2007 Readers Poll - The Results
Here it is! The definitive list of lists. Why? Because it's the tenth year in a row that the readers nominated and voted! This is what you—not self-important hipsters or jaded old critics—picked, unaffected by the corporate ads and silly trends. 2007 was an amazing year for music, our poll had a ton of excellent entries, and once again, the cream has risen to the top.
Album of the Year
- Stars of the Lid, "And Their Refinement of the Decline" (Kranky)
"Brian McBride's and Adam Wiltzie's most doggedly serious recording to date. Compared to The Tired Sounds of... the music here is more direct, relying less on minutiae and emphasizing the power of their music as cleansing and consumptive. Their talent for drawing human qualities of what might be termed essentially un-human processes is impressive, both for its impact and for the consistency of that fact. That spilling over of emotional content requires the listener, though: this is not background music, it's far more exciting than that." - Lucas Schleicher
"This was a perfect album that grabbed me from the minute I heard it. It will be hard for Stars of the Lid (or anyone else) to better this." - John Kealy
"It is a completely unpredicted album to win: instrumental, quiet, slow, yet surprisingly versatile (this disc can be listened to at home, working, driving, going to sleep to, or just putting the headphones on and zoning out). Up until the middle of December, this 2xCD/3xLP set was rated by Metacritic as the most critically acclaimed album of 2007 Those fortunate enough to catch SOTL live know that with visuals it becomes a new level of experience." - Jon Whitney
- Jesu, "Conqueror" (Hydra Head)
- Angels of Light, "We Are Him" (Young God)
- Throbbing Gristle, "Part Two: The Endless Not" (Mute)
- A Place To Bury Strangers, "A Place To Bury Strangers" (Killer Pimp)
- Burial, "Untrue" (Hyperdub)
- Grinderman, "Grinderman" (Mute)
- Om, "Pilgrimage" (Southern Lord)
- Einstürzende Neubauten, "Alles Wieder Offen" (Potomak)
- Panda Bear, "Person Pitch" (Paw Tracks)
- M.I.A., "Kala" (XL)
- Six Organs of Admittance, "Shelter from the Ash" (Drag City)
- Battles, "Mirrored" (Warp)
- Earth, "Hibernaculum" (Southern Lord)
- Boris with Michio Kurihara, "Rainbow" (Drag City)
- Caribou, "Andorra" (Merge)
- Deerhunter, "Cryptograms" (Kranky)
- Liars, "Liars" (Mute)
- LCD Soundsystem, "Sound Of Silver" (DFA)
- Animal Collective, "Strawberry Jam" (Paw Tracks)
- Boris with Merzbow, "Rock Dream" (Southern Lord)
- Faust and Nurse With Wound, "Disconnected" (Art-Errorist)
- Threshold HouseBoys Choir, "Form Grows Rampant" (Threshold House)
- Robert Wyatt, "Comicopera" (Domino)
- Shellac, "Excellent Italian Greyhound" (Touch & Go)
- Pan Sonic, "Katodivaihe" (Blast First)
- The Field, "From Here We Go to Sublime" (Kompakt)
- Einsturzende Neubauten, "Jewels" (Potomak)
- Low, "Drums and Guns" (Sub Pop)
- James Blackshaw, "The Cloud of Unknowing" (Tompkins Square)
- Thurston Moore, "Trees Outside The Academy" (Ecstatic Peace)
- Marissa Nadler, "Songs III: Bird on the Water" (Peacefrog)
- Iron and Wine, "The Shepherd's Dog" (Sub Pop)
- Volcano the Bear, "Amidst the Noise and Twigs" (Beta-lactam Ring)
- Blonde Redhead, "23" (4AD)
- Ghost, "In Stormy Nights" (Drag City)
- Deerhoof, "Friend Opportunity" (Kill Rock Stars)
- Beirut, "The Flying Club Cup" (Ba Da Bing!)
