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The Monday Set: Celebration – New York City – 1/7/06


Celebration
Bowery Ballroom
New York City, NY
1/7/06

One of my favorite things about writing for this blog is the reader contributions. Here is a fantastic early Celebration set from NYC. I did a little EQing and broke it up into individual tracks, but the credit for this fantastic recording goes out to TSOI reader, Matt.

Setlist:
1. Intro
2. New Skin
3. China
4. Tonight
5. Foxes
6. Holiday
7. Diamonds
8. Fly the Fly
9. Stars
10. War

Sample:

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Download: Celebration – New York City – 1/7/06 – 217 MB

Celebration – Fly The Fly (Live Video)

Celebration – Fly The Fly
Scenic
New York City, NY
9/16/05

Just last week I was talking with a couple of friends about how impressed I was that Celebration can do such a good job recreating the songs from their records so successfully live with only 4 people. Then I received a package of amazing DVDs (thanks Matt!) earlier this week with a couple of Celebration shows from late ’05/early ’06 where they are playing some of the songs from their forthcoming record at the time “The Modern Tribe.” When I saw them in late ’07 they had an extra person along with them, putting the total at four, but in this footage it’s only the three of them. I was impressed when it was 4 people playing these songs, but the fact that they can pull it off with just 3 absolutely amazes me.

Download: Celebration – Fly The Fly (Live Video)

The Monday Set: Celebration – Los Angeles, CA – 11/9/07


Celebration
The Echo
Los Angeles, CA
11/9/07

I was really looking forward to this show after getting Celebration’s new record “The Modern Tribe” when it came out a couple of months ago. They opened for Blood Brothers the last time they came through, but I skipped that show due to the ridiculous cost plus Tickemaster fees, so I was happy to see that they were headlining their own tour this go-around. It ended up being one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. They are on their way back to New York, so make sure to catch them if you have the chance.

Set List:
1. Intro
2. Evergreen
3. Pressure
4. Heartbreak
5. Pony
6. In This Land
7. Fly the Fly
8. Holiday
9. War
10. Wild Cats

Sample:

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Download: Celebration – Los Angeles, CA – 11/9/07 – 239 MB

Celebration – Evergreen

Celebration has a new record coming out early October and if this song is any indication of how the rest of it is going to sound, it’s going to be good. I wanted to check out Celebration the last time they came through Los Angeles, but unfortunately they were opening for The Blood Brothers and tickets were around the $25 range, a bit too steep for a band that I had a mild interest in seeing. I’m hoping that now that they are on to their sophomore release, they will be headlining their own tour, but I guess that will partly be up to 4AD and how much they want to push the new record. Plus it’s hard to hate a band that puts up links to Happy Cow, PETA 2 and Friends of Animals on their website.

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Download: Celebration – Evergreen

Avalanche: Best of 2010


Top 10 Releases of 2010

I generally find that the odd years are far better than the even years in music release quality. If you use the metric of a ‘good’ year, as I think most critics do, as the emergence of massively interesting break-through bands coming out from the ether (like say Fever Ray or The xx from last year), then you can say that 2010 is an off year in relation to 2009. 2010 largely featured the release of several good to great albums from veteran bands that are expected to do just that, and therefore, got roundly ignored for their good efforts as oceans of middling and often derivative upstarts get all of the year-end accolades. Every one of my top 10 here, except Candy Claws, I suspect are victims of being largely passed over due to past successes – but not here. What are included here are my favorite full length albums. Eps and singles, featuring the best work of the new bands that got my attention, are treated separately.

1.Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent
It is pretty shocking what little is out there these days that passes as a solid hard rock album. Outside of Grinderman, I can’t even think of anything that would remotely act as competition. Thankfully, Killing Joke don’t rely on competition for inspiration and remain peerless in putting out intelligent heavy guitar albums with paint peeling vocals.

2.OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark) – History of Modern
I admit that I might be placing OMD‘s return to the fray high on the list just as bait for them to tour the US. You see, OMD are a U2 sized band in popularity every where on the planet but here in the U.S. of A. and are not willing to lug their vintage keyboards oversees to play mid-size clubs. This album didn’t change things, but it certainly is a fine keyboard pop record from true masters. There are some phenomenal moments on this record, and yes, it would be on this list no matter what. OMD, if you are reading, Kylie Minogue finally deigned to play to this country of ingrates. I think she enjoyed herself. Think about it. [And, remember kiddies, if OMD do finally come to the US, you have TSOI largely to thank.]

