Where, like last year, we recap the biggest stories from the New York music scene of the year.
Album of the Year: The National - Boxer
What this album did better than any other coming out of New York all year was create images. It tells stories worth listening to. The opener, "Fake Empire," sets the tone for the rest of the record...slow and moody, yet brash and almost apologetic. Every song sounds like it was written at 5:30 in the morning after a long, sloppy night. The National has supplanted The Walkmen as the quarter-life crisis soundtrack to our city, and 'Boxer' is the best of their already impressive body of work.
Breakthrough Band: Yeasayer
There are a lot of indie bands, seemingly more than ever, vying for the attention of the internet masses. One group, however, seemed to combine some genuine originality with actual listenability and developed a bit of a following in the last year. Yeasayer's one of the few new bands this year whose songwriting and ability outweighed the hype, which is no easy task in this era. We loved watching a new local band emerge that has excited us the way they have. We hope for great things going forward.
Concert of the Year: Daft Punk at Keyspan Park
Duh. It's almost embarrassing to write any more about the majesty this show presented, since it seemed that every media outlet in the tri-state area (including ourselves) held a hyperbole contest the morning after. But nonetheless, it was a fantastic experience every one of the 10,000 or so in attendance genuinely enjoyed. There are so few acts that garner such unanimous praise, it was an unavoidable and much deserved choice.
Best New Venue: Terminal 5
There have been a number of nice new clubs that have opened their doors in 2007, and we've been happy with the experience at many of them. The one that stood out, however, is the largest and probably least likely to impress. A concert at Terminal 5 feels like an event. Unlike the clubs it will most often compete with (Roseland and Hammerstein,) seeing a band at a large venue no longer feels like a struggle or a compromise. The sight lines are fantastic everywhere from the floor to the top balcony, and a ticket offers total general admission, allowing you to wander around and watch from pretty much anywhere. If you need a break, there are no shortage of bars and lounges to stay back at. Best of all, a concert there combines the excitement of of a large show with the comfort and accessibility of an intimate one. What more could you ask for? We have nothing nice to say about actually getting to the 11th Ave. and 56th st. club, but once you're there, it's a superb experience.
Big in '08: Vampire Weekend
Sure, you could argue that they were the breakthrough act this year, especially considering they've already made a bigger impact on the scene than our actual breakthrough band written about above. But the future is so bright for these preppy afro-poppers, with their full length album still a month away from release, that it appears all this is only the beginning. One would think that winning over the critical masses would be the hard part. Their sound is more reminiscent of oft-ridiculed college rock heroes such as Dispatch and OAR, yet they've seemed to hit a chord with the stingy music snob circle, gaining a following from the inside-out. All that's left is for these tunes to reach the masses, and we might have our first "blogs to riches" story in quite a while. We suspect the two sold out Bowery shows to kick off the year will only be the beginning for these fellas. They're one summer festival circuit away from some serious success.
Band of the Year: LCD Soundsystem
Like it or not, there is no denying the impact that Sound of Silver and their subsequent local live performances had on the New York music community in 2007. They've gotten an impressive consensus of people vouching for their greatness on their best Album/Song/Concert of the year lists, and are a worthy representative of 2007 in music. Despite personally being a bit down on their latest record (and admittedly being in a minuscule minority), their live show at Studio B was an undeniable success and all around amazing performance. There are certainly few harder working bands in this town, and none more deserving of their 2007 success than LCD Soundsystem. They've earned it. (pic via Lioc Duqueuois's Flickr)