2007 music wrap-up

In fact, yes, I did put this off until almost the last possible moment.

In only approximate order of favoriteness, here is my year-end wrap-up. As in previous years, a few of the entries on the following list were released earlier than 2007, but that is when I discovered them, so I'm allowing a little slack. In 2007, I acquired roughly the same amount of new music as I did last year: around 160 new-ish albums, and a similar number of older releases.

You've heard tracks by, I believe, all but three of these bands on the jwz mixtapes so far.

Shriekback - "Glory Bumps"

    As you have probably figured out by now, I am a huge, huge Shriekback fan, and this latest album is one of their best. "Amaryllis in the Sprawl" in particular is one of the best songs they've ever done.

Say Hi To Your Mom - "Impeccable Blahs" & "Numbers & Mumbles"

    Last year's best band name was "I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness", and this year that title goes to "Say Hi To Your Mom". That aside, these are great albums. I love the guy's voice. They're mostly mellow, sweet-sounding songs about goofy topics like video games, space ships and vampires. Even though the lyrics are really funny, it doesn't come off as a joke: it sounds like he really cares that she beat his high score.

Gram Rabbit - "Radio Angel and the Robot Beat"

    Gram Rabbit's made the list for the last two years, and this one's fantastic as well. I'd say it's better than the last one. We had them at DNA Lounge again in September.

Los Abandoned - "Mixtape"

    Extremely perky bilingual girly pop-punk... That whole pop-punk category can go very wrong, but in this case, it goes very right. This album is a lot of fun.

    Aaaaaand... apparently they just broke up, like a month after I bought their album. Dammit.

Minuit - "Guns", "Fuji", & "Except You"

    So, these are an EP and a couple of singles, which don't quite add up to a full album, but I love them so much they make the list anyway, especially for the song "Fuji". They're kind of trip-hoppy, I guess. They have a couple of full-length albums out, but I haven't managed to get my hands on them yet.

The Trucks - "The Trucks"

    This album sort of oscillates between a Luscious Jackson-style hip-hoppy electronic indie rock, and Tegan & Sara-ish acoustic tracks. The lyrics are lewd and funny. (You should listen to them despite the fact that I am crappy at describing bands.)

Tiny Masters of Today - "Bang Bang Boom Cake"

    Distorted punk in the vicinity of The Kills. Apparently they're a pair of little kids. Maybe this is what Fuzzbox would have been today.

Mon Frere - "Blood, Sweat, & Swords" & "Real Vampires EP"

    They sound a bit like the harder side of Sleater-Kinney, I guess. "You Make Me Wanna Destroy Something Beautiful" and "Drain" are my favorites.

The Bastard Fairies - "Memento Mori"

    Sweet, mellow, country-tinged acoustic songs about prostitutes and damnation. They're funny. I'll bet they drink a lot.

You Say Party! We Say Die! - "Lose All Time" & "Hit The Floor!"

    Fast, shouty female indie/punk, I guess... but they sound kind of like Adult if Adult had more rock, less "Warm Leatherette". (Also, second place for best band name of the year.)

Ultraviolet - "Ultraviolet"

    Bratty, poppy electronic rock; are we still calling this kind of thing "electroclash"? This is a great EP, and they put on a really fun show at DNA Lounge in November.

A Place To Bury Strangers - "A Place To Bury Strangers"

    These guys fall somewhere between The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. And I mean that in a good way.

Photek - "Form & Function Vol 2"

    Well, it's been nine years since the last Photek album, "Form & Function Vol 1", and this one's better! It's very dark drum-and-bass, mostly. This is nice, because I wasn't aware that anyone was still making this kind of thing.

The Birthday Massacre - "Walking With Strangers"

    Heh. Goths. It's good in that nostalgic kind of way. They played DNA Lounge in September.

The Nice Device - "Let the Nightlife Down"

    Poppy indie-rock, maybe a bit like Metric. They played DNA Lounge in April.

Midnight Movies - "Lion the Girl"

    Mellow, moody indie rock, a bit shoegazer-y, a bit 60s. Yeah, I suck at this.

Tegan & Sara - "The Con"

    At least as good as the previous album, which made last year's list. Marginally grumpier and less acoustic than the last one.

Faceless Werewolves - "Medium Freaky"

    A noisy punk band with mostly female vocals, and very weird topics. The song "One Armed Man" kinda freaks me out.

The Ettes - "Shake the Dust"

    Another fast, female-fronted punk band. Easiest comparison: Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Chris Randall - "The Devil His Due" & "Cheap Sensation"

    Mr. Sister Machine Gun completes his rejection of all things Industrial by releasing a blues-rock album!

Dandi Wind - "Concrete Igloo"

    They are fast and twitchy and sound a lot like Adult. Which is good, because I really like Adult. (Adult is better, though.)

A Kiss Could Be Deadly - "The Pink Noise Sessions"

    I guess you might call them "new wave", since they're a rock band with prominent synths and an 80s influence. They played DNA Lounge in October.

Lazy Lane - "The Chills"

    Spooky, gothy... folk, I guess. People seem to like to compare them to Mazzy Star, but I found Mazzy Star dull and completely un-spooky.

The Long Blondes - "Someone to Drive You Home"

    Hey look, people are still making mid-90s britpop. This is a bit like Elastica with an extra helping of 60s nostalgia.

