Jordan Daniel

Whether Jordan is writing acoustically under moniker Borderline Angelic, scratching out club beats with experimental project Electric Dreams Fantasy Boy, exploring 8-bit sounds and field recording with the electronic Pareidolia, or even playing homage to David Byrne and early ska in Captain Sizzle At The CBGB - the founder of Sudden Epidemic and the "voice" of Jane Lane plays music wherever he goes.

When not dancing the tango with lady Music herself, Jordan enjoys croquet, Regina Spektor, cooking, The Dark Knight, Magic: The Gathering, composition notebooks, horror movies, Terry Gilliam, concerts, quidditch, Blue Indigo, Mel Brooks, Richard Linklater, Photoshop, the internet, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, milk, Stanley Kubrick, new wave, Moog, the color pink, and the number 136.

Top 50 Albums Of 2007

Real music in today's world is a quite a hard thing to come by. It's still there hiding somewhere behind the billboards and television advertisements; retreating from Zach Braff movie soundtracks and interactive 'play a dwarfish plastic guitar and feel like you're Slash' video games.

For all of those swept up in a seemingly endless sea of prepackaged pop idols, mainstream media, and records produced by Starbucks, let us now take a step back and look at what really made this year musically "worth it". Don't worry, it's all going to be okay.

50. Say Anything - "In Defense Of The Genre"
49. The Rocket Summer - "Do You Feel?"
48. The Polyphonic Spree - "The Fragile Army"
47. The Go! Team - "Proof Of Youth"
46. Coheed & Cambria - "No World For Tomorrow"
45. Pink Martini - "Hey Eugene"
44. The Chemical Brothers - "We Are The Night"
43. Straylight Run - "The Needles, The Space"
42. Amy Winehouse - "Back To Black"
41. Jens Lekman - "Night Falls Over Kortedala"
tied with...
41. Against Me! - "New Wave"
40. St. Vincent - "Marry Me"
39. The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
38. CocoRosie - "The Adventures Of Ghosthorse And Stillborn"
37. Bjork - "Volta"
36. Deerhoof - "Friend Opportunity"
35. Justice - "†"
34. Jesu - "Conquerer"
33. Jimmy Eat World - "Chase This Light"
32. Bloc Party - "A Weekend In The City"
31. Motion City Soundtrack - "Even If It Kills Me"
30. Air - "Pocket Symphony"
29. Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank"
28. Six Organs Of Admittance - "Shelter From The Ash"
27. Do Make Say Think - "You, You're A History In Rust"
26. Robert Plant/Allison Krauss - "Raising Sand"
25. LCD Soundsystem - "Sound Of Silver"
24. Scraps Of Tape - "This Is A Copy, Is This A Copy?"
23. The Shins - "Wincing The Night Away"
22. Blonde Redhead - "23"
21. Rilo Kiley - "Under The Blacklight"
20. El Ten Eleven - "Every Direction Is North"
19. Infected Mushroom - "Vicious Delicious"
18. The Good Life - "Help Wanted Nights"
17. August Burns Red - "Messengers"
16. 65daysofstatic - "The Destruction Of Small Ideas"
15. Caspian - "The Four Trees"
14. Feist - "The Reminder"
13. Battles - "Mirrored"
12. Explosions In The Sky - "All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone"
11. Between The Buried And Me - "Colors"

The Shepherd's Dog
10. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog (Sub Pop)
You've probably heard Iron & Wine before. Sam Beam's finger-picked, soft-spoken acoustic folk anthems have been seemingly everywhere since "Such Great Heights" (a Postal Service cover) was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Garden State. Let me tell you this though: You've never heard Iron & Wine like this. Beam has finally produced a flawless folk record. Now featuring a full band, as well as a fair amount of experimental instrumentation, "The Shepherd's Dog" marks another step forward on the time line in Iron & Wine's successful, and hopefully long, career. To realize and appreciate the full extent of this transformation, you will need to listen to both "The Creek Drank The Cradle" and "Our Endless Numbered Days" (Iron & Wine's last two full-length releases). Actually, just buy all of his records. Really.

9. Eluvium - Copia (Temporary Residence Limited)
Portland's own Eluvium (Matthew Cooper) never ceases to amaze me. With such simple progressions and minimal instrumentation (either piano, strings, or guitar generated tape loops), Eluvium has now fully founded a rich, atmospheric type of post rock experimental (with some nods to artists such as Richard James and Brian Eno) that is, to say the least, entrancing. "Copia" is definitely the most accessible of his records; so if you haven't heard it yet, make sure to listen.

Super Taranta!
8. Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta!
The most energetic, sporadic, rambunctious, and surreal dose of 'tasteful' debauchery I've ever heard. Less punk than their breakthrough record "Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike" but not lacking any of its predecessors energy, "Super Taranta!" will get you screaming, dancing, wailing, and making a general ruckus! I mean, come on, it's gypsy punk!

Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline
7. Stars Of The Lid - Their Refinement Of The Decline (Kranky)
Kings of drone rock and ambient experimental, Stars Of The Lid have seemed to abandoned their noisy loops and tape hiss for a cleaner approach to simple oscillating sound waves. Much like their 2001 album, "The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid", their 2007 release is comprised of lengthy passages of minimalistic strings, piano, and other classical instruments. Moving along like a soundtrack to a night drive or a Texas-based inspirational football movie (think Explosions In The Sky, but even more epic), "Their Refinement Of The Decline" is exactly what is states: finding perfect refinement in a world of music so quickly going down the drain.

Neon Bible
6. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (Merge)
Oh, the indie darlings! After I first heard The Arcade Fire's "Funeral" a few years ago, I immediately spouted some comparisons to Talking Heads and Echo And The Bunnymen. No, really. It's so much MORE than that!

Easily one of the most anticipated albums of the year for the indie scene, "Neon Bible" only pushes the driving force that is The Arcade Fire closer to world dominance. This band is that good. Multiple violin players, a glockenspiel, and the use of a children's choir will do that to you. Notably life-changing tracks include "Intervention", "Windowsill", and "No Cars Go".

So, don't believe the hype. The Arcade Fire is actually BETTER than the hype.

In Rainbows
5. Radiohead - In Rainbows (N/A)
Right when everyone thought they were going to have to wait yet another year for a new album from Radiohead, "In Rainbows" was dropped right into our laps. Let's get this out of the way first: They let you pay whatever you want for the record. Leave it to one of the greatest rock bands of our generation to pull that out of their hats. Releasing the record independently through the internet (way to embrace the digital revolution!), Radiohead kicked the record industry right in the shin.

The record is absolutely incredible. It is comprised mostly of material that has been played live before, but the best has been picked out of the crowd for us and made 'pretty' for this forty-five minute long production. "Nude" is a wonderful track to check out if you aren't already going out to buy this record because it's RADIOHEAD.

4. Bright Eyes - Cassadaga (Saddle Creek)
It's quite a hard feat to follow up a double record, especially when one of them happens to have been the turning point in your entire career. After the masterpiece that was "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning", Bright Eyes turns once again to it's more folk, blues, and country roots to produce a, well, 'concept' album like no other. "Cassadaga" preaches the importance of both life and death, and the natural cycle that both have in the world around us; Oberst continues to contribute his shaking vocal styling and remarkable poetry, and conducts a growing orchestra of musicians around him besides. Buy this record. Now.

3. Idiot Pilot - Wolves (Reprise)
Idiot Pilot has definitely taken a huge step in the right direction. Without straying from their originality and total indifference when it comes to 'logical' pop melody and 'catchy' structure, Michael Harris and Daniel Anderson have crossed into a darker, more mature soundscape that allows 'Wolves' to speak for itself (instead of having Anderson scream for it).

What "Wolves" might be lacking in tension and power (a trademark of earlier-"Strange We Should Meet Here"-era Idiot Pilot), it replaces with sonic greatness. Each track flies at the speed of light - through the night sky and across oceans - tumbling and twisting and dancing along perfectly executed electronic elements, powerful percussion, and Harris' impressive vocals.

Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading
2. The Dear Hunter - Act II: The Meaning Of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading (Triple Crown)
Continuing exactly where "Act I" left off (pick that record up as well, while you're at it), "Act II" of the Ms. Leading story embarks on another journey of soaring orchestration and raw elegance. Casey Crescenzo, lead every-man and former member of The Receiving End Of Sirens, has once again amazed us. The fusion of symphonic elements, basic rock instrumentation, and vocal layering has created something outside the normal boundaries of progressive rock (as defined in modern prog by such bands as The Mars Volta). The production and performance are flawless.

The lyrics and emotions displayed for the listener seem, at some points, almost too youthful and naive, but generally the power behind Crescenzo's statements are what make the greatest impression. This is the kind of record most artists would die to make.

Let's all hope to hear an "Act III" in the near future; I recommend listening to "Act I" and "Act II" sequentially for the fullest experience.

In Our Bedroom After the War
1. Stars - In Our Bedroom After The War (Arts & Crafts)
As expected, Canadian synth-pop orchestra Stars' follow up to 2004's "Set Yourself On Fire" was, to put it lightly, spectacular. "In Our Bedroom After The War" is a beautifully crafted, brilliantly woven journey; lyrics and lush symphonies combine to create a unique world you must see (or hear) to believe.

I think a lot of people went straight into this album expecting "Set Yourself On Fire" (mind you that "Set Yourself On Fire" is one of the most brilliant pop records ever made). If you are one of these people who believe that nothing could surpass their earlier records, then think again. If you have never heard of Stars before, then shame on you. This album contains a depth and lasting resonance of hope, beauty, inspiration, and love that I can not even begin to explain. There's no way to put it into words. You just have to listen.