that never gave it a chance.

Rastid (December 31, 2007)

finally someone has world/inferno.

seankingston (December 31, 2007)

I'm suprised to see Dinosaur Jr. and The Cribs on this list. Better than expected. The magazine is still a huge joke though.

danperrone (December 31, 2007)

eh...swing and a miss...sorry scott

p-fresh (December 31, 2007)

Late contender for top 10 most commented stories of 2007.

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