Thursday, January 03, 2008

Joe's 2007 In Review

Alright, so I am last like always. However, I do promise that this is it. Finally, the end of our 2007 retrospectives. After this one, we move forward and start talking about some music from 2008. Anyway, here is my Best of 2007 post. For my list, I decided to stick to the Baltimore/Washington region. Enjoy...

3 Best Regional EPs


3. Bellman Barker - Anise & Anisette

Last spring, I was putting together the bill for the site's anniversary show in DC. Around the same time, Aaron e-mailed me to see if I would give him some promo for their EP release. When he heard about the show, he immediately campaigned to be on the bill. A couple of weeks later, I had a couple of bands drop out and the rest is history. As far as this release goes, Bellman Barker's debut EP hints at great things to come. It's much more polished than their live shows, but it works.

Charles Kil
Molly Maroon


2. Telograph - Little Bits of Plastic

Telograph released this on January 1st, 2007. Yet, it has managed to continue as the most played release of the year on my iPod. Catchy songs, relentless hooks and stellar musicianship pretty much define this release. Their latest EP is out this week.

We Won't Settle Down
Eye For An Eye


1. Jukebox The Ghost - EP

Sometime around last January/February, I was searching the net and I was on an NYC indie site. There was an article on there about a DC band called Jukebox The Ghost. My initial reaction, was who? I'd never heard of them or even seen them listed for any local shows. Around March, I met Tommy and he sent me a copy of their EP. A couple of months later, they graduated college and started touring relentlessly. Now, everybody that is interested in DC's indie scene knows who they are. They seem to be everywhere in the northeast these days and the buzz is about to increase, as their debut full length drops later this month. Anyway, this 5 song EP is spectacular. Great song writing and fantastic execution. If you get the chance to see them live, they are even better in that setting.

Good Day
Hold It In

5 Best Baltimore CDs

5. Squaaks - Rock Control

This album is full of fun 3 minute pop gems. It's a great, fun debut and Squaaks has only become a better band since they added Charles Cole in late summer to solidify their rhythm section. I expect even better things from them in the future.

Be Dry My Bleeding Heart
Hot Tub

4. AVEC - Lines

This CD is exhausting to listen to. Brooks and Shawna sing their asses off and it's about as sound as you can get instrumentally. AVEC is definitely a band at the top of their game.

Albina Krobata

3. Celebration - The Modern Tribe

This album is filled with great musicianship and powerful songs that are a natural progression from 2005's self-titled debut. However, Celebration's greatest asset is the voice of Katrina Ford. That definitely shines through here.


2. Wye Oak - If Children

This band makes a lot of noise for a 2-piece. You expect a cute little folk group and many of the songs start out the way that you would expect. Then they break into a wall of sound and blow you away. In a live setting, Jenn Wasner's vocal cut right through you, yet soothes. Andy Stack holds down the fort, drumming with one hand playing bass keys with the other. When this album was released, they were known as Monarch and recently changed their name to Wye Oak. Regardless of what they are called, this is a band on the rise. They just signed to Merge and will be nationally re-releasing this CD on April 8.

Family Glue
Please Concrete


1. Thrushes - Sun Come Undone

We are in the midst of a major shoegaze revival and Thrushes have managed to single handedly put the genre on the map in Baltimore. Lush vocals, lavish soundscapes... they are all here. It's obvious that the band paid excruciating attention to detail and went out of their way to make every sound exactly the way they wanted it. This is a fine debut and if you have seen them live, you know that they have more great songs on the way. If you haven't seen them live yet, you are missing out.

Into The Woods

5 Best DC CDs


5. Lejeune - For Club and Country

Lejeune is not the kind of band that blows people away. What they do instead, is craft infectious pop songs that get stuck in your head for days. They have a knack for creating hook-laden gems and this album is a testament to that, as it is jammed full of them. They are probably the best DC band that you are not listening to and that is sad, because this CD really deserves to be heard.

The Latest Greatest
Bizarre Histrionics


4. Le Loup - The Throne Of The Third Heaven Of The Nations' Millennium General Assembly

They haven't even been around for a year, but Le Loup's debut is forever entrenched in DC lore. Sam recorded the whole thing on his computer and after he received label interest, he put a band together. They started playing out in March, were signed to a Sub Pop imprint about a month later and dropped this beauty in September. The songs sound even better live and there is much more to come.

Le Loup (Fear Not)
Planes Like Vultures

3. Jette-Ives - In The Deep

Jette-Ives played about 3 shows to support this February release and broke up in March. Due to that, it did not get anywhere near the attention that it deserved. It's really a shame, because it recalls bands like Portishead and was one of the best trip-hop CDs released in recent memory.

Darker Than You


2. Greenland - Call Message

I didn't know a whole lot about Greenland before they sent me a copy of this debut. Once I received it, I was blown away by this 3-piece. They have managed to create a sound entirely their own, yet it still sounds completely familiar. This CD is full of sing-a-longs, dual vocals and one of the best rhythm sections in DC.

Forward Frame To Frame
Shipwreck On The Watery Eye


1. Vandaveer - Grace & Speed

If Vandaveer being my choice for DC's Best CD of 2007 is a surprise to anyone, join the club. It shocked me too. This album came out in early spring to little fanfare and I finally got a copy in September. Sure, this is a subtle folk album. The dynamics of it's subtleties are what makes it great.

However Many Takes It Takes
Marianne, You've Done It Now

Best Regional Video

Squaaks - "Everything Twice"

This starts out as an innocent concert video, then it changes. Low budget flight sequences, band members blowing up their evil alter egos, Voltron moments, cheap effects... this video has it all and it manages not to suck. In the end, Baltimore's Squaaks made the best video the region had to offer in 2007.

Squaaks - Everything Twice

Best Live Show


The Shackeltons

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and we were in the middle of a snowstorm, but Chambersburg, PA's The Shackeltons delivered the most vital set that I have ever seen. There was a feeling that I had seeing them. I was like, "I am really going to gloat about seeing these guys so early in their careers one of these days." They take the best parts of music from the past 20 or so years and shape into one package that just works. It's mesmerizing really. You really have to see them live to understand this pick. The band drapes their amps in Christmas lights and there are flowers everywhere. Mark Redding runs around the stage in a tight cadence, when he is not flopping on the ground. He might command your attention, but the great musicianship from this very young band is what allows the package to work. Their debut CD comes out later this month and they will be touring, so you will have the chance to see what I am talking about.

1/26/08: World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA
1/27/08: The Red and The Black, Washington, DC
2/02/08: Gullifty's, Camp Hill, PA
2/15/08: The Abbey, Harrisburg, PA

Your Movement

Regional Rookie of The Year


Le Loup

This is a no brainer really. As recently as March, pretty much nobody ever heard of Le Loup. They quickly rose to the top of the DC scene and now they are everywhere. If you haven't seen them, they will be coming to a town near you really soon.

Regional Band of the Year


These United States

They never did manage to release their debut CD, but it really didn't seem to matter. They were a force to be reckoned with. Between DC, 25 states and 5 countries, they played somewhere around 130 shows in 2007. Everywhere you turned, there they were and I have never met anyone that wasn't touched by their music. They are a true do it yourself success story. 2008 will finally see the release of their debut album and there will undoubtedly be more touring. Know them, love them, they are about to explode.

Burn This Bridge

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i met matthew the furniture mover who is going to write a bit about our set last night. he was a super person. thanks for the kind words here. big hugs,
mark and the shackeltons

Tuesday, January 29, 2008  

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