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12.30.2007 - [Top 10 CDs Not From Japan In 2007] Hide

Part 2 In A Series: Year-End Lists Of Various Lengths

[The Con] by Tegan & Sara

Although I focus my ears (and wallet) on music from Japan, I also pay attention to releases from elsewhere. I didn't hear thousands of albums, but here are some that I heard, and liked:

01) Tegan & Sara, [The Con] - Amazingly perfect, sonically, lyrically, and temporally. My number one sing along album in 2007.

02) Paramore, [Riot!] - I wasn't prepared for the jump in talent that this young quartet displayed on their sophomore release - their brilliance is infective.

03) Deerhoof, [Friend Opportunity] - Sounds a lot like a Japanese band, but their quirks are offset by true charm, that brings more to the San Francisco sandwich counter with each listen.

04) Aly And A.J., [Insomniatic] - You may not believe it, but these sisters have far more talent than their kid popularity would suggest. The sort of pure pop and relatively sincerity I yearn for.

05) Modest Mouse, [We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank] - I feel a lot better about this album than their past major label offerings - it brought me back to the fan club door, prepared to knock in time with [Florida].

06) Emily Haines, [Knives Don't Have Your Back] - Pretty far removed from her Canadian pals in Metric, but I'm more than game for this sort of solo splendor.

07) Apples In Stereo, [New Magnetic Wonder] - I've been with the Apples since the mid 90s, and while they really never do wrong, this is far righter than their recent efforts.

08) Avril Lavigne, [The Best Damn Thing] - I'm torn - each time I listen to this I can't help but sing along, but I try to avoid the largely vacuous lyrics, and just focus on her tunesmithery.

09) Lily Allen, [Alright, Still] - Technically from 2006, but it did hit the US in January, much to my appreciation. I still think she's a bit mean lyrically, but the music can't be beat.

10) Kristin Hersh, [Learn to Sing Like a Star] - Thowing Muses are in a coma; long live Throwing Muses, more so than her other solo efforts lately. This is a great thing, for those in the know.


12.30.2007 - [Top 10 CDs From Japan In 2007] Hide

Part 1 In A Series: Year-End Lists Of Various Lengths

[Goraku (Variety)] by Tokyo Jihen

As always, there are more great albums from Japan than I can rank comfortably, but of the ones I heard this year, a few stand out:

01) Tokyo Jihen, [Goraku (Variety)] - The third album was the charm for Ringo Sheena and crew, with ultra high energy and verve.

02) Salyu, [Terminal] - I always have a sweet side for Salyu, and her second solo album is more complex yet loose, bringing all the more joy.

03) Tommy heavenly6, [Heavy Starry Heavenly] - Tomoko Kawase is a bit sugar mad, if her videos are to be believed, but that sweetness comes out in the best way - jangly guitars and a syrupy voice to die for. More than just a collection of perfect singles.

04) Kaela Kimura, [Scratch] - You wouldn't have expected it, but Kaela Kimura really outdid herself for her pitch-perfect third album, with heaping handfuls of pop rocks just waiting for the two liter of soda.

05) Toddle, [Dawn Praise The World] - Hisako Tabuchi jumped out of the Number Girl explosion, and her new band is superb. Heavy on the My Bloody Valentine distortion this time around, it's love at first listen.

06) Kenichi Asai, [Chelsea] and [Rod Snake Shock Service] - A double album sold separately, Kenichi Asai explored both the loud and quiet side of rock to excellent effect.

07) Puffy, [honeycreeper] - More fun than most Puffy albums this decade, with a wide range of producers bringing out the best in the dynamic duo.

08) Go!Go!7188, [569] - Perhaps the definition of fun, with more than a few amazing moments in poppy-punk rock poured over female vocals.

09) Noodles, [METROPOLIS] - Sounding more like a buzzy Breeders with every album, these female tunesmiths really can't go wrong.

10) Melt-Banana, [Bambi's Dilemma] - Every Melt-Banana album is different, and while this isn't quite up to the peak of the last two releases, it still brings helicopters inside the stadium to fly overhead while they make beautiful punk noise.

[Miracle] from Sherbets is another release of note, but it came out too late in December for me to have heard it yet. Other things almost on the list:

Pillows, [Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!]
LOVE PSYCHELIDCO, [Golden Grapefruit]
Thmlues, [100 Manmai Toppa!] and [Change the World]
Ringo Sheena, Neko Saito, Junpei Sheena, [Konoyo no Kagiri]



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