Daniel Melia

16:08 17th December 2007

The votes are in, the Top 50 collated so now it is time to reveal Gigwise's best albums of 2007. It's been one hell of a year in music with some astoundingly good records released, click through to find out who made our list...

50. Klaxons - 'Myths Of The Near Future' - A great debut album that scooped the Mercury Music Prize this summer, despite the patchiness of the second half of the record, such zeniths as 'Golden Skans' and a re-working of 'Gravity's Rainbow' ensured 'Myths of the Near Future' packed plenty of punch.

49. Bright Eyes - 'Cassadaga' - Despite drunkenly bad-mouthing John Peel at Glastonbury 2005, Conor Oberst and his Bright Eyes cohorts proved that they do have a soul with their 2007 comeback. A warm folk-indie classic that seems to mature and unravel with every listen.

48. Jens Lekman - 'Night Falls Over Kortedala' - A lesson in the grandiose, sweeping arrangements and embellished vocals came in the shape of Lekman's 'Night Falls Over Kortedala.' An epic, but also entirely poignant record from the Swede that we honestly can't get enough of.

47. Biffy Clyro - 'Puzzle' - The jock rockers' most lavishly produced and perfectly realised record contained just the right amount of gnarly rock edge and more human, earnest emotions. It rightfully propelled them to number two in the UK charts upon its release - a place that they truly belong.

46. Windmill - 'Puddle City Racing Lights' - Written and performed by the impossibly high voiced Matt Dillon, 'Puddle City Racing Lights' is an impossibly heartfelt record that touches the listener with every spin. The most startling thing though is Dillon's ability to take mundane subject matter and make it sound truly wondrous. A rare talent.

45. !!! - 'Myth Takes' - By far the best album yet from !!!, 'Myth Takes' became the soundtrack to a summer of late night festival raves. Funky guitar noodling become dancefloor anthems in the hands of the Californian band never more so than on lead single 'Heart Of Hearts.'

44. The Hold Steady - 'Girls And Boys In America' - Released in 2006 Stateside, Britain finally got the chance to be immersed in the sheer musical muscle of 'Boys and Girls in America' this January. Retrogressive, partly Springsteen inspired, yet still an absolute golden nugget of a record. We await what they're going to come up with next fervently.

43. Liars - 'Liars' - Not quite as perplexing as their previous effort 'Drum's Not Dead', their eponymous fourth album had more of a commercial edge, but was still infused with their anarchic, chaotic charm.

42. Bjork - 'Volta' - The Icelandic songstress once again proved her incessant music merit with this her beguiling sixth studio album. Featuring contributions from Timbaland and Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons fame, it's a visionary classic that adds to Bjork's unique back catalogue.

41. Modest Mouse - 'We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank' - Augmented by The Smiths' Johnny Marr on guitar, Modest Mouse notched up their first ever US number one with arguably their most accessible release to date. A triumph of indie music at its damn finest.

40. Nine Inch Nails - 'Year Zero' - An ominous, daunting title preceded Trent Reznor's latest opus and that's exactly what we got. A multi-layered, intelligent concept record that poses many questions apt in contemporary times. The work of a genius mind.

39. Jakobinarina - 'The First Crusade' - A surprise gem of 2007 came from Iceland's latest brilliant export Jakobinara. Their art was not that of glacial atmospherics (Sigur Ros) or offbeat magic (Bjork), but sheer unadulterated pop melodies and whip snap quick guitar riffs. Simply great.

38. Efterklang - 'Parades' - Admittedly an acquired taste, Efterklang's brew of edgy electronica mixed with rock and pop tinges is as brilliant as it is wonky. It's an album that has garnered the Danish nine-piece the kind of recognition they truly deserve.

37. iLiKETRAiNS - 'Elegies To Lessons Learnt' - Not since the heady days of Godspeed You Black Emperor! has a band served up such an endearing post-apocalyptic racket. The Leeds outfit turned their attention away from solely singing about the plight of unfortunate individuals and moved on to subjects such as plagues and the Great Fire of London. Jaw-droppingly brilliant.

36. Blonde Redhead - '23' - The multi-national, New York based trio excelled their own sparkling 14 year back-catalogue with their seventh album release. The record that lifted them into the public consciousness, it was a highly polished concept album of sorts and another highlight of 2007.

35. Simian Mobile Disco - 'Attack Sustain Decay Release' - Rising from the ashes of Simian and pushed by the success of Justice's genius interpretation of 'We Are Your Friends,' Simian Mobile Disco's debut album contained all the electro bleeps that Jas Shaw and Jas Ford did so well in their previous outfit - only with a more up-to-date, contemporary vision.

34. The Whitest Boy Alive - 'Dreams' - Finally given a UK release, 'Dreams' won almost universal, resilient praise from critics - and rightly so. We couldn't get enough of Erlend Oye's side project in the Gigwise office, mainly because the record has the fabulous ability to end almost before you realise it has started.