3.Candy Claws – Hidden Lands
Candy Claws are very young and from an unlikely place, Colorado, but somehow have put together this beautiful slab of fuzzed psychedelic dream pop – like Mercury Rev playing from David Lynch‘s radiator with the steam screaming through the pipes.

4.Stars – The Five Ghosts
I have been on the fence about the Stars for quite awhile but damn, Amy Millan vocals are too good to ignore anymore and I think that Ghosts is a particularly strong effort.

5.Front Line Assembly – Improvised. Electronic. Device
FLA have little by way of competition in the Industrial genre, but like Killing Joke are nearly peerless in a sparse field. Every once in awhile Bill Leeb and Co. drops a record such as this one that probably inadvertently sends the message to any upstarts out there: “don’t waste your time kiddies, we got this area covered.”

6.Dean and Britta – 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests
Dean Wareham‘s post Luna outfit, Dean and Britta has been a frequent flyer on my best-of lists. Dean and Britta have spun out another gem pairing songs with 13 of Andy Warhol’s silent portraits of his Factory crew who, for the most part, met a tragic and untimely end like Nico, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, Billy Name, to name a few. Dean and Britta’s songs are perfect depictions of the glamor, the tragedy, and the cracked beauty of each of the subjects.

7.!!! – Strange Weather, Isn’t It?
I love the vocals. Fun album.

8.Jeremy Jay – Splash
This album was released with little fanfare and since there was no accompanying tour it seems to have been forgotten – just not by me. I find Jeremy Jay’s slightly off kilter pop ruminations really arresting and surprised that he hasn’t amassed a massive army of adherents by now.

9.Ruby Isle – Appetite for Destruction
I am pretty sure that this qualifies as the weirdest, or, at least, the most unexpected release of the year. Ruby Isle clearly have a soft spot for the GNR classic as being a fundamental part of their musical dna and give it a lovingly synth and machined rework. I have a bit of a gripe with some of the tempo changes, but the results are as fun and as charming as the album cover indicates. Be sure to read TSOI interview with Ruby Isle on the making of ‘Ruby Appetite’ and take a peek at the killer album cover.

10.Shriekback – Life in the Loading Bay
This was just released late in 2010 and is precisely why we wait for the year to end before we start shooting our mouth off about the best of the year, unlike (ahem) every other knucklehead publication and blog out there.

Here is a list of releases that are honorable mentions but were eeked out of the top 10 slots. Most are from established artists that are worthy and notable but whose albums seemed either as a bit too ‘color by numbers’ to generate a sustained interest or are slow growers and the clock ran out for them to blossom to make the final cut for the top 10 slots. Some, may, over time, if given a few more listens, will end up in heavy rotation for years to come while, others just might be middling outings that don’t hold up to better recent releases. Right now, it is too early to tell. In the case, of Retribution Gospel Choir (Low gone electric), I love some of the tracks but the album isn’t as consistent as I like – a great near miss. Beach Fossils and Beach House are young-ish bands with some great and interesting moments. I will be looking forward to their future releases.

Hot Chip – One Life Stand
Belle and Sebastian – Write Love Songs
Tindersticks – Falling Down a Mountain
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
The Fall – Our Clutter, Our Future
Walkmen – Lisbon
Retribution Gospel Choir – 2
Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope
Apples in Stereo – Travelers In Space and Time
Vaselines – Sex with an X
Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils
Beach House – Beach House
Mathew Dear – Black City
Radio Dept – Clinging to a Scheme

Young bands these days tend to release a few eps or singles before delving into a full album. Since they are not full albums, these ‘mini-releases’ don’t get considered in my top ten of the year. Each of the following are outstanding and I hope are just precursors to full albums to be released in 2011. As such, here are bands that I feel pretty good about landing in my top 10 for 2011, so take note. Some of these bands released eps (Holy Ghost!) or singles (TPoBPH, Alex Winston, FHR) or aired new material at live shows (Celebration). If these 2010 releases are any indication of the 2011 album, then mark my words, keep your peepers on the following bands in the new year:

