Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best Songs of 2007

We've done our favorite full-lengths and our favorite shows. Truth be told, we consume a lot more mp3s these days (Rockist sacrilege, I know) than complete albums. But songs have a life themselves and they're the most basic form of music consumption possible. I've always held the belief that one brilliant song can be as much of an achievement as anything else, and, frankly, that the Kingsmen should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame purely on the strength of "Louie Louie" alone. Maybe that's just me.


10. "Pearls on a String" - Ryan Adams. He might miss as often as he hits with little ditties like this, but he hits here with a damn purty one.

9. "Sleeping Lessons" - The Shins. An underwhelming third album that was still pretty good kicked off with this rousing opener.

8. "When You Were a Millionaire" - The Eames Era. The place in my heart for tight, girl-boy vocal, sugary indie pop is larger than I care to admit.

7. "Down in the Valley" - The Broken West. They could never quite muster the studio perfection of this choice little nugget onstage, but that shouldn't detract too much from the power pop gem of the year.

6. "Beautiful Machine, Parts 1-4" - The Apples in Stereo. Yes, it comprises two tracks and four parts, and neither track seems really related. But ol' Bob Schneider gave them the same name, and under that name he penned and recorded one of the best lysergically-infused song suites of his impressive career.

5. "Right or Wrong" - Sloan. Off an album of like fifty songs, there were a handful of real quality standouts. Of these standouts, there was only one contender for this list.

4. "Rotten Hell" - Menomena. Catchy little tune about "strangeholds" turns into a charging, uplifting coda, the best of the year.

3. "Dress Blues" - Jason Isbell. Easily the most poignant, heartbreaking song of the year in my book, and easily the best song written about the fallout of the war in Iraq. I've said it before, but if Tim McGraw records this, it goes platinum.

2. "(Antichrist Television Blues)" - The Arcade Fire. As far as subject matter goes, father-daughter songs about trying to honor Jesus by turning your little girl into a teen idol are few and far between. That's probably best, though Win Butler and his Canadian circus do wonders with the weirdest Springsteen song ever.

1. "The General Specific" - Band of Horses. Sometimes you just have to give it to the best tune. I personally find the almost-lazy, clanking percussion addictive (kinda like this tune), and twang-filled, pot-scented late afternoon groove just reeks of the band's move back down South.


When I think of the best songs of 2007, unlike G.H., I think of songs off of albums that were released in 2007, not 2006 (see his number 5). Not realizing that we would be doing this list, most of these songs are found on the Top 10 Albums post. My apologies for the redundancy.

10. "Ada" - The National. Even though it's not one of the more upbeat songs on the album, which I actually complained about, the piano and acoustic guitar tug at my heartstrings. Kind of like pandas.

9. "So It Goes" - The Broken West. When I got this album, I listened to this song at least 4 times in a row. As G.H. pointed out, TBW live don't completely live up to the album... except on this song.

8. "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" - Okkervil River. The dragging end of The Stage Names is a complete 180° from this song. At least they have one good one on there. Sorry guys...

7. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" - Radiohead. While listening to this I anticipated a 2 measure break out, as in Kid A's "Morning Bell," but it never happened. And it's better for it.

6. "Champion" - Kanye West. The broken record style of the Steely Dan sample is so catchy, it's almost annoying. But not quite.

5. "Intervention" - The Arcade Fire. I can't believe I would love a song that reminds me of Catholics so much... just kidding Catholic friends.

4. "Closer At Hand" - Field Music. Have I talked about these guys before? Seriously, though. This is my favorite band discovered this year.

3. "Ode To LRC" - Band of Horses. The world IS a wonderful place.

2. "I'm Taking The Train Home" - The Twilight Sad. The power and emotion exuded in this song makes it impossible to keep off the list. My ears have never rang harder after hearing this song live.

1. "Islands On The Coast" - Band of Horses. What? 2 BoH songs? And 2 different BoH songs as number one? Holy crap. We must be getting paid by BoH. How many times can I say BoH in one post? The descending triplets that start off this song still give me shivers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Do the Rockists even know its Christmas?

It's just turned Christmas day.  I'm done helping the folks stuff stockings and wrap a couple things for my sister and my aunt and uncle.  

Music's a big gift item around my house, and this year promises to be a good one.  Who knows what's coming my way, but among the albums I've purchased for others are Beirut - The Flying Club Cup, Nada Surf - Karmic EP, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Sirens of the Ditch.  

Anyway, Christmas Day is usually a day for spinning various new discs -- that first warm, late morning playing of Centro-matic's Love You Just the Same while watching the Blue-Gray game at decrepid Legion Field is still a very pleasant memory --  so I'll be reporting in the coming weeks with whatever loot I got coming.  

In the meantime, Happy Christmas to all our readers, and here are a couple treats for the road.

The Flaming Lips - "Christmas at the Zoo"

Oh, and if you're wondering, my top five rockin' Christmas songs are, in no particular order:
The Walkmen - Xmas Party
Centro-Matic - Fuselage (It's Starting to Look Like Christmas)
The Kinks - Father Christmas
Big Star - Jesus Christ 
The Shoes - This Christmas

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Best D.C. Shows of 2007

Our inaugural year as bloggers has taken us to numerous shows in the area with Sparks in hand. Here are our favorites.

Rob: It gets quite hard to remember all of the shows we attended. It could be that there were so many, but the booze is most likely the main factor. Here are my top 5, in some particular order.

