2007 Artist Favorites!
Martin Aamot of The Electric Pop Group

Best music of 2007 (besides all the excellent Matinée releases):
“The Province Complains” by Cats On Fire (Marsh-Marigold)
“Dream On” by Celestial (Skipping Stones)
“A Careless Lifestyle” by Tillmanns (Fraction Discs)

Bands who didn’t release an album, but made brilliant music nevertheless:
Days (Sweden)
Silver Screen (USA)
Northern Portrait (Denmark)
The Felt Tips (Scotland)
Moscow Olympics (Philippines)

Charles Bert of Math and Physics Club

favorite record:
Cats on Fire – The Province Complains

favorite songs:
The Opposite of Hallelujah – Jens Lekman
Call to Prayer – The Guild League
Don’t Break My Heart – Fred Astereo
Misgiving – Tullycraft
Crazy – Northern Portrait
Girls In Their Summer Clothes – Bruce Springsteen
Higher Grounds – Cats on Fire

favorite lyric:
“I was slicing up an avocado when you came up behind me with your quiet brand new sneakers.” Your Arms Around Me – Jens Lekman

great live experiences:
Math and Physics Club with The Lucksmiths, Guild League, and Maria at Red’s Espresso in Santa Barbara. Happy 10 years Matinee!

best discovery:
Northern Portrait

guilty pleasures:
Sanjaya and Blake

celebrated moments:
Became a father of twin sons, Jules and Emmett

good reads:
There’s a Wocket in My Pocket

tips/hopes/predictions for 2008:
Sleep at least 4 hours straight
Read a book (other than Dr. Seuss)
Goodbye Bush!

Tali White of The Lucksmiths and The Guild League

2007 musical faves:
GIG: (as a performer) The Lucksmiths at the Knitting Factory NYC.
GIG: (as an audience member) Still Flyin’, somewhere in Brooklyn later that same night.

Sean Price of Airport Girl

Favourite bands:
Bill Callahan
The Wave Pictures
The School

Favourite records:
Woke On A Whaleheart – Bill Callahan
Cookies – The 1990s
The Sound Of Silver – LCD Soundsystem

Top songs:
I Wish That I Could See You Soon – Herman Dune
Now You Are Pregnant – The Wave Pictures
All My Friends – LCD Soundsystem

Live experiences:
Wake The President in the chapel at Indietracks
The School, at Indietracks and other places
Black Lips and Billy Bragg at Primavera
Slow Club, Liz Green and David Thomas Broughton at End Of The Road
Sodastream in St Giles Church (I’ve not picked anything else I’ve been involved with, but this was maybe the best gig I ever promoted, certainly the most ambitious. It was so good they split up almost directly afterwards! Gah!)
Electricity In Our Homes at The Living Room Too
Edwyn Collins at The Arts Theatre
Beirut in the foyer at the South Bank

New discoveries:
Stealing music on the internet.

Stefan Larsen of Northern Portrait

Favourite bands of the year MMVII (in no particular order):
Bubblegum Lemonade
The Electric Pop Group
Strawberry Whiplash
Tellus About The Moon
Math and Physics Club

Favourite live moments (I really didn’t go to that many concerts last year):
Jarvis Cocker in Copenhagen, DK
Jens Unmack – also in Copenhagen, DK

Peter Momtchiloff of Would-Be-Goods

I have to accept that I am no longer cutting-edge, since my favourite music of the year was by Amy Winehouse, CSS, and Rufus Wainwright. Oh, and The Province Complains by Cats on Fire.

Stephen Maughan of Kosmonaut

Best Gigs:
Sodastream, Kathryn Williams, Cats on Fire, Horowitz, Ari-Up and Vic Godard

Best Songs:
the Clientele – The Queen of Seville
Sodastream – Warm July
Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins – Melt Your Heart
A Smile and A Ribbon – Book Cover
Darren Hayman – Caravan Song
Parker Lewis – Wasting Time
Horowitz – Pop Kids of the World Unite!
Dylan Mondegreen – Girl in Grass
The Go-Team – A version of myself
Cherry Ghost – 4 a.m.
Duke Special – Last night I nearly died
Travis – Battleships

Marty Donald of The Lucksmiths

Eight favourite albums:
• The Stage Names by Okkervil River
• Boxer by The National
• Fill Up the Room by Saturday Looks Good to Me
• The Broken String by Bishop Allen
• Can’t Wait Another Day by The Ladybug Transistor
• Woke on a Whaleheart by Bill Callahan
• Don’t Break My Heart by Fred Astereo
• Cassdaga by Bright Eyes

Eleven favourite shows:
• Still Flyin’ at Soundfix, Brooklyn — the suitably crazy after-party for their show at Europa with The Ladybug Transistor and us; and….
• The same three bands the night before at the Knitting Factory, Manhattan
• Bill Callahan at the Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne
• Neko Case at the Spanish Club, Melbourne
• Daniel Kitson’s C-90 at the Melbourne Festival
• Candle Records farewell shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne
• Sodastream’s farewell show (with Grand Salvo) at the East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
• Fred Astereo, Math and Physics Club and us at the Crocodile Cafe, Seattle
• Built to Spill at the Corner, Melbourne
• Lost and Lonesome Christmas Show at the Corner
• The break-up party for Switch Board, Melbourne, where my not-yet-two-year-old son Tommy made his musical debut, joining the Smallgoods duo on drums for one song

Twelve favourite books:
• What is the What by Dave Eggers
• Runaway by Alice Munro
• Oracle Night, Leviathan and The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
• Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
• Falling Man by Don DeLillo
• This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
• Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt
• The Good Life by Jay McInerney
• I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
• Special mention for Max Velthuijs’ “Frog” series of children’s books

Two favourite sports-spectator moments:
• St Kilda’s shock away win over West Coast in Robert Harvey’s 350th AFL game
• John Maine goes heartbreakingly close to pitching a franchise-first no-hitter for the Mets against the Marlins in my bi-annual trip to a baseball game — and there’s a bench-clearing brawl!

Three favourite meatball-related meals:
• Meatball and pea pizza at Meine Liebe, Northcote
• Lamb kofta pide at Ray, Brunswick
• Meatballs and cous-cous at my friend Jade’s house

Laz McCluskey of Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash

Fave new purchases of 2007:
Edwyn Collins – Home Again
Fountains Of Wayne – Traffic And Weather
The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
Super Furry Animals – Hey Venus
Gruff Rhys – Candy Lion
Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly Angry Mob
Candy Payne – I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
The Concretes – Hey Trouble
LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver

Fave old purchases of 2007:
The Only Ones – The Only Ones
Pale Saints – The Comforts Of Madness
The Rain Parade – Emergency Third Rail Power Trip
The Soup Dragons – Hang Ten (CD comp)
The Box Tops – Soul Deep
Chapterhouse – Whirlpool
Harpers Bizarre – Feeling Groovy
The Jam – Snap
The 3 O’clock – Arrive Without Travelling

My fave gig of the year was The Concretes at Glasgow’s King Tuts, now there’s a band.

Jason Sweeney of Simpático and Sweet William

Favourite Album: The Moving Frontier – Pram
Favourite Film: Inland Empire – David Lynch
Rotation listening: Field Music
Favourite Food: Zoet Dropjes altijd. Broodje met Avocado en Brie.
Favourite Decision: To begin learning Dutch for real this time.
City that will always belong to my heart: Adelaide, Australia.
Favourite moment: The end of John Howard. The beginning of some real political changes in Australia.
Worst moment: Supporting Patrick Wolf in Sydney and Melbourne. Enough to make you want to bring out the fisticuffs.
Creative moments in 07: Releasing 3 new albums under the guises of School of Two (ex Simpático), Pretty Boy Crossover (our 6th album in 10 years!) and a full-length collaboration with ex-Underground Lovers man, Vincent Giarrusso (Mist & Sea).

Joe Brooker of The Pines

In Spring 2007 I turned again to the great Library Records Cat’s Miaow compilations, A Kiss and a Cuddle and Songs for Girls To Sing, which in 2003 gathered such crazy expanses of indie pop – 40 or more tracks a go, some of them floating in for a few seconds, announcing themselves and immediately taking their leave. I never really stopped listening to them after that. It’s not all equally essential, but sometimes a great string of numbers appears – ‘Firefly’, ‘Barney and Me’, ‘Millions of Tiny Lights’, ‘Los Angeles International Airport’, ‘If Things Had Been Different’, all in a sequence like neon signs glimpsed from a dark motorway. And salutations to the tremendous ‘Seventeen’, and the French take of ‘Revant de Toi’ that has lately made my heart flutter.

Jeffrey Foucault has an imposing surname, and a spooky good assortment of backing musicians for his adventures in country beyond Wisconsin. His Ghost Repeater (2006) impressed me in December.

I never really tire now of Neko Case: Blacklisted (2002) still seems her chef d’oeuvre, but moments of extraordinary power, grace and detail dot Furnace Room Lullaby (2000) and Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (2006).

Sun Kil Moon’s Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003) was rereleased with an extra disc: still a languidly, even self-indulgently lush slow sweet acoustic cruise through some desert landscape or mid-western tableland. It comes with flourishes of flamenco or Mexicana but at heart it’s just soulful organic Yankee music, textured, mournful, maybe even hopeful. The simplicity of the casual riffing, the gradual build-up of instruments, the descending acoustic phrases on opener ‘Glenn Tipton’ make lovely pop sound so easy. Maybe it is.

I decided to buy Bruce Springsteen’s Magic soon after its release. I hope I look as good as the Boss at his age, or rather, I wish I looked that tolerable now. This is easy music too, maybe – it can’t be hard for him to generate a ‘Radio Nowhere’ or ‘Long Walk Home’ – but I warm still to his unworried readiness to repeat his happy winning formulas, not to mention his unabashed national allegorizing – at its finest on this record’s title track, where the titular sorcery turns out to be a dark political art.

In July we recorded ‘Train From Wycombe’ for the ‘Matinée Hit Parade’ compilation. Ten guitar parts, five different effects, a meshed labyrinth of notes and phrases; thank heavens our producer always knows where the ball of string is going. I remember him walking the echoing hall of my apartment snapping his fingers and attending to the report with acoustic expertise; then working through for about seven hours’ straight recording, and barely accepting a bagel or a cup of coffee as relief.

Exeter Goes Pop! invited me to play in April: for old times’ sake or new times’ stakes I elected to make it the inaugural show for The First Division, and fans from twenty years ago showed up to wonder at their now metropolitan chum’s grainy vocal deliveries while I shifted the capo and picked at arpeggios behind him. A pleasure to see the city for the first time, to roll and climb into one of the great English towns I’ve never hitherto experienced, to try a local ale and wander the city walls before evening brings showtime down; then to hang around the exposed deck of the Phoenix while the savvy punters of other events order their interval drinks, and to have ‘Talulah Gosh’ the last disc on the decks before I knock off a solo salvo – ‘Chocolate Snow’, ‘Petal Affinity’, ‘Second Hand’, about as close as I have to a secret canon of unreleased songs. The fine hospitality of the Duke of Harringay, his home a house beautiful for the contemporary aesthete, decorated with his own drawings, packed with good pop art and fine taste. Knocking around Exeter again the next day with the kids who still believe, inventing future releases on our way through the cathedral, picking up provisions from a Tesco, shooting the book breeze on the late sunlit slopes of Rougemont Gardens and debating the saddest lyric lines on the way down from the castle; and essaying the acoustic pop canon again outside the cathedral, in and out of light lager and meditations on lost love.

Jimmy Tassos of Matinée Recordings

Eleven songs not released by Matinée but worthy of your last penny nevertheless:
The Electric Pop Group – Walk Away (self-released)
Days – Downhill (Shelflife)
Moscow Olympics – Still (Fraction Discs)
Cats on Fire – Born Again Christian (Marsh Marigold)
Sambassadeur – Subtle Changes (Labrador)
Camera Obscura – The Last Song (Elefant)
My Darling YOU! – We Break Up On Friday (Tomt)
The Radio Dept. – We Made The Team (Labrador)
School of Two – The Rays (Feral Media)
Maria – I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts (Yay!)
The Margarets – Escapism from the Presence (Cloudberry)

Chris McFarlane of IndiePages

Favorite LPs of 2007:
1. Fishboy – Albatross: How We Failed To Save The Lone Star State With… (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
2. Pants Yell! – Alison Statton (Soft Abuse)
3. My Teenage Stride – Ears Like Golden Bats (Becalmed)
4. Young Sportsmen – Death To Palaces (no label)
5. Celestial – Dream On (Skipping Stones)
6. Lodger – Grown-Ups (Slumberland)
7. Capstan Shafts – Environ Maiden (Rainbow Quartz)
8. Apples In Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder (Yep Roc)
9. Boat – Let’s Drag Our Feet (Magic Marker)
10. Love Dance – Result (Marsh Marigold)
11. Bank Holidays – As A Film (Lost & Lonesome)
12. Ans. Andur – Topeltvikerkaar (Seksound)
13. Cats On Fire – The Province Complains (Marsh Marigold)
14. This Year’s Model – The Clock Strikes Ten (Marsh Marigold)
15. Professor Pez – Hordaland (Galant)
16. Broken West – I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On (Merge)
17. Hermit Crabs – Saw You Dancing (Matinee)
18. Hat Company – Fair Weathered Friends (Little Pocket)
19. Tullycraft – Every Scene Needs A Center (Magic Marker)
20. High Water Marks – Polar (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
Disqualified since I played on it: Patience Please – Fleeting Frequencies (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)

Favorite EPs of 2007:
1. Math And Physics Club – Baby I’m Yours EP (Matinee)
2. Faintest Ideas – Your Imaginary Bullets Really Hurt (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
3. Bedroom Eyes – Hand-In-Hand Grenade EP (Cloudberry)
4. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – s/t (Painbow)
5. Park Hotell – The Guest Who Stayed Forever (Glory)
6. Blind Terry – When Prefab Sprout Wrecked My Mind EP (Cloudberry)
7. Bears – Summer Tour EP (no label)
8. Boyracer / Faintest Ideas split 7″ (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
9. Bugs Eat Books – Killers From The Start EP (Wee Pop)
10. Desmond Reed – Guinea Pigs (Wee Pop)
11. Saturday Looks Good To Me – Money In The Afterlife 7″ (Ernest Jenning)
12. Airfields – Yr So Wonderful EP (Cloudberry)
13. Medalist – Landslides EP (Cloudberry)
14. Summer Cats – Scratching Post (Popboomerang)
15. Preakness – Demons 7″ (Eskimo Kiss)
16. Amida – Arts & Crafts (Plastilina)
17. Liechtenstein – Stalking Skills 7″ (Fraction)
18. Lemuria / Ergs split 7″ (Art Of The Underground)
19. Sternbuschweg – Paula, Ich Liebe Dich 7″ (Firestation)
20. En Francais – s/t (Anorak)