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   Monday, December 31, 2007  
So then, reallyrather's ten most played new releases of '07. No real pecking order here except for the (last-named) no.1, which was a straightforward, obvious selection. Mostly low-key melodic indie efforts which deserve a far wider hearing than they've (largely) so far received. In a shock development, matt pond's new record doesn't make it - not that its horrible or anything, far far from it, just strangely uncompelling certainly compared with the previous two. And M. Ward didn't put anything out this year which gave everyone else a chance. OK...

The Go Find / Stars on the wall
Belgian but in a good way. Soft-voiced electronic pop rather a la The Postal Service but more laid back, with guitars and a slight Rumours/Fleetwood Mac underbelly. Mmmm...
[the go find][myspace]

Annuals / Be he me
This was on plenty of '06 lists but gets in here as the UK release wasn't 'til early '07. Whoa, Annuals! A debut album stuffed, almost overstuffed, with huge melodies and production to match. Sonically restless with arrangements constantly evolving, the initial 'everything and the kitchen sink' perception soon giving way to an appreciation of the acute construction of these little epics. One or two mis-steps naturally but, hey, let's not get too greedy here. A joy...

Gravenhurst / The western lands
Best yet from Nick Talbot's newly configured band. Well-paced collection of atmospheric guitar rock, sticks to the point, no fat. A fine headphone trip...

Artrocker compilation
OK, slightly bending the rules (rules?!) here but this was a top value covermount giveaway from Artrocker magazine crammed with over 70mins of (at the time) unreleased music from emerging UK bands. Wall-to-wall urgent artsy guitar pop/rock from names which'll become familiar soon enough if they have more where this came from - Dananananaykroyd [see below], Pete & the Pirates, Johnny Foreigner, etc etc. Good news is the back issue's still available, 3 quid!...
[Artrocker][buy edition 60]

The Postmarks / The Postmarks
An insouciant pleasure. Soft-focus, dreamy Francophile pop, indie-lite around the edges. Well-arranged tunes, the classic wan female vocal conjuring visions of girls checking their reflections in '60s boutique windows. A livelier, way more snappy companion album would be Lucky Soul's debut but reallyrather's vote goes Stateside...
[the postmarks][myspace]

Jens Lekman / Night falls over Kortedala
Another release with a distinct '60s feel about the place. More idiosyncratic emotional pop from the lovelorn Swede, nicking Tamla and Salsoul beats to groovealicious [technical term, sorry] effect. His recent solo acoustic show at The Luminaire charmed a full house but for this blog it paled in comparison with his swinging full-band set which closed this year's End of the Road Festival...
[jens lekman]

Wheat / Everday I said a prayer for Kathy and made a one-inch square
Also back at The Luminaire, most hearteningly welcome surprise of the year was a gorgeous set from one of this blog's bedrock bands. Swoonsome, captivating melodic indie with lashings of those crushed guitar chords, Brendan's rock-solid-with-a-twist drums and Scott's softly yearning vocals. Similarly out of the blue came this album which, while it disappears up itself on the odd occasion still offers up more pop goodness than we'd any right to expect. Good news is there's more to come: 'Well - we did a few u.k. dates over the summer, and sadly, that will be it for a while.but, we have just finished some songs for a mini-album that will be coming out over the next several months, and we'll be starting work on a new full length...'

My Teenage Stride / Ears like golden bats
Like a 'Best of' compilation from some forgotten, shoulda-been '80s act on a label like Postcard, this is one pop bullseye after another. Yes, the provenance is a bit dubious but ultimately reallyrather is inclined to row in with Allmusic's verdict: 'In the end, strong songs, the raw and echoey production, and the band's unflagging energy amount to a free pass on the plagiarism charge this time out...'
[my teenage stride][myspace]

Rilo Kiley / Under the blacklight
So, in the end, it makes the list. And, a few months on from the initial purse-lipped reception, its actually not a difficult call. A camp-dividing play for the mainstream from another of this blog's core bands, it's essentially a classy little contemporary pop record with loads of well-turned, stylistically varied tunes with enough lyrical distinction to keep the RK identity afloat. And look, haven't mentioned Jenny once - doh!
[rilo kiley][myspace]

And so, and so...
This year one band filled this blog's cup to overflowing with a record of pulsing, organic musicality and shows, particularly one at the Water Rats, which pushed joyous ecstatic buttons this blog didn't know it had. Wide-eyed, soaring emotional pop wonderment would seem to flow from Emil Svanängen as naturally as breathing. And, tellingly, the man (and his band) truly grasp the importance of that key pop fundamental, the tambourine. Scandalously overlooked in all the music mag year-end lists, the album of the year is Loney, Noir from easily, EASILY reallyrather's band of the year, Loney, Dear...
   posted by SMc at 5:10 PM |