5. Wilco - Merriweather Post Pavilion - 6/21/07

Two words: three encores

4. Lucero w/ Catfish Haven - Black Cat - 4/6/07

The end of a great week

3. The Twilight Sad - Rock and Roll Hotel - 10/1/07

Then GL and I drank Scotch... a lot of Scotch

2. Band of Horses - 9:30 Club - 11/2/07

The latest show I've been to in DC

1. The Long Winters w/ The Broken West - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/3/07

The start of a great week


Between DCist and Rockist, I've never crammed so many shows into a single year. The really good news is that there were no bad ones really. But here are my five best:

5. The Polyphonic Spree - 9:30 Club - 7/1/07

The switch from white robes to black janitor suits matched the lyrical switch from bright suns to political protest, but the music was still grandiose and Tim DeLaughter still a first-rate bandleader.

4. The Whigs - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/23/07

Chalk one up for blistering rock and roll. These guys played a no-frills hour long set to a meager audience on a Monday night that pretty much encompassed every single song they know. But when you play with this kind of heart, you don't really need too much more.

3. The Long Winters - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/3/07

John Roderick and crew get points for the most crowd-pleasing set of the year, and double points for opening with a sardonic, but hilarious instrumental titled "Blues in E". Now that's irony.

2. Jason Isbell - Rock and Roll Hotel - 7/18/07

After leaving the DBT, no one knew how Isbell would fair on the road (or on record) with his new band, the 400 Unit. The results were exhilarating, the Truckers' arena-ready show brought back to its rock club roots.

1. Arcade Fire - DAR Constitution Hall - 5/4/07

The big, obvious one, perhaps, but undoubtedly the biggest spectacle, the most dramatic, the most dynamic, and, in the end, the one that'll stick with me the longest.


Helluva year, all told. I felt like I was either A) at a concert or B) hungover. You might say the two are somehow related. And you'd be right. Here are my top five shows/whiskey slugfests/hangovers/reasons to eat McDonald's breakfast of the year:

5. David Vandervelde - Black Cat - 4/19/07

There's no way GH and I weren't the drunkest two people at this one.

4. Asobi Seksu - Rock and Roll Hotel - 1/19/07

Great for a number of reasons. We somehow finagled a way to get in despite it being sold out. Our friend Jason successfully defended some chick's honor. It was the loudest show I think I've ever been to. At least until...

3. Twilight Sad - Rock and Roll Hotel - 10/1/07

Really really great. Don't know what else to say.

2. Long Winters - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/3/07

Like GH mentioned, John Roderick is the ultimate showman. Equal parts stand up comedy and rock show.

1. Arcade Fire - DAR Constitution Hall - 5/4/07

Terrific concert from one indie rock's biggest bands. They delivered not only musically, but also in putting on a great, big show.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We told you to watch out for them.

So, the Gummys came out today. And, to no surprise of us, Rockists favorite The XYZ Affair made a showing placing 26th in the Best Video category, above many indie-rock powerhouses like Ted Leo, THS, Menomena, Spoon and The New Pornographers. Congrats to them. We'll show it again for good measure.

The XYZ Affair - "All My Friends"

Stay tuned for info on their big tour coming up next year.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let The Lists Begin! - Top Ten Albums


Here are my top 10 albums of the year. I'm not going to lie, I thought it was a pretty good year for music.

10. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon - "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"

9. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Radiohead - "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"

8. The National - Boxer
The National - "Apartment Story"

7. Georgie James - Places
Georgie James - "More Lights"

6. Kanye West - Graduation
Kanye West - "Flashing Lights (Ft. Dwele)"

5. Metric - Grow Up And Blow Away
Metric - "Soft Rock Star (Jimmy Vs. Joe Mix)"

4. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Arcade Fire - "Intervention"

3. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
The Twilight Sad - "Mapped By What Surrounded Them"

2. Field Music - Tones of Town
Field Music - "Closer At Hand"

1. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Band of Horses - "Islands on the Coast"


Here are mine. I liked this year, but not as much as 1967 or 1978. That's why I only have five. It might also be because I don't listen to hip-hop or anything.

5. Menomena - Friend and Foe

4. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Okkervil River - "Unless it Kicks"

3. Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
Jason Isbell - "Grown"

2. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

G. L.:

Pretty decent year all around, I thought. Here are my picks:

10. Figurines - When the Deer Wore Blue
The Figurines - "The Air We Breathe"

9. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
Blitzen Trapper - "Wild Mountain Nation"

8. Kanye West - Graduation

7. David Vandervelde - The Moonstation House Band
David Vandervelde - "Jacket"

6. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
The Twilight Sad - "That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy"

5. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Band of Horses - "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands"

4. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Ryan Adams - "Goodnight Rose"

3. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon - "The Underdog"

2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Arcade Fire - "No Cars Go"

1. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Okkervil River - "Plus Ones"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Led Zeppelin to play Bonnaroo?

We don't like gossip, we don't like those who gossip, and we don't like to talk about those that gossip.

But when we get word that some Rockist legends are getting back together (relax folks, it's not the Bigger Lovers), Rockist Commandments state that thou must share the information.

So it looks like Led Zeppelin -- and not this Page and Plant crap -- will be reuniting and playing at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN this summer. It's still a rumor, but it's on Billboard, so it must be good. On second thought, Josh Groban's on Billboard too so... well, nevermind. The report's here. I guess Metallica is rumored to be there too, but I'm not really too worked up about that. If we hear anything else, we'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 3, 2007

You raise me up

GL and I meandered through New York City this weekend. Lo and behold, at a crappy bar ($4 PBRs?) is Josh Groban. Yes, THE Josh Groban.

Nice guy, bad music.


UPDATE: for all the fans out there...
Josh Groban - "You Raise Me Up"