Any belligerent, scarf-loving hipster will readily tell you they love The Arcade Fire, that Stars are genius and Feist's pop sensibilities are beyond the pale in music. All three of these acts have released albums in 2007, the year of the indie follow-up fuck-up. Thankfully there are still hundreds of thousands of independent artists who've released albums just as good--if not better--than any of the bigger names in independent music. Here are the best albums folks may not have listened to in 2007.
The Choir Practice- The Choir Practice
One of the most surprising albums of the year come from a bunch of people in the Vancouver music community who just wanted an excuse to get together, drink some wine and sing in a choir. While it sounds like a boneheaded idea, the Choir Practice features musicians from P:ano, Limblifter and the Gay layering more vocal harmonies on top of one another than a fat kid ordering a deluxe ice cream sundae with all the fixings. Simple, relaxed and poppy, even people who beat up choir geeks in high school can get down and sing along with The Choir Practice.
Immaculate Machine- Fables
Fables is the follow-up to 2005's Ones and Zeroes and while it doesn't manage to replicate the genius of that album, it ends up being "only" awesome--instead of fucking awesome. The power-pop three-piece has both danceable and surprisingly complex songs, with opener "Jarhand" being a spectacular introduction to Immaculate Machine's oeuvre with its soaring vocals, frenetic guitars and hip-shaking synths. Immaculate Machine are one of the best kept secrets of independent rock n' roll--with catchy melodies and fun hooks, Fables is an album for those who want to get on the dance floor but also keep their hipster credibility in check.
Bend Sinister- EP
Nothing is better than an epic rock show with high-flying vocals and thunderous riffs. Prog-rock prodigies Bend Sinister are one of the few bands out there willing to take a chance and indulge in their musical excesses--and it's refreshing to hear that kind of ambition from such an unknown group. Of special note is single "Time Breaks Down," which sounds like Freddy Mercury never got AIDS. If you find yourself yearning for the kind of rock that blasts a hole in the wall, Bend Sinister have got your back--until the landlord comes looking for answers.
Desiderata- We Are Not Convinced There Has Been Any Improvement
From the frozen ridges of Ft. McMurray come Desiderata--the band that combines balls-firmly-to-the-wall punk rock with sharp angular riffs, pounding basslines and drums that would make lesser men bow in supplication to ancient, craven gods. With songs like "Fritz Called it Magnum" and "Guys Like Girls in Armour Plating" Desiderata offer songs that will get the kids in the stud-lined leather jackets off their ass and breaking down with the best of them. Even though they're one of the chubbiest bands in music, their raucous tunes can get everyone sweating in the pits.