- Special Features
- Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Okay the criteria is simple. It's not albums released in 2007, but simply albums we got to review in 2007. It's not the biggest albums of the year in terms of sales, but the albums that while reviewing we couldn't take out of our CD player. They are not specifically one genre, but everywhere. On top of that, we were simply looking for the top 10 you've probably not heard of.
1) Gretchen Yanover - Bow and Cello
It's not classical, it's not jazz and it's not new age. It is, however, the album we've played most in the office. She takes the cello from a classical-only range to a stand-out lead instrument. This is a must have for anybody who finds the coffee is giving them too much of a headache. We have practically every note memorized from the intros for each of these pieces. This is the album that made us want to learn the cello. Yes, our number one album is based on a cello.
2) Charlotte Kendrick - North of New York
"I want to thank you for all the little things you do." "Thank You" is probably one of the best love songs we've heard in years. This is the kind of song you dream of having sung to you but as a man you'd be afraid to admit. We literally repeated this song 25 times, listening to each and every line. It's so freaking beautiful it will make a linebacker cry. If I wasn't already married, I'd marry Charlotte simply based on her lyrics. I listened to this track, looked at my wife and cried, "Be more like her!"
3) Blanche - If We Can't Trust The Doctors
Blanche is a bad and not a singular person. They have this Gothic, Southern preacher style and take it through to every element. The style is not only in their music but attitude rawness and emotion. Picture a 1920s Baptist revival influenced heavily by something modern that you can't put your finger on. After you've listened to the album, go to their website and watch the videos. This is one of the few bands we've seen whose videos take them to a different level.
4) Nathan Angelo
It took about four months before I figured out that he wasn't Lenny Kravitz. Okay, it might not be politically correct, but the man sings like he has a soul. It took us four months of listening and a Google search to figure out his ethnicity. He sings with powerful raw emotion but it's all acoustic strong rock.
5) Megan Jacobs - Prosperity
It's R&B like Joss Stone but maybe, just maybe, it's a bit better. She sings like she's just been punched in the emotional gut and belts it out like she's trying to audition for Aretha. On top of that, she seems to have a part of her brain permanently stuck in 1960's Motown soul while she's singing for both musical and therapeutic reasons. These personality flaws are all a good thing. Listen to New Orleans and you can picture it on any cool Motown type of soundtrack ... slightly updated.
Imagine Eminem's Rap group, d12, reborn as a Southern group of hicks with really good rap that moves you with a nice Southern feel. To do one better, these guys play their own instruments, merging in the sound of rap with banjos. The album is truly as advertised: completely unique, rap, bluegrass, and rock merged together. What other album would successfully merge Beethoven's 5th with rap and a banjo?
7) Kyle Justin - Live at the Tin Angel
I hate you Kyle because you sing too cool. I'm not saying that you're the best singer ever, but you just sing like you're cool. So cool men envy you and women desire you. Yes, there are two albums on this list that are a la John Mayer. Kyle is simply a cool version of John Mayer. "We are more than lovers, we are the best of friends... just the way she is... she's an idol to me." I mean he sings it perfect and so damn cool we hate him.
8) The Dollyrots - Because I'm Awesome
"Because I'm Awesome" is a song which makes you want to jump around the office screaming how truly great you are. It's bouncy, it's hard, it's a la Bangles on speed and possibly crack. "I always tell you how smart you are.... it's because my brain is really super-sized." I mean, honestly, who wouldn't love lyrics like that?
The rest of the album has some pretty good tracks, but if you're strapped just download "Because I'm Awesome" on iTunes and repeatedly play it because ... well, it's awesome.
9) Anjuli Dawn - Give
I have no idea what her name means. That said, her vocals are sweet, and she takes this folky thing to a different level. This is an album that was meant for coffee houses, Starbucks and romantic dates when you're trying to show your sophistication.
10) Jake Smith - RealIs it pop, rock? bouncy? hip? Just a mix of all of above. The track "These Things" is light, and its lyrics and simple guitar are standout. "Get Up" is a wake me up track that gets you bouncing. I could easily picture Jake's music waking up a party and playing in a local college bar.