Lists of 2007 – Part 3

Isn’t drawing this whole list thing out over days, and now another week, bringing the antici…pation level to HOTT? No, you say? Forgive me, as I am not the blogger who shoots my load in one measly post. Think of this as tantric listing. Mmmm…

As promised, here is my list of musicians who went under my radar until 2007. This is where you get to see how uncool I really am (just don’t tell anyone).

Duh, Stacia

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator): I suppose I’ve always liked Gillian Welch. Since the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack, she’s been in the back of my mind as someone to check out further. It wasn’t until I saw a Harry Smith documentary and saw Beth Orton that I really checked out Welch. Orton only made me want to hear Welch…it was weird.

Lou Reed – Transformer: This is a major duh. Again, I love the Velvet Underground, dig Bowie from around that time, and I know that I heard heard the album before I got really into it. I’m not sure what changed. Lou Reed is a very peculiar songwriter. He verges on being really bad, I think (he uses “nose” as a cheap rhyme three times on the album). Maybe that’s what makes him so awesome. P.S. Why doesn’t Bowie produce anymore?

Olivia Tremor Control: I was too busy either liking other things (Madonna, most likely) in the 1990s to pay much attention to Olivia Tremor Control. Luckily, someone pretty much forced me to listen to “Black Foliage: Volume one” and I fell in love. Or maybe I had to hear and love “Pet Sounds” and “SMiLE” first to really appreciate OTC. Yummy pop goodness all around.

Jens Lekman: A hunky, straight Stephen Merritt. I knew the Swedes wouldn’t let me down. El Perro Del Mar, a Swedish lady I first heard about this year as well, totally separately, also sings on his latest album. Go Swedes! Am I seriously the only one who doesn’t like “Night Falls On Kordela”?

The National: They haven’t been around for that long, but they have a few albums and I completely missed the buzz about “Alligator” the year before. I feel like such a poseur.

M. Ward: Like Lou Reed, Ward’s got a very simple approach to songwriting in terms of lyrics, but the guitar mastery is unlike other guitarists out there in indie or alt-country today. I have no idea why I avoided the buzz around “Post-War” when it came out last year, but I totally regret it.

Heartless Bastards – All this Time: See this post about me seeing this awesome band live.

Paul McCartney – Flowers in the Dirt: Thanks to a new DVD set and his entire catalog re-released this year, I became acquainted with this album, which I always assumed was filled with synthy yuckiness. Turns out I was only half right (there is some yuckiness, but generally not synth-related). The song “This One” (Rhapsody player needed) was extraordinary to me. It sounded like something off “Chaos and Creation” in its honesty. It stuck in my head for weeks, and began to effect some decisions. Turns out the whole albums isn’t all that bad, considering the time and the artist involved. Turns out all those crazy Paul fans were right — this is one of his better efforts, and certainly the best from the 1980s. Check out “Distractions” (Rhapsody player needed) as well.

Paul Simon – Graceland: The song “Graceland” kept coming up throughout 2007. I can’t really explain it. Again, this was one of those, like Gillian Welch, but even more so, that I was totally conscious of but never really bothered with. I clearly remember seeing Simon perform “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” on SNL. That and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” performances are two of my best SNL musical memories, and both really impacted me. I have a copy of MTV’s best of Unplugged compilation, featuring “Graceland” and I would always rewind it. Still, I can’t listen to that song only once. But like “Flowers in the Dirt”, “Graceland” (which is a year older), has some 1980s lameness, which I am generally most unforgiving of. But I’m learning to hear past the lameness, and it’s expanding my horizons in a major way. There’s no looking back now. Flock of Seagulls, here I come!

Stick around for the Most Underrated Band Award and Still Discovering List coming soon!

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