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My favorite albums of 2007

Several local albums make my list including UrbanXchange’s CD

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I noticed recently that the Internet, music festivals, movies, television shows and even commercials have replaced radio as the place I find new music. Should I be embarrassed to say that I bought a song because I heard it on a commercial? In the past I think I would have been, but now I think it’s OK. Mainstream radio is a joke with a big dollar punch line, so the good stuff comes to us through different channels now. This week I’m going to tell you about the music I’ve found and enjoyed most this year.

When I first decided to do this, I underestimated how tough it would be to narrow it down. It was painful to leave out things that I had found and loved this year that had a release date prior to 2007. A part of me said rules be damned! So what if Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans was released in 2005? It’s been virtually everywhere in 2007. So what if Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry came out in 2003? They weren’t on my radar until their music was featured in the 2007 commercials for Verizon and “Nip/Tuck.” Imogene Heap’s Speak for Yourself is an amazing artistic soundscape, and though I heard it for the first time this year (during “The Last Kiss,” “The OC” and on commercials for Apple and Verizon), sadly it turns out that it was released in 2005.

No worries though, there are plenty of others to choose from.

These are my top 10 albums of 2007 in no particular order.

Arcade Fire, Neon Bible. I like music that is uplifting. I’ve always found music to be the best mood enhancer, and Arcade Fire is a great example. I was fortunate enough to see them live at the Gorge during Sasquatch! Music Festival. It was one of those “ah yes” moments. Their music is literally so large and soars to such emotional heights that you could see them anywhere and be moved, but if you see a band like that at the Gorge the experience may change you forever. 

urbanXchange’s compilation, Tacoma Mix 2007. This album proves that there is metropolis size talent in this underrated little city. I already wrote a whole column on this CD, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself. If you’ve heard it, you know why it’s on my list, and if you haven’t heard it you need to go get a copy.

Storm Large, Ladylike Side 1. This album is chock-full of girl power, so it makes great shower singing material. The CD features songs with the “Rock Star: Supernova” house band as well as some with her band, The Balls.

Beehive, Pretty Little Thieves. This album turns an ordinary kitchen floor into a discotheque in minutes flat. I’ve written a column on this CD too. So here’s the skinny: Watch out for this Seattle band; they are headed onward and upward. 

Feist, The Reminder. This is another band that benefited greatly by a commercial deal. Her video for the song “1,2,3,4” became an iPod commercial. I have a copy of the song “My Moon My Man” from this album that is a remix done by Boys Noize. I first heard it on KUPS, and right now it’s my favorite song.

Aaron Spiro, Cure. Aaron Spiro has Coldplay size talent and really uplifting songs. I first heard about him through friends. He writes songs that restore my faith in mankind, and by mankind I mean men. If anyone ever says to me again that all men are dogs, I am going to tie her up and make her listen to this album. It’s absolutely beautiful from beginning to end, and I don’t mean in a sappy Michael Bolton sort of way.

Radiohead, In Rainbows. I read about this album online in the news. I was one of those people who paid full price even though they allowed people to pay whatever they wanted. I think this epic and sonic journey is worth every penny.

The Polyphonic Spree, The Fragile Army. It’s the perfect album to spin while readying for your day. If this music doesn’t reshape your mind in a positive fashion then a lobotomy is in order. I first saw them at the Gorge during Sasquatch! Music Festival.

Moozeke, Ultraminifest compilation of singer/songwriters from the Pacific Northwest. Mocha Moo owner Jay Inokuchi invited his favorite local musicians to submit songs for this compilation CD. There isn’t a single bad track on it, and it has a variety of music styles. I like it so much that it’s loaded on my iPod now. 

Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? At Bumbershoot last year Of Montreal was unknown to me, but apparently about a million other people were already hip. There was a gynormous crowd, so I could barely see what was happening on stage. What I could see was people dancing — like everywhere. I later downloaded the album from iTunes, and I’ve been bouncing around to it ever since. 

Want to share your faves this year and where you found them? Talk back at www.weeklyvolcanospew

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