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Steve Henderson

Written by: Steve Henderson (12/01/07)
IntroductionWell, I was going to change my intro from last year, but I read it over and it still seems to fit better than anything new I could come up with. So here it is:

Okay, so I know I am anything but the most indie kid on the site. I am actually probably the most mainstream reviewer on here, but depending of your tastes, that might be either a breath of fresh air or a disgusting deterrent. Either way, take it for what you will. I don’t give too many shits about cred, really. Now, I think that gives me a bit of an open-minded edge, but that might just be my political spin on things.

Nevertheless, I have listened to a lot of music this year, and this is what I thought of 2006. And let it be known that when I call an album the “best” of the year, I mean it in a sense that it gave me the most enjoyment. Sure, there may be more technically proficient records or whatnot, but a) I did not listen to every single record released this year, and b) subjectivity is a wonderful prerogative. So read my lists – disregard them, applaud them, call me out on them. Either way, the opinions we all have on music are what makes it so beautiful in the end, so never lose sight of that which makes you happy.


Top Albums of 2007

25) Aereogramme - My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go
24) Dear and the Headlights - Small Steps, Heavy Hooves
23) The Snake the Cross the Crown - Cotton Teeth
22) K-os - Atlantis: Hymns for Disco
21) Matt Nathanson - Some Mad Hope
20) Dustin Kensrue - Please Come Home
19) Winterpills - The Light Divides
18) The Panic Division - Songs From the Glasshouse
17) Deas Vail - All the Houses Look the Same
16) Aqualung - Memory Man
15) Eisley - Combinations
14) Mobile - Tomorrow Starts Today
13) Anberlin - Cities
12) The Graduate - Anhedonia
11) The Receiving End of Sirens - The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
10) Stacy Clark - Apples and Oranges
09) Bedouin Soundclash - Street Gospels
08) Travis - The Boy With No Name
07) Chase Pagan - Oh Musica!
06) Jimmy Eat World - Chase This Light
05) Circa Survive - On Letting Go
04) Chasing Victory - Fiends
03) Lovedrug - Everything Starts Where It Ends
02) Cassino - Sounds of Salvation
01) The Dear Hunter - Act II: The Meaning Of, & Regarding All Things Ms. Leading

ExplanationThis year was an absolutely incredible year for music, period. If you do not agree then that just means you were not looking hard enough. Some records lived up to expectations, some fell short, and some came out of left field to catch me totally off guard.

When all is said and done, I don't think anyone was able to match everything that The Dear Hunter's Act II had going for it. The album is absolutely massive in its sound, story, and diversity. It is great by itself, and it is even more exciting when you think about the hope it gives listeners for subsequent volumes in the saga. Cassino and Lovedrug were both close behind, with brilliant records of their own - discs I am still spinning regularly now and surely be into 2008.


Top EPs of 2007
05) Therefore I Am – Escape
04) Stop Motion Poetry – Revolver Recordings
03) Whetherman – Bull
02) As Tall As Lions - Into the Flood
01) Umbrellas - Beach Front Property

ExplanationThis list is a mix of the old and new, and Umbrellas came out with the unlikely win. I thought for sure that As Tall As Lions would grab the number one spot, but when a friend introduced me to the excellent Beach Front Property EP, I could not tear myself away from it. The EP is everything I knew Scott Windsor and crew could create, and the result is in line with his best songs to date. As for the rest of the bands, there is some great unsigned talent here, so take the time to check them out!


Most Disappointing Albums of 2007
10) The Starting Line – Direction
09) Armor for Sleep – Smile for Them
08) Limbeck – Limbeck
07) Fall Out Boy – Infinity on High
06) Yellowcard - Paper Walls
05) The Academy Is - Santi
04) Idlewild – Make Another World
03) Emery - I'm Only a Man
03) Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist

02) The Ataris – Welcome the Night
01) Cartel – Cartel

ExplanationGood god, there is so much squandered potential here it hurts. And there was no one that shit the bed more than Cartel on their sophomore effort (and I use that word lightly). As if to confirm all of AP.net’s fears over the bubble debacle, the group released a record that was truly DOA, with a maximum of two good songs. And I think it will be a long while before we forget that fucking laughable Wyclef remix.


