Bobby’s best beats 2K7 recap

I’ll probably look back at 2007 as the year of the Surge (not to be confused with Surge the soft drink; that was 1997) and ridiculous caucus buildup. Fortunately not everything about this past year was so exhausting to hear about. The music scene was packed with several highly-anticipated releases from artists who are just becoming established as indie favorites. Most came through superbly, making it an exceptionally fun year to be a music fan. Here are my top 5 favorites from this year. 5. Grizzly Bear- Friend EP This nontraditional release was my introduction to Grizzly Bear. It’s really an extended EP, mostly filled with covers and rearrangements. However, it’s hard not to fall in love with a recording that manages to communicate such an original sound by using samples that other artists would have tossed aside. Highlights include the alternately tense and excited “Little Brother,” which builds into a percussion-filled climax that somehow still manages to be relaxing. 4. Animal Collective- Strawberry Jam describes Animal Collective’s music as “noiseadelia.” It is intricately layered, chaotic-sounding, and can be overwhelming or euphoric, depending on your tolerance for confusion and white noise. However, Strawberry Jam is easily the most accessible Animal Collective album yet; not because it is less experimental, but because it is so much—well—better. Every background noise, note, or scream from band members Panda Bear or Avey Tare seems divinely placed and planned out in a way that the Collective has simply never done before. 3. Of Montreal- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? While the album’s tone marked something of a departure for Of Montreal fans, the band’s pop quirkiness was not lost. Frontman Kevin Barnes wrote most of the songs in the wake of a separation from his wife and newborn child. This creates a unique listening experience, as his frustration is tangible through beats that are still danceable. “She’s a Rejecter” is an excellent example—an extremely sad song with upbeat guitar and bass parts that provide just enough tension to be beautiful. 2. Jens Lekman- Night Falls Over Kortedala My only past experience with the Swedish singer-songwriter was his 2004 album When I Said I Wanted to be Your Dog, which was somewhat underwhelming. That only makes Night Falls Over Kortedala more impressive, as he succeeds in creating fun instrumentation that lets Lekman’s incredibly soothing voice stay as the centerpiece. The album is the simplest instrumentally of any on this list, but possibly the most immediately satisfying. 1. Radiohead- In Rainbows I don’t know what there is to write about Radiohead that hasn’t been written before. The mere fact that they released an album this year should be enough to put them in the top 5, but In Rainbows is more than just a new Radiohead album. It is a recording in which Radiohead sounds the most comfortable with their sound since 1997’s OK Computer. Thom Yorke’s voice sounds uncharacteristically at ease, working effortlessly with a drum and bass section that quietly steals the album. Pay special attention to “All I Need” and “House of Cards,” two of the best tracks that Radiohead has ever come out with.