Now that Thanksgiving is over, I'd like to urge you all to consider these 2007 1-Up endorsed releases for your Best Of lists. I know there's a lot of stuff to chose from, but there's a lot of lists out there so it's OK to think outside the box and maybe run with an underdog. Without further ado, here are 6 totally unique albums that justifiably belong on any music critic's Best Of list:
Mitch Easter - Dynamico Electric Devil Record - 3/13/07
Mitch Easter should be a household name. Not only is he responsible for producing the first couple R.E.M. records, but he also fronted Let's Active, the new wave/southern gothic pop band (also on IRS records) and practically invented the term, "jangle pop." After nearly 20 years of producing other people's, but not releasing his own records, Mitch Easter is back with his solo debut, Dynamico.
“Complex and many-layered, it's never less than enthralling and pretty close to unique.” - USA Today
“If we ever though Easter was outta juice, Dynamico blows that reckoning to smithereens.” - Harp
“Easter has a command of the diverse languages of pop music that few can claim.” - Los Angeles Times
The Houstons - Still MoRisen Records - 11/6/2007
The Houstons are formerly known to many as the Houston Brothers, the NC band fronted by brothers, Justin and Matt Faircloth. In 2005, the brothers hung up their hats and took a break from music in order to straighten up their lives and put things in order. Finally, after a year hiatus, they regrouped and added 3 additional members and released, Still, their strongest work to date. Lush production values and emotionally beaming songs makes Still an indie/pop/folk classic.
Loaded with arrangements so lush you can almost touch them." - Creative Loafing
"A nice soundtrack to the dropping temperatures." - RetroLowFi
Libby Lavella - Sometime In MorningTall Poppy - 11/6/07
Libby Lavella's soulful voice and world influences shine on her sophomore effort, Sometime In Morning. Her charm and charisma shines through on the heartfelt and spacious pop/soul songs, produced by Heroes and Villains. SIM features 3 songs co-written by LA singer-songwriter legend, Joan Jones.
"Comfortably in the company of such singer-songwriters as Sarah MacLachlan and Beth Orton." - RetroLowFi
"A gifted vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with an ear for soundscapes." - Bullz-eye
Shalini - The Surface And The ShineElectric Devil Records - 11/6/07
Shalini Chatterjee knows her roots and lets them blossom on her solo records. Formerly of Vinyl Devotion, Shalini is a product of the '80s new-wave and pop and her influences are clear in her big-guitar rock songs. Taking cues from early R.E.M., the Beatles, the Go-Gos and making them work in a modern context is a strong point of Shalini's and it's prevalent in The Surface And The Shine, her 4th studio album.
"Not only tweaks the pleasure centers of the brain but piques you intellectually as well." - Harp
"Would knock even the most jaded pop fan off their feet." - RetroLowFi
Motion Turns It On - RimaSelf Release - 7/7/07
Instrumental, progressive, post-rock, math-rock, psychedelic, indie-jazz... what hasn't Motion Turns It On been described as? All those descriptions are 100% and 100% untrue, MTIO are a force all their own and they proved in with 2007's Rima, a collection of 6 amazing and noteworthy instrumental rock songs. Seemingly out of nowhere, MTIO with the help of Rima are becoming a nationally aware outfit with gorgeous press from Amplifier, Houston Chronicle, multiple blogs and more. Definitely an indie rock contender for Most Underrated Album of the Year.
"The gauntlet has been thrown down to jazzy post-rockers everywhere." - Silent Ballet
"Like a fireworks display — explosive, unpredictable, electrifying and over far too soon." - Houston Press
"Fans of instrumental juggernauts take note. Motion Turns It On can rock you in any number of ways." - SoundAsLanguage.com
Clock Hands Strangle - Redshift/BlueshiftTeam Grizzly Records - 7/24/07
Melbourne, FL's Clock Hands Strangle released their debut LP, the astrologically titled, Redshift/Blueshift this year and the response has been out of this world. Melding subtle hints of indie rock, folk, pop and the occasional jam, Rs/Bs has a little something for everyone. Easily comparable to choice cuts from Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse and Wilco, yet utterly unique.
"Sort of like the best moments of early Built to Spill." - Playback:STL
"Vitally important with this kind of music is the lyrics, and it’s here that Clock Hands Strangle really excel." - Die Shellsuit, Die!
"I want to be led away to where Clock Hands Strangle wants me to go." - Indie Rock Reviews