Best Songs of 2007
25) The Sequence - "California"
24) Tokyo Rose - "A Pound of Silver Is Worth Its Weight In Blood"
23) Matt Nathanson - "Come On Get Higher"
22) Aqualung - "Outside"
21) Chase Pagan - "Spanish Tongue"
20) Cassino - "Governor"
19) Maria Taylor - "Clean Getaway"
18) K-Os - "Flypaper"
17) Mobile - "See Right Through Me"
16) Dustin Kensrue - "Pistol"
15) Deas Vail - "Shoreline"
14) The Graduate - "Anhedonia"
13) Bedouin Soundclash - "Walls Fall Down"
12) The Panic Division - "Day You Left"
11) Lovedrug - "Salt of the Earth"
10) Jimmy Eat World - "Here It Goes"
09) Brand New - "Fork and Knife"
08) Driving East - "Come On Come On"
07) The Dear Hunter - "Red Hands"
06) Circa Survive - "The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is In The Dose"
05) As Tall As Lions - "Into the Flood"
04) Whetherman - "Storms In Seattle"
03) Jimmy Eat World - "Let It Happen"
02) Stacy Clark f/ Aaron Marsh - "Empty Bottles"
01) Timbaland f/ Keri Hilson - "The Way I Are"

ExplanationThis list is a little different than last year, a little more diverse. Some songs are hooky pop genius and some are weighty, deep masterpieces. Whatever your preferences, these are the songs that make my playlist of the year.


Best Producer of the Year
Brian McTernan

Runner-Up: Matt Bayles

ExplanationBetween The Graduate’s Anhedonia and Circa’s On Letting Go, McTernan helmed some great sounding albums, simple as that.


Best New Band of 2007
Cassino

ExplanationThe band’s long-awaited debut did not disappoint fans, both new and old. Sounds of Salvation is a great illustration of what a great band can do when they make the music they want to be making. All DIY, and all wonderful.


Best Music Video of 2007
Travis - "Selfish Jean”

ExplanationHow can you go wrong with Demetri Martin and Travis together?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vLopvgJpZU


Best Lyrics of 2007
02) Dustin Kensrue (Thrice, solo)
01) Nick Torres (Cassino)

ExplanationThis is a tough one to call due to the differences in their writing styles (this has been debated ad nauseum here), but Nick writes some downright poetic stuff. Both are to be envied for their control over the written word.


Best Vocals of 2007
05) Mat Joly (Mobile)
04) Dan Nigro (As Tall As Lions)
03) Wes Blaylock (Deas Vail)
02) Chase Pagan
01) Anthony Green (Circa Survive)

ExplanationSimply put, these dudes have pipes. Respect.


Biggest Sellouts
05) Cobra Starship

04) Plain White T’s
03) Gym Class Heroes
02) Paramore
01) Cartel

ExplanationShady downstream deals, shameless Dr. Pepper endorsements, riding the Decaydance coattails, appearing on ABC Family sitcoms, and all that jazz. Yikes.


Best Live Show
05) Hot Rod Circuit

04) Cassino (not full band)
03) Mobile
02) Circa Survive
01) As Tall As Lions

ExplanationAll of these bands sound great, explode with the perfect amounts of energy, and everything else needed to make shows a memorable experience.


Best Record Label
03) Side One Dummy
02) Equal Vision Records
01) The Militia Group

ExplanationAs I said last year, I have a strong feeling that as long as they are signing artists and issuing records, The Militia Group is going to be the best label in the business, bar none. No other label has the artistic integrity, variety, and overall fortitude of roster that TMG has. Not since Drive-Thru in the late 90s has a label commanded this much respect and loyalty. And I’ll be damned if they do not deserve every ounce of it.


Most Overrated Band
02) Radiohead
01) Say Anything

ExplanationIt’s not really either of these bands’ faults, let’s be clear. By the time In Defense of the Genre came out, I was so damn sick about hearing about Say Anything and Max Bemis that I really had no interest in hearing the record. Because really, it got to the point where no record could have lived up to the hype. As for Radiohead, I love that band but I thought In Rainbows was a mediocre release, and their antics were little more than a clever moneymaking ruse that fooled us all.