- Eluvium, "Copia" (Temporary Residence)
- Oren Ambarchi, "In The Pendulum's Embrace" (Touch)
- Wooden Shjips, "Wooden Shjips" (Holy Mountain)
- The National, "Boxer" (Beggars Banquet)
- Jesu, "Pale Sketches" (Avalanche)
- Akron/Family, "Love Is Simple" (Young God)
- Von Südenfed, "Tromatic Reflexxions" (Domino)
- El-P, "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" (Definitive Jux)
- Neurosis, "Given to the Rising" (Neurot Records)
- Sir Richard Bishop, "While My Guitar Violently Bleeds" (Locust)
- Do Make Say Think, "You, You're a History In Rust" (Constellation)
- Nadja, "Radiance of Shadows" (Alien8)
- Grails, "Burning Off Impurities" (Temporary Residence)
- Fennesz Sakamoto, "Cendre" (Touch)
- Nadja , "Touched " (Alien8)
- Kemialliset Ystävät, "Kemialliset Ystävät" (Fonal)
- Mogwai, "Zidane" (Pias)
- KTL, "2" (Editions Mego)
- Burning Star Core, "Blood Lightning 2007" (No Fun Productions)
- !!!, "Myth Takes" (Warp)
- Andrew Chalk, "The River That Flows Into the Sands II" (Faraway Press)
- Explosions in the Sky, "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone" (Temporary Residence)
- Dälek, "Abandoned Language" (Ipecac)
- Yellow Swans, "At All Ends" (Load)
- Axolotl, "Memory Theater" (Important)
- Supersilent, "8" (Rune Grammofon)
- Irr. App. (Ext.), "Cosmic Superimposition" (Errata In Exelsis)
- Vic Chestnutt, "North Star Deserter" (Constellation)
- Whitehouse, "Racket" (Susan Lawly)
- The Tuss, "Rushup Edge" (Rephlex)
- To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie, "The Patron" (Kranky)
- Edward Ka-Spel, "Dream Logik Part 1" (Beta-Lactam Ring)
- Burning Star Core, "Operator Dead... Post Abandoned" (No Quarter)
- Chris Corsano / Mike flower, "Radiant Mirror" (Textile)
- Current 93, "Birdsong In The Empire (live in Toronto 2005)" (Durtro Jnana)
- Lichens, "Omns" (Kranky)
- Nadja, "Thaumagenesis " (Archive)
- Svarte Greiner, "Knive" (Type)
- Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., "Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Under the Stars" (Important)
- High On Fire, "Death Is This Communion" (Relapse)
- Sir Richard Bishop, "Polytheistic Fragments" (Drag City)
- William Basinski, "El Camino Real" (2062)
- Richard Youngs, "Autumn Response" (Jagjaguwar)
- Wolves In the Throne Room, "Two Hunters" (Southern Lord)
- Colleen, "Les Ondes Silencieuses" (Leaf)
- Holy Fuck, "LP" (Young Turks)
- Merzbow, "Merzbear" (Important)
- Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd, "After the Night Falls" (Darla)
- Raccoo-oo-oon, "Behold Secret Kingdom" (Release the Bats)
- The Dead C, "Future Artists" (Ba Da Bing!)
- Charalambides, "Likeness" (Kranky)
- Electralene, "No Shouts, No Calls" (Too Pure)
- Richard Youngs, "Autumn Response" (Jagjaguwar)
- Magik Markers, "Boss" (Ecstatic Peace!)
