Scott Wolfman Top 10 (2007)
1. Porcupine Tree “Fear of a Blank Planet”
Of all the “prog” bands that are out there today, this is the best and most interesting by far. I have been a Porcupine Tree fan for a few years, and “Fear of a Blank Planet” is one of the band’s best and most accessible (and popular) releases. PT has taken on a metal-edge and is a smart, smart band with unparalleled musicianship (along the line of other mathematical rock bands and their complicated time signatures and melodies….you know, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Genesis and their ilk). Yet, PT is perfectly contemporary and a wonderful live act (I caught them in Hartford this fall). I can’t help but hear old Pink Floyd when I listen to this great band.
2. Radiohead “In Rainbows”
I don’t want to go on and on and on about why this album made my top 10. I will say it’s absolutely solid, another fine Radiohead record (do they put out bad records?) and to not add this to my list would be akin to blasphemy, since Radiohead is my favorite band out there. Kudos to the band too, for their gutsy experiment, to reinvent the economy and commerce associated with purchasing music. I hope they made out well, and look forward to paying another five pounds for their next release.
3. Alison Krauss and Robert Plant “Raising Sand”
The beauty of this record is in the unexpected quality of the blending of these two seemingly disparate voices. Yet, the harmonies are gorgeous and seamless. Plant, the godfather rocker, and the demure, sweet country girl, Alison Krauss, under the watchful eye and production savvy of T Bone Burnett, have made a record that is sweet, yet a little bit sassy, sometimes rocking out, and very bluesy and soulful.
4. Panda Bear “Person Pitch”
Man, what can I say about this record. While I almost put the latest Animal Collective record on the list, “Person Pitch” is so darn good, it just had to make the list. I never much cared for “Sung Tongs” and was ready to throw in the towel on all things Animal Collective, and then a certain NY Times review of Panda Bear’s latest record caught my interest. The record is trippy, dense, layered, gorgeous, silly, fun, and atmospheric and pays wonderful homage to Brian Wilson. I just love this record!
5. Tegan and Sera “The Con”
My local college radio station kept playing “In Your Head” which I thought was an unbelievably catchy and infectious pop tune. I googled the lyrics and discovered Tegan and Sera for the first time. The CD holds up well with at least 4 or 5 great tunes. And maybe best of all, Tegan and Sarah quickly became my 7 and 9 year old daughters’ favorite new band!
6. Sound of Silver “LCD Soundsystem”
An uber-groovy, funky dang recording, very fresh and original. I just like it, what can I say (does it seem like I’m running out of analysis? You are right, I am…)
7. Ween “La Cucaracha”
I was fortunate to see Ween live two weeks ago. They were phenomenal, and the band, and all their rude, subversive, Zappa-like weirdness, just cracks me up. Seeing them live, I discovered that Dean (or is it Gene?) Ween is a guitar god! The new album is solid and tons of fun.
8. Battles “Mirrored”
Well, perhaps an unpopular opinion, the record, at least a track or two, gets the best of me. It’s robot rock. Very progressive, good players, hard-driving, weird enough to appeal to me.
9. Elliott Smith “New Moon”
Posthumous releases are always bittersweet, and yet Smith, a seminal genius, has put out another amazing record. I really dig this record.
10. White Stripes “Icky Thump”
I like this record for the same reasons as everyone else: The bank totally kicks ass and Jack White is a rare rock-god talent; the kind of guy that comes along once every decade or so. I’ll pose the same questions for this band as I did Radiohead, “Does the band put out bad records?”