33. The Good, The Bad And The Queen - 'The Good, The Bad And The Queen' - Once again Damon Albarn proved that he has the Midas touch when it comes to side-projects away from Blur. Touted as a super-group from the off, The Good, The Bad And The Queen painted a fabulous, ethereal picture of London in the 21st century.

32. Band Of Horses - 'Cease To Begin' - Band Of Horses second album took things down a level from the indie-rock of their debut. That didn't make 'Cease To Begin' any less important though. More country than most of the material we've heard from them before it proved them to be one of America's finest exports.

31. The Maccabees - 'Colour It In' - Music doesn't really get more indie-pop than The Maccabees' 'Colour It In.' Part of the burgeoning London scene of 2007, The Maccabees proved themselves to be more than a little bit special thanks as much to the album's delicately tentative moments as the more uplifting ones.

30. Beirut - 'The Flying Club Cup' - From big brass to more subtle instruments like the ukulele, 'The Flying Club Cup' drew a fascinating picture of France. While the records fluctuating construction might have segregated some manys, for those who stayed with it, 'The Flying Club Cup' was one of 2007's truly great musical triumphs.

29. Underworld - 'Oblivion With Bells' - Over twenty years since their first release, 'Oblivion With Bells' saw Underworld return to dance music's summit once again. A thoroughly complete listen, there's an obvious intensity to the record which does little to suggest they're making music for anything other than the 3am dance set.

28. Dizzee Rascal - 'Maths And English' - If 'Maths And English' proved one thing, it's that no other British urban act adjoins the Indie and Grime worlds like Dizzee Rascal. Loud, aggressive, and consistently brilliant, it's no wonder that the album won Rascal his second Mercury Music Prize nomination.

27. Holy Fuck - 'LP' - Holy Fuck have certainly shown how to guarantee minimal airplay that to their name and debut album, but for those who don't get to hear them, it's their loss. Another album which rattles along so frenetically it's over before it's begun 'LP' is simply a privilege to listen to.

26. The White Stripes - 'Icky Thump' - 'Icky Thump' led with a stomping, bag-pipe featuring title track and from there never relented. Whilst the album left some hardcore fans wondering just what Jack and Meg White were thinking, it left the most of us pondering just how such fantastically bizarre musical ideas developed in the studio.

25. Jay Z - 'American Gangster' - How many times has Jay-Z retired, or at least threatened it? Well, certainly more times than the number of albums he has made. 'American Gangster' was no rush release though. Universally acclaimed, 'American Gangster' catapulted the rapper back into the hearts of critics and fans alike.

24. Babyshambles - 'Shotter's Nation' - Pete Doherty didn't seem to be out the papers for long enough in 2007 to record an album, but sure enough Babyshambles did, and fantastic one at that. A return to Doherty's artistic lyrical pomp, 'Shotter's Nation' was an album from a band desperate to make the headlines for the right reasons once again.

23. Panda Bear - 'Person Pitch' - 'Person Pitch' brought the listener in from the outset and just simply didn't let them go. It might not have had conventional construction but that was half the fun.

22. Super Furry Animals - 'Hey Venus!' - The band's eighth album and first full studio release on Rough Trade was further evidence that in a oscillating music scene the Super Furry Animals have still got a place. Winning critics thanks to its accessibility, tracks from 'Hey Venus!' understandably won over festival audiences throughout the summer.

21. Interpol - 'Our Love To Admire' - The band's first album on a major label, 'Our Love To Admire' showed no signs of suffering at the hand of big-money production. Rather, it took Interpol into the 'big league' thanks to rousing highs and tenderly touching lows. It proved that Interpol are still the only New York band to be consistently delivering following the scenes early 21st century explosion.

20. The New Pornographers - 'Challengers' - As supergroups in indie the Canadians rule the world and 2007 was no different. 'Challengers' was given a four and a half star review by Gigwise on its release for the impact brought by each individual player be it the beautiful voice of Neko Case or the candypop of A.C. Newman.

19. Arctic Monkeys - 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' - Those the album cover may have left a lot to be desired the music contained within 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' certainly did not. More poignant than the Sheffield quartet's debut and with the help of James Ford's production a stepping stone that leaves you thinking where will they go next?

18. Animal Collective - 'Strawberry Jam' - A tour de force in experimental indie that defies categorisation with songs centred around sequenced electronica and lyrical narratives. At times it can become disorientating but the quality of the songcraft shines throughout and enables a path through its wackiness.

17. Justice - 'Cross' - Probably the most highly anticipated electronic album of the year, the debut from Parisian duo Justice is a throbbing monster of a record. From the massive squelch of 'Waters Of Nazareth' to the more commercial pop of 'D.A.N.C.E.' they completely justified the hype while no doubt spawning a million imitators.

16. Patrick Wolf - 'The Magic Position' - Patrick Wolf has has an up and down year from supporting Arcade Fire to threatening to quit music but at the centre of it stands a truly brillaint album. A rollicking pop record that broke him into the mainstream 'The Magic Position' is his most rounded album to date.

