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2007 Year End Best Of

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After a somewhat shaky beginning, 2007 turned out to be a pretty fine year for music. I heard some really good music, and saw some really good shows. In fact, my first lists for both records and shows were significantly longer than what you read below. So for once, I didn't have to scratch my head. I hope 2008 is even better.

          12 Live Performances of Note, in chronological order:

My Latest Novel at SxSW, 17 Match 2007
Despite my utter confusion over their name (I keep getting this band mixed up with any number of others which have names beginning with "My"), this performance some of the most utterly beautiful music of 2007. Add in a sense of humor, and an adorable little xylophone, and this may have been the single best performance I saw in all of 2007.

The High Strung at SxSW, 17 March 2007
I haven't seen The High Strung in several years, but their showcase at SxSW reaffirmed my enjoyment of both the music and energy of this band. Less epic live than on record, they nevertheless know how to work with their audience, and their intensity caught the notice of all comers.

+/- and Say Hi to Your Mom at the EARL, 27 March 2007
I missed +/- at SxSW, but I know I really enjoyed their performance on my home stomping grounds. Furthermore, unlike their last few Atlanta trips, people turned out to see them breeze through a set similar to what I've heard before. It doesn't matter, as I think they could do show tunes and still make them sound interesting. Likewise, Say Hi to Your Mom was a total surprise, as they played catchy Indie Rock with clever and funny song titles/lyrics. Think the Deathray Davies with a slightly nerdy air.

Luigi/The Jupiter Watts/Parade at Lennys, 11 May 2007
I'm not sure that any one performance on this evening was brilliant. Nevertheless it was my birthday, and everyone played well and I had a rollicking good time.

Club Awesome at the EARL, 26 May 2007
Club Awesome sometimes brings a pool to their shows. They brought one to this one. When we arrived at the EARL, someone had written up on the announcement board, "Worst Idea Ever". I don't think so. Club Awesome played their usual show, but the highlight was watching various EARL staff member flop into the pool, sending waves of water over people in the crowd.

The Rosebuds & Beat the Devil at the EARL, 23 June 2007
The Rosebuds always put on a great show which gets the crowd dancing and singing. Not surprisingly, they did the same on this night. But the revelation was Beat the Devil, who managed to be moodily pretty and interesting all at the same time.

Elevado at Corndogorama Day 2, 14 July 2007
Elevado are a local Atlanta band who are really, really hard to describe. I stood in a darkened Lennys when the band came out and felt that the dimness of the club highlighted their maelstrom of a sound. The music was loud enough to envelop you and draw you into the deep thudding of their vaguely jazz-influenced electronic base. Very nicely done.

Tenth to the Moon at Corndogorama Day 3, 15 July 2007
This may not have been the chaotic event we saw later in the year at The Other Sounds festival, hHowever, on this afternoon, Tenth to the Moon was positively approachable, playing tunes filled with rhythmic beats and low end thudding. Both intense and loud, this was the performance they reiterated how talented the members are to pull off their wide variety of sounds.

Day One, Other Sounds Festival at the Drunken Unicorn, 6 Sept 2007
Yes, it was an early night. Yes, everyone played a short-ish set. By the combination of Envie, Mary O. Harrison, Pistolero, and Moresight was thrilling, as each band showed off their different sound. Beyond that, the look on PostLibyan's face when he saw the drummer of Moresight dressed as a "half-naked rabbi" was totally priceless.

Silent Kids at Other Sounds Day 3, 8 Sept 2007
I like the Silent Kids. I like their new-ish music. They don't play around much, and I believe on this evening they didn't play anything that they have previous released. Great set, with a nervous quickness that seemed to shove everything forward.

The Yum Yum Tree/Orphins/ Jupiter Watts at the Star Bar, 28 September 2007
Just another great local show, wherein Jupiter Watts started things off strongly. Then The Orphins, proving that they are back at the top of their sound, set the bar higher. And finally The Yum Yum Tree brought the house down (albeit not literally) for their album release.

Great Northern at the EARL, 26 October 2007
I didn't know too much about this band when I went to the show. So I was really really surprised and taken by the soaring coldness of Great Northern's music. They were utterly brilliant, and should tour with My Latest Novel (see above). I think they'd sound amazing together.

            Tracers' Favorite Records of 2007:  
  1. Get the Guests by The High Strung
    I debated the rankings of this album versus the two below. But, in the end, Get the Guests combines the usual raucousness of The High Strung with a nearly orchestral arrangement, and shows off the vision of the band. Extremely well recorded, and demonstrates a maturity and growth which is just stunning.
  2. Jupiter Watts by Jupiter Watts
    I really love this record, and not just because it has Nothing At All, my favorite song by Jupiter Wattson it. Beautifully recorded, with intricacies that are occasionally hidden by their live shows, this album is worth listening to repeatedly, especially on headphones.
  3. Hello Avalanche by The Octopus Project
    Come on, you knew this record would show up somewhere on my list, right? Less intense than their previous albums, Hello Avalanche features some beautiful Theremin work which just has to be heard.
  4. Night of the Furies by The Rosebuds
    O.K., it's a concept album, and it has some very distinct disco-ish elements, but the songs themselves are better than anything this band has ever released. Just listen to Cemetery Lawn and get back to me.
  5. Answer Me by Parade
    This is great little EP that shows off all members of the band well. Parade did well to put this out, without any filler to lessen the impact.
  6. Trading Twilight for Daylight by Great Northern
    After seeing their show mentioned above, I took a listen to the album. It's mixed a little loud (head-space, anyone?), but the musical arrangements just grab you and refuse to let go.
  7. Paint By Numbers by The Yum Yum Tree
    I've always been of two minds about this band, but the record revealed the airy litheness of their music and, most particularly, Ms. Andy Gish's vocals. Add in some nice musicianship, and this has become something of a favorite in the waning days of 2007.
  8. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga by Spoon
    I never did like Spoon. Yeah they recorded for both Peekaboo & Merge (two of my favorite labels), but I always thought their recorded output was terribly uneven. This record, on the other hand, holds my interest to the end.
  9. This World is On Fire by Elevado
    Did I mention this band is really hard to describe? Still, Elevado managed to hold their sound together for an entirely cohesive record. Very very ambitious, and they pull it off.
  10. Porcelain Empire by Winter Sounds
    The world needs some 80s style pop. This band does it remarkably well, providing sing-along anthems that bring to mind any number of mid 80s British bands like…say…Big Country.
            Best Album From 2006 That I didn't Hear Until 2007:  
      Impeccable Blahs by Say Hi to Your Mom
This is a simply a brilliant record, which I didn't hear until 2007. Another concept record, I think it should be listened to often, preferably followed by Night of the Furies by The Rosebuds.
            6 Local Bands That Just Need to Release the Record, Already:  
  1. The Silent Kids
    Their last release was in 2003. I know they have the songs, as I've heard them live. I love the new songs, so can we get the record please?
  2. Club Awesome
    Although their reputation is built on their frenetic live sets, the happy Indie pop this band plays just begs to be heard.
  3. The Sudden Rays
    A band that really doesn't exist anymore, this three piece recorded a while back. I think it's time for folks to hear their straight-up, North Carolina-esque indie rock.
  4. Thee Crucials
    I do like to dance, and this band's 60s-esque mod/garage sound really hits the spot. I know they've done a few singles, but I think I need a full on record (if only so I have something new to bop around the house with).
  5. All Night Drug Prowlin' Wolves
    All I need to say is that I need more 80s SoCal-like punk in my life.
  6. The Orphins
    Yep, they're still on this list. 'Nuff said.
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