Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sonic Parthenon's The Year In Music 2007: Part 6

Porter Wagoner
  • Live Show
The Wagonmaster passed on this year, but not before showing the wide-ranging crowd at Madison Square Garden where Jack White gets a little bit of his theatricality and, more importantly, some of his country melancholia from.

M. Ward
  • Live Show
Last year, M. Ward had one of his best records in Post-War. This year, he kept it on the road, dishing out a hard-working, durable shift of country-stomp rock that matches his artistic ethic. Truly, one of the greatest artists out there right now. And “Big Boat” live is as good as it can get.

“The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson
A dollop of ultra-cuteness can go a long way. And she’s packing ‘em in all over the city. Finally, something good has come out of Staten Island.

Webster Hall
For all of Terminal 5’s flaws, that place still beats the hell out of the more convenient Webster Hall. Webster Hall’s list of problems can go on forever but even considering all those flaws, the venue had a great year thanks to the Bowery Presents. The Jesus and Mary Chain, Metric, Okkervil River, and Josh Ritter made for some of the best nights of the year and the rest of the calendar was impressive.

  • Live Show
  • Record: La Cucaracha
  • Song: “Your Party”
Ween came back in 2007 and it was about time. The back-to-brownness of La Cucaracha first came off piss poor but as time wore on, and the songs nagged away in one’s head like a Ween-listening roach might do, the album eventually sounded like one right gem. And of course, they are just about unmatched live, and certainly so if you love the jamming. If you don’t, Ween is still good at it. Boognish bless ‘em, may they stay forever.

We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse

Isaac Brock recruited Johnny Marr of ye olde Smiths to be his guitarist and while Marr certainly did a good job on this record, the strength of course lies with Brock’s constructions. “Dashboard” and “We’ve Got Everything” are two of the best songs of the year and the rest of the album is pretty darn good. After “Float On” wore off, it took a long time for ol’ Pennypacker to become a believer in Modest Mouse, but it finally happened.

White Rabbits
  • Live Show
  • Song: “The Kid On My Shoulder”
Admittedly, it’s kind of fun to pick on the White Rabbits for their stiffness on stage but that’s only because they are actually a very good band. They work hard and don’t stop and they are moving up fast and furious. They are showing tendencies to head down the Spoon path and that is certainly a successful path to take.

They were on Letterman!

The White Stripes

  • Live Show
  • Record: Icky Thump

When the first strains of Icky Thump – both the single and the LP – were heard, the instant declaration was easy to understand: The White Stripes Were Back. And the special show at Irving Plaza may still very well hold up as the greatest 2 hours ever. Everything made sense at that point. All the past added up – this is where modern music is supposed to be. In every form, in every facet, this was it. But then the Madison Square Garden show was both too much and under-whelming (though as previously noted, none of it the fault of Jack and Meg at all). And then poor Meg bowed out. And all the merchandise madness started bordering on KISS territory (though admittedly in a much cuter, wholesome, and essentially harmless way). And by the end of 2007, the feelings around the greatest band of the decade were not at the level of greatest. But you know, come 2009, or whenever the band may reunite, it will probably all come roaring back again. In the meantime, enjoy the “Conquest” b-sides.

About ten years too late, the confessionary Pennypacker lived in Williamsburg and Greenpoint for most of a summer and fall. Camera Obscura and Carina Round did fantastic free sets at Sound Fix (a record shop that shows much love to the White Stripes, Black Lips, White Rabbits and the Yarrows, who are not contemplating calling themselves the White Yarrows or Black Yarrows at this time). The Music Hall of Williamsburg, the Bowery Presents first new venue of the autumn, kicked off with a host of quality acts, and the Vampire Weekend and Apples in Stereo reviewed gigs certainly did not disappoint. The Luna Lounge relocated and reopened in 2007 and turned out to be a country backyard home for the Knitters, Scott Biram, and Heavy Trash. Galapagos began its countdown to the DUMBO move with some great gigs (including Les Sans Culottes and Miss Alex White). The Trash Bar seemed to have a quiet year but that means it was really doing something right in the stillness. Union Pool is much beloved in the area. Zebulon is considered the best avant garde venue in all of New York City now that Tonic is gone. And Don Pedro’s and Pete’s Candy Store are ready to carry on the legacy as the good times extend into Bushwick. Love it or hate it, this is still the place to be. For now, anyway.

“Woman” by Wolfmother
Balls to the wall.

“Woo Yeah Uh Huh Alright” by the Rapture
A dynamite dance-rock single by the band considered to be the best at doing it. Their most accessible and best song yet, Brooklyn’s Rapture should have been a national mega-band when this one…dropped, as the kids like to say nowadays. Maybe someday. “Get Myself Into It” is an excellent runner-up by the way.

  • Live Show
  • Record: A Hero’s Welcome
  • Song: “Sleepy Jane”
Wormburner is one of New York’s best rock bands. Period. Power-pop to a tee and not a slip up in the repertoire. And they’re moving on up in the world. From an opening night mid-card slot at CMJ to co-headlining a Bowery Ballroom Christmas show with posters all over the city – and they’re doing it without Pitchfork and the local scenester blogs (except this one obviously). That being said, all music lovers are encouraged to check this band out. NOW.

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