- Carter Tutti, "Feral Vapours of the Silver Ether" (Divine Frequency)
- The Fall, "Reformation Post T.L.C." (Narnack)
- No Age, "Weirdo Rippers" (Fat Cat)
- Konono No. 1, "Live at Couleur Café" (Crammed Discs)
- Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd, "Before the Day Breaks" (Darla)
- Jens Lekman, "Night Falls Over Kortedala" (Secretly Canadian)
- Diana Rogerson, "The Lights Are On But No-One's Home" (United Jnana)
- Sutcliffe Jugend, "This Is the Truth" (Ground Fault/Hospital Productions)
"Light years beyond Burial's remarkable dystopian 2006 debut, the comparatively apocalyptic Untrue is easily one of the greatest LPs I have ever owned. Infused with a paranoid version of quiet storm soul, his music taps into those desperate late night hours felt by so many young brokenhearted men sitting shivering in the dark. An album worth dying to." - Gary Suarez
"Nick Cave and a few of the Bad Seeds decide to lose some of the pretense that may have peaked on Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus and dive headlong into scuzzy garage rock. And it works, very well. While it may be a bit amateurish at times and overwrought, it doesn't lack the humor and irony Cave is so good at." - Creaig Dunton
"Panda Bear uses the most basic elements (vocal harmonies, one or two samples), to create lush, melancholy suites. The mood is far more mature than what Animal Collective has been doing this past few years." - Matt Spencer
"A Place To Bury Strangers was unexpected a blow to the head. Where the fuck did Killer Pimp find this lot?" - Scott McKeating
"2007 was Jesu's year. There wasn't a band I was happier to be a fan of than Jesu this year, and Conqueror was a big reason for that." - Matthew Jeanes
"If only every band would mature as gracefully as Einstürzende Neubauten. I think this is their pop opus, catchy and up-beat, but still, undeniably, Neubauten." - Michael Barrett
Single/EP of the Year
- Sunn O))), "Oracle" (Southern Lord)
- Joanna Newsom , "And the Ys Street Band" (Drag City)
- Burial, "Ghost Hardware" (Hyperdub)
- Wire, "Read & Burn 03" (Pink Flag)
- Deerhunter, "Fluorescent Grey" (Kranky)
- Sigur Ros, "Hvarf/Heim" (XL)
- Michael Cashmore, "The Snow Abides" (Durtro Jnana)
- Jesu, "Sun Down/Sun Rise " (Aurora Borealis)
- Jesu, "Lifeline" (Hydra Head)
- Fovea Hex, "Allure" (Die Stadt)
- Jesu/Eluvium Split 12" (Temporary Residence/Hydra Head)
- Beirut, "Elephant Gun" (Ba Da Bing!)
- Scott Walker, "And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?" (4AD)
- Current 93, "Black Ship In The Underworld" (Durtro Jnana)
- Bonnie "Prince" Billy, "Lay & Love" (Drag City)
- Battles, "Tonto" (Warp)
- Animal Collective, "Peacebone" (Domino)
- Cloudland Canyon, "Silver Tongued Sisyphus" (Kranky)
- A Hawk and a Hacksaw, "And the Hun Hangar Ensemble" (Leaf)
- The Hafler Trio, "Who Gave You the Ability to Envision Perfection?" (Korm Plastics)
- Wooden Shjips, "Loose Lips/Start To" (Sub Pop)
- Grizzly Bear, "Friend" (Warp)
- Astral Social Club, "Super Grease" (Important)
- Gescom, "A1 - D1" (Skam)
- Strategy, "Future Rock" (Community Library)
"Through the two long tracks on Oracle, Sunn O))) manages to both recall their breakthrough Black One album as well as show the more abstract, musique concrete tendencies that have been developing recently. It shows the progression from the monotone Earth 2 aping of the earlier work into the more experimental leanings. Plus, it has Joe Preston playing a mean jackhammer." - Creaig Dunton
"In 2003, when Brainwashed bestowed upon the post-punk pioneers its Lifetime Achievement Award, I cheekily asked "Who's Wire?" Read & Burn 03 is more than a reminder of their potency and craft, and hopefully a preview of even greater things to come." - Gary Suarez
"Fluorescent Grey proved Deerhunter were as competent at writing hooks and melodies as soundscapes and grooves. Despite the hype driven mythology and biographical speculation, they were just a good pop/rock band." - Matt Spencer
"Joanna Newsom managed to record the sound of her touring band without sacrificing the songs. Great pun too, there weren't enough puns in 2007" - Scott McKeating
"I'll take just about anything from Joanna Newsom but this single was a particularly nice offering that got away from the long, wonderful stories of Ys and back to some fun, simple songwriting." - Matthew Jeanes