1.French Horn Rebellion – “Beaches and Friends” + Savoir Adore remix French Horn Rebellion are the new masters of blood rushing synth pop tunes that I was hoping more of from Hot Chip. They put out a few singles as well a face melting remix for Savoir Adore. If Brooklyn based bands have any sense, they will have FHR produce any and all future releases.
2.The Pains of Being Pure of Heart – “Say No to Love” single This single sounds goooooood.
3.Celebration
4.Holy Ghost!“Static on the Wire” ep If for whatever reason Cut Copy falters, these guys are there to pick up their crown. Based on what I have heard, these guys are very similar to Cut Copy but an early era Shriekback vibe rather than the New Order rework of the Cutters. I will be keeping an eye on these guys.
5.Alex Winston“Choice Cuts” single

As a feature that will like show up in my future ‘Best Of’ lists, here are some albums that I discovered this year that would have made past Best-Of lists if I were paying better attention:
Wooden Birds – Magnolia
Bossanova – Sugar

Top 10 Concerts of 2010


As in 2009, the best of 2010 is once again filled with veteran bands. If you are a new band, for the love of god, go see some of the bands on this list and see how it is done…or click on the links to at least hear how it is done.

1. Wooden Birds – Rock Shop (see Sept 28 TSOI post)
2. Octant – Southpaw (see Dec 14 TSOI post)
3. Chapterhouse – Bell House(see Oct 14 TSOI post)
4. Unrest, Bossanova, Rondelles – Bell House (see Unrest and Rondelles, etc – Teenbeat Week pt 2)
5. Atari Teenage Riot – Gramercy Theater (see Dec 21 TSOI post)
6. Public Image Ltd. – Terminal 5 (see May 27 TSOI post)
7. Thao and Mirah – Music Hall of Williamsburg (see June 29 TSOI post)
8. Castiotone for the Painfully Alone – Monster Island Basement (see July 22 TSOI post)
9. Faster Pussycat – Europa (see Aug 20 TSOI post
10.Guided by Voices – Mercury Lounge (see Nov 11 TSOI post)

Kevin: Best of the Decade

Top 20 Releases of Decade

1. The Legends – Up Against The Legends (2004)
2. Celebration – The Modern Tribe (2007)
3. I Am The World Trade Center – The Tight Connection (2002)
4. Jay Z – The Blueprint (2001)
5. The Knife – Silent Shout (2006)
6. The Walkmen – Black and White 2×12″ (2002)
7. Ladytron – 604 (2001)
8. Unwound – Leaves Turn Inside You (2001)
9. The Postal Service – Give Up (2002)
10. Blonde Redhead – Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000)
11. Love Of Diagrams – Love Of Diagrams (Self Titled) (2007)
12. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007)
13. The Shins – Oh, Inverted World (2001)
14. The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale (2008)
15. The Natural History – The Natural History EP (2002)
16. Bjork – Vespertine (2001)
17. Voxtrot – Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives (2006)
18. Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped (2006)
19. I Am The World Trade Center – The Cover Up (2004)
20. Cinerama – Disco Volante (2002)

If you told me in 1999 that both Sonic Youth and Bjork would put out two of my favorite records of the decade, I would have said NO WAY. Looking back, I had to add both due to the sheer amount of times I listened to both records. Also, I had a hard time putting 2 I Am The World Trade Center records on there, but those two records deserve it. When thinking about the best release of the decade, there was no question in my mind, The Legends debut won that hands down. Also, it’s such a bummer that Voxtrot’s debut full length release was such crap since their EPs were stellar. You’ll see only a couple of the records overlap on the TSOI writers best of the decade list. I’m thrilled to see that neither Radiohead or Yeah Yeah Yeahs made it on any of our lists. I have a hard time believing that they deserve such high placement on EVERY list I’ve read.

Top 20 Concerts of Decade


1. Prince – Paisley Park, Minneapolis, MN (2000)
Seeing Prince play at his house is such a memorable experience. We lined up outside in winter around midnight, “doors” opened around 1:30 AM. We paid the $7 cover (yeah, $7) and Prince went on around 2:30 AM. He played for over two and a half hours for the crowd of what I would guess was 300 people. I’ve seen him a couple of times since then and he’s always great, but never as amazing as that show.

2. Cornelius – The El Rey, Los Angeles, CA (2007)
I had heard how great Cornelius was live, but finally had the opportunity to experience them myself in 2007. I was mesmerized from start to finish.