Stolen Babies - "There Be Squabbles Ahead"

    A female-fronted metal band with sort of a carnival feel to a lot of their songs. The stand-out here is "Push Button". I think I'd like this album more if their approach to the carnival thing reminded me more of, say, Oingo Boingo, and less of Marilyn Manson.

Atomica - "Metropolitan"

    Very, very Portishead.

Film School - "Hideout"

    And in this corner: My Bloody Valentine.

Silversun Pickups - "Carnavas"

    Some shoegazery, but a whole lot of Smashing Pumpkins.

Nine Inch Nails - "Year Zero"

    It's good, though it didn't keep my interest as long as 2005's "With Teeth" did. There are a few great songs on this one, though, particularly "Zero Sum".

The National - "Boxer"

    The first time I heard this it didn't do much for me ("another too-mellow Joy Division wannabe", I thought) but this album grew on me.
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15 Responses:

  1. merovingian says:

    Hooray for Everything! In every way!

  2. rly says:

    Same as last year, the only overlap between this list and mine is Tegan and Sara. Actually finally got around to seeing them live this year, too. They cover "Umbrella" by Rhianna live and actually make it a good song.

    • jwz says:

      That was... again, I can't remember that word... it's the opposite of "good".

    • porphyre says:

      ....

      I'm not sure how I missed that, but I'm a little glad I did until now. I don't think my childhood crush on him could have survived it.

  3. injector says:

    I've been looking for something very, very Portishead. So, thank you for the Atomica mention; I'm streaming it right now, and your description seems apt. Thanks.

  4. dreamyshade says:

    I like Los Abandoned especially because a long time ago [pre-YouTube], I posted a video of my sister dancing to one of their songs (link), and they found it and emailed us saying they liked it! I had been a little hesistant to post it in the first place because I wondered if they'd tell us to take it down. Anyway, when they met her at a neighborhood concert in Los Angeles, they gave her free CDs. They're nice.

  5. ammutbite says:

    imho, the reason your 07 post did not get the number of replies the 97 post did is simple, and hopefully won't sound like I'm brown-nosing.
    Your devotion and involvement with music makes your tastes extremely diverse and obscure, compared to a typical typical reader of your blog, who will at most know 1 or 2 bands from the current playlist of Radio Zawinski.
    This is "your house" so being critical of something you say you like is not appropriate. That only leaves commenting with "thank you", which is about as useless as a +1/LOL reply....
    I say that with the assumption - "At this point in life the gratitude of the anonymous hipster masses is of little worth" - which may be totally wrong...if so, say so, and I will adjust my SOP for replying.

    • lostraven says:

      I mirror the sentiments of ammutbite. I love reading your
      journal, but there are times that your tastes delve into
      either the obscure or unknown. Not a bad thing at all,
      but in general, people can't comment about music they've
      never heard.

      That said, I look forward to checking out the sounds of
      all the mentioned musicians. The only music I can honestly
      say I've listened to is the Atomica... so this will be
      a nice dive into uncharted territory.

  6. shayel says:

    I think that except for two or three albums, I didn't listen to any on your list. About ten years ago, I almost threw out all of my "guitar records", growing tired of that sound. I think I'm now growing out of synths. There's simply nothing interesting coming out; I can't remember a single release of synth-beat based music (be it minimal, microhouse, or whatever,) I liked this year.

    This year I listened mainly to organic sounds. Lots of releases by Sounthern Lord et al. 2007 was, for me, the reawakening of metal. I learned (or maybe relearned?) to drift into long, enduring, guitar drones. The best release in that genre was OM's Pilgrimage. I saw them lives a month ago -- they played for 5 hours, one of the most hypnotizing shows I've even been to.

  7. jwz says:

    So I listened to Earworm's mashup of the 2007 Billboard top 50, and it meant absolutely nothing to me. It turns out that I've only ever heard one song of the top 50, and three of the top 100.

    Actually, from listening to it without context, I wouldn't have guessed it was a mashup of more than 3 or possibly 4 songs.

  8. jwm says:

    You might be able to pick up the Minuit albums from Amplifier, assuming that they sell outside of New Zealand; they may not due to publisher jurisdictions. The prices are pretty steep, compared to, say, bleep.com, where I can pick up FLAC albums for about NZ$18, at the current exchange rate.

    Failing that, I could go to the store, buy them and mail them to the DNA Lounge.

  9. jkow says:

    Since I enjoy most of your mixtapes and listen to them on a daily basis, I'd say that 2007 list has been a great inspiration which will lead me to buy the one or other album. Thanks for that.

    To return at least something, I'll bring two local Berlin bands to your attention, which I love for various reasons:

    Unfortunately, in the case you like 'em, you'll probably have difficulty to buy any of their music being in the US, but I'd be of assistance. ;)

    • jkow says:

      I forgot to mention that Gram Rabbit's "The Rest of us Sleep" and Shriekback's "Amaryllis in the Sprawl" are some of my 2007 favorites from your mixtapes.

  10. neko_special says:

    ...because, I mean, it's Dean Garcia. Of Curve. With kaRIN and Statik of Collide. And it's one of the most dreamy, hauntingly beautiful and surreal things I've ever heard.