"I was expecting a Bruce Springsteen cover, but I got "Colleen" instead. Most pleasant surprise of the year. I think I played that song 800 times in a row before I got sick of it and now and again I still find the time to enjoy Newsom's pleasant little vocal noises." - Lucas Schleicher
- Current 93, "The Inmost Light" (Durtro Jnana)
- Nurse With Wound, "Homotopy to Marie" (United Jnana)
- Joy Division, "Unknown Pleasures: Remastered and Expanded" (Rhino)
- Fennesz, "Endless Summer" (Touch)
- Nico, "The Frozen Borderline: 1968-1970" (Rhino)
- Labradford, "Prazision LP" (Kranky)
- Nurse With Wound, "Insect and Individual Silenced" (Raash)
- Kevin Drumm, "Sheer Hellish Miasma " (Mego Editions)
- Nurse With Wound, "Gyllensköld, Geijerstam and I at Rydberg's" (United Jnana)
- The Pop Group, "Y" (Rhino)
- Seefeel, "Quique" (Too Pure)
- Foetus, "Nail" (Some Bizzare)
- William Basinski, "Shortwavemusic" (2062)
- Test Dept., "The Unacceptable Face of Freedom" (Some Bizzare)
- Tim Hecker, "Radio Amor" (Alien8)
- Skullflower, "IIIrd Gatekeeper" (Crucial Blast)
- Andrew Chalk, "Goldfall" (Faraway Press)
- Peter Brotzmann Octet, "The Complete Machine Gun Sessions" (Atavistic)
- Jack Rose, "Jack Rose" (Tequila Sunrise)
- Mimir, "Mimir" (Streamline)
- Laurie Anderson, "Big Science" (Nonesuch)
- Sun Ra, "The Night of the Purple Moon" (Atavistic)
- Pere Ubu , "Cloudland" (Umvd Import)
- Cranes , "Wings of Joy" (Cherry Red UK )
- V/A, "Twin Peaks - Music from Season Two and More" (Absurda)
"The Inmost Light is a perfect reissue package. No unnecessary bonus material and elegantly presented. This is still a haunting and gorgeous collection." - John Kealy
"One of my first encounters back in the late '80s with the industrial scene was with Nurse With Wound and Steven Stapleton, I still listen occasionally to some of the early material such as Insect and Individual Silenced, Gyllensköld, Geijerstam and I at Rydberg's, and Homotopy to Marie. It is no surprise that they are still as fresh and innovative (AND influential) today as they were then. I am glad that these three particular albums have been reissued, given the prices early NWW material fetches. It is nice to think that through them a whole new generation of appreciative listeners can sample material that was (and still is) very much ahead of its time." - Simon Marshall-Jones
"Y typifies the musical adventurousness of post punk that's usually lost on revival acts." - Matt Spencer
- V/A, "Broken Flag: A Retrospective 1982 - 1985" (Vinyl on Demand)
- Lee Perry & The Upsetters, "Ape-Ology" (Trojan)
- Robyn Hitchcock, "I Wanna Go Backwards" (Yep Roc)
- Asmus Tietchens, " 4K7" (Vinyl on Demand)
- Magnolia Electric Co., "Sojourner" (Secretly Canadian)
- Mike Tamburo, "Language of the Birds and Other Fantasies" (New American Folk Hero)
- V/A, "Mute Audio Documents" (Mute)
- V/A, "Wattstax" (Stax)
- V/A, "King Jammy's Selector's Choice Volumes 1-4" (VP)
- V/A, "People Take Warning!" (Tompkins Square)
"Dancehall has rarely received the level of collector's appreciation that roots reggae enjoys, despite the fact that the sound continues to progress magnificently while unquestionably reigning supreme in Jamaica. King Jammy's groundbreaking contribution to this music cannot be measured, but this lovingly prepared eight disc collection of his production work takes a vital step towards rightfully legitimizing his legacy." - Gary Suarez
"I have no idea how Jason Molina pulls off touring either solo or Magnolia Electric Co. as much as he does and can still find time to write and record some of the greatest rock songs of our time. Unlike most items which are sort of billed as releases for the hardcore fans, Sojourner was a remarkable value—three full CDs of music; one CDEP; and one 20-minute DVD; wrapped in a box with a die cast metal piece—and there isn't a musical mis-step anywhere on it. The only reason I think this didn't make as many top lists this year is because Secretly Canadian probably invested way too much in the set to hand out any promos." - Jon Whitney
"Death and survival: It's hard to think of a more compelling theme to base a compilation, and reminder of just how tough people were in face of adversity." - Matt Spencer on People Take Warning!
