Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best of 2007

Top albums (in no particular order)

Patrick Cleandenim Baby Comes Home (Broken Horse)
The Broken Family Band Hello Love (Track & Field)
Rilo Kiley Under The Blacklight (Warner Brothers)
The Autumn Defense S/T (Broadmoor)
Silver Ray Homes For Everyone (Silver Ray)
Prefab Sprout Steve Mcqueen (acoustic versions) (Kitchenware - bonus disc with the remastered version of their 1985 album)
The Decemberists The Crane Wife (Rough Trade)
Proud Simon Shoestring Universe (Proud Simon)
Wilco Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch)
Glenn Mercer Wheels in Motion (Pravda)

followed by (also in no patricular order)

OK Jones Elephantoms (Centropolis)
The Clientele God Save The Clientele (Merge)
Benjy Feree Leaving The Nest (Domino)
Dinosaur Jr Beyond (PIAS)
Candidate Oxengate (Snowstorm)
Band of Horses Cease To Begin (Sub Pop)
Beirut The Flying Club Cup (4AD)
Bishop Allen & The Broken String (Dead Meadows)
Iron & Wine The Shepherd's Dog (Sub Pop)
Miracle Fortress Five Roses (Rough Trade)
UK States Psychogeography (Hitback)
Okkervill River The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
Bill Callahan Woke on a Whaleheart (Drag City)
Cam Butler Healing Feelings (Pharmacy)
The White Stripes Icky Thump (XL)
David Vandervelde The Moonstation House Band (Secretly Canadian)

Some of 2007's best tracks

Rilo Kiley Silver Lining
The Broken Family Band Give and Take
OK Jones Deep Sea Divers
Proud Simon American Caskets
LCD Soundsystem All My Friends
The Autumn Defense About To Change
Patrick Cleandenim Days Without Rain
The Yellow Moon Band Entangled
Wilco Impossible Germany
Andrew Bird Heretics
Prefab Sprout Bonny
Bishop Allen Rain
Candidate Furlough
David Vandervelde Nothin' No
The Decemberists When The War Came
Wilco On and On and On
Glenn Mercer Another Last Time
Dylan Mondegreen Girl in Grass
The Autumn Defense We Would Never Die
The Living Image The Show
Tegan and Sara The Con
Bill Callahan Diamond Dancer
Okkervill River Unless It's Kicks
Beirut Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)
The Clientele Bookshop Casanova
Patrick Cleandenim Rocket To The Moon
Silver Ray The Streets of Melbourne
Rilo Kiley Close Call
Glenn Mercer Morning Lights
Wilco You Are My Face

Favourite (non 2007) album of the year

Camper Van Beethoven Tusk (Cooking Vinyl 2002) DBL CD

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Autumn Defense on Broken Horse

The Autumn Defense's 3rd & self titled album will be released on Broken Horse for the UK/Europe on January 28th 2008. The core of the band is John Stirratt & Pat Sansone from Wilco. The Broken Horse issue will feature brand new artwork and photos and has been re-designed by Pat Sansone himself (is there nothing this guy can't do?)

"After the release of their second album in 2003, The Autumn Defense, multi-instrumentalists John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, realized that there was indeed an audience for their Simon & Garfunkel/Bread influenced soft-rock that they hadn’t truly appreciated, and like most things took some time to develop.

"We’ve known each other for a long time. We just all knew each other from being around the Mississippi music scene back in the late 80’s and early 90’s," Sansone said. "I reconnected with John when I moved to New Orleans around 97. John was living in New Orleans as well, so we just started hanging out and listening to records and we realized we had the same tastes at the time and we started strumming and singing and realized we had a real great vocal blend, which was really the reason we started the band."

“I loved the way that [2003's Circles] had this sort of gestation period...that it took a while for people to find it, but when they did, they really dug it”, according to Stirratt. Circles earned high praise from critics like David Fricke of Rolling Stone who called it, "warm, gorgeous, and delightful," and picked up 4 stars from both Mojo and Uncut.

In the meantime, Pat Sansone joined Wilco as a full time member just before the release of 2004’s A Ghost is Born. A necessary move from New York to Chicago for Sansone allowed them to work together as often as possible and to record at their leisure in Wilco’s sprawling musical Aladdin’s cave-like loft studio.

Pat Sansone "I think that Chicago kind of lends itself, especially if you’re recording in the winter time, which we did; it lends itself to locking yourself inside because it’s so cold outside. It’s kind of easy to focus and concentrate because you want to be inside. I think that probably did influence this record in trying to make it warm sounding."

Once the songs were in place, they recovened with their rhythm section of the last six years: drummer Greg Wieczorek, and producer/ session man Brad Jones, as well as other Autumn Defense regulars like pedal steel player John Pirruccello and horn player Steve Tyska.

“We’ve worked with them for so long now, that there’s a certain intuitiveness about the track as it’s going down... that they know the possibilities as well as we do,” says Stirratt. And through Brad Jones they were also able to work with new friends Chris Carmichael and Jim Hoke, whose string and flute performances brought Sansone’s light orchestral arrangements to life, and to helped provide a truly organic feel to the recordings.

The result of a long winter’s work is the self-titled release, The Autumn Defense. It is the culmination and continuation of what the band has reached for in the last two records, from the Philly-soul of "Feel You Now", to the baroque "Estate Remains", the bossa "City Bells" to the classic Southern- California sound of "We Would Never Die.” (also featuring Wilco’s Nels Cline). Playing this album next to Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky which followed “The Autumn Defense” a few months later (The Autumn Defense was released in the U.S in early 2007), it becomes clear how integral both Stirratt and Sansone are to the current Wilco sound in what is looking likely to be it’s most successful and enduring line up."