3. Coachella (Bjork, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Blonde Redhead, Belle & Sebastian, Charlatans U.K.) – Indio, CA (2002)
I’m kind of cheating here by adding all these bands in the number 3 slot, but the lineup was stellar. I always hated outdoor festivals but everything about 2002’s Coachella was perfect, from the line up, to the venue, to the weather. Siouxsie blew me away and it was the best Bjork performance I’ve ever seen. Plus seeing Blonde Redhead and Belle & Sebastian right after releasing some of their best records made it even better.

4. Duran Duran – Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas, NV (2003)
One of their first 5 original member reunion shows. Simon tore his pants and had to staple the crotch back together. I thought they would be a little old and boring, but I was sorely mistaken. At the time, no one knew if they would be playing any other dates after these first 5 shows, so the crowd was made up of fanatic, Duranie die-hards.

5. I Am The World Trade Center – Temple Bar, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
I had heard a couple of tracks off “The Tight Connection” and decided to check them out purely out of curiosity. The show was at a venue all the way across town and I ended up getting in an argument with my then girlfriend on the way to the show. We were both in a horrible mood, the club had ridiculously expensive drinks, the opening band was awful, there were probably only 20 people there but then IATWTC took the stage and took control. Dan started breakdancing and the small crowd had no idea what to do. It was awesome and I was hooked.

6. The Cool Kids – The Key Club, Los Angeles, CA (2008)
The venue was a lame “Sunset Strip” club, but The Cool Kids made it work. During the middle of their set, the crowd rushed the stage. There were people everywhere dancing and going nuts. Eventually the bouncers got things under control (Chuck and Mikey were even looking a little nervous) and the finished what ended up being the best performance I’ve ever seen them put on.

7. Jens Lekman – Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA (2007)
I had missed Jens performance at Spaceland a year earlier, so I made sure to buy advance tickets to what ended up being a sold out Troubadour show. He had his 7 piece girl band (plus the guy who plays samples) with him and they were adorable. When he came out to play the acoustic encore, the crowd was absolutely silent and captivated.

8. The Walkmen – Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
I had been listening to The Walkmen for quite some time, so I was really looking forward to their first LA performance. As a HUGE Jonathan Fire*Eater fan, I had an idea what to expect from them so I was really excited. At the end of their set they were asking for requests. I was going to shout out “When Prince Was A Kid,” but I didn’t want to be THAT guy.

9. Jay Z – Jimmy Kimmel Live (Hollywood Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA (2006)
They shut down Hollywood Blvd. in front of Jimmy Kimmel’s studio for a free performance. If I remember correctly, 60,000 people showed up. We waited in line for what seemed like forever drinking our mini bottles of Sutter Home. The performance was being taped live, so he played a couple of songs for the show, then there was a long break, then it played a couple more and then ended up laying about another 10. All that for free.

10. The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group – 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis, MN (2007)
The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group is one of my all-time favorites, so when I found out Jim was playing his first show in 5 years I booked a plane ticket up to Minneapolis because I had to be there. A couple of weeks before the show I had e-mailed Jim and asked if they would play my favorite song of theirs “Stormtrooper.” I was thrilled when they dedicated it to “The guy from LA who said he was flying up for the show.”

11. Cinerama – 400 Bar, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
After the long Wedding Present hiatus, I was pleasantly surprised how great the debut Cinerama record carried on the Wedding Present tradition of amazing records. Their live show was no different and having the opportunity to see them in such a small venue was such a treat. I still remember David’s joke about how the bassist was from “Golden Showers, MN.”

12. Gil Mantera’s Party Dream – Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA (2006)
A friend of mine told me that I HAD to see Gil Mantera’s Party Dream. She pointed me to their video for “Elmos Dream” on YouTube, but I had no idea what was in store for me at their live show. Two guys dancing around in spandex outfits and eventually stripping down to their underwear makes a lasting impression.

13. I Am Spoonbender – Key Club, Los Angeles, CA (2003)
After attempting to see IAS 2 times before, I finally had the chance to see them. The put on such an inspired performance. It was a strange club to see them at (another Sunset Strip club show), but the large stage actually added to the performance.

14. Unwound (The Smell)/Blonde Redhead (The El Rey) (2001), Los Angeles, CA
These two bands played on the same night and should have been booked together, but instead, ended up playing almost across town from each other. It was killer to have to choose between the two, so I gambled and went to see BRH first. They put on a great “Melody”-era show. I raced downtown and eventually found The Smell (I hadn’t yet moved to LA, so finding it as a tourist was tricky) and caught the last part of Unwound’s set. They were amazing as always.