"Jason Molina is a criminally unrecognized musician. This box sets the last couple of albums in a clearer light and proves that Molina should release more of what is laying around in his closet. Whereas some musicians sacrifice quality control and release everything they put on tape, Molina does the opposite much to my dismay. If only there were more Magnolia Electric Co. in the world." - Lucas Schleicher
- Six Organs of Admittance, "Shelter from the Ash"
Photographed by Aaron Platt
Featuring Bryn Phillips
Directed by Cam Archer
- Battles, "Atlas"
- Stars of the Lid, "Apreludes (In C sharp Maj.)"
- Grinderman, "No Pussy Blues"
- Panda Bear, "Bros"
- LCD Soundsystem, "Someone Great"
- LCD Soundsystem, "All My Friends"
- Liars, "Plaster Casts of Everything"
- M.I.A., "Boyz"
- Low, "Hatchet"
- Low, "In Silence"
- A Place To Bury Strangers, "I Know I'll See You"
- Caribou, "Melody Day"
- Battles, "Tonto"
- Low, "Breaker"
- M.I.A., "Jimmy"
- Low, "Belarus"
- Beirut, "Elephant Gun"
- Grinderman, "Electric Alice"
- M.I.A., "Bird Flu"
- LCD Soundsystem, "North American Scum"
- Liars, "Houseclouds"
- Von Sudenfed, "Fledermaus Can't Get It"
- To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie, "The Man with the Shovel, Is the Man I'm Going To Marry"
- Deerhunter, "Strange Lights"
"A combination of the availability of affordable equipment, popularity of YouTube, and video iPods has brought the music video back from being on the endangered list. There are amazing works of art being created right now that are ripe for more recognition. In the coming years I would like to see music videos in more places: in between programs on movie channels; at rock clubs between acts; or even movie theaters before the coming attractions when people are getting seated. The potential is definitely here." - Jon Whitney
"M.I.A. has single handedly made me feel bad about owning a closet of mostly black clothes. Boyz also made me hate my penis." - Lucas Schleicher
Recording label of the Year
This poll category numbers were tabulated from total points given to their collective total of releases.
- Beta-lactam Ring
- Temporary Residence
- Jnana (with Durtro/Jnana and United Jnana)
- Drag City
- Sub Pop
- Thrill Jockey
"The real winners are the artists who make Important Records what it is. Obviously, it wouldn't be possible without them. 2007 was a great year for Important and 2008 looks like it's going to be even better." - John Brien, Important Records
Artist of the Year
This poll category numbers were also tabulated from total points of their new releases.
- LCD Soundsystem
- Andrew Liles
- Stars of the Lid
"Justin Broadrick finally does what he has been hinting at for much of his career and meshes the lush experimentation of '90s shoegaze with his penchant for slow, pounding metal. It was an extremely prolific year." - Creaig Dunton
"Two albums ranking in the top 50, three singles ranking in the top 15, and two world tours. Justin Broadrick has put out more music in one year and done more shows than some bands have done in their entire career." - Jon Whitney
Lifetime Achievement Recognition: Einstürzende Neubauten
As chosen by the Brainwashed staff and contributors.