Most Underrated Bands
05) Copeland
04) Aqualung
03) Chase Pagan
02) Mobile
01) As Tall As Lions

ExplanationNot sure if it is label issues, leaks, laziness, or whatever, but for some reason, a lot less people appreciate these bands than should. Every one of them is full of potential, and deserve more exposure than they have gotten. If you still are not familiar with any of these bands, consider this a cue to do so.


Best Other Music Websites
02) AllMusic.com
01) Pitchfork

ExplanationSame as last year - AllMusic is about as comprehensive as a site can get – their reviews are plentiful and incredibly accurate as well. As for Pitchfork, I fucking despise the attitude and pretense that surrounds that site like a big ass cloud of bullshit pompousness. But I’ll be damned if those folks are not some of the most talented music writers on the planet. Color me jealous.


Band of the Year
02) Paramore
01) Radiohead

ExplanationRadiohead is the obvious answer for obvious reasons. Above all, they forced us all to think about issues in the music industry that needed to be thought about. In Rainbows was not the revolution the hype promised, but it was still an important release. As for Paramore, they just exploded this year. Within the course of a few months, they went from being a successful indie (well kind of) band to being the MTV darlings we all knew they’d be.


Best Movies of 2007
05) Children of Men
04) Sunshine
03) The Lookout
02) Superbad
01) Juno

ExplanationAwesome flicks that are well worth the $64 a movie ticket costs nowadays.


Best TV Shows of 2007
05) Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

04) The Office
03) Man vs. Wild
02) The Ultimate Fighter
01) 30 Rock

ExplanationSome of the only good shows on the crap pool that is cable TV.


The Next Big Thing(s) of 2008
05) The Cab
04) The Morning Of
03) Stacy Clark
02) Driving East
01) The New Frontiers

ExplanationSome are sure things, some are wishful thinking, but all deserve the spotlight.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 45
01:30 PM on 12/26/07
#2
Anton Djamoos
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You and I are the only ones that get the brilliance that is The Dear Hunter. Oh well, more power to us!
03:29 PM on 12/26/07
#3
Chancetobe
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I thought your most disapointing list was pretty much spot on. Pop-punk seemed to be the dominate genre for disapointing albums this year.
04:33 PM on 12/26/07
#4
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I'm glad someone remembered Mobile, Deas Vail and such. Good list sir.
05:01 PM on 12/26/07
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Poochemist
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It looks like you and Anton are very like-minded in some of your list items. Cartel seems to be the big loser of the year. Good thing I have no interest in them anyway.
05:38 PM on 12/26/07
#6
lauren<3s music
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thank you for all of your hard work this year! you are hands down my favorite staff on here because of your diverse taste and willingness to find the perfect music for any mood. you've made me listen to some of my favorite bands of the year and i can't thank you enough for it
05:46 PM on 12/26/07
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Steve Henderson
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thank you for all of your hard work this year! you are hands down my favorite staff on here because of your diverse taste and willingness to find the perfect music for any mood. you've made me listen to some of my favorite bands of the year and i can't thank you enough for it
Thanks a lot for the kind words...check out some of the other stuff on my list you might not have heard so far!
05:47 PM on 12/26/07
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Steve Henderson
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I'm glad someone remembered Mobile, Deas Vail and such. Good list sir.
Mobile is criminally underrated here. Good thing they are HUGE in Canada.
05:50 PM on 12/26/07
#9
lauren<3s music
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Thanks a lot for the kind words...check out some of the other stuff on my list you might not have heard so far!

welcome and will do :)
06:59 PM on 12/26/07
drudo182
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You're like the only person who has Lovedrug on their list. Yeah, mad props.
07:00 PM on 12/26/07
drudo182
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And why isn't The Honorary Title on anyone's list. They had the best album of the year!
07:11 PM on 12/26/07
Blake Solomon
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I always forget about deas vail. That record is great.
07:32 PM on 12/26/07
Steve Henderson
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And why isn't The Honorary Title on anyone's list. They had the best album of the year!
I didn't listen...maybe I need to check it out
07:32 PM on 12/26/07
Steve Henderson
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I always forget about deas vail. That record is great.
Yeah it is a sleeper, but a damn good one.
10:16 PM on 12/26/07
average_jane
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There are a few albums on your list I haven't heard yet, so I'll have to check them out. So much love for The Militia Group too
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