Houston Calling

Houston Calling‘s favorite releases of 2007

December 19th, 2007 · 9 Comments

1. (tie) Maserati, Inventions For The New Season (Temporary Residence) | Amy Winehouse, Back To Black (Republic)

Athens’ band Maserati made the album Explosions In The Sky probably wish they had put out this year. It’s beautiful and intense instrumental rock, with untouchable drumming. Read my interview with the band for Envy magazine here.

Video: “This is a sight…”

Despite the train-wreck of her personal life, there’s no denying Amy Winehouse’s talent. Her vocals are smooth and sexy, and coupled with her wit and the great music provided by the Dap-Tones (Sharon Jones’ backing band), Back To Black is an instant classic.

Video: “You Know I’m No Good”

2. The Shins, Wincing The Night Away (Sub Pop)

Sugary-sweet pop that reminds me of The Smiths. I can’t stop listening. Enough said. Read my interview with the band here.

Video: “Australia”

3. Porcupine Tree, Fear of a Blank Planet (Atlantic/Wea)

Based on a concept frontman Stephen Wilson came up with after reading Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park, Fear Of A Blank Planet is a progged-out indictment of our current culture. Sometimes spacey, always intense, PT’s music is not for everyone–but those that give it a chance always seem to end up loving it. Read my interview with Wilson here.

Video: “Fear Of A Blank Planet”

4. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch)

Although the band has taken a lot of flack this year for VW commercials and a very mellow, seventies-influenced album, there is no denying the musicianship and listenability of Sky Blue Sky. Like nearly all of Wilco’s releases, this is one I feel I will listen to forever.

Video: “Impossible Germany”

5. Arthur Yoria, Handshake Smiles (12 Records)

Once again, Houston musician Arthur Yoria has crafted an excellent batch of songs. While vastly different than his previous releases, Handshake Smiles has strong classic rock and folk influences and proves that Yoria is one of Houston’s most talented musicians.

Video: “Should Be”

6. Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)

They seem to get more refined with each release and will undoubtedly be huge as a result of this record. Read my review of the album here.

Video: “The Underdog”

7. Band Of Horses, Cease To Begin (Sub Pop)

Like many fans of their first record, I thought that Band Of Horses probably didn’t have it in them to release a solid second album. How wrong I was. Cease To Begin is full of expertly crafted, instantly catchy songs that range from the upbeat to the mellow, all beautifully melodic.

Video: “No One’s Gonna Love You” (live)

8. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Baby 81

While this album didn’t instantly blow me away like their previous efforts, it was a grower and is still light years ahead of most bands trying to make similar music. Just listen to “American X” and you’ll hear why.

Video: Baby 81 sneak peek

9. Radiohead, In Rainbows (Self-released)

Radiohead once again proves they are masters of innovation, both on the album and how it was released. This one is on a lot of people’s best-of lists this year–and with good reason. While you can no longer pay what you want (the CD version hits stores in January), it’s worth whatever it costs. Just ask my discbox (whenever it gets here).

Video: “Weird Fishes”

10. Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger (Lost Highway)

Other than Strangers Almanac, his 1997 Whiskeytown masterpiece, this may be his finest work. I think author Stephen King put it best: “I won’t say Adams is the best North American singer-songwriter since Neil Young…but I won’t say he isn’t, either.” Not to be missed.

Video: “The Sun Also Sets”

See the rest of my list after the jump.

11. Pale, Mandatory Ambulance EP (Self-released)

After a single listen, these six songs grabbed me and still refuse to let go. Sometimes, no matter what I’m listening to, I’ll change it and put on Pale instead. That says a lot. Here is my review of the EP for Envy magazine.

Video: Live @ Warehouse Live, Houston

12. Grand Ole Party, Humanimals (DH Records)

Every year at SXSW, there’s a band that blows me away–San Diego’s Grand Ole Party took the honors this year. With vocals that hover in the PJ Harvey-meets-Siouxsie Sioux range and a great stripped-down sound, this three-piece’s raw energy and funked-up sound is addictive.

Video: “Look Out Young Son”

13. Minus The Bear, Planet Of Ice (Suicide Squeeze)

For some reason, this reminds me of Yes–for the 21st century. Incredible drummer, clever lyrics, and great guitars. Very well done.