"They haven't stopped raising the bar from themselves (and usually used the bar on some piece of metal to make a rhythm). In 27 years they have released over 20 studio albums, each one mapping a new musical topography and each one reflecting a different facet of their home city at a given moment in time. They are heavy but tender, loud but restrained, danceable but intelligent, clever but not too pretentious and most importantly consistently brilliant." - John Kealy
"Too amazing to live in the shadow of Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld somehow figured out how to go from an acned noisemonger into one of the most formidable frontmen alive. Romantically nuanced yet enigmatically charismatic, the former Bad Seed thankfully continues to lead this amazing band of experimentalists softly down a creative road not yet travelled." - Gary Suarez
"Rather than stagnating with their sound, they continue to evolve and develop and still manage to be as frightening, captivating, playful, and overall entertaining as they were back in the Stahlversion days. The subscription model they’ve also employed in the past few years is also revolutionary in the amount of fan interaction that takes place. It’s great to see a band that does realize it was the fans who got them to where they were and continue to support them" - Creaig Dunton
"Their music, their uncompromising approach to making it and their sheer tenacity plus the continuing drive to innovate and forge new paths means that, unlike many in the ‘music’ scene today, their name (however difficult to get your tongue around) will always be associated with fresh new musical explorations and directions." Simon Marshall-Jones
"It's hard to argue against Neubauten: the consumate innovators and experimenters. For a band who could probably coast on the value of their brandmark alone, Neubauten continues to take risks, and that's what the best artists always do." - Matthew Jeanes
"From their raw junk yard racket of Kollaps to the symphonic din of Perpetuum Mobile and now the off kilter pop of Alles Wieder Offen, EN continually destroyed what was in front of them, and left behind better, more beautiful things. For nearly 30 years, "Destroying New Buildings" has not only been an appropriate name, but a credo that they have stood by, and surpassed any expectations of." - Michael Barrett
"One of the most inventive bands ever and the only one capable of serenading me with a chainsaw, sand, and power tools. I would like a song employing a yankee screwdriver, however. You know, for the sake of completion. I still find myself listening to records released throughout their career and that in and of itself says a lot. Many bands have periods of real inspiration and genius, but EN's entire career captivates me. I wonder how you spell integrity in German." - Lucas Schleicher
The Absolutely Worst Album of the Year
These were the most negatively rated full-length albums in this year's poll.
- Dntel, "Dumb Luck" (Sub Pop)
- Stars, "Do You Trust Your Friends?" (Arts & Crafts)
- Console, "Mono" (Indigo)
- Supermayer, "Save The World" (Kompakt)
- Puscifer, "V is for Vagina" (Puscifer Enternainment)
- Der Blutharsch, "The Philosopher's Stone" (WKN)
- Von Thronstahl , "Sacrificare" (Fasci-Nation Recordings )
- Therion, "Gothic Kabbalah" (Nuclear Blast)
- Hella, "There's No 666 In Outer Space" (Ipecac)
- Devendra Banhart, "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon" (XL)
"Supermayer was absolute fucking garbage. I couldn't believe that anyone seriously enjoyed this atrocious, unfocused effort from two of contemporary techno's most celebrated producers. Thankfully, enough of you fine readers agreed with me that this polished turd deserves our collective scorn." - Gary Suarez
"Dnterrible" - Jon Whitney
"Puscifer is a side project of Maynard James Keenan, even with Tool beginning to sound worse with every release its surprising how awful this album really is. Even the black-baked production can't cover this multitude of half-ideas. Shoot him before he fills up his audio scraps collection again." - Scott McKeating
"Dumb Luck was bad enough to break one of the CD players at the radio station." - Lucas Schleicher
Thanks again to all who participated and we wish you the best for 2008.