Monday, December 17, 2007

Sonic Parthenon's The Year In Music 2007: Part 3

“Hero of Nineteen Eighty Three” by Peachfuzz
One of the few Little Steven pushed songs caught this year, this one was the best of the lightly picked bunch. A killer hook and fun lyrics made this bit of nostalgia a keeper.
Hear it here

The Hold Steady

  • Live Show
  • Record: Boys and Girls in America
  • Song: “Hot Soft Light”
Like the previously mentioned Camera Obscura, the Hold Steady’s recent release came in 2006 but they dominated 2007. And I mean, DOMINATE. In a year in which more pop oriented and more delicate bands took center stage on the Parthenon calendar, this Minneapolis/Boston/Brooklyn/Ybor City bar band, with lyrics described elsewhere as “dense” and appropriately so, led the charge for fun, loud rock n’ roll. And unlike other bands that exploded into the Parthenon universe, the Hold Steady nagged and clawed. “Stuck Between Stations” was perfectly fine but not immediate, back when Boys And Girls in America was released. But in January, the arrival of “Hot Soft Light” changed everything. The raw power, the concrete structure, even Finn’s distinct voice, it all came together and that was it. The rest of the material, going all the way back to The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me and the Lifter Puller days, slowly made its way to the rotation and by the end of 2007, there was at least one Hold Steady song being played on an average of one a day. The redundancy in the lyrics may be Finn’s only flaw and it doesn’t really matter. See them live and that’s the end of everything. They’re a little too big for clubs these days (and the Dirtbombs will always dominate the club circuit anyway), but in the realm of midlevel bands, that live space between say, the White Stripes and the Dirtbombs, the Hold Steady fill the void. In fact, they not only fill that void, they own it, and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to take it away from them. Oh, and Franz Nicolay for President.
SPTV: Live at Terminal 5

Stuck Between Stations
Chips Ahoy
Live at El Rey - "How A Resurrection Really Feels"

“I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You” by Black Kids
The major theme of 2007, broadly speaking, was the beyond-comprehension fast rise of blog-hyped bands. Later on, read the story of Vampire Weekend, which came earlier in the year, but for now read the saga of Black Kids. This Florida dance-pop band were unheard of weeks before CMJ but thanks to a demo and an Arcade Fire connection of sorts, they were the most hyped band of the marathon, pushed by the big reads in particular. The band was so new, they even admitted to not even being prepared for playing live. And the performance was indeed trashed, but everyone involved is still pushing on with the band and for good reason: Beyond all the hype, this song is damn good. Catchy beyond belief without being nauseating, this is a good signature sound to have and if they get the live show in order, this may be more than Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. This could be…hell, Vampire Weekend.

“If This Ain’t Love” by Nicole Willis

For all the rage of that English broad who need not be mentioned, and even for all the rightful love of the exquisite Miss Sharon Jones, this old soul ditty slipped through and entertained, if at least for a few weeks.

“Intervention” by Arcade Fire
Everyone else will go on about Neon Bible, but this was the one real stand-out song on that record. Is it “Rebellion”? No of course not, very little in this world compares to “Rebellion”. But it’s good enough for a mention.

Jesus and Mary Chain
  • Live Show
One of the great bands of the 80’s reunited in 2007 and took the reunion on the road, however briefly. They may not be the most exciting, party-your-ass-off band in the world, but if you want the roots of the great thinking music going on these days, it traces in good part to these Scots. A band with the gloomy fuzzies, you gotta love ‘em.
Live on Letterman:

The Knitters
  • Live Show
As long as Dave Alvin does sick solos behind the fun harmonies of John Doe and Exene Cervenka, there will always be room for the Knitters. Dagummit.
"Wrecking Ball" live in Boston:

Langhorne Slim
  • Live Show
How good was country rocker Langhorne Slim on that August night at Europa? This episode of SPTV is getting a third airing:

Les Sans Culottes
  • Live Show
  • Record: Le Weekender
It was a good year for Les Sans. Several solid gigs in support of a solid record, Le Weekender, led by the towering, massively wonderful smash “Les Enfants Terribles”.
Let's tie in LSC with another 2007 moment, the loss of Lee Hazelwood:

Little Amber Bottles by Blanche
2004’s If We Can’t Trust Doctors remains some of the greatest 40 minutes ever made in history. With that precedent, it was going to be near impossible for Blanche to top it, and though they didn’t get there, they made a hell of a stab at it. Also, through no fault of their own, the drama of getting this LP released and the start-and-stop shenanigans around that, took a lot of the wind out of the excitement for this one. That all being said, it is still a great album, led by last year’s fantastic “What This Town Needs” (which had a fantastic video released this year). If only “At Least I Didn’t Quit” found its way onto the record, this would have been closer to perfect.

  • Live Show
One of the finer discoveries of 2007, though it was more a case of taking the initiative than just stumbling across yet another band. And what a pay off. Fun, snappy pop-punk and now even the Brits are hearing about it. Big things are in store.
WavedRumor's video of the same song at CMJ kicks the SPTV clip's ass from here to Pluto:

The Love Me Nots
  • Live Show
  • Record: In Black & White
  • Song: "Move In Tight"
Let it be known here and now for all time: Only 3 bands that have ever requested the friendship of E.D. have turned out to be good. The dance-band Gorbachov, from Ireland; the BellRays – yes THE BellRays; and Arizona’s the Love Me Nots. Arguably the last band standing that has a good retro look, the LMN’s are breaking hearts out west most of the year. In 2008, they need to make a return trip East.

Live somewhere not in New York

Mercury Lounge
One of New York’s most reliable venues had a great year with two Yarrows gigs (though the house sound guy at the second gig can go suck a lemon), hosting the In The Red showcase at CMJ, being home to the discovery of Action Painters and Wormburner, and allowing Franz Nicolay to strum in a more simple, calm setting.

  • Live Show
I’d still be shooting myself in the foot for missing Heavy Trash but Emily Hanes was just too vexing to ignore. It was worth it. One of the best gigs of the year. The sound was perfect, even for Webster, the light show was out of control, and everyone was cool at this gig.
"Dead Disco" at Webster Hall, via The Cocoon:

“Modern World” by Jesse Malin
Little Steven’s Underground Garage was barely heard at SPHQ this year but here’s yet another showcased track that stood out and nagged away. That program has still got it.
Video (of sorts)

Mondo Topless
  • Live Show
What would a year in music be without Mondo Topless performing live somewhere? They never stop being good.

“The Moneymaker” by Rilo Kiley
Sure, Under The Blacklight was just about the most god-awful piece of crap released this year. Well…not really…but close. And this much-hated song is actually one of the better ones. And sure, the porn stars in the video were ugly as hell but that was just to make sure everyone knows how hot Jenny Lewis is. Campy fun on an otherwise overcooked turkey.

  • Live Show
Stephen Patrick charms the socks off everyone, including all live show virgins. And the fact that he ended the show with a recent track that drove the fans mental proves he’s lost very little in the way of steps over the years.
And here it is!:

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