December 16, 2007
Clicky Clicky's 2007 Regrets: Caribou, Maritime, People Press Play...
2007 was a very busy year for both :: clicky clicky :: and our non-blog-related doings, and truth be told 2008 is expected to be worse as far as overwhelming day-job commitments are concerned. If current schedules hold, your :: clicky clicky :: service will be largely dark in September and October, unless we line up some fill-in writers. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Today we'd like to acknowledge at least briefly records that we would have liked to have listened to more and reviewed during the year. We'll give them all a sentence or two in the next paragraphs, but if you are impatient, the list is at the bottom along with whatever promo MP3s we could dig up. You know the drill: right click and save as.
Rising Philadelphia quintet The A-Sides, after a long wait, expanded on the sophisticated harmonies and jaunty rock of the band's excellent 2005 debut and delivered the lush, atmospheric and detailed collection Silver Storms with memorable tracks including "We're The Trees" and "Sinking With The Ship." Dan Snaith's transformation from Manitoba to Caribou is nowhere near as remarkable as his music's evolution from kaleidoscopic electronic grooves to stunning and organic '60s psych-influenced nuggets including the phenomenal tune "Eli;" Caribou's Andorra was a huge sleeper record for us in 2007. We were skeptical of The Forms' mathpop because of the hype surrounding its self-titled release -- particularly a widely recycled message board endorsement from engineer Steve Albini. However, the easy tempos, big melodies and Mr. Albini's superlative drum production made for a clever and immensely listenable concoction, so hats off to The Forms. Les Savy Fav's brawling return via Let's Stay Friends provided one of the most potent spine-tinglers of the year -- the shouted, mildly uncomfortable extended amorous metaphor "The Equestrian" -- as part of a bracing collection that brought the semi-legendary live act back to the fore of indiedom; if we weren't old and crotchety we would go see these guys play New Year's Eve in Manhattan.
Former Promise Ring fronter Davey Von Bohlen extended his winning streak of excellent indie pop records on the strength of endlessly hummable songs like "Guns Of Navarone," "Hours That You Keep" and "Pearl" released on the very under-rated Maritime set Heresy And The Hotel Choir. The Morr Music release of the year was definitely Danish dreamers People Press Play's self-titled collection, whose songs precipitated our glancing at our IPod to see who was so awesome every time they came up on shuffle; we felt like we did a particularly bad job of covering Morr in 2007, and we are reminded of this whenever we hear the blissed-out "Stop" or the wholly arresting vocals of the New Order-ish cut "Always Wrong" from People Press Play. Do we really need to say anything about Radiohead's In Rainbows? We usually don't take the time to note what bands at the top of the music ecosystem are doing, but we were astonished at how gorgeous the In Rainbows discbox was when we received it, and that astonishment was only heightened by our growing belief that the collection's best music -- "Last Flowers To The Hospital" and "Down Is The New Up" specifically -- mostly resides on the bonus disc. Finally: broken-hearted ex-pat Josh Rouse, whose 2006 set Subtitulo firmly took us in despite our general disdain for folksy singer-songwriter work. Mr. Rouse's latest release Country Mouse, City House may be even better and includes yearning songs with undeniable choruses such as "Sweetie" and the upbeat "Nice To Fit In."
The A-Sides -- Silver Storms -- Vagrant [BUY / Download "We're The Trees"]
Caribou -- Andorra -- Merge [BUY / Download "Melody Day"]
The Forms -- The Forms -- Self-released [BUY]
Les Savy Fav -- Let's Stay Friends -- French Kiss [BUY / Download "The Equestrian"]
Maritime -- Heresy And The Hotel Choir -- Flameshovel [BUY / Download "Guns Of Navarone"]
People Press Play -- People Press Play -- Morr Music [BUY]
Radiohead -- In Rainbows, Disc Two -- Self-Released [BUY]
Josh Rouse -- Country Mouse, City House -- Nettwerk [BUY]