15. The Decemberists - 'The Crane Wife' - One of the first albums to be released this year, 'The Crane Wife' takes inspiration from a Japanese folk tale and throws the thesaurus like lyrical patter of Colin Meloy into the mix. At points it can be intimate and then in a whirl of theatrics expansive but it is never anything more than superb. Yet another album for 2007 that is a slow grower and well worth your time and effort.

14. Future Of The Left - 'Curses' - A short blast of brilliance that never overstays its welcome, 'Curses' is an attack on the mind and soul in the best possible way. No album was louder while retaining the ability to be diverse in 2007 and therefore Future Of Left deserve to be applauded for punching us in the face with such aplomb.

13. Les Savy Fav - 'Lets Stay Friends' - A decade after their formation New York's Les Savy Fav finally found the universal acclaim they so richly deserved. Yes, 'Lets Stay Friends' might have been their most commercial release to date but that didn't stop it being a visceral attack of the senses from the full rocking out intro of 'The Equestrian' to funk laced 'Patty Lee' it was a joy to behold.

12. Kings Of Leon - 'Because Of The Times' - Some may call 'Because Of The Times' a return to form but Gigwise would prefer to see it as a realisation of a band's true potential. Packed full of ambitious moments it sees the Fallowill's perform at their best at every turn from seven minute opener 'Knocked Up' to the truly anthemic 'On Call' and beyond.

11. The Shins - 'Wincing The Night Away' - The Shins shrugged off their 'Garden State' cult following in triumphant style on 'Wincing The Night Away'. Bigger in scope and more symphonic than its predecessor 'Chutes Too Narrow', 'Wincing...' was the sound of Sub-Pops' finest opening their horizons to a truly ambitious landscape. The moment indie-pop became epic.

10. Of Montreal - 'Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?' - Mostly written and recorded solely by Kevin Barnes 'Hissing Fauna...' combined all the elements previously explored by Of Montreal. An explosion of twee-disco-funk euphoria from the Athens, Georgia band that points to a very exciting future.

9. Jamie T - 'Panic Prevention' - The one great album to come from London's increasingly influential mockney art-school scene, 'Panic Prevention' sees our protaganist create a recorded sound that encapsulates the brilliance of his free-wheeling live shows. You could never accuse it of being over-produced and we love it even more for being that way.

8. Bloc Party - 'A Weekend In The City' - In a way 'A Weekend In The City' was a transitional album for Bloc Party. It is the record where they put distance between themselves and their origins, ditching the angular, rhythm section driven sound of 'Silent Alarm' for a more comtemplative, lyrical sound. Expect them to sound even bigger next time out.

7. LCD Soundsystem - 'Sound Of Silver' - While 'Sound Of Silver' isn't a huge departure from James Murphy and co's eponymous debut what it does do it expand on the ideas. Murphy manages to make music destined for the dancefloor intelligent as he explores what it is to be American. This doesn't mean however that the hip shaking hips are ditched with the inclusion of 'North American Scum' providing plenty of beat lead action.

6. Yeasayer - 'All Hour Cymbals' - The surprise hit of the year in the Gigwise office, 'All Hour Cymbals' is astonishing beautiful in its execution. The meticulous production brings to life a record that is at its most breathtaking in the finer details. So many influences yet so fresh in its sound, a real revelation.

5. Arcade Fire - 'Neon Bible' - It must have been a daunting task to write the follow up to 'Funeral' but on 'Neon Bible' the Montreal based collective didn't disappoint. The difficult second album was overcome with an exploration through the darker sides of 21st Century life with raw human emotion at its centre that added to the theatrical epic nature of the songs within.

4. The National - 'Boxer' - If 2005's 'Alligator' was a slow grower which crept up on you then the follow up from The National, 'Boxer' was its even more elusive brother. On its release Gigwise called it "downbeat, red-eyed and mysterious, filled with regret and longing, but hope, tenderness and defiance too." The archetypal album that'll hit after several in depth listens.

3. Battles - 'Mirrored' - Unique in its outlook amidst all the other records on this list 'Mirrored' sounded like no other release in 2007. Although the Brooklyn based quartet toned down their experimentation compared to their previous EP releases they did so with such confidence that the polyrhythmic beats and loops became accessible brilliance, never more so than on the truly awesome 'Atlas'.

2. M.I.A - 'Kala' - In any other year 'Kala' would have ruled the roost in our poll, if it wasn't for those pesky guys from Oxford. On her second album Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam showed why she is the most exciting female artist in the world today with an awesome array elements pilfered from musical sounds across the globe. Essential.

1. Radiohead - 'In Rainbows' - On October 1, Radiohead announced that they'd be releasing 'In Rainbows' in ten days' time as a 'pay-what-you-want' download. Cue the record industry quaking at the foundations and pandemic media coverage. While a cynic may say it was an ingenious PR stunt, fortunately, the music 'In Rainbows' contains was startlingly brilliant and easily the band's best output since 2000's 'Kid A' and their most accessible since 'OK Computer.' Sheer genius.

More about: