Bradley's Almanac

2007: My Favorite Music

Posted on December 31, 2007 at 12:01 am | No Comments

Year-end lists used to be an annual tradition here on the ‘Nac, up until 2005, when the overabundance (and gun-jumping) of online list-makers prompted me to keep quiet. For the first time, I just didn’t feel like adding my signal to the overwhelming amount of noise, and the same held true at the end of ’06, as the listers grew exponentially, and the earlier-than-thou mentality got out of hand.

But a two-year break is just long enough (and a bunch of this year’s releases were just great enough) to get me to chime in again. One thing, though: I’ve decided I hate ranking my faves. Assigning a numerical order to the things I love is such an arbitrary exercise – things mean more to me depending on the day, week, or season – so what follows are my favorite albums and live shows of 2007, but with no numbers attached. Yeah, there are some of the usual suspects that you’ve seen on every other indie-slanted music blog, but hopefully a few surprises as well (though not too surprising if you visit here regularly). I’ve left off a few local Boston-area faves that filled my ears this year, as I’ll be spotlighting them in another post soon.

First, I’ll name the 20 albums released during the year that I listened to the most, with my favorite songs from each, and if there was one, an accompanying artist-approved or label-sanctioned Mp3 that was made available online. The label each album was released on also links to where you can purchase a copy of your own…



Arcade Fire“Neon Bible”
(on Merge Records)
faves: “No Cars Go”, “Keep The Car Running”
Mp3: Keep The Car Running



Band of Horses“Cease To Begin”
(on Sub Pop Records)
faves: “Ode to LRC”, “No One’s Gonna Love You”
Mp3: Is There A Ghost



Blonde Redhead“23”
(on 4AD Records)
faves: “Dr. Strangeluv”, “23”
Mp3: 23



Bottomless Pit“Hammer of the Gods”
(on Comedy Minus One Records)
faves: “Human Out Of Me”, “Dead Man’s Blues”
Mp3: The Cardinal Movements



Buffalo Tom“Three Easy Pieces”
(on New West Records)
faves: – “You’ll Never Catch Him”, “Hearts of Palm”
Mp3: Three Easy Pieces



Dinosaur Jr.“Beyond”
(on Fat Possum Records)
faves: “Back To Your Heart”, “Pick Me Up”
Mp3: Almost Ready



Fields“Everything Last Winter”
(on Atlantic Records)
faves: “Song for The Fields”, “You Don’t Need This Song”
Mp3: Song For The Fields



Film School“Hideout”
(on Beggars Banquet)
faves: “Two Kinds”, “Compare”
Mp3: Lectric



Interpol“Our Love To Admire”
(on Capitol Records)
faves: “Who Do You Think”, “Rest My Chemistry”
Mp3: The Heinrich Maneuver



Kevin Drew“Spirit If…”
(on Arts & Crafts Records)
faves: – “Safety Bricks”, “Bodhi Sappy Weekend”
Mp3: Tbtf



Kristin Hersh“Learn To Sing Like A Star”
(on Yep Roc Records)
faves: “Winter”, “Under The Gun”
Mp3: In Shock



The National“Boxer”
(on Beggars Banquet)
faves: “Mistaken For Strangers”, “Brainy”
Mp3: Fake Empire



New Pornographers“Challengers”
(on Matador Records)
faves: “Unguided”, “Myriad Harbour”
Mp3: Myriad Harbour



Ola Podrida“Ola Podrida”
(on Plug Research)
faves: “Cindy”, “Pour Me Another”
Mp3: Cindy



Pinback“Autumn of the Seraphs”
(on Touch & Go Records)
faves: “Good To Sea”, “From Nothing To Nowhere”
Mp3: From Nothing To Nowhere



PJ Harvey“White Chalk”
(on Island Records)
faves: “Grow Grow Grow”, “The Piano”
Stream songs @ MySpace



Radiohead“In Rainbows”
(self-released)
faves: “Videotape”, “All I Need”
Stream songs @ MySpace



Shellac“Excellent Italian Greyhound”
(on Touch & Go Records)
faves: “The End of Radio”, “Kittypants”
no online audio available



Ted Leo & the Pharmacists“Living With The Living”
(on Touch & Go Records)
faves: “La Costa Brava”, “The Lost Brigade”
Mp3: Sons Of Cain



Wheat“Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy
And Made A One Inch Square

(on Empyrean Records)
faves: “Little White Dove”, “I Had Angels Watching Over Me”
Mp3: Move=Move

I could’ve easily added another 10 or more on there, but that would’ve been a bit too self-indulgent. I should also mention that I shared some thoughts on a couple of the albums above on the year-end edition of Blog Fresh Radio, so if you feel like hearing me ramble, along with aural contributions from a bunch of ace fellow music bloggers, go here.

And here are the 20 Boston-area live shows I enjoyed the most this past year, in chronological order, with a link to my own write-up of each (many of which still have the live recordings available for download). There are a few that I’ll hopefully be sharing up in the coming weeks…



Caspian
@ Great Scott in Allston, MA
On Tuesday, January 9th, 2007
write-up



Sparklehorse
@ the Paradise in Boston, MA
On Thursday, February 27th, 2007
write-up



Asobi Seksu
@ the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA
On Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
live set forthcoming



Rob Crow (of Pinback)
@ TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA
On Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
write-up



Sebadoh
@ the Paradise in Boston, MA
On Friday, March 30th, 2007
live set



Low
@ the Somerville Theater in Somerville, MA
On Saturday, April 7th, 2007
live set



John Vanderslice & friends
@ the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA
On Friday, April 20th, 2007
live set



Dinosaur Jr.
@ Urban Outfitters in Cambridge, MA
On Thursday, May 10th, 2007
live set



The Arcade Fire
@ the Orpheum in Boston, MA
On Thursday, May 10th, 2007
live set



Kristin Hersh & the McCarricks
@ Hi-N-Dry in Cambridge, MA
On Sunday, May 27th, 2007



The Cal Robbins Benefit Shows
@ PA’s Lounge in Somerville, MA
with Ida, Secret Stars, Mark Robinson, Drew O’Doherty,
Geoff Farina, Chris Brokaw, Neptune, Helms, @ the Thalia Zedek Band
On Friday & Saturday, July 13th & 14th, 2007
live songs forthcoming



Darren Hanlon
@ the Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA
On Friday, August 17th, 2007
live set



Kevin Drew & Broken Social Scene
with Ryan Walsh (of Hallelujah the Hills)
@ TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA
On Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
Kevin’s live set / Ryan’s live set



The Lucksmiths
@ TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA
On Thursday, September 27th, 2007
live set



Kristin Hersh & Tanya Donelly
@ the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA
On Saturday, October 6th, 2007
live sets shared soon



Film School
@ TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA
On Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
live set



The National
@ Paddy O’s in Boston, MA
on Friday, October 26th, 2007
live set



Drew O’Doherty, The Soft Drugs,
All Smiles, & David Bazan
@ TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA
On Saturday, October 27th, 2007
David’s live set / The Soft Drugs’ live set



Yo La Tengo
@ the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA
on Thursday, November 15th, 2007
live set



Spiritualized
@ the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA
On Monday, November 19th, 2007
live set


and not exactly musical (unless you count a song from “Annie”), but definitely rating a mention…

Zach Galifianakis
@ the Berklee Performance Ctr. in Boston, MA
on Saturday, July 7th, 2007

As usual, a ton of great live music filled my year, which is no minor feat considering my new dadness, and the diminished amount of show-going free time (that’s hardly a complaint, of course). It’s been a real challenge balancing the fatherhood, the day job, and the blog, and more than a few times I’ve considered putting the Almanac on the back burner for awhile. But the compulsion remains, and I find myself heading into 2008 with a full head of steam.

So until that momentum fades, I’ll keep on sharing live recordings, scattershot music-related info, and the occasional bit of tv/movie/books/comics randomness. I’ve got some cool posts planned, including a look at what a few Boston-area faves have in store for 2008, some amazing live stuff, and a pretty special giveaway. The comments and grateful emails you guys send really do keep me going, so thanks for those, and best wishes to all of you in the new year.

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