For the last few years I've written about ten albums that I enjoyed during the previous year, and I've always received a nice response from people who wanted new music. This has never been intended as a true "best of" or "top ten" list (given how little music I get to listen to these days, I could never make such a claim). These are just the new records I found myself listening to and enjoying the most over the last twelve months. I've had this damn post written since before the new year, but with my debilitating hangover, a frustrating site re-design, and the technical issues involved with making a playlist of songs from these albums available to everyone, it's taken me until now to publish it.

Here is the streaming playlist. I tried to choose good songs that were also available for free downloading if you decide you like them.

Okkervil River: Stage Names (JagJaguwar)
Song: Unless It's Kicks

I probably listened to this album more than any other in 2007. The kid loves it, particularly the song with the xylophone, which I now hate because of the thousands of times she's asked to hear it. Kids are the new frat boys who show up to see your favorite band and sing along with all the best songs. They ruin everything.

Shearwater: Palo Santo (Expanded Edition) (Matador)
Song: Red Sea Black Sea

This is kind of cheating (the original release came out back in 2006, but I didn't hear it until Matador released the expanded edition in 2007). But this Sheff-less record is epic and so beautiful.

Menomena: Friend or Foe (Barsuk)
Song: Wet and Rusting

Feist: The Reminder (Interscope)
Song: I Feel it All

This album was like Dancing With the Stars at our house, man. Everyone could agree about it, from Grandma on down. Plus, Leslie Feist is the best excuse ever to completely forget about Chan Marshall and all her fucking antics.

Bishop Allen: The Broken String (Dead Oceans)
Song: Click Click Click Click

My favorite song on the album is actually The Chinatown Bus, but the camera song was a free download at their site. The first time I heard this song on my illegal advance copy I wondered how long it would be before I heard it in a camera commercial. Not long.

Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
Song: Don't You Evah

Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)
Song: Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse (also one of the greatest videos of the year).

So this is the band that made that "Let's Go Outback Tonight" song, yeah, and then they made another incredibly beautiful non-commercial record and wrote the most life-affirming rant about selling out ever. Reading it always warms my federated heart. An excerpt:

"The pseudo-nihilistic punk rockers of the 70's created an impossible code in which no one can actually live by. It's such garbage. The idea that anyone who attempts to do anything commercial is a sell out is completely out of touch with reality. The punk rock manifesto is one of anarchy and intolerance. The punk rockers polluted our minds. They offered a solution that had no future. . .Now we have all of these half-conceived ideas and idiot philosophies floating around to confuse and alienate us. I think it is important to face reality. It is important to decide whether you are going to completely rail against the system or find a way to make it work for you. You cannot do both -- and if you attempt to do both you will only become even more bitter and confused."

New Ruins: Sounds They Make (Parasol)
Song: I'll Sleep in Your House

White Rabbits: Fort Nightly (Say Hey)
Song: While We Go Dancing

Rogue Wave: Asleep At Heaven's Gate (Brushfire)
Song: Lake Michigan

Christ, I guess 2007 was the year every song I liked turned up in a television commercial. Oh well. I'm off to grab a bloomin' onion.