15. The Natural History – Three Clubs, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
I knew nothing about The Natural History except they were on the same label as The Walkmen (Startime Intl.), so I decided to check them out. They put on an outstanding show to the small but very appreciative crowd. You always know that if a band puts on a great live show without ever hearing them recordings before, their records end up being great too. That was certainly the case with The Natural History and their EP ended up being one of the best of the decade.

16. Red Sparowes/Year Future – The Echo, Los Angeles, CA (2003)
I was there to see Year Future, but decided to stick around and see Red Sparowes because I recognized the one guy from Neurosis. I later found out the storied histories of the rest of the members. The combination of both bands putting on great shows made this a slam dunk for the best of the decade.

17. David J – Goldfingers, Los Angeles, CA (2002) (Feb.)
David J did a month long stint at this small club that I had never heard of before and have never visited since. I ended up going to every single performance and was treated to some amazing performances, some amazing special guests (Stephen Perkins, Kevin Haskins, Wayne Kramer), and some really special treats like David bringing in and playing the original cassettes he used to write songs like “No New Tale To Tell” for the audience.

18. Flin Flon/Versus – 400 Bar, Minneapolis, MN (2000)
I don’t really remember Versus‘ performance since I’m not a fan, but Flin Flon opened the show and played their technical songs perfectly.

19. Freeheat – Brownies, New York City, NY (2000)
After the breakup of JAMC, Freeheat provided a good performance for those fans that were going through JAMC withdrawal. I happened to be in NYC when they were touring so I caught one night of their 2 night stint at the now defunct Brownies.

20. Pulsars – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles, CA (2007)
I had seen Pulsars in the late ’90s, so when I saw they were playing in LA I had to confirm with the venue that it was in fact THE Pulsars and not some newjack band using their name. It was, and they played nearly their entire record and it was awesome.

Birdland – Go West (Demo)

If I was compiling my Top 10 list of the 2000’s, Celebration’s “The Modern Tribe” would be up there near the top. Even though I had heard earlier bands that were virtually the same line up (Jaks, Love Life), none of those have excited me quite like Celebration. I was bored, searching around the interwebs and finally came across someone who had posted the demo from their pre-Celebration/post-Love Life iteration, Birdland. Though not nearly as good as any of the 4ad releases, the tracks are still more innovative and thought out than any of their previous attempts.

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Download: Birdland – Go West (Demo)

The Happy Hollows – Tambourine

I seem to fluctuate between thinking Sarah of The Happy Hollows sounding like the singer from Celebration or Metric. In either case, that’s a good thing. Hailing from Silverlake, they have been a staple at local clubs like The Echo and Spaceland, but I’ve never caught them live. I had heard their Bunnies and Bombs EP a while back, but hearing the tracks off of their recently released Imaginary EP is what really caught my attention. The new EP has been getting great reviews and they can add this one to the collection.

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Download: The Happy Hollows – Tambourine

Laibach – Anglia (Live)

On May 31, Town Hall hosted “A Night in Slovenia” featuring artists of Slovenia, which seemed to be put on a segment of the Slovenian board of tourism. (In the middle of the show was a raffle for tickets to Slovenia). Naturally the night showcased popular and presumably representative Slovenian artists. To my growing impatience, almost all of them heavily featured accordions — that is until the decidedly accordion-free industrial behemoths Laibach played, which begs the question, who in their right mind would book Laibach to represent their country in a celebration of culture and art? I for one, would not, that is if I intended to stay in the Slovenian tourism business.

This Laibach show at town Hall has to go up there with one of the weirder shows I have attended as of late. The largely unwitting audience consisted of people of all stripes, old, young, babies, etc so I thought three lines into the Laibach set, the place would clear out. Along with lead vocals that could peel paint over punishing dirge-like music the show was accompanied by, putting it mildly, bizarre projections. I was chuckling to myself as I sat by a couple, probably in their 70s that were clearly not amused; but with the composure of caged eagles took the aural and visual beating like champs.

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Download: Laibach – Anglia (Live)

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The Best of 2007

Avalanche

2007 Top 10 Albums
All in all I would call this a relatively weak year, especially when compared to last year, in terms of volume of quality releases. Nonetheless there were a fair share of good records making this year a memorable one. Here is my most played albums of 2007 in no particular order.

Kylie Minigue – “X”/ Duran Duran – “Red Carpet Massacre”
If pop Top 40 music were around, I would look forward to hearing tracks from these albums of these vets with serious pop-chops. These outings involve Kylie being helped by her gang of Swedish super producers and Duran Duran being aided by Timbaland.