Video: “Knights”

14. QOTSA, Era Vulgaris (Interscope)

Everything Josh Homme touches is just cool. For my money, the man can do no wrong. This album’s a bit rawer than the band’s last few releases, which is just fine with me.

Video: “3’s & 7’s”

15. Bring Back The Guns, Dry Futures (Feow!)

This Houston group fuses a solid indie rock tradition with a heavy Pixies and Fugazi influence (“The best Pixies album of 2007,” as one of my friends said when he first heard it). Read my review of the album.

Video: Live @ Noise & Smoke Fest, Houston

16. To Be A High-Powered Executive, We Don’t Want It Safe, We Want It Secret (Ropeadope Digital)

Instrumental rock that’s a cut above the standards set by Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky. This Ohio group is definitely worth checking out. Read my review of the album here.

Video: “Alaska”

17. The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Self-titled (Virgin)

Members of blur/Gorillaz, The Verve, The Clash, and Africa 70. Need I say more?

Video: “80’s Life (live at SXSW)”

18. Back Door Slam, Roll Away (Blix Street)

Sounds like Clapton, plays like Hendrix–this is great blues from a very young band from the Isle of Man. Read my interview with the band here.

Video: “Come Home”

19. Wolf & Cub, Vessels (4ad)

Another SXSW find, this Australian band takes the best of bands like Jane’s Addiction, The Dandy Warhols, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre and mixes it into a solid psychedelic stomp. It’s a bit over-produced for my taste overall, but it sounds amazing.

Video: “This Mess”

20. Kaiser Chiefs, Yours Truly, Angry Mob

Poppy and catchy, with typical British flair, this album instantly hooked me and refused to let go. I wasn’t a fan of their debut and didn’t expect much from Yours Truly… Thankfully, I was surprised. It’s tongue-in-cheek, sad, and honest in all the right spots–and the music’s not too shabby either.

Video: “Everything Is Average Nowadays”

Honorable mention: 65 Days Of Static, The Destruction of Small Ideas (Video: “Don’t Go Down To Sorrow”)

So, there you have it. Please feel free to post your comments and/or your favorites of 2007 below. Or send me an email.

I will post my top 10 Houston favorites (three of which you know from the above list) soon. Check back.

In 2008, I’m looking forward to releases by The Prairie Cartel, Voyager One, Mogwai, Hayes Carll, and Tody Castillo.

Tags: Music · Reviews

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Adam P. Newton // Dec 19, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    My best-of list comes up this week! Be ready!

  • 2 bcd // Dec 20, 2007 at 11:40 am

    i feel like i need an entire “honorable mention” list. at least 1/2 of the stuff on your tops list would make my 2nd list (and i struggled with several before making the cut.)

    nice list – thanks for all the linkies!

  • 3 DAC // Dec 21, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Who wants a Christmas mix?

  • 4 DAC // Dec 23, 2007 at 12:56 pm


  • 5 Jason // Dec 23, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Here are my top 5. For more check out my myspace blogs if you’d like.

    5 Field Music – TONES OF TOWN
    4 Queens of the Stone Age – ERA VULGARIS
    3 Rufus Wainwright – RELEASE THE STARS
    2 The Electric Soft Parade – NO NEED TO DO DOWNHEARTED
    1 Dungen – TIO BITAR

  • 6 Adam P. Newton // Dec 24, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    As promised….

    My Top 10 Albums of the Year

    I did make the decision to include a honorable mentions list. I couldn’t resist.

  • 7 jennifer // Dec 29, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    thanks for the mix! i’ve enjoyed your blog since i found it through the donewaiting sxsw blog earlier this year.

  • 8 Minus The Bear, Annuals at House of Blues tonight // Nov 8, 2008 at 8:14 am

    […] of my favorite albums of 2007 was Minus The Bear’s Planet Of Ice. The band plays Houston tonight (Saturday, 11.8.06), with […]

  • 9 SPACE CITY ROCK » Catching Up For Christmas: Lots of Stuff Goin’ On // May 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    […] Calling’s Top 10 List Up: Yep, SCR friend/sometime contributor David Cobb has got his own list of top ten releases this year up on the ever-cool Houston Calling site. I read it and feel like a big slacker, but I swear, […]

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