You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m going to save my “Best Albums” list until last. I’m like Casey Kasem that way.

But this week, I’ll post my runner ups!

1. !!!: Myth Takes.

Hitting my ears at about the same time the first LCD Soundsystem and Rapture albums came out, along with tons of sound-alikes, Chk x 3’s Louden Up Now just didn’t move me. It sounded common, for the most part, with a few exceptional numbers stuck between a bunch of sound-the-same tracks. I’ve listened to it a few times since then, just to give the band another chance, but I still wasn’t impressed.

Then along came this year’s Myth Takes. If Louden was punk-dance, this one is dance-punk. Heavy on the beat, this is a geek-chic disco masterpiece. Although the real star is the percussion, they use brass and strings as rhythm instruments, just like James Brown, sprinkling in quick toots and beeps for extra flavor. (Ignore the lyrics, and consider the vocals an afterthought.) Songs like “A New Name” recall Studio 54, while “Sweet Life” is anthemic. Most surprising is “Infinifold,” the free-form ballad that wraps up the CD. Yes indeed, the band is finally showing range.

I’m not saying Myth Takes is a work of genius, or even that it will have a lot of staying power. What I’m saying is that it’s the band’s strongest release so far, tighter and denser, and it’s not like anything else I’ve reviewed this year. For now, at least, I thoroughly enjoy it.

2. THE TEETH-You’re My Lover Now

For fans of The White Stripes, Pela, Robbers and Cowards, The Walkmen, and The Cold War Kids . . . Groundbreaking music as familiar as it is unlike anything you’ve heard before. Every time I hear this album it’s like hearing it for the first time.

Full review here.

3. CHRISOPHER BLUE-“Room Tones.”

A radioheady blues collection of very well-written mellow rock. Complex, catchy, and thought-provoking. I was this close (makes small space between fingers) to knocking !!! off and putting this record on my best-records-of-the-year-so-far list. It’s just that good.

(Oooops! I just gave something away about tomorrow’s post!)


Ghost in the Night-Chrisopher Blue

These Thoughts-Chrisopher Blue

Full review here.

4. MF DOOM Meets Clutchy Hopkins.

Anything with MF DOOM on it is worth a listen, but this is just a mash up of the Masked Man with underground legend Clutchy Hopkins. The six raw cuts, untitled and leaked to the web, show potential. But without original material, it just whets the appetite. And where’s that confounded DOOM/Ghostface team up, anyway? Anyway, this was an unofficial release but if you can track it down, it might keep you cool while you wait for GFK and MF to get their shit together.

5. LIL’ WAYNE-Da Drought 3

This mixtape was probably more anticipated than most records, based on the sheer power of last year’s Dedication 2 (and the sheer crap that the record industry–particularly hip hop producers–put out on major labels). Da Drought is mostly meat, less filler. Spitting over beats like “This is Why I’m Hot” and “Black Republicans,” Weezy again proves how much better he can do other people’s songs. You gotta hand it to hip hop: Mixtapes were basically the first blogs. Places where fans and artists could release edgy stuff without the restrictions of a label or the need to be commercial. And Weezy puts all his best stuff out this way, anyway.

This also seems like a perfect opportunity to point out how much Weezy

looks like Cassandra, from Survivor.

Black Republicans-Lil’ Wayne with Juelz Santanna.

Black Republicans-Lil’ Wayne with Juelz Santanna (alternate link)

That’s all for today. Tomorrow: The Best of ’07 So Far . . . The Albums!

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