!!! – “Louden Up Now”
LCD Soundsystem seems to get all the attention but !!! are my fav NY purveyors of infectious electro dance anthems as amply illustrated in “Louden Up Now”.

Rosebuds – “Night of the Furies”
The Rosebuds are a recent discovery who have this new-waveish pop gem on Merge that is full of great backing vocals.

Blonde Redhead – “23”
Another epic aural masterpiece from the good people of Blonde Redhead.

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – “Blood Dope Sin Gold”
If you snoozed on MLWTKK for the past 10 years and need a new infusion of drug induced disco-sleaze, then pick up this remix of choice cuts off of their recent records.

Apples in Stereo – “New Magnetic Wonder”
Psychedelic pop goo so catchy it is sick.

Low – “Drums and Guns”
This is Low’s best set of songs since “Secret Name” but the production is very non-traditional which is great on one level but the songs are definitely best experienced live.

Child Ballads – “Cheekbone Hollows” EP
The modern logical heir to the Rollings Stones if the Stones were more literate and progressed through the 80s and 90s. Killer band and absolutely killer live.

Shriekback – “Glory Bumps”
Shriekback is a criminally over-looked super-group composed of members of Gang of Four and XTC. I contend that nearly any band that made its mark in the 80s or 90s will be ignored in this decade regardless of how good a record they put out (see Echo & The Bunnymen for last 3 records). This is this years example.

Dean and Britta – “Back Numbers”
Formed from ex-Luna, albums like this one and L’Aventura (both produced by Tony Visconti) make the sting of Luna breaking up pretty easy to bare.

Shins – “Wincing the Night Away”
After hearing this record, I was mystified how this album got a fairly luke-warm critical reception. Wincing is 5 times better than the previous two albums.

Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”
A recent discovery, Patrick Wolf has an unfortunate penchant for piano ballads which will have you hitting skip on the cd player, but the rest are blood-rushing crankers.

2007 Top 10 Concerts
If record releases were a bit weak this year, live shows certainly weren’t. This best of list are culled from over 70 well chosen shows with highlights including a particularly good Coachella and CMJ Music Marathon. Here is a list of the most
memorable bands seen this past year.

Electric Six – Maxwells
I started the New Year of 2007 with a bang, that is with Electric Six at Maxwells. Pitchfork perennially eviscerates their record releases but live there is few that are half as fun and entertaining. Note to Pitchfork: leave Electric Six alone and go see them live and relax.

Patrick Wolf – Webster Hall
I had only heard one song by Patrick Wolf before the show and was pleasantly surprised that there are still a few bands out there that had missed my radar.

Child Ballads – Studio B
Always killer. Never Filler. At this point, I would likely take a Child Ballads show over a Jonathan Fire*Eater show.

Xiu Xiu – Blender Theater
Their cover of Joy Division’s Ceremony alone was well worth the price of admission.

Iggy and the Stooges – United Palace
This show showcased (and I suspect not a debut) of little Iggy. Big Iggy was too busy thrashing around to notice that he was in the middle of a wardrobe malfunction in the pants area, hence the unfortunate appearance of little Iggy.

Pogues – Roseland
The first show that Shane McGowen played after having his drunk ass fall off the stage in Boston. He came rolling out in a wheelchair and the crowd went nuts.

Jesus and Mary Chain – Coachella
Frankly, if JMC played a whole set of the Reid brothers burping into the microphone, they would still make this list. I can’t think anything that could possibly keep me from thoroughly enjoying JMC, although awful Scarlette Johanson guest vocals came close.

Baby Dayliner – Mercury Lounge
Baby D had a top contender of album of the year last year, but this year I had to settle for seeing his booty shaking show….a must see live. I sure hope he has another album in the pipeline.

Van Halen – Madison Square Garden
I enjoy any show that showcases fights in the audience. Rednecks and retards, an endangered species in NYC, came out of the woodwork for this one. The show ended fittingly with a brawl in the seats behind me. Sweet.

Erasure – McCarren Pool Park
As much as I like seeing the hot new thing, the real action is seeing true veterans at work. I realized after seeing Erasure this year that they have a monster back-catalog of hits to rival nearly anyone.

