Ah, the last day of 2007. We have about four different options for this evening and no one can decide anything. Both my brother and sister are still in town, which adds to the fun myriad of possibilities. Right now I think the frontrunners are either going to Heidi’s to drink hot German wine (she just got back from a trip to the Paterland), doing something in Denver with my little brother, or perhaps just the usual NYE tradition of sitting on my porch with that bottle of vodka and a shotgun.
Also, in related holiday news, my sister is the best present buyer ever — look what finally arrived:Courtesy of Uncommon Goods. Now I just have to figure out what to put in a bowl with a hole in the center (it was, after all, a real record in its past life).
My last five offerings of 2007!
My Own Worst Enemy
With a crisp piano melody that sticks in your head like a Billy Joel or Ben Folds tune, this song just feels like cold January and fresh starts. A couple of trusted ears recommended that I check out this artist from Philadelphia (George Stanford is formerly of the band Townhall). This first track I listened to is rumored to have a dual-meaning about either a girl or his love/hate relationship with his music and songwriting. Either way, it’s charming and heartfelt and I’ve found myself humming it all day. Stanford has an EP currently out on Smash Records.
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
I’ve mentioned before that I worked in a rad international education job for five years, and during that time I got to help dozens of students study abroad in African countries. Two students that I remember took the time to share some African music when they came back, feeding a primal love that runs hot in my veins for the ebullient, earthy percussion common to much of their music. So it’s a bit inexplicable that I’ve resisted listening to hot blog-buzz band Vampire Weekend, which has an oft-cited African undercurrent reminiscent of both Graceland-era Paul Simon (an album I unabashedly love) and mid-80s Peter Gabriel. I finally took a spin, and of course, I find their album absolutely delightful.
[Sean’s in the same late-arriving boat as me, but as usual, he’s a heck of a lot more eloquent]
With swankily gorgeous vocals that boast a hint of ’40s glamour mixed with Fiona Apple’s dramatic range, Sia is an Australian artist that I have heard a a few scattered places and always enjoyed. This track is from her forthcoming January release, Some People Have Real Problems. I have no idea what is going on with the U.S. album cover so I just close my eyes and listen to the sultry brassiness of this tune instead of pondering the magic marker on the face. It could be the hot trend of 2008.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Old pal rbally blog is sneakily back after taking too many months on hiatus, and this elates me. Jenning’s fifth or sixth post since returning is a screaming live show from former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus, with his new band The Jicks (causing me to wonder what a jick is). Rbally also points me to this new mp3 from the Matador website, a first listen off of Malkmus’ forthcoming album Real Emotional Trash, due in March. Still all crunch and fuzz but with elegant melodies and flourishes throughout, and laced with Malkmus’ literate lyrics and endearing warble.
Finally, if you have no idea what to play tonight for your New Year’s festivites, and don’t have time to make up a mix (like moi), then the fine trio of gents from New England funk/soul band Miss Fairchild still have that 2-part mixtape up for free download on their website. Their mix blends together a wide range of old-school and modern songs (funk, hip hop, soul) with a few get-up-shake-it tracks of their own making, like this dancetastic groove from the Ooh La La Sha Sha EP. Their MySpace says they sound “like Sly Stone remixed by Beck” — it is thoroughly fresh and modern, but also a lot like something Prince would put on a mix for you. It’s a free party in 2 clicks, just waiting to happen. And a bonus for those who snag it: In January when you hit the gym with all the other resolvers, you’ll have the best soundtrack on Treadmill Row.
Oh, and this image ran in the paper today in their retrospective article on 2007. It’s still my favorite picture of the year, and when I am old, I will think back on the pure joy of The Rockies’ amazing 2007 run, and smile.