The Albums of 2007 You May Have Missed

Manishevitz - East to East (Catbird)

I always thought these Chicagoans, Jajaguwar free-agents, were some minimal slo-core bore, without ever bothering to listen. I was wrong, very wrong. East to East is late-night decadence served elegant and quirky similar to Roxy Music and the Contortions. Even the ever-present sax here, which veers between smooth jazz and Morphine, fits properly into the landscape. Their back catalog is well worth a trip to the bins.

Reports - Mosquito Nets (Paper Cities)

This is one of those modest yet adventurous small-press records you mistakenly stumble upon. Full of scruffy tuneful moments barbed like Polvo and at times wide screened into grand distorted fits. Matches well with Columbus' current crop of "Shitpop" revolutionists.

Deathspell Omega - Fas (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)

The bulk of my metal listening came from Guitar Hero ashamedly, but I also think that's indicative of the genre possibly reaching a threshold. Still, I'm constantly digging deeper to find the most bludgeoning and imaginative albums I can find and these Frenchmen fail to disappoint. Fas is simply bizarre -- heart of darkness black metal filled with woozy, distant acoustic passages and plenty of earthy production tricks. Evil fucking Evil.

Britney Spears - Blackout (Jive)

Yes. I'm serious. Dead serious. Most probably never gave this a chance. This is candy, purely, but candy you can't stop craving. Tantric Future-Funk that allows her producers to vie for Timbaland's throne -- she's just a perfectly robotic/psychotic conduit. The slowly leaked, unpolished demos are even better. Sure to be a cult hit years from now. At least the guy on NPR agreed with me.

David Vandervelde - The Moonstation House Band (Secretly Canadian)

Goodness gracious T. Rex. Have your Devendra (though he's valiantly trying to channel Brazil now, Smoky was a bit tedious) I'll take this slow-burning, psychedelic folk prodigy. When I'm "in the mood" this is the perfect John Cougar Donovan album.

Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus (Rough Trade)

I wouldn't blame the world for judging this one by the cover. Hey Venus has kind of shaken up the entire graphic aesthetic of why SFA are so intriguing. Sad because this might be their best since Rings Around the World as it's as brilliant a batch of pop songs as Gruff and Co. have ever written. A nice companion to his also unheard solo album, Candylion. More and more I'm beginning to think Super Furry Animals are the most severely underrated band of their time.

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