PJ Harvey – Beacon Theater
Although not a huge PJ fan, I was impressed that I liked the show despite her legion of insufferably rabid fans.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Death by Audio
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone always find the best DIY venues to perform. This one was notable because it was the first venue that I have seen in quite awhile that (gasp!) openly allowed smoking and of course because CTFTPA have consistently been putting out some of the best albums of the decade.

Kevin

2007 Top 10 Albums
I think I actually bought more new music this year than the past two years combined. Here are my favorite records of 2007 in Best of the Best to Worst of the Best order.

Celebration – “The Modern Tribe”
I was actually surprised that this record didn’t make it on very many Top of 2007 lists. Easily my most listened to record of 2007 it still graces my car stereo at least twice a week.

Jens Lekman – “Night Falls Over Kortedala”
This record is on everyone’s list. Rightfully so.

Love of Diagrams – “Love of Diagrams”
Since it’s the only thing available in the US, it will get constant play until something new comes out.

Bella – “No One Will Know”
The 12 year old girl who apparently lives inside me loves this record. Damn catchy and the best synthpop record I’ve heard in a while.

Moonrats – “Tour EP”
All the same songs I had been listening to on their MySpace page but now in CD form.

Blonde Redhead – “23”
They consistently put out good records even though they are slowly drifting from their days as a post-punk powerhouse to a My Bloody Valentine knock-off.

Jay Z – “American Gangster”
What can I say, Jigga Man appeals to my inner gangsta.

The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra – “Demo”
Just a four track demo from a local band, but I’m really digging the tracks.

A Place to Bury Strangers – “A Place to Bury Strangers”
Until The Jesus and Mary Chain put out a new record, I’ll have to be content with this one.

The Child Ballads – “Cheekbone Hollows” EP
Technically I think this came out in 2006, but I didn’t see it on my list last year, so it’s going here.

2007 Top 10 Shows
Looking back on some of the shows I recorded this past year I realized that it was a damn good year for live music. I saw some truly incredible bands, both old and new. Here’s the Top 10 going from unbelievably amazing to just amazing.

Cornelius – The El Rey, Los Angeles
“The Ultimate Sensuous Synchronized Show” was jaw droppingly astounding. It reminded me how I felt after walking out of the one and only Pizzicato Five show I saw. I can’t wait to see him play in a couple of weeks at Disney Concert Hall.

The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
I burned up some airline miles to go see Jim Ruiz play his first show in over five years. Most people thought I was insane to fly all that way but it was worth it. Best part about it was getting my request for “Stormtrooper” dedicated to me.

Jens Lekman – Troubador, Los Angeles
I found out about Jens about a month after he played his first LA show at Spaceland back in 2005, but I made sure to buy advance tickets to the extremely sold out Troubador show this past fall. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who captivated a crowd quite like Jens did. Certainly memorable.

The Pulsars – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles
Up until the day before they played, I had no idea it was “The” Pulsars from Chicago (now LA) playing their first show in over 10 years. They played all songs from their first record and they were just as great as I remember them from the first time I saw them.

Celebration – The Echo, Los Angeles
I was looking forward to this show for months since they were finally playing a show where they were headlining and tickets didn’t cost $25. They were everything I had hoped and more. I’m hoping to catch them again real soon.

Moonrats – The Scene/Il Corrale/The Echo/6th St. Warehouse/.etc, Los Angeles
I saw Moonrats a bunch of times this year and every time they were great. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would probably be the show at The Scene when they played to about 15 people or Il Corrale which was a great place to see them.

The Jesus And Mary Chain/Bjork – Coachella, Indio
The Jesus and Mary Chain were great at Coachella, much, much, much better than the performance they gave the night before at The Glasshouse. The first half of Bjork’s set was pretty uninteresting, but the second half she picked it up and busted out the Reactable which I was really excited about.

Love Of Diagrams – Safari Sams, Los Angeles
I missed their show the night before at Spaceland which I regretted, but Love Of Diagrams put on a great show despite playing on a 5 foot high stage to virtually no one. Their show at The Echo later in the year would have been better had it not been plagued with sound problems. A running theme of shows at The Echo lately.

The Blow – The Echo, Los Angeles
Even though it was just Khaela and a laptop, she still had everyone dancing. I’m looking forward to seeing her later this month at The Fonda.

Thee Mad Lovers – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles
This show has a special significance on top of being a great show overall.

That’s it for 2007. Looking forward to another great year of shows in 2008. (This will easily go down as the longest post in TSOI’s history…)