Friday, December 14, 2007

My Favorite CDs Of 2007

There’s so much that came out during 2007 that I didn’t listen to… you know, like anything from a band outside LA, for example… that it’s left me completely unqualified to write any kind of authoritative “Best Of” article. But here are ten albums and EPs that came out this year that I've loved like my heart was on fire.

1) Earlimart’s Mentor Tormentor (Self-Released)
Is it possible for an album to be perfectly produced? (Not too much, not too subtly?) If so, Mentor Tormentor is it. It’s all killer, no filler indie rock at its finest. The album’s been out for months and I still have a hard time picking my favorite track on it … as well figuring out why no label, major or otherwise, has picked it up yet.
MP3: Answers & Questions

2) Sea Wolf’s Leaves In The River (Dangerbird)
I felt like I waited nearly two years for Sea Wolf’s debut album to arrive … because I did. From the time I first heard their upbeat melancholic track You’re A Wolf on Myspace to seeing their semi-orchestral pop act many times at local venues, Sea Wolf became one of my favorite LA groups. Perhaps best yet, this CD does the group’s superb live performances justice.
MP3: You're A Wolf

3) Division Day’s Beartrap Island (Eenie Meenie)
It’s almost not fair to list this album here since it was self-released last year and made my favorites list then. But the group remastered it and added two extra tracks, and you know what? It’s so good that if they did the same thing next year, I’d probably mark it on 2008’s list, too.
MP3: Tap Tap Click Click

4) Great Northern’s Trading Twilight For Daylight (Eenie Meenie)
The dual harmonies of leads Rachel Stolte and Solon Bixler’s vocals combined with the two’s spot-on keyboard and guitar work, the cool indifference of Ashley Dzerigian on bass, and former Earlimart member Davey Latter on drums make for some crowd-pleasing indie rock.
MP3: Into The Sun (Demo Version)

5) The Minor Canon’s No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (Self-Released)
Duke from You Set The Scene and I have been gushing about this album since it came out early this year. To re-use an earlier quote about it: "It's solid stuff, songs made by a guy who comes across like his heart is literally on the line, and there's not a single bad or mediocre track to be found on the whole cd."
MP3: Bend Like Trees

6) Le Switch’s Hello Today EP (Self-Released)
Aaron Kyle and company make wonderfully bedraggled, fall-down-the- stairs pop music just the way you like it. If I had this EP on vinyl, it would have deep grooves worn into it from being played so damn frequently.
MP3: Living In Another World

7) Foreign Born’s On The Wing Now (Dim Mak)
Try describing local indie rock act Foreign Born based on what other groups they sound like and you’ll likely come up short -- because their mix of haunting vocals and plaintive guitar sound fairly unique among bands both past and present.
MP3: Into Your Dream

8) Signal Hill’s Self-Titled EP (Self-Released)
LA’s up-and-coming post rock act Signal Hill put down a handful of tracks that give a hint of how fantastic their live performances are. It's an EP made up of alternating waves of building and crashing sonic prettiness and rockness that at times even give Austin’s Explosions In The Sky a run for their money.
MP3: California Is Too Long

9) Nightfur’s She Lives (Self-Released)
To reuse another earlier quote: “It’s hard not to fall for Nightfur’s recently-released debut She Lives, what with its winsomely melancholic heart, smarty pants lyrics, and fuzzy 60s psyche pop sound...” And that love still burns.
MP3: Circles

10)Tigers Can Bite You’s Self-Titled album
A mix of home recording and studio recording with Josiah Bartlett from Light FM, TCBY's is a solid debut from an indie rock act well worth watching (and listening to).
MP3: Rough Stuff (Demo Version)

Honorable Mentions:
Radars To The Sky’s Big Bang, Frankel’s Lullabies For The Passerby, Tandemoro’s The Movers & The Shakers, The Deadly Syndrome’s The Ortolan, The Hectors’ Sometimes They Collide, Marvelous Toy’s The Disappearing Heart, The Parson Redheads’ Giraffe, Rademacher's Stunts
, Light FM's Save The Drama EP, and Lavender Diamond’s Imagine Our Love.

- Earlimart Mini-Interview
- Sea Wolf Mini-Interview
- Division Day Mini-Interview
- Great Northern Mini-Interview
- The Minor Canon Mini-Interview
- Le Switch Mini-Interview
- Foreign Born Mini-Interview
- Signal Hill Mini-Interview
- Nightfur Mini-Interview
- Tigers Can Bite You Mini-Interview


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