RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
Muse (various), The Killers ("Bones," "Read My Mind"), Snow Patrol, Jet ("Shine"), Decemberists (various), Cold War Kids (various), Camera Obscura, My Chemical Romance (various), Fall Out Boy, The Blood Arm, The Cat Empire, Foo Fighters.
All songs are singles unless otherwise noted. The Killers' "Mind" is a flawlessly-written tune that is screaming to be a hit for them when it's released in January. If the song is as big as I think it will be, it could propel the band to dizzying heights. The Jet album hasn't performed that well, and it might be the Oasis-sounding ballads that save it. Camera Obscura has gotten strong indie play, including both major satellite channels. MCR and Fall Out Boy have come up with great radio tracks. For my ears, this is the most compelling FOB tune yet. The Blood Arm is an L.A. band getting played on Indie 103.1. The Cat Empire's "Sly" is an interest blend of rock, ska, and hip hop. They're from Melbourne, Australia. The Foo Fighters' "Skin and Bones" is a welcome change in sound for them, and Dave Grohl states their new album will incorporate lots of new ideas. This comes at a perfect time for this band.
TOP AIRPLAY SONGS AND TOP CD'S OF THE YEAR
First the airplay tracks:
#1. Muse "Knights of Cydonia"
#2. Art Brut "Moving to L.A."
#3. Muse "Starlight"
#4. Camera Obscura "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken"
#5. Peaches "The Boys Wanna Be Her"
Muse recorded two tracks that were perfect for mainstream and indie airplay as well as for my iPod. I can't understand why Art Brut's "L.A." wasn't released as a single. It had the hooks and the humor. Speaking of hooks, the Camera Obscura song was perfectly crafted. Maybe too pop for mainstream alternative, but indie stations embraced it pretty well. The Peaches track could have been a perfect Joan Jett-type hit in the Eighties, and I thought it would do better than it did. Honorable mention goes to The Strokes ("Live Once"), The Killers ("Mind"), Paul Oakenfold, Of Montreal, Persephone's Bees, Dirty Pretty Things ("Bang"), and Elbow ("Station").
Four full-lengths made my top tier for 2007:
#1. Art Brut
Art Brut dropped domestically in May despite having been a U.K. release in 2005. It became a benchmark for all '06 releases, and nothing quite matched it for uniqueness, fun, and overall good music. The Muse album was almost as good as their 2004 "Absolution" release. Elbow made the perfect mellow album while Goldfrapp's disc was loaded with great songs, many of which are now on TV. I fully believe she'll become mainstream if her next album is on this level. Other releases came close, including Hot Chip, Butch Walker, Decemberists, The Killers, Peaches, Nine Black Alps, Arctic Monkeys, Hard-Fi, and The Subways.
Imogen Heap is so comfortable on stage, and she related to the Wiltern Theatre crowd as if she were performing in a lounge. She's very high quality and her fans love her, but there was a tad too much down-tempo music for me. I've long been interested to see Panic! At The Disco, and I finally caught up with them at the Long Beach Arena. The sound was terrible, but lead singer Brendan Urie is an appealing frontman and the band play well. Their dance troupe is onstage most of the time and usually adds a lot to the show. Lily Allen seems to have a real shot at U.S. success. She played at the Avalon in Hollywood at Indie 103.1's Wreck The Halls holiday party. After seeing her, I don't get the Gwen Stefani comparisons. While they both are ska-influenced, Gwen is more showbiz while Lily seems very approachable. She's the kind of girl you'd say something to if standing next to her in a "que." Lily has a fine voice as well. BTW, I believe Gwen herself was at this show checking Lily out. Headlining was uber cover band Camp Freddy, featuring Dave Navarro and others. Lots of familiar faces appeared. The highlight of the set was "Man In A Box" with Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell.
I continue to hit Madison whenever I can. During my last visit in late October, I subbed at WSUM for fine rock DJ Randy B. while he was out of town. Thanks, Randy! I'll return on January 9th for my own 8-hour mini-marathon from 10am-6pm Central time, 8-4 Pacific, and 4pm-12am GMT. I'll do a 5-hour "Go Deep" with the best of the mid-decade. For the final three hours, Madison radio icons Jonathan Little, Tom Teuber and Rick Murphy will take hour-long turns joining me and spinning some of their faves... It feels like New Years Eve was just a few months ago, but the time has come again for me to wish you a super holiday season and a really great 2007! I'll be back in a couple of months, and until then...